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Madeira vs Canary Islands: Which is the Better Vacation

Last updated on February 19th, 2024 at 07:26 am

Madeira vs Canary Islands – Comparing them, Madeira is filled with hiking trails and mountains while the Canary Islands is for a beach getaway.

Choosing between Madeira and Canary Islands comes down to personal preferences and interests. And while both are beautiful remote island destinations, they have key differences. While the Madeira is better if you prefer natural landscapes, tranquility, and a more affordable option while the Canary Islands are better if you want a full beach destination for your vacation.

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Accommodation In Madeira

The cost of accommodation in Madeira varies depending on the season and the location. Budget-friendly hostels and guesthouses can cost around €15-€30 per night, while mid-range hotels and resorts can cost around €50-€100 per night. Luxury hotels and villas can cost around €200 or more per night. For a week-long stay, the total cost of accommodation can range from €105-€1400.

CLICK HERE TO BOOK YOUR ACCOMMODATION IN MADEIRA

Things to Do in Madeira

Here are some of the top destinations in Madeira and what to do in them:

Funchal

Sunset over Funchal, Madeira, Madeira vs Canary Islands, Canary Islands vs Madeira
Sunset over Funchal, Madeira – Madeira vs Canary Islands

Funchal is Madeira’s capital city and the largest city on the island. It is a charming and historic city with a picturesque harbor, colorful buildings, and cobbled streets. Here are some of the top things to do in Funchal

Visit the Mercado dos Lavradores

Mercado dos Lavradores in Madeira, Madeira vs Canary Islands, Canary Islands vs Madeira
Mercado dos Lavradores in Madeira

This vibrant market sells local produce, flowers, and handicrafts. It’s a great place to try traditional Madeiran food, such as bolo do caco (a type of bread) and poncha (a local alcoholic beverage).

Explore the Old Town

Madeira vs Canary Islands: Which is the Better Vacation, Canary Islands vs Madeira

Funchal’s Old Town is a maze of narrow streets, historic buildings, and traditional shops. Highlights include the Se Cathedral, the São Tiago Fortress, and the Monte Palace Tropical Garden.

Take a Cable Car Ride

Cable Car Ride in Funchal, Canary Islands vs Madeira, Madeira vs Canary Islands
Cable Car Ride in Funchal

Madeira’s cable car system offers breathtaking views of the city and the Atlantic Ocean. The ride takes visitors from Funchal to the village of Monte, passing over gardens, neighborhoods, and forests along the way.

Porto Moniz

Porto Moniz, Canary Islands vs Madeira, Madeira vs Canary Islands
Porto Moniz

Porto Moniz is a coastal town located on the northwest coast of Madeira. It is famous for its natural swimming pools and rugged coastline. Here are some of the top things to do in Porto Moniz:

Visit the Natural Swimming Pools

Porto Moniz is home to several natural swimming pools formed by volcanic rocks and seawater. These pools are surrounded by cliffs and offer stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean.

Explore the Coastal Trails

The coastline around Porto Moniz is rugged and beautiful, with several hiking trails that offer stunning views of the ocean and the surrounding cliffs.

Visit the Aquarium

The Porto Moniz Aquarium is a small but informative museum that showcases the marine life found in the waters around Madeira.

Santana

Santana, Canary Islands vs Madeira, Madeira vs Canary Islands
Santana in Madeira

Santana is a small town located on the north coast of Madeira. It is famous for its traditional thatched-roof houses and beautiful countryside.

Here are some of the top things to do in Santana:

Visit the Thatched-Roof Houses

Santana’s traditional thatched-roof houses are a symbol of Madeira’s rural heritage. Visitors can explore the houses and learn about the history and culture of the region.

Explore the Levadas

Santana is also a great place to explore Madeira’s famous levadas. The Levada do Caldeirão Verde is a popular trail that takes visitors through beautiful forests and waterfalls.

Visit the Madeira Theme Park

The Madeira Theme Park is an interactive museum that showcases the history, culture, and natural wonders of Madeira. It’s a great place to learn about the island’s unique heritage.

Pico do Arieiro

Pico do Arieiro Madeira, Canary Islands vs Madeira, Madeira vs Canary Islands
Pico do Arieiro, Madeira

Pico do Arieiro is Madeira’s third-highest peak and offers stunning views of the island’s rugged landscape. Here are some of the top things to do in Pico do Arieiro.

Hike to Pico Ruivo

Pico do Arieiro is the starting point for several hiking trails, including a trail that leads to Pico Ruivo, Madeira’s highest peak. The hike takes several hours and offers stunning views of the island’s mountains and forests.

Enjoy the View

Pico do Arieiro offers panoramic views of the island’s coast and mountains. Visitors can drive or take a bus to the summit and enjoy the stunning vistas.

