We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Drinking water quality

Level Contributor
4 posts
39 reviews
Save Topic
Drinking water quality

Have just returned from Madeira, where the authorities are working hard to clear roads and clean up Funchal, but it will be a very long job, maybe months or years to repair everything.

Part of central Funchal is open again, with shops, cafes etc needing tourists. West of the town, the newer, concrete section, is not damaged, but the region where the 2 main rivers emerge is a mess, with most shops closed or damaged, and the promenade and old town inaccessible still on 1st March. The cable cars to Monte were back in operation.

The motorway is open, but the road from Ribeira Brava to Sao Vincente is too badly damaged to reopen in the immediate future, so the North and West is difficult to access quickly.

Finally, watch out for the water. 4 of us were all infected via food or water, and spent 24 hours incapacitated, now slowly recovering. Many people on the plane back had the same infection. Possible a result of the broken water and sewage systems?

Madeira Sidecar Tours
Sightseeing Tours, Private Tours, Nature & Wildlife Tours, Adrenaline & Extreme Tours, Taxis & Shuttles
Pearl of the Atlantic
Cultural Tours, City Tours, Sightseeing Tours, Historical & Heritage Tours
Madeira Travel Taxi
Private Tours, Sightseeing Tours, City Tours, Taxis & Shuttles, Cultural Tours
Funchal, Madeira
Level Contributor
203 posts
13 reviews
Save Reply
21. Re: Drinking water quality

I, like flowercity, am advising everyone not to cancel their holiday to Madeira. Not because Madeira needs the tourism trade now more then ever but because even in its present state, now over two weeks after the floods, Madeira is still a place worth coming to.

I see happy tourists walking the streets of Funchal every day. Like I have mentioned in other posts, Funchal roads are accessible to both motorists and pedestrians. I have been driving down to town and although traffic is conditioned in certain parts, 90% of it, is back to normal.

Tours to all parts of the island are still going, except for companies that use coaches. 90% of restaurants and shops are all open again and the cable car and sightseeing buses are also working again.

As for the water. The government took the precaution to advise people not to drink tap water because of the floods. Locals and tourists, I being one of them, picked up a stomach bug and everyone immediately started blaming the water. I have been living on the island for the past 11 years and NEVER drink tap water. This was not the first time I picked up the bug.

4 posts
1 review
Save Reply
22. Re: Drinking water quality

We have just returned from a week in Madeira and unfortunately fell prey to the Bug. We were told about the water problem as soon as we arrived by the rep and we had a letter from the hotel on arrival. We used only bottled water but still got the bug. I wonder if the hotels are still using tap water? How do they wash veg and fruit? We have been told by locals that they have had the bug and I can honestly say we did NOT meet anyone who did not get sick and spend at least 24 hours in bed.

We went knowing we would not be able to go on levada walks and trips would probably not be available but to become so ill on a 7 day holiday was terrible.

Had we known about the bug we would have cancelled the trip and gone at a later date.

Don't be fooled thinking you won't get the bug if you avoid tap water.

Funchal, Madeira
Level Contributor
203 posts
13 reviews
Save Reply
23. Re: Drinking water quality

The Administrative Institute of Health and Social Matters in Madeira, yesterday (09/03/2010), declared that all tap water in Funhal is fit for drinking.


England, United...
Level Contributor
1,829 posts
87 reviews
Save Reply
24. Re: Drinking water quality

Don't forget it's not just Madeira that has had problems with the sickness bug lately.

We caught it a month ago in Florida; our friends also caught it two weeks later in Florida and other friends caught it in England. None of us had been in direct contact with each other.

It's so easy to make assumptions but it's just as likely that visitors are taking the bug in with them.

1 post
Save Reply
25. Re: Drinking water quality

I am due to fly out to Madeira at the end of the week. I suffer from emetaphobia which is a fear of sickness and I am now pretrified of travelling. I have spoken to the travel company and they have expressed that Funchal is safe to visit. My family have told me that these comments are just a small percentage and that many people have come back having had a lovely time and avoided the bug. I remain sceptical and wish I had never read these comments as this will now affect my holiday. I cannot cancel as this will not be fair on my fellow traveller.

Level Contributor
793 posts
43 reviews
Save Reply
26. Re: Drinking water quality

It would be good if we could hear from people who have just come back and have been well as it seems we are only mainly getting postings from people who have been ill. Let us know how your holiday was. I am sure that the majority of holidaymakers have been fine. J-Chick Uk go and enjoy yourself it is a lovely island.

1 post
Save Reply
27. Re: Drinking water quality

I live in Funchal. It is common knowledge, via international press, that the Novovirus was brought into Funchal TWICE by a liner in Dec/Jan. This liner was disinfected,then returned here with the same virus!!! The majority of passengers contracted it.

I do not know of anyone(my grandchild is also at a local school) who has been affected with stomach upsets.

Yes, after the storms,it would be common sense to drink bottled water however we have drunk the tap water for years with no problems.

We eat at local restaurants, again, no problem.

I think mountains are being made out of molehills. Common sense is all that is required. Enjoy this beautiful island !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

east anglia, uk
Level Contributor
64 posts
77 reviews
Save Reply
28. Re: Drinking water quality

Having returned yesterday from holiday in Madeira I feel I must add to this discussion by saying that we had no ill effects at all from drinking the water. We did overhear some Reps briefing their guests that it is not safe to drink the water under any circumstances, but, eh, better to be safe than sorry I suppose, but bottled water is readily available and is cheap so you takes your choice, but don't worry about it, its fine.

Level Contributor
3 posts
16 reviews
Save Reply
29. Re: Drinking water quality

We are enjoying a lovely holiday at The Cliff Bay at the moment. All the restaurants have gel at the door and we are supplied with unlimited bottles of water in our rooms - just to be on the safe side.

Had absolutely no problems - all the cafes and restaurants we have eaten in have been scrupulously clean and proudly declared their health inspection notice.

In our opinion, no need to worry and everyone is extremely friendly - please don't put off coming here it really is a lovely place.

Oxford, United...
Destination Expert
for Limassol, Cyprus
Level Contributor
10,620 posts
277 reviews
Save Reply
30. Re: Drinking water quality

Have a great holiday J-chick and take heart from the positive posts. I am pleased to hear that roundhayparkers are having a good holiday at the Cliff Bay as that is where we are going in October. Ages to wait but I am only reading positive reviews which is great. I am off to Rome tomorrow hope there is no sickness there.


Get answers to your questions about Funchal