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UPDATE JANUARY 2012
As per 30 of January 2012 the ferry service of the operator Naviera Armas, that was linking Portugal (Portimão) with Funchal, was discontinued due to huge increase of the operating costs associated to the port of Funchal. Unfortunately there is (for the time being) no Ro-Ro ferry service between the mainland Portugal and the Atlantic Isles of Madeira and Azores, these are considered the only significant groups of islands in Europe that has NO Ro-Ro ferry services. The only alternative are the container ships, which are expensive.

For enquiries, complaints or questions concerning this matter or any new possibilities of reactivation of the sea route between Funchal and Europe (continent), please contact the Secretaria Regional da Cultura, Turismo e Transportes (contact form page)

(Post April 9, 2008)

Many have asked if it was possible to go by boat to Madeira. The answers were:

Yes, with your own boat and at your own risk;
Yes, but then it is with a organized cruise voyage and you will only be able to visit Funchal for 1 day
Yes, but then you need to work in a freight ship or transatlantic container;
Yes, by joining a regatta that sometimes can take place each year;

And since summer of 2008 we can add a new answer …

Yes, you can visit Madeira Islands by ferry departing from the Portuguese port of Portimao, coast of the Algarve (Portugal)..

A new ferry Volcano of Tijarafe of the Armas shipping company is going once per week between Funchal (Madeira) and Portimao (Portugal).

This is the first ferry connection between Madeira island and the mainland Portugal after 30 years. It is a new alternative to visit the archipelago … and you can take your own car with you.

The duration of the trip between Funchal and Portimao is less than 24 hours and it takes place in the weekend.

You can go to the Naviera Armas website and book your trip with the ferry Volcán de Tijarafe.


52 Comments

Maja & Bruno · April 10, 2008 at 8:16 am

This is great news – we can stuff our car with ikea goods and drive it across… it is just a tad too late for us

peter · April 14, 2008 at 12:09 pm

The Naviera Armas website gives no confirmation of this, unfortunately. P{ortimao is not mentioned as a destination so one cannot check this possibility, let alone the availability. How certain is this? It would be great if there would be a ferry service to the mainland at last.

Marian en Henk · May 10, 2008 at 1:04 pm

Just online booked a returntrip Portimao – Funchal for june 22nd. We are going to see Madeira with our own car now! We keep you informed about our trip….

Penelope · May 22, 2008 at 3:22 pm

Nobody has heard of this Naviera Armas in Portugal Telecom; they don’t have a phone number for them. Please can they get in touch with me a.s.a.p. as I want to book a trip.

Editor · May 25, 2008 at 9:39 am

@Penelope: Naviera Armas is a company located in the Canary Islands (Spain) … so that is why you could not find it in the Portugal Telecom.

Telephone numbers that you could try to reach them are:
0034 928 537 149 or
0034 928 327 383

Manuel Bettencourt · June 21, 2008 at 11:22 pm

Need to know the price, which days of the week, and time, depart from Portimao, Algarve, to Funchal, Madeira. Thank you

Manuel Bettencourt

Editor · June 22, 2008 at 12:30 pm

@Manuel: just go to the site of Naviera Armas (follow the link in the article above) and you will get all the information you need.

Carvalho · June 26, 2008 at 9:40 pm

i would like to know more about this service. Can some contact me,please

gina · June 29, 2008 at 10:53 am

I did hear about a large catamaran(type) service that was due to start between Madeira and Lisbon, one that carried vehicles etc. Anyone know anything about this?

Marian en Henk · July 1, 2008 at 1:42 pm

Just returned from a trip by Naviera Armas to Funchal (Madeira) we have to say that the boattrip was very good. In the harbour of Portimao the Armas staff was very helpful and friendly, on board of the Volcan de Tijarafe the same! The animation teams were very nice to see and enjoyed us. We can recommed Armas as a very good company and we hope that the line Portimao / Funchal will be succesfull for them!
Thanks again!!

Rui · July 4, 2008 at 5:01 pm

Marian en Henk, thanks for your review I had some questions and your review help me, I’m from Madeira and now it will be more easy to visit my land.

Wanrade van der Hoek · July 18, 2008 at 9:55 am

Marian en Henk, are you Dutch?
In that case I would like to ask you some questions about the trip in my own language. Which is not very interessed for this blog I think.
Could we do so by using our own emailadresses? But how?

Marian en Henk · July 22, 2008 at 5:31 pm

Wanrade, hier ons emailadres:
**********************

Val · August 13, 2008 at 2:31 pm

Further to Gina’s message…. I too have heard about the fast cat but I can’t find any details. Help…..????

Martin · August 17, 2008 at 5:19 pm

Is the ferry operating all year round?
Does anybody know?
The ferry company won’t answer my question.

Editor · August 20, 2008 at 5:24 pm

We are still waiting for the final decision. Of what I have heard it is 99% sure … but still there is a 1% that needs to be solved.

