Exploring The Sorrento Peninsula
Combine leisurely walks on the Sorrento Peninsula and in the Lattari Mountains and enjoy visits to the myriad of local world class sites.
Madeira's volcanic origins are evident by the rocky shore line and rugged mountainous interior. Pico Ruivo, looks out over a mass of peaks and violently formed landscape.
Special Selection Hotels
What does this mean?
Tour codes: 26800
Full day walks with moderate amounts of ascent and descent.
The paths are mostly good, but there may be some steep and rough ground.
Walks will last up to 6 hours and could involve as much as 750m of ascent and descent. Some walks will be less demanding.
If you enjoy walking, have a good head for heights, and have never visited Madeira before, then one of your best holidays still lies ahead of you. It is the perfect walker’s island, with an extensive network of well maintained footpaths through very varied terrain. The famous levada footpaths run beside water channels which cut through the mountains, linking the relatively wet north half of the island with the relatively dry south. Down by the coast is the subtropical vegetation of banana palms and custard apples. On the lush terraced slopes agapanthus and many other flowers brighten the way. Higher up there are forests of laurisilva before the peaks pushing 2000m offer amazing views across the island and beyond to the Atlantic.
This two week holiday starts in the little visited village of Porto Moniz, in the far northwest, with its sheltered harbour where a mass of pointed reefs provide natural bathing pools. Remoteness is the only reason the area sees so few visitors. Amongst our walks is the peaceful Levada do Moinho with several watermills along its course and descents along cobbled tracks through pretty villages.
Our second centre of Ponta do Sol is on the south coast. From here we walk across high moorland along the Levada do Paul, visit the world’s second highest sea-cliffs at Cabo Girão and head into the central mountains on our walk between Boca da Corrida and Encumeada.
Our third centre for 7 nights is Funchal – it’s difficult to choose the best walk. Is it the high level walk between the island’s two highest peaks, Pico Arierio and Pico Ruivo, sometimes above the clouds? Is it the walk from Boca da Corrida, through the lush eroded crater of an ancient volcano, down to Curral das Freiras with spectacular views of the high peaks? Or how about the high-level traverse from Boca do Risco along the north coast, finishing in the seaside town on Porto da Cruz? At the far eastern end of the island we walk across the windswept landscape of the Punta São Lourenço, utterly different from anywhere else on the island.
Although our two week holiday is Grade 5, our walks from Funchal could also be described as Grade 6 due to some longer descents. Please see our Holiday Information Sheet for more detail.
Click the button below for a detailed Holiday Information Sheet containing all the particulars about this trip.
NOTE: Itineraries and Holiday Information Sheets can vary by a specific date chosen
Itinerary & Travel
Whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the outlined itinerary and advertised programme, local conditions can change due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. This may mean that routes and timings need to be amended or the order of days may change, sometimes at short notice.
We fly into Funchal and transfer by road across Madeira to Porto Moniz in the north west corner of the island. The journey takes about an hour and has spectacular mountain and coastal views on the way.
Transfer Time = 1h 30m
Levada da Janela - A great introduction to levada walking on Madeira. At the start of our walk near the village of Lamaceiros there are stunning views through a terraced valley down to the sea. The flat levada path is lined by lush vegetation including agapanthus and eucalyptus. There are tunnels to go through, waterfalls and views inland into densely covered hillsides. We return to the café in Lamaceiros for refreshments before the descent back to Porto Moniz, enjoying views of the north coast on the way. 17km / 10.5 miles, +50m, -460m, 5 hours
Levada Moinho - We join the levada after an uphill walk through woodland from Achadas da Cruz. The path is narrow at times, but well protected. The levada is often fast flowing, used as it was to power mills. There are wonderful views of the coast and steep hillsides with cultivated terracing. We can detour to the source of the levada, then follow it to Santa where we stop in a café, then continue down the traditional cobbled steps to Porto Moniz. 12km / 7.5 miles, +150m / -900m, 5 ½ hours
Transfer to Ponto do Sol and Lombo do Mouro Walk - Our transfer bus takes us up on to the stunning Plateau of Paul Da Serra where we will have our first views of the Big Peaks. As we start to descend towards Encumeada the bus will drop us off and continue to Ponto Do Sol with our luggage. We will descend, initially on a small levada with open views of the Big Peaks to the east. We continue through Eucalyptus forest, emerging to fine views down the Ribeira Valley. We continue the descent through small villages to the coast at Ribeira Brava where there will be time for a drink before prearranged taxis will take us to the hotel at Ponto Do Sol on the south coast. 10km / 6 miles, -1300m, 4 hours.
