coastal escape

Walking in Madeira Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Guided Group
Destinations:
Portugal
Programmes:
Walking & Trekking
Trip Code:
TSD
Activity Rating - Moderate
Moderate

You are moderately fit and possess a spirit of adventure. Some previous experience is required for most activity based trips.

8 Days Flight Inclusive
8 Days Land only
Min age: 16

Trip Overview

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.

At a Glance

  • 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 and public bus

Trip 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

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. Altitude maximum 1,862m; average 750m.

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Adult min age:
16
Min group size:
4
Max group size:
16

Itinerary

Land Only

Start City:
Machico or Santa Cruz
End City:
Funchal

Land Only Itinerary

  • 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.
    *Please note that all groups travelling in January and February 2020 will stay at Santa Cruz Village 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
    Distance covered: 8 km / 4 miles
  • 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

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 12 km / 7 miles
  • 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
    Distance covered: 12 km / 7 miles
  • 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

    Distance covered: 16 km / 9 miles
  • 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

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 12 km / 7 miles
  • 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

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 8

    End Funchal.

    The trip ends in Funchal.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast

Please note: it is possible that the order of the itinerary listed above will be changed to ensure the best possible conditions for each activity during the trip. All listed activities and services will be included. Your leader will inform you of any changes locally after assessing conditions.

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. *Please note that all groups travelling in January and February 2020 will stay at Santa Cruz Village Hotel.

Santana: Hotel O Colmo              

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

Funchal:  Hotel do Centro or Hotel Windsor. *Please note that on the 21st December 2019, 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.

 

Where a single supplement is available, paying for a single will only guarantee a room for single use. It does not necessarily mean a twin or double room will be provided for sole occupancy.

Please note that a member of the group may be allocated a single room by default if the make-up of the group means there isn’t anyone for them to share with. Paying the supplement in advance is the only way to guarantee a single room.

Single supplements cannot be refunded retrospectively.

Single supplement from £200.00

Food & Transport

Eating & 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.

Transportation

Transport from and to the airport is by taxi or minibus and is included. Other transport mentioned in the itinerary as an integral part of the guided walks is also included, as is the transfer of luggage between hotels. Transport on optional excursions, or where you have voluntarily curtailed a group walk are not included.

Weather & Seasonality

Weather Information

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.

Weather Charts

Joining Instructions

Travelling flight inclusive from London: 8 days

The group flight from London is a daytime flight departing on Day 1 of the itinerary.

Flights from London

We normally use the scheduled services of British Airways (depending on availability). As flight timings and schedules change regularly we recommend you call one of our specialist sales staff or your agent to confirm up‐to‐date timings. Please note timings may change at a later date and cannot be confirmed until approximately two weeks before departure.

Travelling land only: 8 days starting in Machico and ending in Funchal

Your trip normally starts at our accommodation in Machico in the afternoon of Day 1 of the itinerary. Details of how to reach the start point are provided in the Final Joining Instructions ‐ sent approximately two weeks before departure.

Regional Flights

The Flight Inclusive price is based on a London departure, but we are happy to tailor this to your local or regional airport. Please ask about flights from local or regional airports.

If booking regional flights other than with Exodus, you must allow a minimum connecting time (in addition to the international check-in time) of 1 hour at Gatwick, and 1.5 hours at Heathrow; this is longer than the official minimum, but baggage handling is known to be subject to delays.

Free Transfers

Exodus offers FREE airport arrival and departure transfers on any flight for this trip, for both Land Only and Flight Inclusive clients. Unless specified otherwise, the transfer will be to the Exodus start (or pre-tour) hotel and from the end (or post-tour) hotel, and will be on the date on which the tour starts/ends; transfers to other hotels in the same city and/or on different dates may attract an extra charge. Transfers may be shared with other Exodus customers on the same flight, or on a flight with similar arrival times. All those taking advantage of the free airport transfers must provide full flight details for both arrival and departure in advance. 

