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Duration
8 days
Activities
  • self guided walk
Accommodation
  • 4 nights in pensions and guesthouses
  • 3 nights in 4 star hotels
Meals
  • 3 Dinners
  • 7 Breakfasts

Price

$1290USD

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Overview

Trip Code: JIM

Trip highlights


  • Mild temperatures & year-round walking opportunities, even in the heart of winter
  • Walk along Madeira's unique ‘levadas’ system – the only place in the world
  • Treat yourself to a mix of 4-star and smaller traditional properties in beautiful surroundings
  • Take in the dramatic mountains, deep valleys and rugged Atlantic coastline
  • Summit Pico Ruivo (1862m) - Madeira's highest peak
  • Admire the exotic and tropical flora
  • Choice in walks on several days

Our team have devised a walking itinerary that exemplifies the best that Madeira has to offer. Traverse the terraced hillsides and follow local trails and ‘levadas’ through the peaceful, idyllic countryside and ultimately reach the island’s highest peak (Pico Ruivo, 1862 metres). Stay at a mix of 4-star and smaller traditional properties in beautiful surroundings and learn more about the island through our detailed route notes.

Closer to Africa than Europe, the Portuguese island of Madeira is blessed with a mild and equable climate all year round. Volcanic in origin, Madeira’s rugged interior rises abruptly to over 1800 metres, with forests of fragrant pine, eucalyptus and laurel flanking its jagged peaks. You will find colourful flowers and trees in bloom at all times of the year but the island is ideal for a walking holiday for another reason: its elaborate network of ‘levadas’ (irrigation channels), which wind their way across gullies and steep slopes to more than 2000km/1250 miles of channels and over 40km/25 miles of tunnels.

*An extra day is recommended in the bustling little capital of Funchal so that you will have time to visit a Madeira wine lodge, explore the colourful markets and the famous botanical gardens, enjoy the superb fish restaurants or spend more time at the picturesque Monte neighbourhood. Another extra day can be requested in Santana where you can enjoy a beautiful levada walk.

Trip Grading

moderate

More info about grading system

Traveller Rating

 

On arrival at Funchal airport, a short taxi transfer is included to Machico on the east coast. Machico was the landing point when the island was discovered. This peculiar corner of the island boasts the oldest church, the 'Capela dos Milagres', and two forts still bear witness of the locals’ defence against the many pirate attacks on the village. Accommodation: Stay two nights at one of two small ‘residencial’ (pension). All rooms have private facilities. The pensions have their own restaurant, where you can enjoy the evening meals. There are also good other places to eat.

Meals:  Nil

After breakfast you have a choice of walks. Both walks can be extended by 4.4km, 1.5 hours and over 300 metres of ascent by walking from Machico up to the viewpoint of Pico de Facho (322m) and then down to the start of the levada (irrigation channel) by the Canical Tunnel. Option 1: Taxi or walk to the start of the Levada de Canical. You can follow this to its source near Ribeira de Machico above the village of Marocos. This levada was built in relatively recent times and is easy to follow. From Ribeira de Machico transfer (included in tour price) by road back to Machico. Option 2: A longer, more challenging alternative. This is for walkers with a head for heights and in reasonable weather without high winds. Taxi or walk to the start of the Levada de Canical, which you will soon leave to Climb to the Boca de Risco pass (300m). From there a cliff hugging coastal path takes you along the wildest stretch of coastline in Madeira, round the Espigao Amarelo, an exposed path with large drop below and down to Larano (200m). From Larano walk down road to Porto da Cruz and transfer by road (included in tour price) back to Machico.

Meals:  B

A circular coastal walk around the Sao Lourenco peninsula, on the eastern point of Madeira island. This is different to any other walk during your week in Madeira, taking a trek through the volcanic remains, which are now a nature reserve. There are spectacular cliff views and wonderful flowers. Accommodation: Overnight in Santo da Serra, a village situated on a broad ridge at 650m above sea level. Two nights in a 4-star boutique hotel, located 400m from the village centre. All 21 rooms have en-suite facilities, TV and phone. The hotel has its own restaurant. There is a heated indoor pool, a spa and a small fitness room. The hotel also has an attractive large garden. *Today's walk includes transfers to the start and from the end.

Meals:  B,D

Transfer to Monte (included), at 550m high in the hills above Funchal. You have time to visit the tropical gardens and palace, and even take the wicker sledge ride down the road a couple of km. However, today's walk is one of those Madieran classics, starting at the top station of the cable car that comes up from Funchal. This is at the northeast corner of the Tropical Garden. You will follow the Levada dos Tornos and then climb up the hillside to follow the Levada da Serra. This levada contours at a higher level (about 750m) around the head of the ‘Valley of Paradise’. You reach Camacha (700m), from where you will be transferred back to Santo da Serra.