Levada do Paul & 25 Fontes - We start this walk at Christo Rei close to the Plateau of Paul Da Serra. We walk along the quiet Levada Do Paul with uninterrupted views to the south coast. Upon reaching Rabacal we continue through Laurissilva forest either on Levada Das 25 Fontes or Levada do Risco, both of which have impressive waterfalls at the end. 25 Fontes (springs) is a group of waterfalls 30m high tumbling down to a rock pool and has become a premier tourist spot in Madeira, therefore extremely busy. Returning from the waterfalls we continue through the Calheta tunnel, then taking a pleasant woodland path to Atouguia and the end of the walk. 15km / 9miles, minimal ascent / -850m, 5 hours
Cabo Girão & Levada do Norte to Faja - We begin with the visit to the Cabo Girão sea cliffs at 580m which wiith its glass skywalk it is now the most popular tourist attraction in Madeira. Leaving the cliffs behind we walk along Levada Norte around valleys and through sunny cultivated terraces. We will stop at a pleasant bar at Boa Morte at lunchtime before continuing towards Ribeira Funda. Leaving the levada below the village we take a stepped path down to Faja in the Ribeira Valley. The path down has 1600 steps but has been well improved and is a spectacular descent. 17.5km / 11miles, minimal ascent, 580m descent, 5 – 6 hours.
Fontes & Chao dos Terreiros - Beginning in the village of Fontes we complete a circuit of the hills to the north of the village before descending to Meia Legua in the Ribeira Valley. Heading uphill towards Terreiros the views begin to open out towards Boca Da Cerro, Pico Grande and the Big Peaks. After a well earned rest at the summit we return to Fontes. For those not wishing to undertake the descent transport can be taken from here back to the hotel, however the views on the descent route are well worth the effort and the path although narrow in places is now much improved. 14km / 9 miles, +500m, -900m, 6 hours
Levada Nova and Levada Moinho to Ponto do Sol - A wonderful levada walk through forest, cultivated terraces and sugar cane plantations. Starting in Apresentacão we follow the Levada Nova around valleys through Tabua and Candelaria to Jangão, then deep into the beautiful Ponto Do Sol Valley, dropping down to the Levada Moinho which is now well improved with handrails. We walk back through Lombada to Ponto Do Sol, stopping at a café there en route. 14km/ 9 miles, minimal ascent / 400m descent, 4 ½ hours
Transfer to Funchal - We have a morning transfer to Funchal. If rooms are not ready we will store our luggage at the hotel and make our way into the centre of Funchal. Our tour leader will do a guided walk around the main points of interest in the central area. You will have a free afternoon to explore the many delights of this surprisingly charming city.
The Big Peaks - This is a fabulous walk, some would say one of the greatest day walks on the planet. Starting at Pico Arieiro at over 1800m, we wind our way through spectacular rock formations to Pico Ruivo. Some days you are above the clouds, with the islands peaks poking through and the vast Atlantic beyond. From Pico Ruivo an easy path descends past the strange rocks at Homem en Pe to Achada do Teixeira. On our way back to the hotel we normally stop in Santana to see some of the island’s tradtional thatched cottages. 10km / 6 miles, +610m / -830m, 5 hours
Ponto São Lourenço - The peninsula at the far eastern end of the island is utterly different from anywhere else on Madeira. Here there is bare eroded igneous rock with wonderful colour formations. It is dry, barren and windy, but the views over the rocky landscape and along the cliffs are excellent. The walk is a there and back one, but perfect for an easier day when it might be wet in the mountains. 11km / 6.8 miles , +/-200m, 3 ½ hours
North Coast Path - This is a really nice walk involving little levada walking. From the Caniçal tunnel we cross terraces, slowly rising to the Boca do Risco pass, where suddenly the sea opens up in front of us several hundred metres below. We then follow a narrow cliff path to the pretty village of Porto Da Cruz where there will be time for refreshments at a beachside bar or maybe a swim in the sea water pools at the beach before returning to Funchal. 14km / 9 miles, +150m / -350m, 4 hours.
