Join me in Madeira!
The island of Madeira is just 35 miles long and 13 miles wide but thanks to its location and mountainous interior it has a fabulously balmy year round climate.
One of the island’s greatest attractions, apart from the glorious weather, is the spectacular landscape which is rich in flora and fauna and classed by UNESCO as a World Natural Heritage site. Madeira is an oasis of green within the Atlantic Ocean. This lush island with its permanent spring-like climate, is diverse and fascinating. This is a destination to explore and it’s dramatic natural scenery, towering mountains and tropical forests make it a hikers paradise with trails that suit all levels of hiking.
Madeira has her famous Levadas; small irrigation canals that spread out across the island with footpaths running alongside them which are perfect walking paths. Working with a local guide, I’ve put together an fascinating itinerary that offers a full week of discovery for 6 keen walkers who wish to join me!
You’ll have your own ensuite studio bedroom at one of the islands 4* hotels with large lush gardens and swimming pool overlooking the sea. We’ll enjoy a full and excellent buffet breakfast each day before setting off on our adventures. The holiday includes private airport transfers, the services of a local Madeiran hiking guide to lead us through some of the most spectacular hikes on the island. Transport and tours to and from all walks and activities each day including several iconic island walks.
And, as flights go via Lisbon why not extend your holiday with a visit to one of my favourite cities?
This 10 day winter sunshine holiday will include :
9 nights accommodation in a 4* hotel with private ensuite bedrooms (with small kitchenette area)
Fabulous breakfast each day, 3 lunches and 3 dinners
All transport once on the island incl. airport transfers
Bespoke itinerary, fully escorted each day with private island guide
Island tour or walk each day
A small group of 6 travellers
DAY 1 Arrive in Funchal Airport
Airport transfers and dinner included.
You’ll be met at the airport and taken to our hotel. After settling into your room we’ll come together at one of the many hotel bars or terraces in our beautiful Madeiran home and meet our fellow adventurers in Madeira.
This evening we’ll wander into Funchal for dinner at one of the more popular bistros and get our first glimpse of Funchal by night.
DAY 2 Gentle Walk
Breakfast and afternoon tour included.
We have a lazy morning at home with no need to rush. A fabulous buffet breakfast is always served in the hotel. Once eaten you can relax and become familiar with your surroundings. After lunch our tour guide will arrive and transport us to one of the islands beautiful Levadas for a gentle introduction to walking on the beautiful island.
DAY 3 Walk to the Roof of Madeira | Vereda do Pico Ruivo
Breakfast and full day tour included.
This morning we’ll walk to the highest summit of the island, Pico Ruivo. We have chosen the most gentle of these mountains trails so it will be suitable for all walkers. For those who want a more gentle walk you can stop partway, for the more adventurous there is an option to extend on a more strenuous path with the second guide. Today is majestic but not difficult. Our guide will collect us from our hotel and drive us to the start point and also accompany us during the walk. We’ll return to the hotel in the late afternoon where you can choose to meet your fellow walkers or simply enjoy a quiet evening in the hotel.
DAY 4 Nuns Valley and Walking the Levadas
Breakfast, lunch and full day tour included.
We have a fabulous day in store with a guided island tour in a 4 x 4 Land Rover discovery! We’ll drive to the centre of Madeira where dramatic, cloud-topped mountains descend into verdant lush valleys. We’ll head to the beautiful Nuns Valley, which was either formed by erosion (the more recent theory) or as many still believe, by volcanic activity. There will be plenty of opportunities for photo stops during our travels as we journey down to the Curral da Freiras, enjoying lush countryside, forests and quaint Madeiran houses; we’ll have a lunch stop at a typical local restaurant.
We’ll be driven back to the hotel in the later afternoon where we are free to fill our evening with the group or just relaxing at home.
DAY 5 The Fabulous Vereda da Ponta de Sao Lourenco
Breakfast, lunch and tour included
Today we’ll find some of the finest cliff views on Madeira, exploring the long peninsula at the eastern end of the island. The paths are good albeit just a little undulating, but this walk is suitable for all.
Our guide will collect us early and accompany us for the duration of the trail. After our walk we’ll stop at a local seaside restaurant for lunch before heading back to our hotel with the remainder of the afternoon and evening at leisure.
