Botanical Gardens
Botanical Gardens

Gardens of Madeira

8 days From £1,395

7 October 2019

Set in a bright blue sea, some 400 miles off the coast of Africa, lies the lush, volcanic Portuguese island of Madeira. Just 36 miles long and 14 miles wide, it is an island of outstanding natural beauty. Its delightful warm climate makes Madeira a sub-tropical paradise where the vegetation is verdant and rich. It would not be easy to find a more beautiful spot for a relaxing holiday. It is not surprising that Madeira has long been popular with the British. Its climate of warm summers and winters is just right and over the years it has become an ideal holiday destination for those seeking peace and relaxation and, as you would expect with a benevolent sub-tropical climate, the island has a remarkable variety of vegetation, fruit and flowers. Every inch of Madeira’s workable land is terraced and cultivated, some fields are so steep you would think they were planted by steeplejacks, rather than farmers.

Much of the island is assigned as a conservation area where rare flowers cover the island like a green mantle. Orchids, bougainvillaea, lilies, hydrangeas, magnolias, jacarandas and azaleas bloom effortlessly throughout the year, and delight the eye at every turn. One of the nicest ways to explore the island is by following the footpaths alongside the “levadas” (small man-made irrigation canals), which wind their way around the island, and we have included a gentle half-day levada walk, with the opportunity to take further walks on your free days.

We also visit the splendid Palheiro Gardens (formerly called the Blandy Gardens), which for many visitors are the best of all Madeira’s horticultural wonders. The gardens, established over several generations, are most famous for their camellias, though there is something here for everyone with green fingers, including a wonderful spread of agapanthus and arum and belladonna lilies in season.

At Monte, a fashionable hill town above Funchal, we visit the Monte Palace Gardens, glorious gardens that surround the château-like Monte Palace. Getting there is an experience in itself, as the cable car ride from Funchal to Monte offers stunning views over the harbour and bay.

We also offer an optional full day excursion around the island visiting a series of lovely villages, including Camara de Lobos, where Sir Winston Churchill painted the impressive sea cliffs at Cabo Girao in 1950.

NB: there is no single room supplement for the first 15 rooms. Thereafter a supplement of £295.00 will apply

What's included?

  •  Flights
  •  Accommodation
  •  Services of a professional tour manager
  •  Comfortable coach travel throughout
  •  Meals - as per the itinerary

Led by...

Joao Camacho

Joao Camacho

Joao Camacho is a native Madeiran who for many years ran his own company operating tours to Madeira. He knows the island inside out and is affectionately known as Brightwater’s ‘Mr Madeira’.

Call for availability £1,395 Deposit: £200

Tour highlights:

  • Tour of the Botanical Gardens, an introduction to the flora of Madeira
  • A gentle walk on the ‘levadas’
  • Cable-car ride to Monte
  • Afternoon tea at Reid’s Palace Hotel

Tour details

Dates 7 October 2019 - 14 October 2019
Duration 8 days
Cost £1,395 Deposit: £200 Single supplement: $TBC
Balance due by 15 July 2019
Activity Level Moderate
Tour code BWGMA19A

Call for availability

7 October 2019: Itinerary

We depart from London Gatwick on a direct flight to Funchal. On arrival we will be met by our local guide and our coach, which will take us to our accommodation at the 5-star Pestana Casino Park Hotel, Funchal.

The rest of the day is free to relax in the hotel’s grounds or perhaps have a swim in the pool. A welcome dinner is included in the hotel this evening.

Meals include: Dinner

Hotel: Pestana Casino Park Hotel

We depart this morning on a visit to the Quinta do Palheiro (formally known as Blandy Gardens). Established over several generations, the gardens are most famous for their camellias, though there is something for everyone with green fingers, including a wonderful spread of agapanthus and arum and belladonna lilies in season.

Afternoon at leisure.

Meals include: Breakfast

Hotel: Pestana Casino Park Hotel

This morning we will enjoy a gentle half-day walk on the footpaths alongside the “levadas” (small man-made irrigation canals), which wind their way around the island. This is one of the nicest ways to explore the island and offers the opportunity to enjoy the natural beauty of Madeira.

Afternoon at leisure.

Meals include: Breakfast

Hotel: Pestana Casino Park Hotel

We take the 10-minute cable car ride from the centre of Funchal to the fashionable hill town of Monte, which offers splendid views over the harbour and the bay. We will visit the glorious Monte Palace Gardens which surround the chateau-like Palace.

After our tour of the gardens, we will have the option of taking part in one of Madeira's most treasured traditions: a 10-minute toboggan ride where you slide down the streets from Monte to Funchal in traditional wicker toboggans. It's safer than it sounds!

Afternoon at leisure.

Meals include: Breakfast

Hotel: Pestana Casino Park Hotel

The morning is at leisure. In the afternoon we will walk the short distance to the famous Reid’s Palace Hotel. Since it opened in 1891, this luxurious hotel has welcomed the rich and famous, from the Empress of Austria to Sir Winston Churchill and George Bernard Shaw. After a look around the lush gardens that surround the hotel, we will enjoy a delicious afternoon tea of finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones, home-made pastries, jam, butter and cream and your choice of tea.

The rest of the evening is free for you to enjoy at your leisure - perhaps with a seaside stroll to walk off the cream tea…

Meals include: Breakfast

Hotel: Pestana Casino Park Hotel

After breakfast the day is free to explore at leisure. Alternatively join us on a full day tour of the island, including lunch. We will visit the picturesque villages of Camara de Lobos, which was made famous by Sir Winston Churchill in 1950 when he painted the sea cliffs at Cabo Girao; Ribiera Brava, (wild river), which was one of the earliest settlements in Madeira; Encumeada, a 1000m high mountain pass where fascinating cloud displays can often be seen; the coastal town of Sao Vicente, popular with surfers and sunbathers, and Porto Moniz, which has long been famous for its natural bathing pools and wonderful scenery, where lunch will be served. In the afternoon we continue via Santana, a pretty village characterised by its thatched houses; the forests and high plateau of Paul da Serra and finally Ponta do Sol, which as the name implies is the sunniest part of the island.

We return to the hotel where the evening is at leisure.

Meals include: Breakfast

Hotel: Pestana Casino Park Hotel

All day free to explore Funchal at leisure. A farewell dinner will be served in the hotel in the evening.

Meals include: Breakfast, Dinner

Hotel: Pestana Casino Park Hotel

After breakfast we must check out of the hotel – please ensure any extras are paid and take your luggage to the coach. The coach will transfer you to Funchal airport in time to catch your flight home.

Meals include: Breakfast

7 October 2019: Additional Info

7 October 2019: Accommodation

Overlooking the Bay of Funchal, this well designed hotel provides luxury accommodation within Santa Caterina Park. There is a spa with pools for relaxation and a casino and discotheque for entertainment.

Featuring private balconies, all rooms at the Pestana Casino Park Hotel & Casino come with seating areas and satellite LCD TVs. Many guest rooms provide a panoramic view of the Atlantic Ocean.

Pestana’s 6 dining venues include the Panoramic Restaurant with far-reaching views of the Bay and pool area. The Aqua overlooks the hotel’s gardens and casino, while the sunset Restaurant offers a varied menu and a cocktail bar.

Guests can relax in the indoor or outdoor pools, exercise in the fitness centre or enjoy one of the quality treatments available from the Pestana Spa. The hotel arranges diverse recreational activities including hiking and diving.

7 October 2019: Enquiries

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