A Guide to bus camping on Madeira Island

a winding road in the middle of a forest

Photo by Alen Smola

Madeira though small in size, packs a lot for a small rock in the middle of Atlantic. While renting a car seems like the ideal option to explore Madeira, if you’re travelling on a budget it may be too expensive. The solution – travel by bus. Picture this: winding through narrow, curvy roads, enjoying the breathtaking views, and mingling with the friendly locals. Such an experience!

Why choose bus travel in Madeira

Travelling by bus in Madeira Island comes with several advantages:

  1. Scenic Routes: Madeira’s bus routes often navigate through narrow and winding roads, offering passengers stunning views of the island’s landscapes, including lush mountains, coastal cliffs, and charming villages.
  2. Cost-Effective: Compared to renting a car, bus travel is a more budget-friendly option. It allows travellers to explore the island without the expenses associated with fuel, parking, and car rental fees.
  3. Cultural Experience: Riding the bus provides an opportunity to interact with locals, offering a more immersive cultural experience. It allows travellers to observe daily life, learn from locals, and discover secrete places that may not be as easily accessible by other means of transportation.
  4. Environmentally Friendly: Buses are a more sustainable mode of transportation, contributing to a lower carbon footprint. Opting for public transportation supports environmentally conscious travel and helps preserve the natural beauty of the island.
  5. Convenience in Urban Areas: Buses serve well in urban areas, specially in Funchal, travelling from the capital to other towns and cities is quite easy. Nevertheless, the interior area of Madeira is not very well served by public transportation.
  6. Relaxation: Passengers can relax and enjoy the scenic beauty without the stress of driving. This allows travellers to fully immerse themselves in the surroundings and appreciate the journey as much as the destination.

Overall, choosing bus travel in Madeira is not just a means of transportation; it’s a journey that adds value to the travel experience itself, but it must be planned well with your favorite places to visit or camp.

Understanding the bus system

Navigating Madeira Island’s bus system might initially seem like a puzzle, with four distinct operator companies weaving through its scenic landscapes. However, fear not! We’re here to unravel the complexity and simplify the journey for you, ensuring that planning your trip becomes a breeze.

Urban service

As the primary urban service provider on the island, Horários do Funchal ensures seamless connectivity within Funchal City Center and its surrounding areas. If you plan to explore Funchal City and its touristic attractions by bus, the Yellow bus is the one you should look for:

NOTE: Urban service won’t be enough to drive you to any camping site in Madeira. But will allow you to go to our partner shop to pick up your gear or you rental tent : Rent your camping tent in Madeira Island

Interurban service

When adventuring beyond the urban hustle of Funchal and into the scenic sceneries of Madeira Island, the interurban service emerges, seamlessly connecting distant towns and picturesque villages, to the main city. Operated by “Horários do Funchal” and three other providers, this network of interurban buses offers travellers a cheap way to explore the island’s diverse landscapes and hidden treasures.


  • Ribeira brava
  • Ponta do Sol
  • Madalena do Mar
  • Calheta
  • Jardim do Mar
  • Paúl do Mar
  • São Vicente
  • Ponta Delgada
  • Seixal
  • Porto Moniz

Horários do Funchal

  • Camacha
  • Santo da Serra
  • Curral das Freiras
  • Poiso
  • Ribeiro Frio
  • Faial
  • Santana
  • São Jorge
  • Arco de São Jorge
  • Camacha to Santa Cruz
  • Santana to Porto da Cruz



  • Caniço
  • Santo da Serra
  • Santa Cruz
  • Machico
  • Caniçal
  • Porto da Cruz
  • Faial

Note – For simplicity we omitted another smaller operator “Empresa de automóveis do Caniço”, you can find more information about their website here.


