rent a car in Madeira, tips and tricks

rent a car in Madeira, tips and tricks

If you are staying outside the capital Funchal, you will need a rental car. In this page we have collected some important information you should consider to get you the most practical and most economic rental car for your Madeira holiday.

rental car in Madeira: tips and tricks.

We have been looking for a simple way to help you rent a car in Madeira, preferably an attractively priced one. We have found a system that searches for the most economic options with different suppliers. You can book online right away so that you don’t have to queue endlessly when you arrive at the airport. Renting a car in Madeira makes the entire island accessible to you. Even if you’re staying in the capital, it’s worth it for at least a few days if you don’t want to travel on tourist buses all the time.

renting a car in Madeira made easy

We have made it easy for you to rent a car in Madeira. Instead of searching for the best price with all the car rental companies separately, you can find a good deal faster and better with the system that we have included in our site. Click here to find and book a suitable rental car. Should you decide to go somewhere else, you can use this booking engine for hire cars worldwide.

small is best

If you are going to rent a car in Madeira, then it is wise to choose a car that is not too large. Madeira is a steep island with sometimes winding and narrow roads. A large car is not very convenient here. Also, the parking garages are tight with steep ramps, flat space being at a premium in the island. Large cars may even bottom out arriving at the next floor. Consider a small car with a decent bottom clearance, at most a smaller compact class if you travel with four people. Actually, the only thing that matters in terms of space is the number of people and the amount of luggage you have to carry from and to the airport. Once arrived at your destination, only the number of seats are important.

We think the ultimate and ideal car for Madeira is a smart fortwo. If you can find one, a smart fortwo convertible is great fun! But any small modern car is suitable, the only one we ever rejected was a Chevrolet Matiz, which just had an engine that really was too weak.

Rent a small car. The Fiat 500 is fun!
Electric drive is certainly an option in Madeira.
Rent a small car in Madeira. The smart fortwo, best convertible, is the ultimate choice for two.

Electric drive is certainly an option in Madeira. In Funchal they rent the fun car Renault Twizy for excursions in the neighbourhood. It’s not an option for airport transfer for its lack of luggage space. The Renault Zoe would be a good option for four, with adequate luggage space. The developments are ongoing, so there will be more and more electric cars around. Every village already has parking spaces where you can plug in.

deductibles: get rid of them at all cost

When you rent a car, you can be liable for a very high deductible, sometimes equal to the entire value of the car. Fortunately, there’s usually more than one way to limit your financial risk in case of an unlikely theft or an accident. You wil absolutely want to cover this risk. It is really wise to pay to get rid of any deductibles, for instance by buying a damage waiver through the car-rental company. This is easy but the most expensive way. The booking engine on our page offers the possibility to buy such a waiver as a separate insurance at low to moderate cost. On arrival, the car supplier may try and sell you another waiver, whch you really don’t need. Should you damage the rental car, they may keep your full deductable, but you will be refunded by the insurance you took at the moment of booking.

Whatever you decide, always pay to eliminate any deductables.. Because of the narrow roads and the tight parking spots your rental car has a scratch in no time , and we have seen people duped to the full amount of no less than €1200 for a scratch that in Madeira will only cost a few tenners to repair.

Renting a small car in Madeira should be possible in the medium season for around €25 – €30 per day. Having said that, we know that since the corona-pandemic prices went up considerably, as many companies sold their cars when there were few tourists, and as a result, cars may be scarce for a while, resulting in higher prices.

suppliers without an airport desk: no problem

Finally, not every car rental company has a desk at the airport. This is not a problem. If your car comes from a supplier who does not have one, you will be picked up by minibus. In the Arrival Hall of the airport, watch out for someone carrying a sign with your name or with the name of the rental company (if they have more than one customer traveling on your plane). There is always a group of hostesses and people from hotels and car rentals waiting, so look carefully until you find the person you need. When booking, you will receive a voucher stating the supplier´s name.

Should you prefer to book directly from a well-known car rental company, you can of course. The well known Sixt, Avis en Hertz all have a desk at Christiano Ronaldo International Airport in Madeira.

avoid Goldcar

Whatever you do, under no circumstances rent a car from Goldcar or its associates. There are a lot of seemingly attractive Goldcar offers that circulate on the internet, but in reality, they are thieves. On arrival, they bully or blackmail you into taking extra insurances you do not need, or take a more expensive car. Even in case you already have a contract and a voucher, they simply refuse to give you a car if you don’t give in. Horrible practices that should be avoided at any cost. We have eliminated Goldcar from our booking engines after we received the first reports of these malicious practices.

you’d rather take a bus?

Travelling by bus outside the Funchal area is not that simple. Still, we have made up a page with some information. Go to ‘hop on a bus‘. But don’t even think of trying the bus to get to our house. There are too few buses daily to have any kind of usable connection to Funchal or to the airport. It is useful if you want to explore the Funchal area without the use of a car. In reality, only the area between Câmara de Lobos and the airport has decent public transport.

tips to fly to Madeira?

Go to the page ‘fly with us‘. We have sorted out many possible connections. Obviously, in the aftermath of the corona pandemic, airlines change schedules practically on a daily basis and it’s not possible to keep track untill things are back to normal. But you will still find some clues about possible connections.

In the background of this page, we have depicted the abundant gorse. In spring, you will see complete mountains covered in yellow. An impressive sight when you drive in the higher regions of the island. The gorse is also found in lower regions now, and the Guarda Florestal is trying to keep them at bay, as they turned out to be invasive.

This page was updated on March 1st, 2022.