Ribeira Frio to Portela - A straightforward and beautiful levada walk. There are spectacular views towards the central mountains from Balcoes near the beginning and later, down to the north coast by Porto da Cruz. The walks takes us through lush laurissilva forest of which Madeira is said to have the world’s best preserved example and concentration of this ancient forest. 13km / 8 miles, -200m, 4 ½ hours.
Boca da Corrida to Encumeada or Curral das Freiras - This walk really has the wow factor from the minute you step off the bus at the Boca da Corrida viewpoint. The decision to finish at either Encumeada or Curral is weather dependent, Encumeada being a longer route. Either has spectacular views of the high peaks in all directions. 13km / 8 miles, +200m / -500m, 5 hours.
Departure - Our exploration of Madeira is over and it’s a short transfer to Funchal airport for our return flight to the UK.
Departure dates for your selected tour
11th Jan 2020 - 25th Jan 2020 (14 Nights)
8th Feb 2020 - 22nd Feb 2020 (14 Nights)
23rd Mar 2020 - 6th Apr 2020 (14 Nights)
25th Apr 2020 - 9th May 2020 (14 Nights)
14th Sep 2020 - 28th Sep 2020 (14 Nights)
26th Oct 2020 - 9th Nov 2020 (14 Nights)
21st Dec 2020 - 4th Jan 2021 (14 Nights)
Below is the accommodation featured on this holiday across all departure dates. Please refer to the Itinerary for more detail about each nights' accommodation for each departure date.
The Aqua Natura Madeira is a four star hotel delightfully situated in the cosy parish of Porto Moniz located in the north of the island. Close by to the natural pools it is surrounded by the Atlantic and the cliffs of Madeira’s coast. Facilities include a solarium area equipped with Jacuzzi and sauna. Rooms include en suite bathroom, television, telephone, free WIFI, fridge and hairdryer. Porto Moniz is a relaxing coastal village and offers magnificent levadas. All rooms have fantastic sea views.
Ponta do Sol is located between two mountains and is known as the sunpoint as it is one of the sunniest points on the island! It is a peaceful picturesque village with pebble beaches and beautiful hilly landscape. The centre is very small with 1 minature supermarket, however it is ideal for relaxing and seeing the real Madeira! The comfortable four star Enotel Baia Hotel has has direct access to the sea and offers spacious accommodation. Facilities include a heated indoor swimming pool, cocktail bar and restaurant. Room facilities include ensuite bathrooms, television, telephone, free WIFI, fridge, hairdryer and air conditioning.
Funchal is a modern city with a dramatic mountainous lush green backdrop. It is a surprisingly quiet city with windy narrow roads and its 500 years of history with its museum, churches and gardens in addition to its modern city life including water activities, nightlife, docking port and shops.
The Hotel do Carmo is a simple three star 1960's themed hotel and facilities include a sun terrace with fantastic views of the old town and Atlantic Ocean, an outdoor seating area, swimming pool, bar with pool table and a lounge area. We stay in twin and double bedded en suite rooms which include a TV, telephone, free WIFI, hairdryer and a balcony. Like most hotels in Madeira, rooms do not include tea and coffee making facilities. Single rooms are double for sole use rooms. Rooms are uniquely decorated with photos of various 1960's icons. The furniture is simple and also from the 1960's period so you may find antique tills, telephones and stereo's dotted around the hotel. Its quirky decor and design may not be to everyone's taste but this hotel has been selected as its location is superb. It is centrally placed in Funchal, not far from the old marina and main resort centre. It is close to buses and cable cars, perfect for our programme and exploration in the evenings and on your free day!
