Motoring Discussion > Madeira motoring Miscellaneous
Thread Author: Arctophile Replies: 7

 Madeira motoring - Arctophile
Guess who booked a week's holiday in Madeira just before the floods came?

We are going at the end of April, hopefully they will have cleared much of the debris by then. We have been watching the excavators at work via the island's webcams.

We intend to pick up a hire car at the airport to get us into Funchal. The car will then enable us to see some of the island and get to some walking areas.

So, has anyone driven in Madeira, I gather that some of the rural roads can be narrow and twisty?
 Madeira motoring - smokie
I think it was Madeira where you can be driven down the public streets in a basket. I did it somewhere when on a cruise, Madeira rings a bell.

So make sure you aren't going uphill as one of those is coming down.
 Madeira motoring - Netsur
Seem to recall someone on the forum went there recently. Be wary of cars with poor clutches. A sign of a badly driven car on a very hilly island. You will get charged for a failed clutch even if you only drive the car for ten miles. Get insurance for rental cars (it costs about £50 for annual cover and well worth it) and do not take the CDW waiver.
 Madeira motoring - jc2
Ultra twisty-if you're the driver,you won't see much of the scenery-you'll be too busy trying to stay on the road.There is a new motorway round some of the island and should be used to get from the airport to Funchal tho' I believe it has a large piece missing at the back of Funchal(one of it's many viaducts-you come out of tunnels straight onto viaducts.).The Minister for Tourism has issued a statement saying that tourists will be welcome from next Monday onwards.
 Madeira motoring - rtj70
I hope they do clear it quickly. One road was shown being torn up by the waters.

We're off to Greece in May and the blighters are starting to strike. Son off to Australia soon and BA about to strike.

At least you can get to Madeira even if some bits still need fixing. Have a good holiday BTW.

 Madeira motoring - bathtub tom
I've been there a couple of times. Certainly the best way to see the island is by car - you get to the parts coaches don't. Obtain a guide book, some of the levada walks are stunning - if you've a head for heights.

It's only about ten miles wide and one mile high, so if you're not going up a one in five you're probably coming down one! Strange experience, driving up a two-lane motorway standard road in third wondering if you should change down!

The old coastal road on the north side is one-way through some of the tunnels - not that the locals take a lot of notice. Since Portugal obtained EU entry the infrastructure has improved vastly. I had a problem with the old tunnels, they're not lit internally. Going from sunshine to darkness meant I couldn't see anything. If I could see the other end it wasn't too bad, but if the tunnel wasn't straight I had no option but to stop (in the tunnel!) until my eyes adjusted. Beware of stationary cars in tunnels!

The food is out of this world. Madeirans boast they grow anything on the island and of course there's the seafood. The Portugese like the English - the only european country we've never had a war with?

It seemed to me the major damage was around Funchal and Ribeira Brava, so hopefully you won't be affected too much.

Don't panic about the aircraft landing, the airport's on the side of a mountain and the wind shear can cause the pilot to have a few attempts at planting it. They've extended the runway on stilts - curious.

 Madeira motoring - Zero

Dont worry about the Airport landing. YOu get a really good look at the runway as the pilot flies by, and then does a HARD 180 turn to flop back down on it ;)

ON windy days the locals park on the road that runs up the side of the mountain and overlooks the runway for a sunday afternoon laugh at the landings.
 Madeira motoring - Zero
>> Seem to recall someone on the forum went there recently.

It was me. Last September. Stayed in Ponta du Sol, and spend some time in Ribiera Brava, both badly affected now

Driving is (was) perfectly OK. There is a dual lane motorway that runs all the way along the south coast, past the Airport and looping round northern Funchal ending at Ribiera Brava in the West of the island. Roads were good with many new (and some very long) tunnels making short distances from south west to south east - where most of the sun is, and alas most of the recent rain.

Car hire is a 5 minute minibus ride from the airport, and most hire cars are, well, "used". I bought a road map of the island from Amazon, which was, frankly only useful as toilet paper. There is also a map with a rediculous level of detail that looks like an ants nest.

Fortunately you dont need it, a large scale map to roughly point where you need to go, and follow the mostly good signs. If you go to the valey of the angels DONT take the tunnel straight there, break left before it up the old road (which takes you to a viewing point) then go back donw the old road and into the tunnel into Curral De Freiras (which was cut off int he floods)

Driving habits of the locals, mostly good, some "extreme" latin behaviour but not much.
I got everywhere even up some steep mountain roads, in a clapped out hired 1.2 clio.

Any further questions - just ask - and enjoy
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