Madeira: Car Rental

Scenic mountainous landscapes, stunning wildlife and fabulous food

Local Travel Info

Local Travel Info in Madeira

Internal flights and major international airports in Madeira
Madeira airport (Funchal Airport) is 10 miles out of the main city of Funchal and connects the island of Madeira to mainland Portugal and the rest of Europe. There are also several internal flights to Madeira’s sister island of Porto Santo, a journey that takes just 15 minutes.

Getting to and from the airport on Madeira

The Aerobus service from Madeira Airport in Funchal costs €5, though some airlines offer this service to their customers with their air ticket. Tickets from Madeira Airport can be bought on the bus and the service runs from Madeira Airport to Funchal and back via Campo da Barca, Rua do Anadia, Avenida do Mar, Rua Carvalho Araújo, Estrada Monumental and finishes at Praia Formosa. It takes about 45 mins.
Buses run between Madeira Airport and Funchal about every two hours; the one-way fare is €2.10.
Taxis are available 24 hours a day for transport from Madeira Airport to locations around the island. The approximate fare from the airport to Funchal is €20, plus a surcharge for luggage or nighttime driving.

Travel costs in Madeira

The Giro yellow card works like a month’s pass for the buses in Madeira and the Giro blue card that works as a ticket. These cards are rechargeable at the company offices, by authorised sellers and using automatic machines around Funchal, the capital of Madeira.
Bus tickets for all zones in Funchal cost €1,60 for a return ticket plus initial purchase price for the card, which is 50 cents. You can also buy the Giro on the bus though it will be more expensive as you will pay the price of the ticket (€1,40) plus the price of the card (50 cents).
These Giro cards work like the London Tube Oyster cards – you validate the card when entering the bus.
Children aged 6 and under do not pay fares on buses in Madeira
There are lots of taxis in Funchal, the main city of Madeira. The fares are reasonable and the drivers helpful and friendly. Funchal’s taxi drivers will offer to take you on tours of Madeira. Most tour operators offer two standard day trips in Madeira. One circling the West of Madeira and the other doing the same to the East. Funchal’s taxis have standard prices for tours of Madeira so there’s no need to worry about haggling or getting ripped off. Prices for days out on Madeira are around €80 to €90.
All taxis on Madeira must use a taximeter, so if you are in Madeira and get in a taxi where there is no taximeter you have the right to choose another one. The taximeter will start on €1,70 EUR. If you carry luggage an extra value will be added to your sum but never more than 50% of the total price.
All taxi drivers on Madeira carry a government-approved price list for journeys outside Funchal.

Renting cars

Most major international car hire firms have offices on Madeira, but you’ll get cheaper deals from local car hire companies, most of them based in Funchal, the capital city of Madeira. The tariff is reduced if you hire a car in Madeira to drive for two days or more. Expect to pay from around €45 a day. Be aware that negotiating the narrow mountain roads in some areas of Madeira in your hire car can be taxing and as there are few pavements you need to watch out for pedestrians too. When comparing figures for car hire in Madeira, make sure the price includes tax and insurance and what your liability would be in the event of an accident. Also be aware that in Madeira, if you drop your hire car back at the airport it could cost considerably more.
Once you are used to the hairpin bends, and steep mountain roads, your hire car will be the passport to days of wonderful sights and secluded country areas that it could be more complicated to see otherwise. In your hire car, you can see Madeira at your own pace and at your leisure.


To book car rental in Madeira online, view our Car Hire section for Madeira. We offer Ok Alpha users the latest special offers and best rates available for car hire in Madeira. We advise you book your Madeira hire car in advance so you can pick it up and drop it off directly at the airport.


Drivers licence requirements in Madeira

To hire a car in Madeira you will need to show a passport and a current EU or international driving licence (photocard and paper part). Most hire car companies in Madeira will only hire cars to drivers who are over 21 and who have at least two years’ driving experience.
Driving rules in Madeira
Madeirans drive on the right-hand side and seatbelts are required as in the rest of Europe. Children under the age of 12 are not allowed in the front seats in cars in Madeira The speed within cities and villages in Madeira is limited to 40- 50 km/h – outside to 80 km/h. If you drive on the motorway in Madeira in your hire car, the speed limit is 120km (75mph).
Petrol stations are quite abundant in Madeira – but do fill up before leaving the city of Funchal. Stay within the legal speed limits in your hire car and remember that drinking alcohol and driving is an offence in Madeira.

