Things to Know when Renting a Car in Madeira

Madeira is a perfect destination to rent a car. Renting a car in Madeira is not only very practical but also incredibly beautiful to drive around. The roads of Madeira will take you to the most beautiful places on the island. As you drive, you’ll be amazed by waterfalls, towering cliffs, and breathtaking views of mountains, valleys, and the ocean. Every corner reveals a different picturesque view. Be prepared to frequently park your car by the side of the road to soak in the surroundings. In two weeks, we explored every corner of Madeira and in this article, we’ll share all the things you should know about renting and driving a car in Madeira. Safe travels!

Why Rent a Car in Madeira?

Renting a car in Madeira provides you with the ultimate freedom to explore. You can go wherever you want and you’re not dependent on anyone else. Without a rental car, you’ll rely on tours, taxis, or public transportation to see the island. Tours and taxis can be quite expensive, and with limited public transportation, it takes much longer to get around. While it’s possible, the likelihood of seeing less of the island is high. Renting a car is, therefore, the easiest and most enjoyable transportation option in Madeira.

Driving in Madeira

Driving in Madeira is incredibly beautiful but can be challenging in certain areas. Madeira is a mountainous island, so some roads are steep and have sharp turns. Fortunately, people in Madeira generally drive very responsibly, and the roads are well-maintained. Keep in mind that fog can sometimes obscure visibility in the mountains. You might even encounter a herd of cows blocking the road. Therefore, never drive at high speeds when driving through fog. Driving in Madeira may be different from what you are used to, but it is not difficult and manageable for everyone!

Traffic Rules in Madeira

The traffic rules in Madeira are mostly similar to those you will propably already know, but with one important exception: merging onto the highway. The merging lanes are extremely short, and the merging vehicle must yield to the cars already on the road. You must come to a stop on the merging lane and only merge when there is no approaching vehicle.

From what age can you rent a car in Madeira?

The minimum age to rent a car in Madeira depends on the rental company. In most cases, it is 25 years old. If you are between 21 and 24 years old, you will need to pay an additional surcharge. You can find this information under the “specific conditions” section during the booking process.

Don’t forget: your credit card

It is mandatory to have a credit card with you when picking up the rental car. This credit card must be in the name of the main driver. Credit cards with a different name will not be accepted for the security deposit, and you will not be able to receive the rental car. Additionally, it is important that the credit card has sufficient funds for the deposit. If you don’t have a credit card yet, we recommend this credit card.

Additional tips for renting a car in Madeira

  • You need a valid driver’s license that you have possessed for at least 1 year, or sometimes even 2 years, to rent a car.
  • Pay close attention when refueling to make sure you choose the correct fuel. In Portuguese, the words for diesel and gasoline are similar. Gasolina is gasoline and gasóleo is diesel.
  • It is recommended to navigate with Google Maps in Madeira. Download the map of Madeira in advance so that you can navigate offline as well. You might lose signal when driving through a tunnel or in the mountains.

What type of car is best to rent in Madeira?

You don’t need a 4×4 in Madeira. However, an automatic transmission can be convenient. It may come at a higher cost, but it provides a bit more ease while driving. Madeira is essentially one big uphill test, and it’s nice to keep your full concentration on the road and traffic. If you are a confident driver, you may not need an automatic transmission, but if you have less experience driving abroad, an automatic can be beneficial in Madeira. If you are traveling as a couple, a small car is sufficient in Madeira. A smaller car offers more maneuverability in traffic, and it’s especially useful when parking. If you are traveling with more people, a larger car would provide more comfort.

How much does it cost to rent a car in Madeira?

When renting a car in Madeira, prices can vary depending on the season and how early you book. Booking a rental car through is highly recommended for Madeira. With a rental car, you always have a chance of damage and problems along the way, which is why it’s smart to book with a reliable party. At Rentalcars, you can always take out a Full Protection Insurance, you can change your booking for free and all conditions are clearly indicated. So you don’t have to worry about snags and if something goes wrong on your trip, everything is always reimbursed and taken care of. This is totally worth it as far as we are concerned, especially on holiday.

Note: Sometimes the local rental company will try to sell you extra insurances. These are absolutely unnecessary as everything is covered with Rentalcars’ Full Protection Insurance. So don’t be fooled because you are 100% covered, even your excess will be refunded in case of damage.

Price hikes due to shortage of cars: There is currently a huge shortage of rental cars worldwide. To survive the corona crisis, car rental companies have had to sell a large portion of their cars. Since demand is rising fast, there are not enough chips for new cars and prices are skyrocketing due to the shortage. As a result, many rental cars are double the price or even fully booked. It’s best to book as early as possible to be sure of a rental car that is still somewhat affordable. At, you can currently cancel or change your booking free of charge up to 48 hours in advance, so you are not stuck with anything but still be sure of a rental car.