Stargazing

Pico do Arieiro is also a great place for stargazing, with clear skies and minimal light pollution. Visitors can bring a telescope or join a guided tour to explore the night sky.

Ponta do Sol

Madeira vs Canary Islands: Which is the Better Vacation, Canary Islands vs Madeira

Ponta do Sol is a charming coastal town located on the southwest coast of Madeira. It is known for its sunny climate and picturesque harbor. Here are some of the top things to do in Ponta do Sol:

Relax on the Beach

Ponta do Sol has a small but beautiful black sand beach that is perfect for swimming and sunbathing. Visitors can also enjoy water sports such as paddleboarding and kayaking

Explore the Old Town

Ponta do Sol’s Old Town is a maze of narrow streets, traditional houses, and historic churches. Visitors can explore the town on foot and enjoy the local cafes and restaurants.

Take a Hike

Ponta do Sol is also a great place to explore Madeira’s rugged interior. The Rabaçal and 25 Fontes hiking trails offer stunning views of waterfalls, forests, and mountains.

Overall, Madeira has a variety of destinations that offer unique attractions and activities. Whether you are looking to explore the island’s natural wonders, learn about its history and culture, or simply relax on the beach, Madeira has something for everyone.

Yes, there are definitely more destinations in Madeira that are worth exploring. Here are some additional places you might want to consider:

Additional Destinations in Madeira

Cabo Girão

Cabo Girão is a scenic viewpoint located on the southwest coast of Madeira. It is famous for its glass-bottomed platform, which offers stunning views of the cliffs and the sea.

Calheta

Calheta is a coastal town located on the southwest coast of Madeira. It is known for its sandy beaches and tranquil atmosphere. Visitors can enjoy water sports such as surfing and windsurfing, or take a boat tour to explore the nearby coastline.

Curral das Freiras

Curral das Freiras is a small village located in the heart of Madeira’s mountains. It is known for its dramatic scenery and peaceful atmosphere. Visitors can explore the village on foot and enjoy the local restaurants and cafes.

São Vicente

São Vicente is a historic town located on the north coast of Madeira. It is known for its traditional houses and historic churches. Visitors can explore the town on foot and enjoy the local museums and galleries.

Machico

Machico in Madeira, Canary Islands vs Madeira, Madeira vs Canary Islands
Machico in Madeira – Canary Islands vs Madeira

Machico is a coastal town located on the east coast of Madeira. It is known for its beautiful beaches and historic landmarks. Visitors can explore the town on foot and enjoy the local restaurants and cafes.

Overall, Madeira has a wealth of destinations that offer unique attractions and activities. Whether you are looking to explore the island’s natural wonders, learn about its history and culture, or simply relax on the beach, Madeira has something for everyone.

Canary Islands Accommodation

The Canary Islands also offer a variety of accommodation options, from budget-friendly hostels to luxury resorts and hotels. Visitors can choose from cozy apartments, traditional villas, or modern hotels with sea views.

CLICK HERE TO BOOK YOUR ACCOMMODATION IN CANARY ISLANDS

Things to Do in the Canary Islands

Tenerife

Tenerife Beach in Canary Islands, Madeira vs Canary Islands, Canary Islands vs Madeira
Tenerife

Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands and offers a wide range of activities and attractions. Here are some of the top things to do in Tenerife:

Visit Teide National Park

Teide National Park is home to Mount Teide, the highest peak in Spain. Visitors can take a cable car to the summit or hike to the top for stunning views of the park’s volcanic landscape.

Explore Santa Cruz de Tenerife

Santa Cruz de Tenerife is the capital city of Tenerife and offers a mix of historic architecture and modern amenities. Visitors can explore the city’s museums, galleries, and parks, or relax on the beach.

Visit Loro Parque

Loro Parque is a popular theme park and zoo that is home to a wide variety of animals, including parrots, dolphins, and gorillas. Visitors can enjoy shows, exhibits, and interactive experiences.

Relax on the Beach

Tenerife has several beautiful beaches, including Playa de las Americas and Playa del Duque. Visitors can swim, sunbathe, and enjoy water sports such as surfing and snorkeling.

Go Whale Watching

Tenerife is a popular destination for whale watching, with several species of whales and dolphins found in the waters around the island. Visitors can take boat tours to see these magnificent creatures up close.

Gran Canaria

Gran Canaria, Madeira vs Canary Islands, Canary Islands vs Madeira
Gran Canaria

Gran Canaria is known for its stunning beaches and dramatic landscapes. Here are some of the top things to do in Gran Canaria:

Visit Maspalomas Dunes

The Maspalomas Dunes are a protected nature reserve and offer stunning views of the coastline. Visitors can hike or take a camel ride through the dunes.

Explore Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is the capital city of Gran Canaria and offers a mix of historic architecture and modern amenities. Visitors can explore the city’s museums, galleries, and parks, or relax on the beach.

