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Walking in Madeira

from $1,179.00

Explore the verdant landscapes of Portugal’s largest island

  • Reviews 27 Reviews
    5/5
  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
    Guided
  • Activity Level Moderate
    5/8
  • Group Size Small Group
    4 - 16
All about the Walking in Madeira.

During the course of this week you will have the opportunity to walk through the wild and varied scenery of Madeira, from gentle strolls along flower-lined levadas and spectacular coastal footpaths, to more demanding forays amongst the jagged ridges and peaks of the rugged volcanic interior. There is plenty of time to relax by the sea in the fishing village of Machico and discover the historic importance of Funchal, an old trade centre famous for exporting sugar and wine to the Indies and the New World.

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
* 7 nights 3 and 4-star hotels/pensions, all rooms en suite
* All transport (by private minivan) and listed activities
* Tour leader throughout. Group normally 4 to 16, plus leader. Min age 16 yrs
* Not suitable for vertigo sufferers
* Free arrival & departure transfers

What is not included in this tour?
  • Flights
  • Single Accommodation (available on request, inquire for supplement)

Highlights

  • Superb walking through Madeira’s botanical paradise
  • Flower-lined levadas with stunning coastal views
  • Mild year-round climate perfect for walking
  • Picturesque fishing villages and the historic town of Funchal

 

  1. Day 1 Start Machico.

    We start at our hotel in Machico which overlooks the beach of Machico Bay and is close to the picturesque historic fishing village.*Comfortable Hotel*

  2. Day 2 Walk along Ponta de Sao Lourenco, where rocks contrast with the blue of the ocean.

    Today we walk the classic route along the Ponta de Sao Lourenco. Although challenging, this path takes us through some fantastic scenery as we admire wallflowers, stalwarts and many other tiny plants that resist this windy environment and manage to grow in soils with high levels of salinity. Rocks, sculptured by nature, have a great diversity of colours ranging from black to red, and are in stark contrast to the blue of the ocean. Madeira’s Nature Park rangers watch over the plants and animals that belong to this eastern extremity of the island, around Casa do Sardinha. We return to Machico for the night.Walking time approx 3h30 (Elevation +170m, -270m)Total distance approx 8 km*Comfortable Hotel*

  3. Day 3 Spectacular walk along the north coast path to the fishing village of Porto da Cruz.

    This morning we will walk a scenic route along a cliff trail, up to the north coast. We set off along the little Levada do Caniçal, more modest and quieter than yesterday’s, then begin a gradual climb up to the crest of the cliffs at Boca do Risco where we enjoy some amazing views along the north coast and may even be able to see the nearby island of Porto Santo. We then head west along the coastal path, a spectacular route in many places cut right into the cliff. We finally descend to the small town of Porto da Cruz, once a bustling port but now a sleepy little town. Later, we transfer to Santana for the night.Walking time approx 4h30 (Elevation +200m, –350m)Total distance approx 12 km*Standard Hotel*

  4. Day 4 Transfer to Queimadas; walk along Levada do Caldeirao Verde to the remote village of Ilha.

    From Santana we take a short transfer (stopping to admire the famous thatched roof houses) to Queimadas natural park where we will walk along the Levada do Caldeirao Verde. We finish this walk at the isolated village of Ilha before returning to Santana for the night.Walking time approx 5h (Elevation +90m, –500m)Total distance approx 12 km*Standard Hotel*

  5. Day 5 Early departure for sunrise at Achada do Teixeira; ascend the island's highest mountain, Pico Ruivo; follow a stone staircase down to Encumeada.

    Today we make the most strenuous walk of the trip. Starting with an early departure to see the sunrise at Achada do Teixeira, we ascend the island’s highest mountain, Pico Ruivo (1862m). Our descent follows a spectacular ridge via Torrinhas Pass and over the saddle of Pico do Jorge to Encumeada. As we descend, bees buzz in ’Lily of the Valley’ trees and the smell of wild thyme fills the air. After a long day in the hills, we arrive via a long series of stone steps at Encumeada, where we will spend the night.Walking time approx 7h30 (Elevation +650m, –1200m)Total distance approx 16 km*Standard Hotel*

  6. Day 6 High level walk through beautiful chestnut and eucalyptus woods to Corticeiras; panoramic local bus ride to Funchal.

    We enjoy another fine high-level walk. From Encumeada we walk through woods of chestnut and eucalyptus and then traverse below the rocky escarpment of Pico Grande, enjoying fine views to the south and back to the west. Eventually, we come to a superb viewpoint overlooking the spectacularly situated village of Curral das Freiras and then descend to the village of Corticeiras. We get the bus to Funchal where there will be time for exploration of the town, a visit to the market or shopping if you wish. We overnight in Funchal.Total walking time 6h (Elevation +400m, –650m)*Comfortable Hotel*

  7. Day 7 Free day to visit the bustling 'Mercado dos Lavradores' (workers' market), Sé Cathedral or for wine tasting in Madeira's Wine Lodge.

