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Flower Island Of Madeira 12

Flower Island of Madeira

Overview

Walking in Madeira offers versatile scenery and a pleasant climate all year round. On our 8-day walking holiday, you will follow Madeira’s unique network of narrow irrigation channels known as levadas and the ancient coastal footpaths in the north-eastern parts of the island. Some of the walks are circular, and you will be based in two charming hotels.

  • Unique coastal views
  • Levada trails
  • Exotic flowers
  • Charming accommodations
  • Excellent local cuisine and wines

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Machico

Our driver will pick you up from the airport and take you to the first hotel of this programme, located in Machico, where you will spend the first three nights. If you arrive early, you’ll have a chance to relax by the swimming pool, walk along the beach or wander around the typical Portuguese town of Machico.

Day 2: Levada dos Maroços and Caniçal – Machico | 15 km

Madeira’s famous levadas are narrow water channels, and the island proudly boasts more than 1400 km of them. A short morning transfer has been organized for you to Maroços. From there, you will follow your first levada back to Machico. The views of the bay and Machico are second to none!

  • Walking for the day: approx. 4.5 to 5 hours, 15 km, ­↑­­­­150 m ↓400 m
  • Accommodation: Dom Pedro Ocean Beach Hotel or similar in Machico

Day 3: Ponta de São Lourenço | 7 km

The São Lourenço Peninsula is a must-see in Madeira. It is said to be the driest point on the island, and you will notice that as you begin to walk toward this magical space, a protected Partial Natural Reserve. We will arrange a transfer for you this morning, and you will return by public bus in the afternoon unless you have arranged a taxi transfer on your own.

Day 4: Machico – Porto da Cruz – Santana | 15 km

Today’s route is a bit demanding but well worth it if you take into account the amazing views you’ll have of the northern coastline.  A taxi will take you to the start of the walk, between Machico and Caniçal. You begin by following the Levada do Caniçal, mainly flat. Next, you do a more challenging section: first on dirt tracks out to the ocean, then on a lovely path along the coast. The Boca do Risco vista point is a good spot for a picnic before continuing along the Vereda de Larano, a beautiful path cut into the cliffs, to reach Porto da Cruz. A taxi will pick you up there and take you to your next accommodation, in Santana.

  • Walking for the day: approx. 5.5 to 6 hours, 15 km, ­ ↑400 m ↓750 m
  • Accommodation: Hotel O Colmo or similar in Santana

Day 5: Levada do Furado | 16 km

Morning transfer to Ribeiro Frio, where the Levada do Furado walk begins. From the very beginning, you will feel like you are walking in a fairy-tale woodland: Madeira’s laurel forest, a UNESCO heritage site. The route is mainly flat along the levada, still, you gain altitude gradually (path later protected by a handrail), allowing for majestic views of the coast and the laurel forest covering Madeira’s canyons and hills. Once in Portela, you can either take a taxi (not included) or continue on a cobbled (at times, slippery) path to Porto da Cruz. A pre-booked taxi will take you to Santana after the walk.

  • Walking for the day: approx. 5 to 7 hours, 16 km, ­ ↑370 m ↓875 m
  • Accommodation: Hotel O Colmo or similar in Santana

Day 6: Caldeirão Verde | 13 km

The Parque Florestal das Queimadas will be the starting point for today’s route, and the taxi will drop you there in the morning.  First stop: a cosy bar inside a typical Madeiran house! You’ll follow the Levada do Caldeirão Verde to reach the waterfall, then retrace your steps and make a detour to the village of Ilha, where the taxi will pick you up in the afternoon. Remember to bring a torch and water-proofs on this walk! Though you will be walking along cliffs, the path is protected by handrails.

  • Walking for the day: approx. 5 hours, 13 km, ­ ↑70 m ↓600 m
  • Accommodation: Hotel O Colmo or similar in Santana

Day 7: Santana – Arco de São Jorge: the Caminho Real | 13 km

For the last route, you will walk part of the Caminho Real, which, with a total distance of 182 km, completely circles the island of Madeira, linking the major harbours and villages. Starting in Santana, today, you will walk through a series of ruins, landscapes, villages and traditions to each Arco de São Jorge.  A taxi will take you back to your hotel in Santana.

  • Walking for the day: approx. 6-7 hours, 13 km, ↑550 m ↓900 m
  • Accommodation: Hotel O Colmo or similar in Santana

Day 8: Departure

Your arrangement comes to the end today after breakfast. A complimentary transfer back to the airport is included.

What to Expect

Accommodation

Accommodation is in two charming 3-star or 4-star hotels. We have carefully hand-picked all places and regularly monitor their quality. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour.

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*Hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal or higher value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.

Meals

Breakfast is included every day. When no restaurant location is available on route, lunches and snacks should either be bought from local shops, or packed lunch can be pre-ordered from your hotel the night before.

Difficulty & terrain

This holiday is appropriate for seasoned walkers and requires a good level of fitness; average walking time is 5-6 hours per day. The daily routes run along well-built and very diverse paths, which can be quite narrow. Many paths run along the exposed coastal cliff edges and levadas (irrigation canals), where a head for heights and firm-footing are essential in some sections (read more about difficulty grades). The routes are on waymarked paths and trails, and you will also be provided with all the information and GPS tracks necessary to navigate you. We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never shorten the path through the unknown and unmarked terrain. You can also call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime if you need assistance. More detailed info on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.

When to go

This trip is available during the whole year. The flexibility of self guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates, and you can start your trip on any date. Due to its mountainous topography, the island has diverse microclimates. The difference in altitude makes it possible in winter to find snow on the top of the mountains, as in Pico do Areeiro, but sunny weather and 23 ºC at sea level or below the ‘banana line’. The bay of Funchal, protected by the highest peaks, enjoys the most sunshine. Further down the south-west coast, at Ribeira Brava, Ponta do Sol, Madalena do Mar, Calheta, Jardim do Mar and Paul do Mar, backed by the lower hills of Paul da Serra, the sun shines brighter during the summer months, and it is sunny and pleasant throughout the winter.

Getting there

FCO up-to-date travel advice

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Our recommended airport for this tour is Madeira (FNC). Complimentary arrival and departure transfers from/to Madeira Airport are included.

Inclusions

Included

  • 7 overnights with breakfast as detailed in the itinerary
  • Luggage transfer when changing hotels (one piece of luggage per person, max 20 kg)
  • Complimentary airport transfers
  • Private transfers as detailed in the itinerary
  • Detailed digital holiday information pack including GPS-checked and regularly updated route descriptions, road notes and maps. Please note that the info pack is emailed to you prior to departure, and no printed documents are mailed or provided on-site.
  • 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative

Excluded

  • Airfare and connecting land transfers as detailed in the itinerary
  • Lunches, dinners, drinks and snacks
  • Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
  • Personal expenses
  • Local tourist taxes and entry fees (payable on-site)
  • Any items not explicitly listed as included

Options, extras & supplements

  • A supplement applies to members of a group who require a single room
  • This holiday is available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as accommodation and luggage transfer costs are not shared (we never mix and match – solo travellers will be accommodated in single rooms)
  • Extra nights along the trail are bookable upon request

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