Visit Puerto de Mogán

Puerto de Mogán is a picturesque fishing village known for its colorful buildings and canals. Visitors can explore the village on foot, enjoy the local restaurants and cafes, or take a boat tour to see the coastline.

Relax on the Beach

Gran Canaria has several beautiful beaches, including Playa de las Canteras and Playa de Maspalomas. Visitors can swim, sunbathe, and enjoy water sports such as surfing and windsurfing.

Go Whale Watching

Gran Canaria is a popular destination for whale watching, with several species of whales and dolphins found in the waters around the island. Visitors can take boat tours to see these magnificent creatures up close.

Lanzarote

Lanzarote, Madeira vs Canary Islands, Canary Islands vs Madeira
Lanzarote

Lanzarote is known for its volcanic landscapes and unique architecture. Here are some of the top things to do in Lanzarote:

Visit Timanfaya National Park

Timanfaya National Park is home to a unique landscape of volcanic craters, lava fields, and geysers. Visitors can explore the park on foot or take a guided tour to learn about the park’s geology and history.

Explore Cueva de los Verdes

Cueva de los Verdes is a series of underground caves formed by volcanic activity. Visitors can explore the caves on guided tours and learn about the island’s geology and history.

Visit Jameos del Agua

Jameos del Agua is a unique attraction that features a series of underground lakes, gardens, and auditoriums. Visitors can enjoy live music, films, and other cultural events in this stunning setting

Visit Mirador del Rio

Mirador del Rio is a lookout point located on a cliff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Visitors can enjoy stunning views of the nearby islands and coastline.

Relax on the Beach

Lanzarote has several beautiful beaches, including Playa Blanca and Papagayo. Visitors can swim, sunbathe, and enjoy water sports such as surfing and snorkeling.

Fuerteventura

Madeira vs Canary Islands: Which is the Better Vacation, Canary Islands vs Madeira

Fuerteventura is known for its long stretches of white sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters. Here are some of the top things to do in Fuerteventura.

Read here Best time to visit Fuerteventura

Explore Corralejo

Corralejo is a popular tourist town that offers a mix of beaches, restaurants, and nightlife. Visitors can explore the town’s historic center, relax on the beach, or take a boat tour to explore the nearby islands.

Visit Betancuria

Betancuria is a historic town located in the interior of Fuerteventura. Visitors can explore the town’s museums, galleries, and churches, or take a hike through the surrounding mountains.

Relax on the Beach

Fuerteventura has several beautiful beaches, including Playa de Sotavento and Playa de Jandia. Visitors can swim, sunbathe, and enjoy water sports such as windsurfing and kitesurfing.

Go Surfing

Fuerteventura is a popular destination for surfing, with several world-class surf breaks located along the island’s coast.

Go Whale Watching

Fuerteventura is a popular destination for whale watching, with several species of whales and dolphins found in the waters around the island. Visitors can take boat tours to see these magnificent creatures up close.

La Palma

La Palma is known as the “green island” for its lush forests and diverse wildlife. Here are some of the top things to do in La Palma:

Visit Caldera de Taburiente National Park

Caldera de Taburiente National Park is a protected area that offers stunning views of the island’s volcanic landscape. Visitors can explore the park on foot or take a guided tour to learn about its geology and history

Visit Los Llanos de Aridane

Los Llanos de Aridane is a historic town located on the west coast of La Palma. Visitors can explore the town’s museums, galleries, and churches, or relax in the local cafes and restaurants.

Visit Roque de los Muchachos

Roque de los Muchachos is a mountain peak that offers stunning views of the island’s forests and coastline. Visitors can take a guided tour to the summit or hike to the top.

Go Stargazing

La Palma is known for its clear skies and lack of light pollution, making it a popular destination for stargazing. Visitors can take a guided tour to learn about the island’s astronomy and observe the night sky.

Visit La Palma’s Beaches

La Palma has several beautiful beaches, including Playa de Puerto Naos and Playa de Los Cancajos. Visitors can swim, sunbathe, and enjoy water sports such as kayaking and paddleboarding.

Overall, La Palma offers a unique experience for visitors who want to explore the island’s natural beauty and learn about its history and culture.

La Gomera

La Gomera is known for its rugged coastline, dense forests, and traditional villages. Here are some of the top things to do in La Gomera:

Explore Garajonay National Park

Garajonay National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that offers stunning views of the island’s forests and valleys. Visitors can hike through the park’s trails and observe the unique flora and fauna.

Visit San Sebastian de La Gomera

San Sebastian de La Gomera is the capital city of La Gomera and offers a mix of historic architecture and modern amenities. Visitors can explore the city’s museums, galleries, and parks, or relax on the beach.

Visit Valle Gran Rey

Valle Gran Rey is a picturesque village located on the southwest coast of La Gomera. Visitors can explore the village on foot, enjoy the local restaurants and cafes, or relax on the beach.