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Location start:
Machico
Location end:
Funchal

What to Take

Essential Equipment

Good quality waterproof/windproof jacket and over-trousers

Lightweight walking boots (waterproof with good ankle support)

Warm jacket or sweater

Woolly hat and gloves

Water bottle

Sunhat and suncream

Swimwear and towel for pools and beach use

Torch for walking along the tunnels

Daypack (approx 25 litres should suffice) to carry your belongings on walks

Optional Equipment

Trekking poles

Reading List

Secretaria Regional do Turismo e Cultura of Madeira produce a map at a scale of 1:100,000, showing many of the levada paths that we will be following (on the reverse side is a map of Funchal). This is available free from the tourist office in Funchal. A useful road map at a scale of 1:75,000 can be bought for around £2 (US$3.2) from most tourist shops around the island, produced by Distri Cultural, Kummerley & Frey, printed in Switzerland.

Practical Information

Passport

Portugal

All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information offered below is to help you with that process. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Certain European nationalities may be able to travel within Europe on their national identity card. Check carefully with the relevant authorities if you intend to do this.

Visa

Portugal

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

Vaccination

Portugal

There are no specific health risks.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

Dengue fever and/or Chikungunya are known risks in places visited on this trip. Both are tropical viral diseases spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for either, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

The above information can change at short notice; as we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. Please note: vaccinations that are routinely recommended to residents of the UK, North America or Australasia are not considered to form part of the travel health advice, and you should ensure these are kept up to date where necessary.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

If you are a UK citizen and travelling in Europe you should obtain the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) from your Post Office. This gives you medical care at a reduced cost, and some cases for free, in many European countries, but should not be considered a substitute for adequate insurance.

Local Time

Portugal's Timezone:
Europe/Lisbon WET (GMT +00:00)

Electricity

Portugal's Electricity:

European 2-pin plug. 

Money

Portugal's Currency

The national currency of Portugal is the Euro (EUR), with an exchange rate at the time of publication of approximately 1.2 to the UK£ and 0.9 to the US$.

Exchange rates are correct at the time of publication.

ATM Availability

Cash machines are available in Funchal and other towns.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

Allow €12-18 for lunch or dinner (taken in restaurants), excluding alcoholic beverages. You will also need some extra cash for drinks or ice creams in cafés or bars during the day walks or in the hotel bar in the evening. Typically a beer or coffee will cost around €1.5 and a reasonable bottle of wine at dinner about €12.

Tipping

Our local staff are paid well and fairly for their work with Exodus. Most of our clients wish to give a tip to their guides in appreciation of their help and friendliness. This, of course, is in no way compulsory and depends on the service received. For this trip we recommend between €15 and €20 per person for the leader.

coastal escape

Responsible Tourism

Tourism can be a real help to local communities, providing income, positive cultural exchanges and a financial incentive to protect their natural environment. Ours is a 'total approach' to responsible tourism, covering everything from the way we plan and operate our trips to the practices of Exodus as a company. 

On this trip, we stay in a range of hotels and simple pensions that employs local staff and uses local produce for the meals they provide. Several stops at villages and towns on our route are quite rural and the locals there depend heavily on tourism as a means of income hence, our visit will greatly benefit them. As a walking holiday, we actively encourage clients to interact with the locals, visit local cafes and bars, support local produce and craft and to experience what life is really like in Madeira. Additionally, walking trips like this have very little detrimental impact on the environment and the locals as it is a quiet, low impact activity requiring comparatively little resources to support.

In March 2019, Exodus Travels launched the Exodus Travels Foundation where we support initiatives all around the world. But it cannot exist without travellers who care. Get involved or learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus here

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 14 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.

On all trips

In booking this trip you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

In an emergency, please contact our 24 hour out of hours service on +44 (0) 844 326 7041.

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

TRAVEL AWARE – STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

How to Book

1. Check availability

Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.

2. Secure your place

You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.

3. Complete your booking and payment

When you're ready to book, go to www.exodus.co.uk for online booking, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque. Book with confidence: Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582 issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA ‐ The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.

TRIP NOTE VALIDITY

These Trip Notes are valid from the "Current as" date on page one. They will occasionally be updated post booking and pre-departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary bookers will be written to separately. All customers will also receive a link to the most up-to-date version of the Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions pre-travel.