Walking in Madeira

8 days
from
1,045 CAD
Loading...
Traveller ratings
4.3 / 5 from 44 reviews >
Moderate
Learn more
Trip code: 
TSD
Way to Travel:
Guided Group Adventure Holidays
Activity:
Walking & Trekking Holidays
Min age:
16
Group size:
4–16

Explore the verdant landscapes and coastal views of Portugal's largest island

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.

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 historic town of Funchal

Key information

  • 7 nights 3 and 4-star hotels/pensions, all rooms en suite
  • 5 days point-to-point walking; 1 free day
  • Group normally 4 to 16, plus leader. Min age 16 yrs
  • Altitude maximum 1862m, average 750m
  • Not suitable for vertigo sufferers
  • Transport by private minivan

What's included

  • All breakfasts
  • All accommodation 
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • Free arrival & departure transfers 

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request) 
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call us on
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

5

Pace:

Moderate: 5-6km/3-4miles an hour

Terrain:

Low altitude; some rough terrain - good paths with some steep ascents

Day by day breakdown
Day 28.0km/4.0miles
Day 312.0km/7.0miles
Day 412.0km/7.0miles
Day 516.0km/9.0miles
Day 612.0km/7.0miles

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

Machico
to
Funchal
  • Day 1

    Start Machico.

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

  • 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

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • 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. Transfer to Santana for the night.

    Walking time approx 4h30 (Elevation +200m, – 350m)

    Total distance approx 12 km
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • 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

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • 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 at Encumeada, where we will spend the night, via a long series of stone steps.

    Walking time approx 7h30(Elevation +650m, – 1.200m)

    Total distance approx 16 km
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • 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. Bus to Funchal. and there will be time for exploration of the town, a visit to the market or shopping if you wish. Overnight in Funchal.

    Total walking time 6h (Elevation +400m, – 650m)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • 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 are 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

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    End Funchal.

    Trip ends in Funchal.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Portugal

No visa required for British passport holders.

Vaccinations

Portugal

There are no specific health risks.

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.

Weather

The climate in Madeira is similar to that found around the Mediterranean and is renowned for its year round mildness however there is always the possibility of inclement weather. In May, April, June, October and November, temperatures are pleasant and some rainfall is to be expected. From July to September, daytime is a little warmer and it is typically dry with an average of seven to eight hours of sunshine a day, but the odd shower is still possible. Winter months are generally wetter, particularly at high levels with rain falling between periods of fine, settled weather (so waterproofs are essential). Please note that we may be forced to amend the itinerary depending on local weather conditions.

Is this trip for you?

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.

Call us on
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

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 Baia          

Santana: Hotel O Colmo              

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

Funchal: Hotel do Carmo   or Hotel do Centro                       

 

Call us on
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed June 2017
    Eunice Poole

    Walking in Madeira

    I really enjoyed this trip. I have had other exodus walking holidays but this was the first one on my own since I lost my husband. I need not have worried as the people in the group were friendly and welcoming. The views were amazing and a abundants of wild flowers.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I think the whole trip was great and so very difficult to pick out spercific moments just the amazing views of the mountains and coastline.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader was Andre who was fantastic. He was always smiling and his love of his island and knowledge of the flowers, mountains and history was very infectious. Andre made sure we were all safe and enjoying the walks from the fast walkers to the slow and always stopped at the end for a welcoming cold beer! He even gave up his day off on our free day to show us around Funchal

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I was a bit older than the rest of the group, being 73 and did find the very rocky descents a bit difficult at times but if I can manage it anyone can

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I don't think so, just that as usual exodus gave me a very organised and enjoyable trip
  • Reviewed May 2017
    Joanne Elmer

    Perfect Adventure

    Perfect walking holiday in Madeira. This was my first walking holiday, first group holiday and first loan trip. I wouldn't have changed anything. Andrej, our guide was fantastic. He showed of the island with 5 different walks that showed of everything Madeira has to offer.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Difficult as was all so good. At one point I said "Every time we turn a corner there is another beautiful view which was completely different and awe inspiring".

