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Marvels of Madeira Walk

from $2,125.00

Perfect for year-round walking, the floating garden of Madeira is a paradise of tropical flowers, exotic birds and trees, romantic gorges and emerald seas. Luxury 4 and 5 star hotels throughout provide exquisite local cuisine with possibility of sampling the island’s famous full-bodied wine.

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  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
    Self-guided
  • Activity Level Moderate
    5/8
All about the Marvels of Madeira Walk.

Surging from the Atlantic Ocean, Madeira offers a temperate sub-tropical paradise perfect for year-round walking. One of Madeira’s many charms is its infinite variety; each day’s walking and every levada – the island’s unique network of water channels – is different. Landscapes vary from cultivated vine terraces and verdant slopes dotted with white hamlets to coastal cliffs with balcony views over the azure seas. Also a nature lover’s paradise, there are over 120 endemic species of flora and fauna including the pride of Madeira, the bird-of-paradise, along with jacaranda, tiny bisbis birds, chaffinches and hawks – the list is endless.
On this self-guided, hotel-to-hotel holiday, the island’s coastal paths and levadas take you from the sleepy wine village of Santana on the north coast to bustling Funchal in the south. Fringed with a rainbow of colourful flora, the levadas lead you inland to breezy Santo da Serra; a transfer then takes you to the Levada do Norte for spectacular views from the cliff tops.
Our accommodation choices offer as many contrasts as the walks: in Porto da Cruz your hotel is close to the sea with mountains as a backdrop; in Santo da Serra your hotel dates back to the 1920s and has been used as a family home and tea house over the years, and in Funchal, the ***** Quinta da Bela Vista is one of the most exclusive hotels on the island.

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.
  • All breakfasts, 2 picnic lunches and all evening meals
  • 7 nights accommodation (hotel-to-hotel)
  • Cable car ticket included (day 7)
  • Route notes and maps provided
  • Luggage transfers from inn to inn
What is not included in this tour?

Highlights

  • Stunning coastal trails and flower-lined levada walks
  • Friendly, good quality hotels, with swimming pools
  • Time to explore bustling Funchal
  1. Day 1 Day 1 Arrive in Madeira

    Arrive at your hotel in Porto da Cruz where our local partner will brief you on the week’s walking. (Staying at the Quinta do Furao, Half Board)

  2. Day 2 Day 2 Circular Walk to Sao Jorge 10km/6.5mi/3.5hr or 13km/8mi/4hr

    A transfer (15 mins) takes you to a panoramic coastal path that leads you to the ancient cobbled route linking Santana to Sao Jorge. Agapanthus and cacti line the descent to the seaside ’resort’ of Calhau. It’s then along the base of the cliffs, where big Atlantic rollers come sweeping in, before you climb to enjoy balcony views. There are fabulous coastal vistas as you ascend to Sao Jorge, with the village’s lighthouse glimmering above the azure waters. The mighty peak of Pico Ruivo frames the horizon as you return to Santana, then transfer back to Porto da Cruz. (Staying at the Quinta do Furao, Half Board)

  3. Day 3 Day 3 The Caldeirao Verde Levada 14km/9mi/5hr

    A transfer (25 mins) takes you up to the Parque das Queimadas – all the hard climbing is done for you! The walk follows the beautiful (and shady) Caldeirao Verde Levada (the Green Cauldron Levada) into the Vale da Lapa. The scenery is magnificent; the views of the sea, of hilltop villages, and of the lofty central peaks are unforgettable. You head up the valley through a series of impressive levada tunnels to the magnificent waterfall at Caldeirao Verde. Then it’s back down the Lapa Valley to Ilha before taking the transfer to Porto da Cruz. (Staying at the Quinta do Furao, Half Board)

  4. Day 4 Day 4 Santana to Ribeiro/Santo da Serra 14km/9mi/4hr

    A scenic 25-minute ride takes you to Ribeiro Frio. You join the Levada do Furado, a verdant paradise of laurel, heather and pine with waterfalls tumbling into the gushing river. Tiny firecrest and tame finches flit between the trees, which occasionally part to reveal stunning views of white hilltop hamlets. You descend to Santo da Serra’s vibrant square with its lively market; wood smoke fills the air as meats grill al fresco – you must try the traditional espetada (marinated meat skewered on laurel twigs)! (Staying at the Porto Bay Serra Golf, Half Board)

  5. Day 5 Day 5 Sao Lourenco 8km/5mi/3hr

    Starting with a transfer (30 mins), today’s walk takes you to the most eastern point of Madeira, to Ponta de Sao Lourenco’s Nature Reserve, where you’ll walk the hugely popular peninsula loop, with sweeping views, jagged peaks and masses of flora and fauna. (Staying at the Porto Bay Serra Golf, Half Board)