Aerobus departs from the arrivals area at Cristiano Ronaldo International Airport towards the Formosa beach in Funchal, with stops near several hotels and Funchal City Center. The trip will last about 40 to 50 minutes.  Aerobus offers the most affordable transportation option from the airport to Funchal, if you’re travelling on a budget this is the way to go.
Check the schedules and the routes for Aerobus and get on your way – Routes


  • Adults: Funchal- Airport  or  Airport – Funchal: 6.00 €
  • Return Ticket – 10.00 €
  • Children’s ticket (ages 6 to 11): Funchal / Airport – Airport / Funchal: 3.00 €

Madeira island complete bus routes map

Each bus and route is clearly identified by its number and distinctive color scheme, making it effortless to spot your desired transportation option. Bus stops are conveniently situated along public roads, and signaling for the bus to stop is simple as raising your hand. However, it’s worth noting that certain areas, such as the remote Paul da Serra Area and the lofty peaks of Pico Areeiro and Pico Ruivo, remain unserved by public transportation. Nevertheless, with all journeys originating from Funchal City center, the island’s extensive bus network ensures seamless access to virtually every corner of Madeira, promising adventure and exploration at a low cost.

This is a complete map about all public transportation around Madeira island – this is an excerpt of a more detailed guide, made by Horários do Funchal.

Bus ticketing and payment

  • Pay onboard  – Each bus offers the convenience of purchasing tickets onboard using cash only. However, it’s essential to note that onboard tickets incur a higher cost compared to pre-purchased ones. Therefore, for the best value and smoother travel experience, we highly recommend acquiring your tickets in advance whenever possible. For more information about pricing, please take a look:
  • Horários do Funchal – UrbanService – pricing
  • Horário do Funchal – InterUrbanService – pricing 
  • SAM – pricing
  • Rodoeste – pricing 
  • Prices change according to how far you want to travel. Urban tickets are not valid on interurban routes.

Camping sites reachable by bus in Madeira

If you’re up for exploring Madeira with your tent  via public transportation, here’s the info you need. We’ve compiled a comprehensive list of camping sites accessible by bus or with a short hike. We hope with this we can make your camping trip to Madeira a breeze, so you can focus on soaking in every moment and creating lasting memories.

Camping site Bus Route  Hiking distance 
Boca das Voltas 103138 3Km 1h00min 
Caramujo – São Vicente 6139 8 Km via PR 17 – Caminho do Pináculo e Folhadal  3h00
Casa do Sardinha – Ponta de São Lourenço 113 4.5km via PR8 – Vereda de São Lourenço  1h00
Chão das Feiteiras – Machico 56103138
Chão dos Louros – São Vicente 6139
Montado do Pereiro – Funchal 56103138 1km  0h30m . The bus stop is at North Gate,
Pico das Pedras – Santana 56 No hike required
Poiso – Santa Cruz 56103138 300m   0h15min
Chão do Pasto – Santa Cruz 56103138 1.8km   0h30m
Ribeiro Frio – Santana 56103138
Terreiros – Santa Cruz 56 2.5km   1h00
Porto Moniz – Ribeira da Janela 139150 2.5km   1h00


As you can see from the previous table, planning a camping adventure across Madeira is simple even using public transportation. While it may not include every tourist attraction, commuting on these routes promises an enriching journey through the island’s scenic landscapes ensuring a memorable experience for all explorers.

Terminus bus location at Funchal

All operators have Terminus stations at Funchal, they are easy to find and close to each other, consequently you will find it easy to commute between different interurban services:

Terminus Rodoeste 6103139https://maps.app.goo.gl/oBvm5qxTr4d36pgJA

Terminus SAM 113 – https://maps.app.goo.gl/axLJDFG61XpLMYiT8

Terminus HF 56103138 – https://maps.app.goo.gl/KtFiBrpFMHtSN1wx7

We hope our tips helped you plan your camping trip around Madeira Island without needing to rent a car. Just use public transportation and hike around! With our guide and some cool hiking suggestions, you’re all set for an awesome adventure, finally have fun in Madeira.