Buses

Bus travel on Madeira is cheap but be aware that the buses on Madeira are geared for local travellers not tourists. So if you are using Madeira buses at either end of a walk, check the times carefully. There is also often a long mid-afternoon siesta gap for Madeira buses, so beware of getting marooned between 1 and 3pm! If you are travelling in a small group on Madeira, it may be worth the little extra cost of getting a taxi for convenience sake.
There are 5 bus companies in Madeira: Horários Do Funchal, provides the service to Madeira’s city of Funchal and nearby towns and villages.
Rodoeste’s bus company covers the island west of Funchal, right up to the north west tip of Madeira.
SAM (Sociedade de Automóveis da Madeira), covers east of the island, right up to the north east tip of Madeira.
'Empresa de Automóveis do Caniço', covers just the one route between Funchal and Caniço.
If you want to catch a bus in Madeira, stick out your hand before it gets too close. You can queue, but be aware that on Madeira, when the bus comes, it’s a free-for-all!
The nearer you are to Funchal, the more frequent the service is. In Madeira’s main city of Funchal, most people catch SAM and Rodoeste buses at their main departure points on the Avenida do Mar and buy tickets on the bus. Other 'country' bus tickets are usually bought at the operators' kiosks near the bus departure points. For orange town buses, fare-saving tickets are available. (Don’t be confused by identical bus numbers in Madeira – you may see two number 20s, one an orange town bus, the other a green country bus, going to very different places!).
For Madeira holidaymakers, a weekly tourist bus ticket costs around 16 euros, but they’re only valid on Horários Do Funchal buses, so do your research on where you plan to go first.

Taxis in Madeira

There are lots of taxis in Funchal, the capital city of Madeira. The Funchal taxis are clean, bright yellow and most of them are Mercedes! Funchal city centre has lots of taxi ranks so you are never more than a couple of minutes walk away from one when on holiday in Madeira. If you book a taxi through your Madeira hotel reception they come pretty quickly. The taxi fares are reasonable and the drivers helpful and friendly. Funchal’s taxi drivers will offer to take you on tours of Madeira. Most tour operators offer two standard day trips of Madeira. One circling the West of Madeira and the other doing the same to the East. Funchal’s taxis have standard prices for tours of Madeira, so there’s no need to worry about haggling or getting ripped off. Prices for days out on Madeira are around €80 to €90. Bear in mind that on a full day’s trip in Madeira you may end up buying the driver lunch, but if they speak English you’re getting a guide thrown in for free, so it may be a good deal.
All taxis on Madeira must use a taximeter, so if you are in Madeira and get in a taxi where there is no taximeter you have the right to choose another one. The taximeter will start on €1,70 EUR. If you carry luggage an extra value will be added to your sum but never more than 50% of the total price.

Cycling in Madeira

You need to be made of pretty stern stuff to consider cycling in the mountainous terrain of Madeira. Even in the towns of Madeira you won’t get too far on your bike without encountering hills. However, if you fancy a spot of mountain biking there are bike hire companies in Funchal – try the Madeira Camping Service in Funchal – and many hotels offer a cycle hire facility, although real enthusiasts tend to transport their own bikes to the island of Madeira. Madeira is probably one of the world’s safest holiday destinations, and street crime is virtually unheard of, so theft of your bicycle is not really an issue. You may find cycling on the roads of Madeira a somewhat hair-raising experience however, as many roads are narrow, with hairpin bends and no pavements.

Water Transport in Madeira

The ferry to Madeira’s sister island of Porto Santo now takes just 2 hours on the latest ‘mini cruise liner’. If you are after golden beaches – not to be found on the island of Madeira – Porto Santo is where you’ll find them, but it will cost you. The ferry to Porto Santo leaves Funchal harbour, in Madeira’s main city, every morning except Tuesdays at around 8am, returning at around 7pm. Prices start at €53 for a same-day return, €42 if you’re returning on a different day from Porto Santo. Children aged 5-11 pay around half price. There are first-class ferry tickets to Porto Santo available from the island of Madeira, and you can take a car for around €183 for a return trip. Packages including hotel stays are also available.

Hitch hiking in Madeira

There is no law against hitch hiking in Madeira, but it isn’t something commonly practiced. If you do decide to hitch hike during your holiday in Madeira, do so with discretion, as usually Portuguese auto insurance doesn't cover hitch hikers.