Ray Read · August 30, 2008 at 1:58 pm

Can anyone confirm if a pet dog can travel on the ferry and what arrangements are made as the crossing is about 20 hours.

frank teixeira · September 14, 2008 at 10:28 am

I have been keeping an eye on this service since it was first introduced last year. I remember reeding that the company were going to make decide this month September 2008 if they were going to continue with this service in 2009.
1)I would like to know if the company is continuing with this service in 2009?

2)What days and times of the week is the ship sailling from Portimao “Algarve” to Funchal?

3)How much it would cost for two persons and a car return

frank teixeira · September 14, 2008 at 10:36 am

from Portimao to Funchal.
I would very gratfull if someone could get back to me with this information.
I am planning to drive down from St Malo in France down to Portimao and get the ship across.

Frank Teixeira

bino · September 14, 2008 at 2:14 pm

has anyone travelled on this boat yet , if so could you tell me what it is like to be on the boat for that length of time?

Marian en Henk · September 16, 2008 at 6:43 pm

Bino,

Look above for our short report (july 1st) about the Naviera Armas trip to Madeira. We can say: do it, you will not be disappointed!

Maggie · October 12, 2008 at 4:04 pm

I Have Friends travelling on this Ferry today and will speak to them as soon as they arrive in Madeira. Hope this is a great service. The web site has been updated.

Marian en Henk · December 4, 2008 at 7:08 am

Is the service Portimao – Funchal operating also in 2009?

John · January 17, 2009 at 11:38 am

I saw the ferry in Funchal harbour in early January 2009 and was told by a port official that the service is continuing through the winter and on into spring and summer

Marian en Henk · January 18, 2009 at 9:08 am

Thanks for the information John!

Silvester DeCaires · February 14, 2009 at 9:45 am

I love Madeira and hope to visit again some day.

nuno rodrigues · February 22, 2009 at 6:50 pm

a ideia e excelente,tambem ja tou farto d andar d aviao hehehe e como podemos levar carro ainda melhor levamos mais d 20k sem pagar por isso.o servico sera bom,nao sei mas tem vantagens a ver vamos quando chegarmos ao verao ir d ferias,uma coisa diferente,,,emfim boa ideia fikem bem and c u again MADEIRA

Christine Onslow · March 20, 2009 at 12:07 am

I would like to have more information on this service – can’t seem to find anything out on any websites. How much is it for a car and 2 adults?

Editor · March 20, 2009 at 12:51 pm

If you fill in the form it will give you information of the prices:
http://www.navieraarmas.com/index.php?id_pagina=2&idioma=en

Adriano · May 13, 2009 at 2:30 pm

can you please give-me times and prices for july 2009 from portimao to funchal one way.

thank you

Allan Walsh · May 18, 2009 at 5:58 pm

Dear Editor,

The family is planning to travel to Madiera in September and I have been trying to obtain dates and time from the navieraarmas web but they always come back that dates must change as there are no sailing dates on the adtes mentioned in september, are they really operating?

Editor · May 18, 2009 at 8:59 pm

@Allan: You will need some what patience as they are very slow in publishing the new dates for their booking system.

Humberto · May 20, 2009 at 11:32 am

I receive today this information: “since 13May the booking system are updating for the sailing dates past 01Jun”.

Tracie · July 8, 2009 at 11:16 am

I too, like so many on this forum have found it an impossible task to make a booking for specific dates in September!! I have been checking with the website directly for the past month and nothing has changed! I have also tried phoning the company direct but they do not answer – EVER ! Therefore I am giving up on my dream of travelling euorpe by car and then on to the Madeira Island – shame, never mind they are missing out on a lot of revenue – if only they could get their act together! Any genuine useful booking tips will be greatly received as I’m giving it another 24 hrs!!

Micaela · July 13, 2009 at 11:09 am

Olá.. ja andei no Armas, e digovos que é muito melhor que andar de aviao, temos o que é preciso ao nosso dispor, as equipas da animação são excelentes, recomendo a todos este navio.
queria pedir uma informaçao a quem me sobesse responder: alguém sabe o nome de algum dos 4 membros da equipa de animaçao? É que necessito de umas informações. se preferirem responder para o email, é este (ask editor for the email address)
Obrigada pela vossa atenção

Sarah · July 17, 2009 at 2:05 pm

Hi there i would just like to know if they do a passport check

Mathias · July 18, 2009 at 10:19 pm

Hi everybody,

I would like to travel via Madeira on my way from Portugal to the Canarian Islands in the mid of August. However I do not hit the weekends, when the Navierra Ferry is departing. Are there any other ways to go to Madeira by ship/boat? Thanks a lot for any valuable information!

Martin · July 25, 2009 at 6:51 am

I’ve been trying to plan a trip for september using the ferry, but I cannot get their website to work.
On one occasion I tried it I got a one way price for car and 2 at 610E.
WOW!
It’s a very user unfriendly site.