DAY 6 Madeira Sunrise Tour and Funchal at Night
Dinner and tour included.
This is a special trip. There is a certain feeling about being up before the world and experiencing the marvels of nature uninterrupted. The number one sunrise spot is Pico do Areiro, the third-highest peak on the island. Very often, above the clouds, the colours are absolutely extraordinary. Sadly perfect weather conditions can’t be guaranteed but our tour guide will always have a back-up plan for us. This is a driving tour and we’ll be back at the hotel by lunchtime and have the afternoon at leisure.
This evening we’ll meet our tour guide at our hotel and take a walking tour of Funchal at night. There may well be some tasting of the famous Madeira wine and we’ll enjoy dinner in a popular Funchal Restaurant.
DAY 7 Walking Tour of Funchal and Botanical Gardens
Breakfast, Lunch, tickets and tour included
Today we’ll take a different kind of tour. After a leisurely breakfast we’ll wander into Funchal to meet our guide for the day. We’ll discover the municipal gardens, the Cathedral, the oldest bookstore of Madeira, the oldest convent, and some of the defenses of Funchal. We may even have chance to visit to a biscuit factory, where there is the possibility to taste some local sweets! We’ll have lunch together in a local bistro and in the afternoon we‘ll visit the Monte Palace Botanical Gardens, via the amazing city cable car.
DAY 8 Levada do Moinho in Porto Moniz
Breakfast and full day tour included
Today’s walk is a little different, we’ll move away from the coast and focus largely on the island’s endemic forest; it’s very different our previous walks. We’ll travel out to the North West of the island covering more ground and being just a little more adventurous. There are many water springs and water features flowing out of the interesting rock formations as well as dense vegetation that is often very green; many feel it’s pretty mystical with many ferns and laurel trees. This is a reasonably flat walk, and a great way to experience the forest, flora and fauna and the water canals, without the stress of the large crowds. As on our other walks we’ll be accompanied by a qualified mountain guide.
DAY 9 Madeira Sunset Tour and Dinner In Funchal
Breakfast, dinner and tour included
We’ll have a leisurely day at the hotel, maybe a sleep in and a late breakfast before some time beside the pool. Our tour today seems the most appropriate for our last day. We’ll leave in the afternoon and return to the high peaks for a stunning sunset tour. This is a fantastic opportunity to explore the mountains without the big crowds from tour groups. The peak comes alive at dusk. The colours are like something of a dream, and even the air is different. Watching the sunset above the clouds is a truly unique experience!
On our way back down into the city, we will stop at a viewpoint to see Funchal by night, with all the lights and the moon shining on the ocean. And to end our evening we’ll stop off for dinner at one of Funchal’s most popular dinner spots to toast the end of our fabulous Madeiran adventure.
DAY 10 Goodbyes
Breakfast and Airport transfer included
Sadly we’ll be waving au revoir today but not until we’ve savoured one last breakfast together. Transport will be arranged for your journey back to the airport.
Walking is a physically active sport. You should seek advice from your doctor before embarking on any kind of new adventure, however if you are in good health and you train well then this adventure is a must.
You should have full and adequate travel and health insurance before you start.
You should have read and understood and accepted our terms and conditions before reserving your holiday.
Our hotel is a 4* Island hotel. There are 6 places offered on this tour. You will have your own private ensuite bedroom and small kitchenette area. The rooms are perfect for one or two people sharing.
Our group will be 8 people, with 2 guides including myself.
When meals are included it is shown in the description.
You should allow for any additional food and drink as required throughout the day.
Transfers to and from Madeira airport is included but travel to the island is not.
What our guests say:
When I tentatively contacted Colleen to ask if I might join her Camino Taster, I was 71 and two months on from a serious stomach operation, so didn’t imagine that I presented a promising candidate for such a rigorous workout. However, to my surprise, Colleen immediately made space for me, did all the organisational heavy lifting and, three months later, I made the walk from Pamplona to Logrono and had a ball. If you want to walk the Camino, but are unsure how to go about it, Colleen will be your companion, your mentor and your friend. And some of her extensive knowledge will, inevitably, rub off on you! Jim (2019)