Take a Boat Tour

La Gomera’s coastline is known for its rugged cliffs and beautiful coves. Visitors can take a boat tour to explore the island’s coastline and observe the marine life.

Go Hiking

La Gomera has several hiking trails that offer stunning views of the island’s landscapes. Visitors can hike through the forests, valleys, and mountains and observe the unique flora and fauna.

Overall, La Gomera is a great destination for visitors who want to experience the island’s natural beauty and traditional way of life.

El Hierro

El Hierro is known for its pristine beaches, volcanic landscapes, and traditional villages. Here are some of the top things to do in El Hierro:

Visit El Hierro Biosphere Reserve

El Hierro Biosphere Reserve is a protected area that offers stunning views of the island’s landscapes and diverse wildlife. Visitors can hike through the reserve’s trails and observe the unique flora and fauna.

Visit Valverde

Valverde is the capital city of El Hierro and offers a mix of historic architecture and modern amenities. Visitors can explore the city’s museums, galleries, and parks, or relax on the beach.

Visit El Hierro’s Beaches

El Hierro has several beautiful beaches, including Playa de Timijiraque and Playa de Tacorón. Visitors can swim, sunbathe, and enjoy water sports such as snorkeling and diving.

Go Scuba Diving

El Hierro is a popular destination for scuba diving, with several dive sites located along the island’s coast. Visitors can observe the marine life and explore the underwater landscapes.

Explore El Hierro’s Traditional Villages

El Hierro has several traditional villages that offer a glimpse into the island’s history and culture. Visitors can explore the villages on foot, enjoy the local restaurants and cafes, and learn about the island’s unique way of life.

Overall, El Hierro offers a unique experience for visitors who want to explore the island’s natural beauty and traditional way of life.

Other Remote Destinations in the Canary Islands

The above list covers the top destinations in the Canary Islands, but there are other smaller islands in the archipelago that are worth exploring, such as La Graciosa and Alegranza. However, these islands are more remote and may not have as many tourist attractions as the larger islands.

La Graciosa

La Graciosa is a small island located off the northern coast of Lanzarote, and is known for its pristine beaches and stunning natural landscapes. Visitors can explore the island on foot or by bike, and enjoy water sports such as surfing, windsurfing, and kayaking.

Alegranza

Alegranza is a small island located off the northern coast of Lanzarote, and is known for its unique flora and fauna. Visitors can take a boat tour to the island and observe the native bird species, or hike through the island’s volcanic landscapes.

Overall, the Canary Islands offer a wide range of attractions and activities for visitors of all ages and interests. From exploring natural wonders to soaking up the sun on the beach, the Canary Islands are a perfect destination for a memorable vacation.

Best Time to Visit

Best Time to Visit Madeira

The best time to visit Madeira is from May to September. During this time, the weather is warm and sunny, with temperatures averaging around 25°C (77°F). This is the peak tourist season, so expect crowds and higher prices. However, if you’re looking to visit during a quieter time, consider going in October or November. The weather is still pleasant during these months, but there are fewer crowds and lower prices.

Best Time to Visit the Canary Islands

The best time to visit the Canary Islands is from November to March. During this time, the weather is mild and pleasant, with temperatures averaging around 20-25°C (68-77°F). This is the peak tourist season, so expect crowds and higher prices. However, if you’re looking to visit during a quieter time, consider going in April or May. The weather is still pleasant during these months, but there are fewer crowds and lower prices.

It’s worth noting that the Canary Islands are warm and sunny year-round, making them a popular destination for winter sun seekers. However, the summer months (June to August) can be quite hot, with temperatures often reaching 30°C (86°F) or higher. If you’re planning to visit during the summer, be prepared for the heat and humidity.

Ultimately, the best time to visit Madeira or the Canary Islands depends on your preferences and what you’re looking to experience. Consider the weather, crowds, and prices when planning your trip.

Cash and Currency

The currency used in Madeira and the Canary Islands is both the Euro (EUR). ATMs are widely available in cities and towns, and most major credit cards are accepted at hotels, restaurants, and shops. However, it’s a good idea to carry some cash with you, especially if you plan to visit more rural areas or small villages. You can exchange currency at banks or exchange bureaus, but keep in mind that exchange rates and fees may vary.

Check the updated exchange here.

FINAL THOUGHTS MADEIRA VS CANARY ISLANDS

When comparing Canary Islands vs Madeira – We think Madeira is better if you prefer natural landscapes, tranquility, and a more affordable option while the Canary Islands are better if you want a full beach destination for your vacation.

Madeira and the Canary Islands are both popular travel destinations located in the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Portugal and Africa, respectively. Although they have their own unique cultures, landscapes, and attractions, they are often compared as travel destinations for several reasons.

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