Driving in Madeira
Madeira has many newly asphalted roads and a recent dual carriage motorway with many impressive, highly engineered tunnels taking you through and under the huge mountains that were once extremely terifying to manouver around. This has made driving in Madeira a much easier prospect than it once was. Now you can get from one area of the island to the next very easily and without that “edge of a cliff” feeling. You can however still experience these thrilling scenic rides if you so wish but its nice to know that these days, you have the choice. Madeirans drive on the right hand side of the road and all cars have the steering column on the left. Seat belts are required as in all Europe. Children under the age of 12 are not allowed on the front seats. The speed within cities and villages is limited to 40 - 50 km/h – outside to 100 km/h. You can still find narrow cobbled roads within the cities and villages. Some people prefer to park in the many carparks and walk around these quaint little streets while others enjoy cruising around in their open top cars, sunglasses on, while enjoying the sunny days and people watching.
The Madeiran drivers are used to the many tourists that come to the island and are very friendly and courteous. When you leave the cities and take a trip on the more adventurous roads and mountainous terrains be aware that using the gearbox of your car (moving down the gears) will help you slow down and keep the brakes cool even on the most demanding slopes. Petrol stations are now in all areas of the island but do fill up before leaving the city of Funchal to save yourself any uneccesary worries. Always stay within the legal speed limits and remember that drinking alcohol and driving is an offence throughout Europe. Just take your time, wear your seatbelts, take it easy and enjoy the beauty of Madeira!