Madeira on a budget – Part III – public transport in Madeira

Horarios de Funchal busses in Madeira - public transport in Madeira Island | Autobusy miejskie Horarios de Funchal na Maderze - transport publiczny na Maderze
Jump on, this bus will take us to "Happiness" or "Alegria"... PHOTO: Say Yes To Madeira

Madeira on a budget – transport

For all those visiting Madeira on a budget, I have prepared a series of three posts about cheap, cheaper or free options for meals, accommodation and transport in Madeira. Today, a couple of ideas for affordable transport in Madeira.

SEE ALSO:

 

Public buses – Public transportation system in Madeira

Public transport in Madeira isn’t perfect. There are multiple public transport companies and to each one of them, we need different tickets. Four (of five, if you count also Servico Interurbano) different companies for such a small island as Madeira, are, in my opinion, a few too many.

On some routes, buses do not operate very frequently. To some places, we can get with more than one company, but there are also places, where no buses go (such as Pico do Arieiro). The timetables are sometimes hard to decipher, so it is much easier to ask a local or check the journey suggestions on Google Maps. 

Apart from that, bus ticket prices in Madeira are cheap, and it is definitely a good option for budget travel between different places on the island. 

You can recognize the companies by the colour of their buses: 

Public transport in Madeira Island - Tranport Publiczny na Maderze - autobusy na Maderze - kolory autobusów na Maderze
bus companies in madeira. PHOTO: Courtesy of Horarios do Funchal: horariosdofunchal.pt

Funchal city buses are all yellow, while suburban buses have only a yellow stripe. SAM’s buses are green. Watch out for companies Rodoeste & EACL,  because both have red stripes.

The bus stations are also scattered among different areas of Funchal, but luckily, most buses pass by one of the main streets of Funchal –  [ Avenida do Mar ]  

Horarios de Funchal busses in Madeira - public transport in Madeira Island | Autobusy miejskie Horarios de Funchal na Maderze - transport publiczny na Maderze
Public transport in Madeira Island - Buses in Funchal / Transport publiczny na Maderze - Autobusy w Funchal #madeira #funchal
Public transport in Madeira Island - Buses in Funchal / Transport publiczny na Maderze - Autobusy w Funchal #madeira #funchal
bus stops at avenida do Mar in Funchal. photos: Say Yes To Madeira

1. AEROBUS – Airport bus in Madeira

Public buses to and from the Madeira Airport are operated by SAM. With these cheap buses, we will reach most of the hotels in Funchal.

A single ticket costs only 5 euro, and a return ticket (valid for an entire year) – 8 euro. Child ticket (6 to 11 years) costs only 2,5 euro, and younger kids travel for free. Tickets can be bought in the bus. 

How to find the stop of the airport bus in Madeira? No worries, you can not miss it. The bus stop is located just in front of the Arrivals exit. To be exact, on the right of the taxi stands, and just next to the famous Cristiano Ronaldo monument (see pictures below).  

There is also a useful and highly rated mobile app, where you can check the routes, schedule and find the closest bus stops. 

AEROBUS – bus service from/to the airport in Madeira. Bus stop on Cristiano Ronaldo Airport in Madeira | AEROBUS – Autobus z lotniska w Funchal. Przystanek autobusu na lotnisku na Maderze - gdzie się znajduje?
AEROBUS – bus service from/to the airport in Madeira. Bus stop on Cristiano Ronaldo Airport in Madeira | AEROBUS – Autobus z lotniska w Funchal. Przystanek autobusu na lotnisku na Maderze - gdzie się znajduje?
Madeira on a budget: public buses, bus companies and airport buses in Madeira Island. Hitchhiking in Madeira Island #madeira #budget #budgettravel #portugal

Besides the AEROBUS line between Funchal and the airport, SAM operates also between the below cities on the eastern part of Madeira: Caniço, Caniçal, Santa Cruz, Porto da Cruz, Machico, Santo da Serra & Faial. [ SEE MAP |

The main bus station of SAM  is located: [HERE]: Av. Calouste Gulbenkian Edifício 2000, nº 8, Funchal.

The remaining public transport companies in Madeira are: 

3. Funchal City buses “Horários do Funchal”

Horarios de Funchal busses in Madeira - public transport in Madeira Island | Autobusy miejskie Horarios de Funchal na Maderze - transport publiczny na Maderze

Horários do Funchal operates two services – Urban– within Funchal area and  Interurban.

The timetables can be found here: 

Pdf version: //www.horariosdofunchal.pt/carreiras/urbano.pdf    

Mobile:  //www.horariosdofunchal.pt/mobile/horarios.php?lang=en 

App:   //play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=onemploy.group.hftransit

3.1. Horários do Funchal – Urban Network

A single ticket can be bought in the bus, but a better investment might be rechargeable cards, on which you load between 2 to 31 travel credits. There are also 1,3,5 or 7-day  tickets (free rides on the Urban network buses). GIRO 24 Card allows us to use all Urban and Interurban line for 24 hours.