    Our last day is free for you to explore Funchal, the Madeira archipelago’s capital. The city is easily explored on foot and the must-see sights include the Sé Cathedral which was built between 1493 and 1514, and the magnificent statue of the man who discovered Madeira, Joao Goncalves Zarco, on the Avenida Arriaga.*Comfortable Hotel*

  8. Day 8 End Funchal.

    The trip ends in Funchal.

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Where you stay

Hotels & Pensions

Throughout your trek you will stay in good quality hotels and sometimes in standard pensions with en suite facilities.

List of hotels normally used:

Machico: Hotel Dom Pedro

Santana: Hotel O Colmo

Encumeada / Serra de Agua: Estalagem Encumeada  or Pousada dos Vinhaticos

Funchal:  Hotel do Centro

Funchal:  Hotel do Centro or Hotel Windsor. *Please note that on the 9th May 2020, 16th May 2020, 19th and 26th December 2020 a different end hotel (5-star Quinta da Serra) will be used and this will be located approx. 16km from Funchal. A complimentary transfer to/from Funchal will be offered for those wishing to travel to Funchal for sightseeing.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts are included and usually consist of coffee/tea, fruit juice, rolls or bread, butter and jam, with the addition of cereal or cheese sometimes. Lunch (not included): normally bread or rolls, fresh salad, vegetables, cold meats or tinned fish, cheese and fresh fruit. The ingredients for lunch can often be bought at nearby shops and supermarkets, and prepared before walks. Evening meal (not included): normally a first course of soup or salad, a main course of meat or fish with vegetables and potatoes or rice, plus a dessert course. We regularly take our evening meal in our hotel, although there are other options. Madeirans eat a lot of meat and fish with rather plainly cooked vegetables. Vegetarians will normally find they get a balanced diet if they are prepared to be flexible.

This trip consists of 5 daywalks and 1 free day. The walks are either fairly easy medium-duration walks or harder, shorter walks and reasonable fitness is required. The paths we use are generally flat and well maintained but some of the routes cross rougher terrain with longer ascents and descents. Some of the paths are quite narrow and stony underfoot and require walking in single file. On several occasions where the path becomes narrow and has a steep drop to one side, walkers need a head for heights. Handrails sometimes protect these sections, but we do not recommend this holiday for vertigo sufferers. A few of the levada paths enter short tunnels through the rock but these are easily navigated with the aid of a torch. Should you decide not to walk on certain days, there is the possibility of getting a lift with the support vehicle. Altitude maximum 1,862m; average 750m.

Overall Rating
5/5
Reviewed On 25/06/2020
4/5

walking in Madeira

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    top of the highest mountain on Madeira - group photo!
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    absolutely excellent - very informative, funny and mostly encouraging.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    get blisterplaster and get fit, fit, fit!!!!!!!!
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    will definitely do another tour with Exodus - maybe an easy one though.

Reviewed On 25/06/2020
4/5

Walkers delight

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Getting up early in time to see the sunrise high up above the clouds, then climbing to the top of Pico Ruivo..and reaching the bar for a large beer after the long descent!
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Andre was very good. He was well organised and very sociable with a good sense of humour. He kept an eye on the whole group whilst letting us go at our own pace. He gave a lot of information about the mountains, levadas, birds and flowers. He also gave us an interesting tour of Funchal on the last morning .
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    There are lots of narrow paths on the sides of hills, lots of climbs and descents, but the effort is well worth it for the great views. Do go up in the cable car to the Monte Tropical Gardens in Funchal.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Don't expect fine dining, but the wine is very good! Some of the hotels were quite cold in the evenings.

Reviewed On 25/06/2020
5/5

Madeira Walking trip

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Great sense of achievement getting to the top of the high mountains after a tough climb up all those steps, & seeing the mountains & valleys all around, drifting in & out of the mist
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Andre was well-organised, friendly & informative. To our shame, we didn't always follow his directions too well but we all got there in the end & had a lot of fun along the way!
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take clothing for hot,cold & wet conditions- we experienced every extreme of weather during our week at the end of October. To get the most from this holiday you need to be fit for a couple of days of steep climbs & descents, & walking for 6 or 7 hours

Reviewed On 25/06/2020
5/5

Beautiful Madeira

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Days 4 and 5 were challenging but well worth it for the sense of achievement and magnificent views. Reaching the highest point on Madeira and being above the clouds was definitely a highlight as well.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Andre was brilliant! He had a great sense of humour, made sure every one in the group was safe and got the most out of their trip and imparted his passion for his home island on all of us.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Walking poles are a good idea (though not essential). Bring a good sun hat, plenty of sun cream and a good camera to capture some of the scenery.

Reviewed On 25/06/2020
5/5

Madiera Walking Holiday

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I cannot pick out a precise moment, but the day walking along the cliff edge was the best.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Great sense of humour, knowledgeable without being overbearing.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bring an extra layer or two as contingency, it was a bit colder than I expected.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Visit the Blandy's winery in Funchal. Really enjoyed it.

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