From The Madeira Island Web Site

Visiting Madeira
The gay and lesbian lifestyle in Madeira
By Jorge Barbosa
Jun 7, 2008 - 11:20:30 AM

Although the gay and lesbian community seems to be muted or not apparent in Madeira there is quite a sizeable part of the population that enjoys this lifestyle. It seems that being gay in Madeira is actually quite acceptable, as long as you don’t brazenly flaunt yourself in front of the church elders at mass, perhaps. Many individuals enjoy a healthy relationship with like minded persons and a bit like any other Mediterranean community there is quite a bit of liberal pursuit to satisfy the lifestyle.

It may surprise some visitors that there is even a gay beach, albeit not so heavily frequented since the beaches are not really made of golden sand but steep cliffs and rocks. It may even surprise gay visitors further that there is not just one beach but two! The first is the steep cliff beach just off the Ponta Gorda, below the esplanade that separates it from the “Magic Gardens” near the Pestana Grand Hotel. The other is in Caniço de Baixo but, err...., the writer of this article, as of this time, does not know exactly where in Caniço de Baixo , safe to say that many gays refer to it.

The most important addition to the gay lifestyle in recent times has been the opening of the gay bar, restaurant and night club called “Archipelagos” situated in Rua do Bom Jesus – right opposite the Francisco Franco museum and high school. The other all-important and vigorous meeting place for gay Madeirans is the internet! In particular the - very popular we might say - Gaydar web site, which has a very active and plentiful list of individuals seeking to meet others.
Until recently the “Bar do Teatro” was a place to be seen by gays. This bar is situated in the terraced yard alongside the Municipal theatre (the “Teatro Municipal Baltazar Dias”). But its constant change of management – every five years or so – changes the theme and ambience of the watering hole. In its current evolved state it is a very commercial esplanade with a heavily frequented night club area (covered by a tent) visited mostly by young Madeiran turks and upwardly mobile young individuals who happen to be quite gay friendly.

Most night clubs are a mix of straight and gay revellers in Madeira anyway – the alternative lifestyle is not seen as so alternative anyway. You could go to the casino, for example, and play some games there. The Copacabana night club incorporated into the casino structure is a good example of the subtle mix of straight and gay participants. It is rare, almost unheard of, to hear of any type of gay bashing in Madeira. It seems that Madeira lives up to its warm Mediterranean spirit – that of liberal social standards in a warm and friendly environment.

Some interesting links and further info:


The snack bar and restaurant is open all day.

Night club:
10pm - 2am Monday to Saturday
9pm - 2am Sunday

Rua João de Deus, nº 20
Near Henrique e Francisco Franco's Museum
Tel.: 291223064

Live music and karaoke.
Has a drag show every Saturday

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