Patty · August 18, 2009 at 5:05 pm

We are planning our trip for next summer. Has anyone been able to book their ferry on the web and what is the fare for 2 adults and 1 car? Thanks for your help!

João · September 1, 2009 at 11:40 am

Madeira IS Portuguese. It’s not a separate country. So, it’s innadequate to say: «Ferry between Madeira and Portugal».

Rosemary De Caires · September 3, 2009 at 9:57 pm

R DeCaires (14 February 2009 at 24:00) wrote: I love Madeira and I hope to visit one day.

Hans · October 7, 2009 at 2:57 pm

Patty (18 August 2009 at 17:05) wrote:

We are planning our trip for next summer. Has anyone been able to book their ferry on the web and what is the fare for 2 adults and 1 car? Thanks for your help!

We (I myself and a friend) just came back on Sunday morning (06.Oct.) by ferry.

I book with directferries.com and payed about 590 Euros (return ticket) for 2 adults and the car. you must book with seats or cabin, which is about 400 Euros more. On their website there is a telephone number you can call, and you will get their office in London.

Our experience:
The ferry is a big ship. The trip lasts about 22 hours, the vessel goes 22 knots/h. We had a delay of about 3 hours in Portimao due to a cruise ship who blocked the place the ferry normally loads. So we set sail at 23:10 instead of 20:30. Every 3 or 4 hours you have access to the car deck (that was also to feed the dogs people took with them.

But the service on board could have been better. All self-service. All drinks in plastic, no coffee machine during the night. I wonder how they always mannaged it to get the meals from the kitchen only warm. But there is a microwave. Each role, each piece of butter, each small ketchup bag must be paid extra. The mess opens at 7 am. Opening always was a bit later than scheduled. But you can take your own food with you on board.

andrew · November 13, 2009 at 7:27 am

I am thinking of this boat to go from Madeira to Portugal, one way for 2 of us June 2010. I can’t get the website (http://www.navieraarmas.com/index.php?id_pagina=2&idioma=en) to give me any useful booking info, other than they leave Madeira on Saturdays.

Is it too far in advance? Any pricing info would be helpful. No car, just walk on and no stateroom needed though would take it if not exorbitant.

Sounds like, based on last comment, we will bring our own food. Thanks! 🙂

albert west · December 24, 2009 at 9:11 am

imformation please concerninng one way ticket to funchal one car two passangers for any time in janury 2010 from portimao

Henk and Marian · February 14, 2010 at 9:11 am

Serious message for the booking office of Naviera Armas:

Will be the service Portimao – Funchal – Las Palmas continued in 2010. Now it’s possible to book not later than April 4th

Thnaks for the answer!!

john · February 28, 2010 at 10:59 pm

Hey im traveling from tenerife to portimoa this week , can enyone tell me if there is a gym on board ? or what facilities are available , i got the message re the food situation .
Im in a seat , are there shower facilities if you dont have a cabin ? thanks , john

nuno · March 25, 2010 at 9:06 pm

Gostaria que um dia esse ARMAS tivesse a boa ideia de servir Madeira Sao Miguel Lisboa e Marrocos,isso sim seria mesmo um sonho,Obrigado a toda a equipe.

nicholas e · April 27, 2010 at 7:53 am

I have been trying to find out about the PRICES for two adults, age 60+, without vehicle from Portugal, Spain or UK to Madeira but get stuck on the Portugal-Madeira website. Can anyone give us this simple information

Grateful for help

nicholas e

Catarina · July 5, 2010 at 6:36 am

Hey, directferries sells tickets from portimao, Portugal to Funchal,Madeira and so does the naviera armas website which is the actual company and therefore you can get a better deal. It costs 78€ each way so a return journey costs around 156€ for one person. It leaves on Saturdays and returns from Madeira on Sundays a week later.

I’m taking a coach from London to portimao, cost me £190 and the trip takes a day and a half. I arrive on the 7th and take the ferry on the 8th so it works out well, I return by boat on the 21st and the coach takes me back on the 27th. Can’t wait!

jean wharton · August 6, 2010 at 12:40 pm

read all the comments. it is now august 2010 and you still can’t book on the official ferry website! so things have moved on a lot!

Barry Seymour · August 10, 2010 at 12:16 pm

This has to be the most useless website I have ever come across! No timetable, no information whatsoever… why even bother! Is anyone actually going to read these complaints and do something about these problems? Judging by the other posts I think it is a total waste of time.

    Editor · August 10, 2010 at 7:05 pm

    For heavens sake Barry … THIS IS A BLOG and NOT the Naviera Armas website!! The thing is that if my blog shows up on the top search results when Googling for “ferry” and “madeira” … it does not mean that it is the website of the ferry. Barry and also others (that complain) should read further than their nose long is. And yes … it is a waste of time to be adding these kind of comments and complaining … instead of sending it to the real responsible company. By the way … this article is from 2008 (!!) and NO I will not remove it (because it is MY blog!). Go complain somewhere else!

Comments are closed.