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Madeira Island trails (extended version)

€960 per person

A short distance from the African coast, “The Flower Island ” sits serenely in the ocean. Madeira boasts breath-taking landscapes and just recently it was elected the best European island destination for the 6th time by the World Travel Awards. Madeira’s notorious climate is composed of different mesoclimates. The north of the island has quite a lot of rainfall and therefore a particularly lush vegetation, while the south of Madeira is significantly drier and is characterised by more hours of sunshine. To enable the southern half of the island to benefit from the rainfall in the north, sophisticated irrigation systems – the open levadas – ensure water supply to the plantations and fields. The spectacular hiking routes, following these levadas, are one of the many reasons that make Madeira so special for independent walking. Come and discover all of Madeira’s secrets: walk along the levadas and the coastal paths offering panoramic views, see traditional style villages, terrace cultivation, beautiful flowers, gorges, the Laurissilva (cloud) forest, waterfalls and natural pools.

  • Destination
  • Duration
    10 Days I Difficulty: 2/3 (of 5)
  • What is included
    9 nights bed and breakfast (en-suite rooms throughout in a combination of normally 3- and 4-star hotels); 4x dinners (days 3, 4, 5, 6); Luggage and people transfers as per itinerary; Detailed route description and maps; Emergency support phone line;
  • What is not included
    Drinks and other meals, entry fees, public transportation tickets
  • Best period
    March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October
1
Day 1: Arrival at Funchal Airport. Transfer to Machico.
Airport welcome and taxi transfer to Machico. Machico, the first town founded in Madeira, is the former capital city of this island. Today it has become a small peaceful seaside resort. Depending on your time of arrival, have a wander through the village and walk along the beachside promenade.
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Day 2. Machico - Ribeiro Frio - Machico (12km, 3,30hrs, +300m/-300m)
Ribeiro Frio hike is one of the most famous and magical walks on Madeira. The walking trail follows a levada and the route is lit by the sun’s rays leading you through lush vegetation and century-old trees of the primeval forest. The Levada do Furao is spectacular because it is dug into the wall and you must pass under arches dug into the cliff. On the way do not hesitate to take a detour and enjoy the magnificent view of the famous "vereda dos balcoes". Transfer back to Machico.
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Day 3. Machico - The Boca do Risco balconies - Santana (13km, 4,15hrs, +250m/-350m)
Depart from Machico to reach the charming little seaside village of Porto da Cruz. In the beginning the path runs along a levada, then climbs up to the magnificent viewpoint of Boca do Risco, offering a breath-taking scenery. You then continue along the cliffside path with ocean views as far as the eye can see. Finally, descend to Porto da Cruz where you can take a swim in the natural seawater pool (appr. 1 Euro/person payable on spot). Transfer to Santana - a beautiful village, characterised by its small thatched triangular houses. Here you will spend 2 nights.
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Day 4. Santana - Caldeiro Verde - Porto da Cruz (14km, 4,30hrs, +90m/-600m)
Enter the green world of the laurisilva forest with its lush vegetation, flowers and waterfalls, the most famous of which plunges into a basin from a height of 100m, called The Green Cauldron. The next destination of the walk today is the small village of Ilha. Return transfer to Santana.
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Day 5. Santana - Pico Ruivo/Pico Ariero - Encumeada (9-14km, 3,45-6hrs, +550-840m/-630-1240m)
Today you can choose between a moderate and a harder option to walk:
1. The Pico Ruivo is the highest point on the mountainous Madeira and standing at 1862m above sea level. The summit provides spectacular views over the entire island. This spectacular hike on the central ridge of Madeira in a fascinating mineral universe of volcanic peaks between the two highest ones of the island, the Pico Ruivo (1862m) and the Pico Arriero (1818m). Transfer to Encumeada, where you will stay for 2 nights. (9km; 3,45hrs; +840/-630m)
2. One of the nicest Alpine hikes of the island! From Achada do Teixera, the path will leads you to the highest summit of the island, the Pico Ruivo (1862m) and later to the crests of the mountain chain that crosses the island from west east. On several occasions, the path will alternate between the northern and southern slopes giving you great vantage points of the island coastline. You will go through different ecosystems such as the Laurisilva and mountain forests. Arrival at your accommodation, where you will stay for the next 2 nights. (14km; 6hrs; +550/-1240m)
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Day 6. Encumeada - Paul da Serra - Encumeada (17km, 6,30hrs, +65m/-650m)
From your hotel, you leave for a beautiful loop hike on the Paul de Serra plateau. After having followed a levada on the south coast, you pass by the central ridge to arrive on the levada do Pináculo, which runs along the north face of the Paul da Serra plateau. Primary forest, numerous waterfalls, spectacular views of São Vicente and great peaks can be admired en-route before the path goes into a magnificent forest of tree heathers, reach eventually the Levada do Norte.
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Day 7. Encumeada - Col d’Encumeada / Pico Grande / Boca da Corrida - Paul do Mar/Jardim do Mar (13km, 4,30hrs, +75m/-450m)
After breakfast start walking south on the slopes of Pico Grande to reach Boca da Corida. You will take an ancient path travelled by nobles to cross the island. It passes through many ecosystems, from the eucalyptus forest to the mountain vegetation, passing through deep and humid valleys covered with giant ferns. It is possible to walk an extra 2 hrs to climb to the top of Pico Grande and admire the wonderful panorama. Upon your arrival in Boca da Corrida, you will board a transfer to the south coast and the small village of Paul do Mar, where you will stay for 1 night (subject to availability; if not, an alternative accommodation in the nearby Jardim do Mar may be used).
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Day 8. Paul do Mar/Jardim do Mar - Levada Rabaçal & 25 fontes - Funchal (11km, 4hrs, +400m/-400m)
Transfer to Paul da Serra’s plateau to start a charming walk in the middle of an enchanted forest, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The 25 Fontes (25 fountains) levada is one of the most popular in Madeira Island. Its name lives up to the number of fountains or little waterfalls that’s possible to count once you arrive there. Take in the stunning scenery of streams and waterfalls and discover the endemic flora that Madeira is so famous for. Transfer to Funchal, where you will stay 2 nights in city center hotel.
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Day 9. Funchal (free day)
Free day of sightseeing around Funchal, a charming city built like an amphitheatre around the bay. The city’s name originates from the word fennel (Foncho in Portuguese) that grew in the bay when the Portuguese first landed here. It is great to wander through the paved streets, the colourful gardens and walkways along the coast. There are many optional day tours, which you can book in advance or try to arrange on spot (or make your own way to the sites of interest): 1) Go up to the Monte palace tropical gardens via cable car. You will get a panoramic view over the city; 2) Go down from Monte to Funchal city centre on a “Carreiro do Monte”, a traditional wicker-made sledge, used by the locals as a quick way of getting to Funchal; 3) Book a whale-watching trip aboard a catamaran (appr. 35 Euro/person; best to be booked between April and October, when as many as 20 species of cetaceans (dolphins and whales) inhabit the waters of Madeira); 4) Book a day trip to Porto Santo Island to enjoy the beach. (appr. 100 Euros/person; carried out in spring and summer; it includes transfer from your hotel to the harbour in Funchal, the ferry round trip, the transfer from the harbour to the vila Baleira and return in Porto Santo).
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Day 10. Departure day
Transfer to Funchal Airport for departure.

