Monte Palace Gardens
Monte Palace Gardens

Walking in Madeira

7 days From £1,195

25 March 2019

Madeira's famous network of canals - the levadas – provide the basis for a range of walks to suit all abilities, at the same time affording the opportunity to see all the beauty and diversity that this small sub-tropical island has to offer. At a time of year when we can enjoy some welcome spring sunshine without it being too hot, this holiday also features some of Madeira’s most famous attractions and the opportunity to explore every corner of the island.

We break ourselves in gently with a walk of around five miles that takes in the spectacular Risco waterfall and 25 natural springs while our second walk features some fantastic mountain scenery as well as a profusion of unique plants. Our final outing takes us on one of Madeira’s most famous walks that starts on flat ground but quickly climbs into some rugged terrain, home to delicate flowers and a variety of birds, including the Madeiran Firecrest.

We also visit the Monte Palace Gardens, with their splendid views over the bay and you have the option of a relaxing coach tour of the island featuring a host of picturesque towns and villages.

Our tour is led by local guide Joao Camacho, affectionately known as our ‘Mr Madeira’.

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’.

Book Now £1,195 Deposit: £200 Single supplement: £270

Tour highlights:

  • A series of guided walks on the ‘levadas’
  • 5-star hotel accommodation to relax in after your walks
  • Optional full day tour of the island

Tour details

Dates 25 March 2019 - 31 March 2019
Duration 7 days
Cost £1,195 Deposit: £200 Single supplement: £270 Balance due by 31 December 2018
Activity Level Challenging
Tour code BWWAM19A

Book Now or call 01334 657155 if you have any questions

25 March 2019: Itinerary

We depart from London Gatwick (other airports are available on request) 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 in Funchal.

The rest of the day is free to relax in the hotel or explore the local area. This evening we have a welcome buffet dinner as a group. 

Meals include: Dinner

Hotel: Pestana Casino Park Hotel

We will have the first of our walks today: Rabaçal-Risco-25 Fontes (5 miles). We travel by coach to the west of the island, to our starting point at Rabaçal on the plateau of Paúl da Serra and walk to the spectacular Risco waterfall. We then descend to the levada of 25 Fontes where 25 natural springs cascade into the small lake. Walking back to our vehicles we go through a tunnel which takes the water to the south of the Island. This is a gentle introduction to levada walking, though you should be aware that the path is very narrow in some places. As we are some 1000m above sea level you should also be prepared for cooler temperatures. At the end of our walk we return by coach to our hotel where the evening is at leisure.

Meals include: Breakfast

Hotel: Pestana Casino Park Hotel

This morning 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 cover more than 70,000 square metres and showcase a tremendous collection of exotic plants - together with an accompanying band of ducks, swans, chickens and peacocks. While you are here you may wish to sample Madeira wine and Portuguese custard tarts in the coffee shop (not included).

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!

Evening at leisure.

Meals include: Breakfast

Hotel: Pestana Casino Park Hotel

Today we head due north of Funchal, high into the central mountains as we walk between two peaks: Pico de Arieiro-Pico Ruivo (5 miles). This is a walk that features some fantastic mountain scenery, where rock formations shoot into the sky like timeless statues and where the views are literally breathtaking. A profusion of unique plants flourish in this habitat and near Pico Ruivo is the oldest heather forest in existence. These ancient trees are many hundreds of years old and were already there when Zarco discovered and landed on the island for the first time. Although this is the most strenuous of our walks it is well worth the effort as you are rewarded with unforgettable views.

Meals include: Breakfast

Hotel: Pestana Casino Park Hotel

After breakfast this morning the day is free to relax in the hotel or explore the surrounding area. Alternatively, join our optional excursion, a full-day guided tour of the island. 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.

Meals include: Breakfast

Hotel: Pestana Casino Park Hotel

We depart this morning for our final walk: Ribiero Frio-Portela (7.5 miles). This is one of the best known walks on Madeira, the first five miles of which are over flat terrain along the Serra do Faial Levada from the Ribeiro Frio. Thereafter the terrain becomes more rugged and you understand how difficult it must have been to build the channels to take the water from the springs in the north to the farmland on the south coast. All along the levada, among the different shades of green, we can see delicate flowers budding on tiny plants that enjoy living in the shade and high humidity of the Laurissilva Forest. Look out too for Madeiran firecrests, the smallest bird in Madeira; the Madeiran chaffinch and the grey wagtail.

This evening we enjoy a farewell dinner at a local restaurant, an opportunity to compare notes on the many sights we have seen in the course of our walks and excursions.

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 us to Funchal airport in time to catch our flight home.

Meals include: Breakfast

25 March 2019: Additional Info

25 March 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.

25 March 2019: Enquiries

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