  6. Day 6 Day 6 Cabo Girao Walk 11km/7mi/3.5hr

    A transfer takes you to Boa Morte to take the Levada do Norte, through pine and eucalyptus trees, and on paths lined with pink belladonna flowers. High on the poios (terraces) the path wanders through pretty villages, before arriving in Cabo Girao where the majestic expanse of the Atlantic is spread out before us. A transfer will take you on to the ***** Quinta da Bela Vista above Funchal where you will spend your last two nights. (Staying at the Quinta da Bela Vista, Half Board)

  7. Day 7 Day 7 At Funchal

    Spend your last day exploring at leisure in Funchal, perhaps starting in the bustling market near the harbour – it’s full of atmosphere and ablaze with colour. Enjoy lunch on the harbour, saving room for an afternoon cream tea at Reid’s, then it’s time to relax by the pool or in the beautiful exotic gardens of your hotel. (Staying at the Quinta da Bela Vista, Half Board)

  8. Day 8 Day 8 Leave Madeira
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Where you stay
Quinta do Furao
The Quinta do Furao enjoys a stunning location with views stretching over the Atlantic Ocean. The hotel is surrounded by vineyards, vegetable plots and fruit orchards as well as beautifully manicured gardens complete with dragon trees and proteas. The verdant peaks of Picos do Ruivo and Arieiro stand majestically behind the Quinta to complete the picture. There are 43 spacious rooms (all with twin beds), decorated with pine furniture and colourful furnishings. All departures from October 2018 will be accommodated in this hotel for the first three nights. If this hotel is not available, the Hotel Vila Bela will be used (subject to availability).
Hotel Vila Bela
Just 100m from the nearest beach and close to the promenade and the public open-air swimming pool, the Hotel Vila Bela offers a fabulous location between the sea and the mountain backdrop behind Porto da Cruz. This charming little hotel offers 12 rooms, a library, a restaurant and bar and is run by a couple who are very keen on ensuring their guests have a relaxing and unforgettable stay. There is also free Wi-Fi in public areas. All departures until September 2018 will be accommodated in this hotel for the first three nights. If this hotel is not available, the Hotel Quinta do Furao will be used (subject to availability).
Porto Bay Serra Golf
The Porto Bay Serra Golf was originally built in the 1920s. In the 1940s it became a teahouse and was later used as the golf clubhouse. It has since been renovated into a beautiful hotel. The original part of the building contains the lounge with honesty bar and restaurant as well as the two superior twin rooms and the suite. The 18 standard rooms are situated in the new part of the building. All rooms are equipped with satellite television, hairdryer, telephone and safe. None of these rooms have balconies. Other facilities include honesty bar, fitness room and library. There is also a 27- hole golf course beside the hotel and the hotel has preferential rates for green fees as well as equipment hire.
Quinta da Bela Vista
The luxury ***** family-run Quinta da Bela Vista, one of the most exclusive hotels on Madeira, commands fabulous panoramic views of Funchal from its hillside location on the edge of the city. All the rooms are stylishly furnished and you’ll come across original paintings and rare antiques throughout the buildings. There are two fine restaurants, a heated outdoor swimming pool, sauna, Jacuzzi and tennis court. A regular complimentary day time shuttle service is provided to and from Funchal, and there are beautifully established private gardens if you just want to relax.
Eating and Drinking

All continental buffet style breakfasts, 2 picnic lunches and all evening meals are included.

Madeira is well known for its excellent fresh fish and seafood, tasty soups and mouth-watering fresh fruit. Grilled meats especially chicken (often cooked on a natural wood grill), also make a good choice for your evening meal. A more traditional dish is espetada – skewered beef cooked on an open grill served with lots of salad and boiled potatoes.

Portions are generous, especially in smaller, less touristy restaurants and main dishes come with the traditional salad and potatoes. You will also get a basket of bread on the table, even if you don’t ask for it. Some restaurants also bring you portions of soft cheese and fish paste with the bread and will add these to your bill.

Wine

Madeira’s wine is probably the island’s most famous export. This strong, fortified wine, which tastes a little like port or sherry, comes in a range of flavours (from dry to very sweet) and is renowned throughout the world. It was used to seal the signing of the American Declaration of Independence and is still used today to toast those offered the Freedom of the City of London.

Activity Level: 2 (Leisurely/Moderate)
This holiday uses paths by the levadas which are, at times, narrow with drops to the side. You need to be a confident, sure-footed walker, not deterred by heights. There are ascents and descents every day which makes this a slightly more demanding holiday than the distances suggest. A torch is required for the Caldeirao Verde walk (day 3).

As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. There may be others on the same departure date as you, but you will not be organised together. You are provided with route notes for each day, which begin with an overview of the walk and advice on lunch, followed by detailed instructions. The route notes contain a 24 hour emergency assistance telephone number should you need it and in emergencies, the hotels are normally able to dispatch a taxi or pick you up themselves. They may wish to charge for this service.

Overall Rating
0/5

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