Meals:  B,D

Today you follow the Levada do Furado up into the wild, forested hills of the Madeira Natural Park. With magnificent views at a number of points, the levada threads its way along the hillsides covered with Laurisilva vegetation and the water is very pure. Today’s levada is a whole lot more dramatic and challenging than anything on the previous walks; with narrower paths and uneven going underfoot. At Ribeiro Frio (Cold Stream, 850m above the sea) you are met and transferred to Santana, a village set, 400m/1300 feet above the north coast (transfer included in tour price). Overnight in Santana. This village, perched on a shelf high above the north coast, is known for its traditional architecture. Accommodation: Stay in the centre of the village at a 4-star pension. Rooms have hair dryer, cable TV, digital phone, air conditioning, double-glazing and balcony, with views over the fields and countryside. General facilities include a small indoor pool, sauna etc. The hotel has a popular restaurant and offers traditional island fayre. *Request with us an extra day & night in Santana in order to walk the levada from Queimadas to Ilha via Caldeirao Verde, another beautiful walk!

Meals:  B

Time to head up into the high mountains for a spectacular walk along the highest ridge in the centre of the island. The walk starts with a road transfer (included) up to Achado do Teixeira (1592m), from where it is about an hours walk up to the summit of Pico Ruivo (1862m), the highest summit in Madeira. From there you can continue along a high ridge, which forms the backbone of the island, with fabulous views either side (weather permitting). This is a strenuous but very rewarding walk and the hardest day of this tour. There are more ‘downs’ than ‘ups’ and you eventually descend to Encumeada (1007m), a high road pass and cafe. From here it is a short road walk down below the pass to your hotel. Accommodation: Our 3 star pension is a welcoming destination after a long day in the hills. All rooms have en-suite facilities, balcony with mountain or valley views, TV, and phone. The public lounge has a fireplace. The restaurant and bar are in traditional rustic style. There is an outside drinks terrace. The natural setting of the hotel among the forest and peaks is quite outstanding. *Today's route does need reasonable weather conditions. If the weather outlook is poor or the path is closed you can ride with your baggage from Santana to Encumeada for an alternative walk, to Ginjas (13 km/8 miles, 3.5 h bus or taxi back to Encumeada not included).

Meals:  B,D

Today, you have a choice of two walking routes heading towards the sea. Option 1: Starting from a roadside stop at Lombo do Mouro, follow a quiet descending levada, which soon drops along a ridge and then follows some steep lanes through terraces ending in the coastal town of Ribeira Brava. At Ribeira you take a roughly hourly public bus to Funchal. Option 2: The higher route is often closed but provides a more challenging route with spectacular views when the path is safe and the weather is good. The route goes via Fenda do Ferreiro (1100m) and Boca do Cerro pass (1250m) to Corticeiras. From there you take an afternoon public bus to Funchal where you overnight. Accommodation: We use a 4-star hotel which is located from the centre of Funchal. The hotel has fully equipped rooms, with TV. It also has a good restaurant, swimming pools, a small fitness room, etc.

Meals:  B

After breakfast, a transfer to the airport is included in your trip price and takes approx. 30 minutes.

Meals:  B


Inclusions

  • 7 breakfasts, 3 dinners
  • 4 nights accommodation in pensions & guesthouses & 3 nights in 4 star hotels on a twin share basis with ensuite facilities
  • Transfer from Funchal airport to first accommodation and from last accommodation back to Funchal airport.
  • Luggage transfer
  • Vehicle transfers day 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6
  • Information pack including route notes, GPX files & maps
  • Emergency hotline

  • 4 dinners, all lunches & beverages
  • Entrance fees
  • Travel insurance
  • Travel to Funchal (and back at the end of the tour)
  • Personal expenses such as laundry and phone calls
  • Unscheduled transfers required during the trip

Grading

moderate  

We grade the tour as 'Moderate' (grade 3). We do not recommend this trip if you suffer from vertigo or balance issues. As far as fitness goes the walks should present no difficulties for anyone in reasonable condition and accustomed to walking in hilly areas. When walking in the high mountains you may encounter mist (low cloud) and it is necessary for those days to be experienced with compass and map. Short sections of some walks may be loose and slippery underfoot and a head for heights is an advantage on quite a few occasions. On any day you can if you prefer opt out of the walking and travel with the baggage. Day Stages: 9-17km per day, with ascents of up to 800m, descents of up to 1000m. 3.5 to 7 hours walking per day.


Departure dates

Daily

Notes

DN1
If trails are closed for maintenance alternative walks will be supplied

Want to organise a private group?

Fundraising events, sporting groups, family treats; learn how you can organise a Private Group from just 6 travellers.

Total Priceper person from

$1290USD

Options & Supplements*
  • single supplementUSD$200
  • Solo travellerUSD$560
*Prices listed are per person

Trip reviews


Why travel with us

Making Europe Affordable

We offer different levels of accommodation and comfort so that even the most budget conscious can treat themselves to active holidays on Europe's most celebrated tracks and trails. Our trips are great value for money because you only pay for what you want.  

Self-Guided Specialists

Our wide range of self-guided itineraries embody the UTracks philosophy of exploring Europe your way. We handle the logistics so all that's left for you to do is enjoy exploring Europe at your own pace. Most depart daily with a minimum of two people, meaning maximum flexibility.

Our Wide Range

With close to 400 trips in almost 50 countries, including the largest range of bike & boat holidays in Europe, we're confident that we can organise an Alps walk, Camino de Santiago or Via Francigena experience, Food Lovers' trip or a tour in a lesser-known pocket of Europe that you will love. 

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Madeira As Never Seen Before
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