3.2. Horários do Funchal – Interurban

Horarios de Funchal bus driving through the Valley of the Nuns in Madeira - public transport in Madeira Island | Autobusy miejskie Horarios de Funchal kursujące po Dolinie Zakonnic na Maderze - transport publiczny na Maderze - kręte drogi na Maderze
Interurban bus driving through the narrow Nun's Valley streets... PHOTO: Say Yes To Madeira

Interurban service connects Funchal with places such as: Camacha, Caniço, Santo da Serra, Curral das Freiras, Poiso, Ribeiro Frio, Faial, Santana, São Jorge, Arco de São Jorge. It also connects Camacha with Santa Cruz and Santana with Porto da Cruz.

Tickets can be bought with cash inside the bus. The price depends on the distance. Please bear in mind that Urban Network tickets are not valid on Interurban lines (with exception to GIRO 24 Card of course). 

4. RODOESTE 

Rodoeste busses in Madeira - public transport in Madeira Island | Autobusy Rodoeste na Maderze - transport publiczny na Maderze

Rodoeste offers services mostly in the northern and western part of Madeira.

From Funchal, we will be able to use Rodoeste to reach these popular tourist places: 

  • neighbouring fishing village Câmara de Lobos,
  • famous for its sandy beach town of Calheta,
  • Cabo Girão, with its glass floor observation deck Cabo Skywalk located on the highest cliff of Europe (580m),
  • São Vicente – where we will find the famous    São Vicente Caves & Volcanism Centre,
  • Porto Moniz, and its famous lava pools,
  • Seixal, with its lava pools and one of the most stunning natural beaches in Madeira Island,

As well as:

Madalena do Mar, Ribeira Brava, Ponta do Sol, Jardim do Mar, Paúl do Mar, Ponta Delgada.

5. EACL – Empresa dos Autocarros do Caniço

[OFFICIAL WEBSITE OF  EACL] 

Public busses system in Madeira - autobus publiczny na przystanku na Starym Mieście w Funchal na Maderze
EACL bus on the bus station next to teleferico in the old town of Funchal... PHOTO: Say Yes To Madeira

As the name indicates, this operator offers routes in the area of Funchal & Caniço, where most of the hotels are located.

 

USEFUL: 

|HERE| on page 81 you will find a useful map of all bus stations & bus stops of all the bus companies mentioned above

 

Horarios de Funchal bus driving through the Valley of the Nuns in Madeira - public transport in Madeira Island | Autobusy miejskie Horarios de Funchal kursujące po Dolinie Zakonnic na Maderze - transport publiczny na Maderze - kręte drogi na Maderzeublic transport in Madeira Island | Autobusy miejskie Horarios de Funchal na Maderze - transport publiczny na Maderze
I do admire the skills of local bus drivers in Madeira... PHOTOS: Say Yes To Madeira

Hitchhiking in Madeira Island

Hitchhiking in Madeira is legal. It is not very popular, but definitely an option. 

The Portuguese term for hitchhiking is:  Boleias 

I have never tried this option in Madeira, but some time ago posted an interesting interview with a couple of adventurous travellers and experienced backpackers – Wnuczykije.pl .  They discovered the island almost entirely hitchhiking. Be sure to read their story if you are looking for more information on hitchhiking and free campsites in Madeira

So, if you use a mix of public transport with occasional hitchhiking, you will be able to visit most of the popular attractions on a budget. 

For example; a one-day tour, where tourists are picked up at their hotel and taken by a bus to Pico do Arieiro, walk together with a guide and are being picked up at the end of the day at Pico Ruivo, costs around 35 euro per person. It is a safe, easy and convenient option, but can be expensive for some travellers. A budget option, in this case, is getting a bus to the closest bus stop and hitchhiking to the Pico do Arieiro. 

Driving a car in Madeira... PHOTO: Say Yes To Madeira

Travelling with other tourists

You can save a lot by simply finding co-travellers with a similar itinerary.

There are a couple of nice & active Facebook groups such as for example  [Madeira Island Cheap Travels] , where you can often see posts from travellers about sharing rides. Events are frequently created for different day tours, where tourists get together to lower the costs. Not only is it more fun, but also helps you save- tours offered there are half cheaper than the tours offered by most tour operators. The routes are also more flexible, and you see more in a day than you would see during an organized tour. 

BlaBlaCar & UBER in Madeira

At this moment, there seems to be no UBER in Madeira Island. I have not seen much activity on BlaBlaCar Madeira either. I would say that the above mentioned Facebook group or other forums will be a more effective option to find a ride. 

Madeira on a budget: public buses, bus companies and airport buses in Madeira Island. Hitchhiking in Madeira Island #madeira #budget #budgettravel #portugal
Madeira on a budget: public buses, bus companies and airport buses in Madeira Island. Hitchhiking in Madeira Island #madeira #budget #budgettravel #portugal
Madeira on a budget: public buses, bus companies and airport buses in Madeira Island. Hitchhiking in Madeira Island #madeira #budget #budgettravel #portugal

And what are your tips regarding affordable transport in Madeira Island?

Help others, and let us know in the comments. 

 

Comments (1)

  1. This is super helpful info, thanks for putting it all together! And I love your photos, makes me really want to go for a visit!

Leave a Reply

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This form collects your name, email and content so that we can keep track of the comments placed on the website. For more info check our privacy policy where you will get more info on where, how and why we store your data.