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Fantastic. Knowledgeable and enthusiastic about his island and all it has to offer. Made everyone feel comfortable and created a good team atmosphere.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Lots of stone steps. Need strong knees and lots of energy!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Organise another Madeira trip to explore other more challenging areas of the island. I would love to go back and see more.
  • Reviewed May 2017
    Juliusz Chroscicki

    Great walks, beautiful island

    It was my first walking trip with Exodus so I was not sure how easy or difficult the walks would be for me based on the moderate rating. It turned out I managed just fine. As usual with Exodus trips everything was very well organised, hotels were clean and comfortable, food was good and plenty and the company delightful

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Even though very walk could be the highlight of the trip, if I were to select one, it would be the middle part of the Porto Cruz walk on day 2, a traverse of a mountain face dropping towards the ocean. I think the day 4 could have been the top pick if it were not for the weather. We did not see much that day as we walked mostly in a cloud and fog but that is something we have to accept when hiking in the mountains.And it was still a good day

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Andre is a pure delight. From the first moment he picked me up at the airport I knew he enjoys his jobs and takes pride of his island. He readily shared his vast knowledge of Madeira. He liked to joke but he also made sure that we were always safe and comfortable.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Trekking poles helped me a lot, especially during the descents on day 4.
  • Reviewed February 2017
    Paul Mcgovern

    Exhilarating walks

    The walks in Madeira were nothing short of exhilarating. Andre our group leader was knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and fun to be with. We had a laugh.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The porto Da Cruz walk was the most memorable of all walks from my 6 Exodus trips. Exhilarating, scary, and magnificent.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    I would give Andre 5/5 for knowledge, enthusiasm and personal attention.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    They say on trip notes that this trip is not suitable for vertigo sufferers. They are correct.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Great walking with fantastic leader.
  • Reviewed January 2017
    Juliette Webb

    Madeira

    A great island for walking - people and walking relaxed and friendly.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking in the mountains on day 4, amazing views.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The Guide was fantastic, really made the trip - he had a passion for his island and dealt well with the individuals in the group.
  • Reviewed November 2016
    Nicola Handcock

    Walking in Madeira

    A week of fabulous walks in mountainous terrain, with a well earned free day at the end of the trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Climbing to the highest peak on the island, in beautiful clear weather, and seeing Madeira falling away to the distant sea beneath us.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Great fun and very much a part of the group. He was able to change plans for us when the weather on the first day was so stormy that the scheduled walk had to be abandoned, and you have never seen anyone be on the scene so quickly whenever anyone slipped on the path. He was a big part of the holiday.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do take walking poles - while the uphills are steep and tougher than expected, the downs are far more treacherous and seem to go on forever! It rains a lot in Madeira!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This was a challenging holiday in terms of the walking, but I think everyone pushed themselves to their limits and was very pleased to have done so.
  • Reviewed April 2016
    David Williams

    Madiera Walking Holiday

    I really enjoyed the week's holiday I booked in Madeira through Exodus. The walks where perfect for me, not too demanding and not too tough. The scenery was stunning, the guide was knowledgeable and always had a very good sense of humour. The other people on the holiday were great company. The hotels were well chosen, the food was great. Everything was arranged very well indeed. The one disappointment was the weather, it was unseasonably cold. One word of advice, if you suffer from vertigo think twice before going on this 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.
  • Reviewed November 2015
    Juliet Nicolson

    Madeira Walking trip

    Every day was very different- mountains, seascapes & levada walks, with plenty of culture, nature & history too

    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 June 2015
    Alex Burgess

    Beautiful Madeira

    This was a fantastic trip full of scenic variety, stunning views and lots of flora.

    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 June 2015
    Gill Rutherford

    Madeira

    A most enjoyable holiday...walks, food and the group were great.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    All the walks in their variety were inspirational. The flowers and fauna in the higher walks were amazing...a luscious island.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Andre was terrific...passionate about his country, knowledgable, caring and expert. He always had the best interests of the group at heart and took every precaution to look after our safety. It was his love for the outdoors, the flowers and fauna that was inspirational.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Just go and enjoy it. It's a beautiful island.

Dates & Prices

Private Adventures 

Not found the date you’re looking for? We can organise this itinerary as a Private Adventure – just click on the tab above the list of dates and prices, let us know your preferred dates of travel and how many people are travelling, and we’ll do the rest!

Trips you might also like

Call us on 1 800 267 3347