Madeira car rental and driving

Busy day at Ponta de Sao Lourenco

Don't worry when renting a car in Madeira!

As in other European countries, you drive on the right side. Madeira is a mountainous island, with tunnels and narrow roads, but there is little traffic (with the exception of Funchal and the surrounding area) and you can therefore reduce your pace and adapt it to your leisurely holiday rhythm. If you are 18, you can easily rent a car. The German, Austrian or Swiss driving license is fine. Fully comprehensive insurance is recommended in case a scratch occurs on the car. There are no tolls on the expressways and tunnels. The emergency number is 112. To avoid unnecessary stress, plan your tours carefully and avoid driving at night. 

Is it worth renting a car in Madeira?

  • Yes, if you live outside of the capital Funchal
  • Yes, because there is much more to see on the island of Madeira than just the capital Funchal.
  • Yes, if you want to avoid the crowds at certain times and at certain popular attractions.
  • Yes, if you are traveling in a group (because then the organized excursions and tours become too expensive)
    • Yes, if you want to experience the island in all its glory without the stress and at your own pace

  • No, if you are afraid of curves and mountain driving
  • No, if you want to stay primarily in the capital Funchal

Where can you rent cars in Madeira?

As with all airports, there are a number of car rental companies right at Madeira airport. As a rule, it is the large, well-known car rental companies that you can find everywhere. There is also a very large selection of largest and smaller car rental companies in the capital Funchal and some other places.

Since the connection from the airport to the city by taxi or Aerobus is very good, you might be able to enjoy the city of Funchal first and then rent a car. If you are staying outside of Funchal, we recommend picking up your rental car immediately upon arrival at the airport .

There are more than 80 car rental companies on the island of Madeira on the overview map

From the central mountains to the south coast

Can you circumnavigate Madeira in one day? 

Theoretically yes, because Madeira is not very big and thanks to the many new tunnels and highways, the island can be circumnavigated within 1 day. It's just over 200 km. BUT there's no point in planning such a violent tour, because because of the tunnels and highways you can't really see the best sights. To get a good impression of the island, you need at least 3 days. We have put together some of the most beautiful tours. Take a look at it.

Our recommendation : Stay in Madeira for at least a week - you won't regret it!

Frequently asked questions about driving in Madeira

How are the roads in Madeira for a trip by car?

The roads are generally in good condition, the expressways (marked VR) are in excellent condition

What is the traffic density like in Madeira?

More dense on the south coast than on the north coast, there is relatively dense traffic in Funchal and the surrounding area. You have to be careful here not to get lost. The many tunnels and expressways can be a challenge at the beginning. But with a little calm and composure you can always reach your goal.

What do the road signs look like in Madeira?

The traffic rules are the same as in the rest of Europe and the road signs are easy to read

What should you do when taking sharp turns?

Release the accelerator before sharp bends and expect oncoming traffic, especially trucks or buses

Are the gas stations in Madeira well developed?

The island of Madeira is not large and there are enough gas stations in Madeira; you rarely drive a long distance without coming to a gas station.

How expensive are gasoline prices in Madeira?

The gasoline prices and diesel prices in Madeira correspond to the prices in Germany, Austria or Switzerland

What kind of car should you choose for mountain roads of Madeira?

Bigger cars have more power, especially on mountain routes, but when the going gets tough, these cars can also be a disadvantage.

Do you feel unsafe while staying and driving in Madeira?

No, after a short period of getting used to it and increased caution, especially on mountainous roads, you can drive a car in Madeira in a relaxed manner and enjoy the wonderful landscape.

What alternatives are there to renting a car in Madeira? 

You can take the public bus or book an organized tour

Is there a good public transport network in Madeira?

The public transport network is very well-developed in Funchal and the surrounding area. There are regular bus connections to all parts of the island. Further information about bus travel can be found on these pages >>>

Driving on the south coast of Madeira

Tips for a rental car tour on the island of Madeira

Die besten Touren

Around the island of Madeira

the panoramic road ER101

Ribeira Brava - Câmara de Lobos - Funchal - Caniço - Santa Cruz - Machico - Porto da Cruz - Faial - Santana - São Vicente - Porto Moniz - Ponta do Pargo - Calheta - Ponta do Sol - Ribeira Brava 

Tunnel in Madeira central mountains

Through the central highlands and mountains


From Funchal to Curral das Freiras

Arco de Sao Jorge

From Funchal to Porto da Cruz

ER 110

From Funchal to Santana


From Funchal to Sao Vicente

As an alternative to the Encumeada pass road, you can use the tunnel

Madeira north coast

From Funchal to Porto Moniz 

Along the north coast of Madeira