Ribeira Brava (Madeira): The Complete Guide

This well-known tourist spot boasts a variety of shops, cafes, and restaurants, particularly close to the beach area. You can take in the scenic views from a terrace or stroll along the promenade. For those interested in learning about the archipelago, the Ethnographic Museum of Madeira is a must-visit, showcasing a collection of ethnographic artifacts that reflect the region’s economic, social, and cultural dimensions. Other notable attractions include the Lighthouse, which provides stunning views of Ribeira Brava, Campanário, and Ponta do Sol, and the Fort of São Bento, home to the tourism office.

Visiting Ribeira Brava (Madeira) for the first time and wondering what are the top places to see in the city? In this complete guide, I share the best things to do in Ribeira Brava (Madeira) on the first visit. Top help you plan your trip, I have also included an interactive map and practical tips for visiting!

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History of Ribeira Brava (Madeira)

Founded in 1440, the municipality of Ribeira Brava was once among the most economically prosperous regions on Madeira Island, primarily due to its flourishing sugar cane cultivation. Nowadays, its economic focus has shifted to banana plantations and the cultivation of other fruits. Ribeira Brava also serves as a crucial junction, connecting various roads from the north, east, and west of the island.

The name of the municipality originates from its river, known as the “angry river.” During rainy seasons, this river becomes notably fierce and turbulent, with a strong current that has historically caused destruction along its entire eight-kilometre stretch.

5 Best places to See in Ribeira Brava (Madeira)

This complete guide to Ribeira Brava (Madeira) not only tells you about the very best sights and tourist attractions for first-time visitors to the city but also provide insights into a few of our personal favorite things to do.

This is a practical guide to visiting the best places to see in Ribeira Brava (Madeira) and is filled with tips and info that should answer all your questions!

Madeira Ethnographic Museum

Museu Etnografico Da Madeira, Ribeira Brava, Madeira
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Paulo SP/ Wikimedia
The Madeira Ethnographic Museum, situated in the Ribeira Brava Municipality, is housed in a historic 17th-century manor. Originally located on old Rua da Bagaceira, this manor was part of the Convent of Santa Clara do Funchal’s extensive properties outside the city of Funchal. Luís Gonçalves da Silva, a captain in the Ribeira Brava ordinances, acquired […]
Location: Museum of Ethnography, Ribeira Brava, Portugal | Hours: Tuesday - Friday 09:30 to 17:00; Sunday - 10:00 to 12:30; 13:30 to 17:30; Closed Sunday, Monday and Public holidays | Distance: 1.20km
Visiting Madeira Ethnographic Museum

São Bento Church, Ribeira Brava

Igreja De São Bento, Ribeira Brava (Madeira, Portugal)
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Joãofcf
The São Bento Church, located in the parish of Ribeira Brava, is not only one of the oldest rural temples in the Diocese of Funchal but also among the most visited religious sites in Madeira. This revered church, a monument classified as Property of Public Interest, is a must-visit on the island’s west coast. Dating […]
Location: Igreja Matriz da Ribeira Brava / Igreja de São Bento, Ribeira Brava, Portugal | Distance: 1.30km
Visiting São Bento Church, Ribeira Brava

Fort of São Bento

Ribeira Brava, Madeira
CC BY-SA 2.0 / Karelj
The Fort of São Bento or Fort of Saint Benedict, dating back to the 18th century, was constructed under the governance of Duarte Pereira Sodré in 1708 to safeguard the coastline and harbour, primarily against pirate invasions. Historical records from 1815 mention the fort being in a state of disrepair. Restoration and beautification efforts began […]
Location: Fort of São Bento, Rua Gago Coutinho e Sacadura Cabral, Ribeira Brava, Portugal | Distance: 1.40km
Visiting Fort of São Bento

Ribeira Brava Lighthouse

Farol Da Ribeira Brava In Ribeira Brava, Madeira
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Ximonic
Madeira’s deep and unbreakable connection with the sea is evident in its history and daily life, particularly visible in its architectural heritage and enduring fishing traditions. The Ribeira Brava Lighthouse, located on the island’s west coast, stands as a symbol of this intimate bond with the Atlantic Ocean. Positioned on the right bank of the […]
Location: Ribeira Brava Lighthouse, Rua Comandante Camacho de Freitas, Ribeira Brava, Portugal | Distance: 1.40km
Visiting Ribeira Brava Lighthouse

Levada das 25 Fontes (PR6 & PR6.1)

Levada Das 25 Fontes-Madeira
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Bjørn Christian Tørrissen
The Levada das 25 Fontes hiking trail in Madeira is a popular destination, drawing tourists from around the world. The trail offers breath-taking views of the weeping wall with 25 streams cascading into a refreshing pool, and the impressive Risco Waterfall can be admired from a viewpoint along the route. Distance: 4.3 km (8.6 km […]
Visiting Levada das 25 Fontes (PR6 & PR6.1)

Best Time to Visit Ribeira Brava (Madeira)

Average Temperatures in Ribeira Brava (Madeira)

  • January 16°C 6
  • February 16°C 7
  • March 19°C 6
  • April 19°C 6
  • May 19°C 3
  • June 21°C 3
  • July 23°C 0
  • August 26°C 1
  • September 23°C 3
  • October 22°C 7
  • November 19°C 8
  • December 18°C 9

Tours and Activities from Ribeira Brava (Madeira)