How to get to Madeira


The only way to get to this island is by plane. Okay, there is a ferry that operates during the summer months between Portugal mainland, Madeira and Canary Islands, but by plane is usually the better choice.

Cristiano Ronaldo International Airport

Cristiano Ronaldo International Airport (which is the full name of Madeira Airport) is located in the civil parish of Santa Cruz on the east side of the island. As some of you might have heard, the Madeira’s airport is frequently listed among the scariest airports on the planet! Now why is that?

Madeira Airport – is it dangerous?

Well, it has to do with the airport’s location and the way it was built. It is located right between the hills and cliffs of the island and the ocean. Therefore the landing strip looks like just a thin line between the cliffs and the blue water from the sky. The runway had to be expanded into the ocean by building a platform and there are over 180 columns holding the expanded runway. What is interesting is that parts of the highway are beneath the runway – in fact, when you leave the airport in direction Porto da Cruz (north, not direction of Funchal) you will drive on this part of the highway. Below, you can see that there is a small harbor and also some sort of gym. It’s amazing! But back to the dangerous landings.

It’s not like they really are dangerous. But sometimes the conditions are bad and you cannot land. The second time we visited Madeira, we had one of these landings. It took us three attempts until we actually could land. This had something to do with the changing wind on the island, so first we came from the east side, but then had to turn and pass by Funchal, but then this also did not quite work. I thought we would land in the ocean 🙂 Anyway, only a limited amoung of pilots actually is qualified to fly into this airport after completing some sort of advanced training with a flight simulator. But, as far as I know, nothing serious ever really has happened.

Is it cool?

I would like to describe the landing on the island as the first touristic adventure everybody has to experience. When there is nice weather you really have the best view over the island. From afar the buildings look like lego houses in a jungle and the closer you get to the island, the more you believe you will land on one of those houses. Below you can see a video of one of our smooth landings.

Let me know if you have similar or completely different experiences with this airport! Peace out and lotsa love, Hana.


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5 thoughts on “How to get to Madeira

  1. Hi Hana, I found your blog today via Tobi. I am also wanting to live on Madeira since a few years. I am semi retired and wanted last year stating to look at houses and land. The pandemic put a stop to that. Three times my holiday was cancelled. I am Dutch but living since 15 years in Scotland. Due to the Brexit I decided to start the move to Madeira and not wait till I am retired. I will probably go for the north side of the island as is cheaper there and probably quieter. I will be looking for an Madeiran style house with a bit of land as I like to have some chickens, goats and a vegetable plot. You mentioned the ferry, but I believe that that one is no longer available since last year. I was planning to hire a van and bring all my stuff over myself. I signed a petition last year to bring the ferry back. I am learning Portuguese at the moment, but that’s not easy. How did you learn it? Greetings from Scotland. Eveline


    1. Hi Eveline,
      nice to hear from you and that you found my blog via Tobi. His news blog is just fantastic and I am so happy that it exists.
      The pandemic changed all our plans. I can imagine it being very hard to find a nice house or land right now. For me, the pandemic means waiting and waiting. I really hope that this year I can start the construction of the house. It was planned last year, but due to the uncertainty we decided against it.
      The north of the island is also for me the most beautiful part of Madeira. It is so beautiful and dramatic. We however also enjoy the sunsets and actually they are the reason why we picked the west side of the island. It is usually more expensive in the south, but with some luck you can find nice properties that are not so expensive as well. By the way, the small ruin next to the house in the main picture of this post
      was for sale last year for around 25kEUR. The land is around 400m2 and it is located in Lombada dos Marinheiros with the most beautiful view over the Atlantic.
      Oh I also hope the ferry will be back soon! But I believe during summer it will operate again.
      Portuguese is hard to learn! I am also learning right now, I do speak a little bit, but just the basics that I have learned during my stays in Madeira. I am attending classes here in Vienna, because otherwise I cannot find the discipline to really learn it. But my goal is to speak it before I move to Madeira, especially when you do not live in Funchal it is important to speak the local language, in my opinion.
      I wish you all the best for the future and I hope you will find the perfect house or land soon 🙂 Hope to hear from you again, Hana.


      1. Hi Hana, I missed your reply as it went to my junk box. I will have a look at that ruin. I have been learning Portuguese via the Duolingo app not realising it was Brazilian for just over a year now. Now I also have found a few you tubers and websites that do European Portuguese. I can read it now quite easily, but listening is the biggest problem. At the moment I am selling my mums flat, who went back to the Netherlands in august and then I have to sell my Parkhome, a kind of double caravan that looks like a house. They are quite common in the UK for people over fifty. I will probably start renting in Madeira while my house is on the market and start looking for a nice house with a bit of land. Greetings from Scotland

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I have tried a different app as well but for me it is easier to learn a language when I take classes and have a teacher. But I have to say that I have not tried any other app, so maybe yours is better 🙂
          I know these kind of houses – I think they would make sense in Madeira as well! This sounds like a good idea, many are renting in Madeira while they are looking for the perfect property. It is also much easier to find something when you are on the island and not somewhere abroad.
          Greetings from snowy Vienna, Hana.


  2. Hi Hana, I still use Duolingo, but I try to use the European way to make the sentences. The YouTube video’s I found are Portuguese with Leo, Portuguese Lab from Susana, Talk the streets from Liz and Learning European Portuguese online from Sandra. They all have a slightly different way of teaching, but I already learned quite a lot from them. I also started watching o Sábio, a Portuguese soap opera with subtitles and I read JM, Jornal Madeira from the app. I can’t afford a teacher as there is nothing near me. I also am semi-retired but not getting much pension, I am living of my savings, very frugally. Greetings from a cold, but at the moment sunny Scotland


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