Car rental Madeira – visit the beautiful ‘Island of Flowers’ in a cheap hire car

Click here to compare car hire deals in Madeira Funchal Airport

Plentiful sunshine and the temperature above 20 degrees during wintertime are amongst the Portuguese island of Madeira’s greatest assets.

The gentle climate of Madeira – not too hot in the summer and not too cold in the winter – favours a lush sub-tropical vegetation to cover most of the islands. The most characteristic element of Madeira’s flora is the wealth of tropical flowers, orchids and other exotic species cultivated on the island or growing in the wild. The Portuguese themselves, proud of the island’s natural beauty often refer to Madeira as Ilha das Flores, which means The Island of Flowers and the annual Flower Festival of Madeira attracts tourists from continental Portugal and all over the world alike.

The main gateway to Madeira is Funchal Airport (FNC), located some 6 miles east of the island’s capital. Madeira’s airport is special too, because of its uniquely located runway which stretches along the island’s rocky coast, on a platform supported by 180 columns. From a passenger’s point of view, landing in Funchal feels very much like landing directly on the surface of the sea.

Flights from UK to Madeira Funchal Airport
Direct flights to Funchal are available from a variety of carriers, including regular, low-cost and charter carriers.

In early 2015, airlines serving routes from UK to Madeira were:

  • Easyjet – departures from: Bristol, Edinburgh, London-Gatwick, Manchester
  • Jet2 – departures from: East Midlands, Glasgow, Leeds/Bradford, Manchester and Newcastle upon Tyne (seasonal)
  • Monarch Airlines – departures from: Birmingham and London Gatwick
  • Norwegian Air Shuttle – departures from London-Gatwick
  • TAP Portugal Airlines – seasonal flights from London Heathrow and London Gatwick
  • Thomas Cook Airlines – year round route from Manchester and seasonal flights from Glasgow and Lodon Gatwick
  • Thomson Airways – year-round flights from Birmingham, Exeter, Glasgow, London Gatwick and Manchester and seasonal routes from Bournemouth, London-Luton, Newcastle upon Tyne and Nottingham/East Midlands

Additionally, British Airways route London Gatwick – Funchal was scheduled to start operating in may 2015.

Cheap car hire Madeira – book in advance with Cartrawler
For tourists in need of a hire car on Madeira, Funchal Airport is probably the best the best place to rent a car. The airport is served by many, both on- and off-site car hire companies and offers a good selection of rental cars for a Madeira holiday.

The major, internationally known rent-a-car brands present at Funchal Airport are: Europcar, Sixt, Avis Rent A Car, Budget, Hertz Car Hire, Goldcar and Enterprise (in cooperation with the Portuguese Guerin Car Rental company). Competitive car hire deals can often be found from the local car rental providers at Madeira Airport, such as Insularcar and Rodavante, which often offer the lowest rates.

Cheap car rental in Funchal Airport in Madeira 
Car rental in Madeira is often very affordable with prices of the cheapest hire cars starting from approx.  £60 for a week, outside peak season. For that price however, you can only get a small city car, in Madeira Airport it is often a Ford Ka, a Peugeot 107 or a Fiat Panda. The difference in price for a week rental of a quite larger Ford Fiesta, Opel Corsa or Seat Ibiza or similar is frequently insignificant; the cheapest cars in economy class to rent from Funchal Airport in for example March or October are usually available from around £ 70 for a week.

Economy car hire Madeira Seat Ibiza
Seat Ibiza is often the cheapest car to rent on Madeira (in economy class)

Please note that with 4-5 people in the car, a diesel car (with better traction) in Madeira’s hilly terrain is an advantage.

Madeira car hire in winter – not necessarily the cheapest
The island of Madeira is a popular winter holiday destination for tourists from northern Europe, especially in the Christmas/New Year season. The bay of Funchal is known for one of Europe’s most spectacular New Year fireworks displays and most of the luxury hotels offer interesting programmes for the last night of the year.

Due to the massive influx of visitors to the island in late December, the prices of car hire and other tourist services increase considerably. It is recommendable to carry out any bookings of Madeira car hire in the winter as early as possible.

Rent convertible cars in Madeira
For those who would like experience the great climate of Madeira in an open top car, it is possible to rent convertibles in Funchal Airport. The most common models are Renault Megane CC, BMW 1 Series Convertible or VW Eos Cabriolet. Note, however, that the number of convertible car to hire in Madeira is limited and bookings should be placed well in advance.

Madeira minibus hire
The fleet of people carriers to rent from Funchal Airport includes the smaller MPV’s, such as for example the Mitsubishi Grandis 5+2-seater and the full size 7-seaters, such as VW Sharan or Ford Galaxy.

If even a larger rental car is needed, minibuses with space for up to 9 people are available to rent in Funchal Airport, for example VW Caravelle or Renault Trafic 9-seater. Do book in advance as the supply of minivans and minibuses to rent in Madeira is limited.

Renault Trafic 9-seater to rent in Madeira Funchal Airport
Madeira minibus for hire - here a Renault Trafic with space for 9-people, available from, for example, Rodavante Car Rental at Funchal Airport

Insurance conditions of Madeira rental cars
In most of Madeira car rental deals available through Cartrawler search engine, insurance cover (Collison Damage Waiver, Theft Waiver and Third Party Liability) is included in the price. However, given the fact that the excess on Madeira hire cars is often quite high (above 1000 EUR), for a worry-free rental experience you can opt for taking out the additional excess insurance available during the booking on  This relatively cheap insurance allows a refund of up to 3000 EUR in excess, offering at the same time much better coverage than a majority of similar products available at the counter.

Compare current rats on Madeira Airport car hire with Cartrawler

Car rental Madeira – visit the beautiful ‘Island of Flowers’ in a cheap hire car
Article: Car rental Madeira – visit the beautiful ‘Island of Flowers’ in a cheap hire car
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