Madeira is a wonderful Portugal island enriched with dramatic sceneries and highlands of aromatic floras. Well, let me break the ice for you. If cycling is your thing, then Madeira must be the least of all the places you can think of. Not that it’s impossible, but the road isn’t too darling for cyclists. Looking on the bright side, cycling through the steeps of Madeira Island is all but an adventurous kind of a ride.
Ultra-Navigating Skills is a Must
Madeira is a trivial island geographically 800 km. only, and is slightly vertical of almost 2000 m. high. This means engaging to cycling in Madeira is accepting the fact that there may be walking and climbing along the road.
You have to circumnavigate the island in an oddly way. As mentioned already, the island is not cyclist-friendly – the extremely steep hills and rough roads will make you walk off your bike or climb the mountain top. Madeira is not only an island of green and beauty, it is also an atoll of countless not-so-preferable-to-bike-at long and dark tunnels; in these cases, you may have to climb the hill… again. And being an island with uphill mountains, rock slides is the island’s greatest surprise.
Terrains, Off-Roads, and the Countryside
The capital of Madeira is Funchal, a place you have to get away with if you really have the desire to bike. Funchal is the congested urban proper of the island. Madeira has “drivers not used to cyclist” and so the road is as it is only designed for cars and not for cyclists.
The best way to steer the island is to go clockwise. From Funchal, you can head over to Ribeira Brava. There is a long tunnel in Cabo Girao which you can decide to go through or to climb over.
The western coast of the island is a perfect bucolic end that can surely fill every cyclists’ heart with bliss. The terrain is smooth from Prazeres and goes deliberately steep on the way to Porto Moniz. From the downhill area of Porto Moniz, you can continue your cycle to Ponta Delgado, a large municipality of the Island where road is good and downtown is a perfect dwelling to get fueled with refreshments.
From Ponta Delgado, you can go straight south to get back to Ribeira Brava or go straightaway to the Northern coast of the island. You can phase into Porta da Cruz and ascent to the Mt. Arieiro. This is a 23km. non-stop climbing. The prize? A long perfect downhill heading straight back to Funchal.
Stays and Stop Overs
Surely, navigating the entire island will take days. There are available cozy single-room accommodations with reasonable price, ranging from 20-50€ per night. Good enough to get refueled through the night.
Cafes, restaurants, and grocery stores are present across the countryside; nice places to get munchies and nibbles and easy leisure.
Intense of Pleasure
The intense of pleasure of cycling the island will really depend on how you went through the ups and downs along the road. The place may not be the “perfect cycling place” but it is doable and if you do it right, you might just have the best cycling experience ever.