TOUR LOCATION

Price
960 Euro per person in twin/dbl room (01/3-20/4; 21/5-31/10)
995 Euro per person in twin/dbl room (21/4-20/5; Christmas/New Year)
* N.B.: Special note for the nights in Funchal: during Christmas, New Year and during the Flower Festival (affecting the end of April and the first 3 weeks of May) many hotels in Funchal request a minimum stay of 4 to 7 nights. In this case guests will be accommodated outside of the town centre with a possible price and itinerary modification.
** N.B.: If your travel period falls into two periods with different prices, the one with the higher price will be invoiced!
Single room & Solo Traveler supplement
Single room supplement: 270 Euro
Solo traveler supplement: N/A (min. group size: 2 pax)
Tips
Daily departures all year round. The best time to visit Madeira is from April till mid-October. The wetter season starts afterwards, causing increased precipitation until the end of March (with sometimes frequent storms between November and February). Special note for the nights in Funchal: during Christmas, New Year and during the Flower Festival (affecting the end of April and 3 weeks of May) many hotels in Funchal request a minimum stay of 4 to 7 nights. In this case guests will be accommodated outside of the town centre with a possible price and itinerary modification.
Accommodation
A combination of normally 3-4-star hotels, incl. breakfast (x2 nights in Machico, x2 nights in Santana, x2 nights in Encumeada, x1 night in Paul do Mar/Jardim do Mar, x2 nights in Funchal); 4x dinners (days 3, 4, 5 and 6). All rooms have their own bathrooms. Options for dinner are readily available around or inside each place where you stay overnight.

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