Madeira is best explored by car although to drive in Madeira you have to be prepared for hair pin bends and driving up and down steep inclines edged with dramatic drops. The island is also riddled with a warren of tunnels.
Madeira is small enough for it to be possible to explore any one part of the island from Funchal for a day trip by car.
The drivers in Madeira also tend to have a somewhat hot headed temperament towards driving and peep and hoot regularly – driving can be a noisy expressive affair! Bearing that in mind, depending on your confidence with driving in such conditions, you may prefer to take bus trips – there are many available to various destinations on the island from the capital of Funchal and the tourist office in Funchal can advise you on what each has to offer.
Much of the island has a rural feel to it, with the majority of the population of Madeira being concentrated in and around Funchal.
The different areas in Madeira:
• The South of Madeira – including the capital Funchal
• The East of Madeira
• Central Madeira
• The West of Madeira
• The North of Madeira
The different parts of the island vary in the landscape. The centre of Madeira is mountanous with a plateau on top. The mountains fall steeply down to the sea, the land is terraced for cultivation.