Villages of Madeira: The quiet hidden gem of Jardim Do Mar


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Tucked in a forgotten southwestern corner of Madeira you will find the tiny coastal settlement of Jardim do Mar, meaning Garden of the Sea.

We highly recommend this village if you are looking for a quiet and remote-feeling place, away from the hubbub of Funchal, while also staying on the sunny side of the island. It has a delightful atmosphere and truly counts as a hidden gem in Madeira.

Among the banana plantations and sheltered by imposing rock cliffs on every side, it feels a bit like an island inside the island.

Jardim do Mar (population: approx. 200) is easy to reach, taking only a minor detour from the main ER101 road, yet it still feels quite secluded due to being only reachable by tunnel. It occupies its own little nook along the coast, making you feel like you’re in your own little paradise.

Something we love about Jardim do Mar is that it’s almost entirely car-free. You can leave your car at the village’s public car park and then walk the narrow cobblestoned alleys to reach your accommodation.

Where to stay in Jardim do Mar

We stayed at Maktub Guest House, a family-run guesthouse with a kind of soul and atmosphere that reminded us of guesthouses we’ve stayed in South America.

The rooms are all adjacent to a central garden with grapevines, flowers and mango trees, while another floor provides limited dorm-style accommodation for budget travelers. They are listed on Airbnb and take reservations directly.

If you’re looking for a B&B or self-catering holiday home, there are about a dozen options. One of the most charming we saw was Cecilia鈥檚 House.

Maktub Guest House

Even if you’re not staying at Maktub, you can pop by for a drink or breakfast. We were incredibly impressed by their fruit salad, which is definitely the most delicious and photogenic we’ve had in Madeira, featuring many local fruits from the island.

Things to do in Jardim do Mar

Besides having a stroll along the seafront there isn’t that much to do in this small village itself, but it’s located close to several other villages and attractions.

It’s only a 10-minute drive to Calheta Beach, one of the rare few sandy beaches on the island.

It’s also just a 5-minute drive to Paul do Mar, a slightly larger settlement where you can eat some catch of the day at the local restaurants, surf, or take a dip into the ocean at a small pebble beach adjacent to the pier.

There is a surf school in Jardim do Mar, but keep in mind the waves here can be quite fierce and are best suited to advanced surfers. Other locations like Machico and Porto da Cruz are often used for beginner lessons. The surf school does also offer Stand-Up Paddle Boarding that you can do around Jardim do Mar.

Recently the village has been promoting itself as a destination for remote workers, with the Nomadico Madeira coliving and coworking offering the perfect base.

Paul do Mar with Jardim do Mar in the distance

A fantastic hiking route starts in Jardim do Mar and ends in Paul do Mar. It’s about 5km long and somewhat challenging, as it goes up the cliffs before descending back down to Paul do Mar.

The PR20 hiking route up to a viewing point at Prazeres also starts in Jardim do Mar but at the time of writing this trail was sadly closed. When PR20 is open again, you can combine the PR20 and PR19 routes for a challenging hike from Jardim do Mar up to Prazeres and down to Paul do Mar.

Eat & drink

  • The place to go in Jardim do Mar is Joe’s Bar, a friendly place with a beer garden. Both locals and tourists will sip on Poncha or enjoy the piri piri espetadas here. You really can’t miss it as it’s where everyone in the village goes. We practically went here every night!
  • It’s only a 5-minute drive to Pukiki, Madeir’as only Hawaiian-style tiki cocktail bar.
  • Maktub Guest House serves breakfast to guests but also non-guests. Their Garden Bar is open from Sunday to Friday – 9am to 12pm.
  • More restaurant options can be found in nearby Paul do Mar, including some nice local fish and seafood restaurants.

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