The walking on the holiday is graded at 5. There are several types of paths on Madeira: almost completely flat levada paths which run beside the water channels criss-crossing the island; mountain paths through the central area around Curral das Freiras or the major peaks which can be steep at times; engineered paths, sometimes along cobbled or vehicle tracks, which descend towards the coast and coastal paths which undulate high above the sea. To enjoy the walks you need a good head for heights at times and to be prepared for occasional long descents of around 1000m. Although the holiday is a Grade 5 there are some walks whilst we are in Porto Moniz that are more a Grade 6 due to long descents of up to 1,250m. The maximum altitude we reach on this holiday is 1,870m.
Madeira is a mountainous island with peaks rising to 1861m. The scenery is very dramatic, but the excellent network of footpaths allows access to Madeira’s remarkable landscapes without difficulty.
You should expect to walk on average for less than six hours per day over moderate terrain, walking on paths and tracks, several will be steep. We won’t walk for hours endlessly uphill, but there are several ascents involved. Many of the walks include walking along tracks (similar to miniature towpaths) beside the levadas. These are water channels ingeniously cut into the mountainside to provide water for irrigation and other purposes. Their total length on the island is over 1000kms. These paths are fairly level but in places they are quite narrow and have a fairly large drop on one side. A steady foot and a head for heights is essential for these sections. Off the levadas you can expect walks on various terrains with some ascent but longer descents as we walk down off the mountains. You may also encounter short footbridges which do not have handrail protection, so again a steady foot and a head for heights’ is essential.
During our stay we walk on the coast, over moors and on the mountains, passing villages and waterfalls. The views are truly magnificent.
Local Transport Costs
All local transport costs in conjunction with the advertised activity programme are included in the holiday cost. There may be occasions where additional visits or excursions are added to enrich your experience, these will be paid for locally by you if you choose to participate. Local transport can be a mix of private hire coaches, taxis, local buses and ferries depending on the itinerary.
A range of local excursions and activities may be available to book at your destination through a local operator. We have no involvement in such activities or excursions which are not run, supervised or controlled in any way by us. Your contract will be with the local activity supplier and we accept no responsibility for their actions or omissions.
When budgeting for your holiday, you will need to consider drinks, any meals not included in the holiday price, non-included entrance fees, optional excursions you may choose to participate in locally and any souvenirs or additional services such as laundry. A general guideline for lunches and drinks is £10-£20 per person per day.
You may also wish to allow £5-8pp for entrance fees.
Currency in Portugal
The currency in Portugal is the euro. You may wish to take some euro cash with you until you reach an ATM. Credit cards may not be accepted in smaller towns and rural areas.
Although entirely at your own discretion, tipping is an important aspect of tourism and hospitality life and expectations are fairly high. In order to simplify tipping, we strongly recommend that you allow your leader to take care of making sure tips are given to hotel and restaurant staff and to local guides and drivers. This will be done using some funds provided by us together with, if you wish, a contribution from you, which he/she will collect during the holiday.
Your tour leader makes the world of difference to your holiday and ours are as passionate about discovering the world on foot as you are. They're resourceful, organised and widely travelled. They will handle all the local administration and other needs that might arise to ensure that you don't have to worry about planning your days and you can enjoy your holiday. Although leading group holidays, they won't forget that every group is made up of individuals. Each tour leader has their own individual style, talents and professional backgrounds and all are trained, qualified, experienced and dedicated to making your holiday as enjoyable, interesting and inspiring as possible.
Leader's Evening Briefing
Each evening, your tour leader will discuss with you the programme for the following day. This will be your opportunity to discuss the details and ensure the planned activities suit your walking ability. If you have concerns on clothing or equipment, this can be discussed then also. If you do not wish to join the organised group programme, please let the leader know.
We usually fly from London Gatwick or Heathrow to Funchal with British Airways or Easyjet. Travel in Madeira will be by road and the approximate travel times are as follows:
Booking Your Own Travel Arrangements?
If you wish to organise your own flights from a non-UK or provincial airport or travel by rail or car to your holiday destination, 'land only' reductions are often available. Please contact us for details.
Before finalising any independent travel arrangements, please check with us first - especially if doing so 12 weeks or more before your intended date of travel. If you do intend to join your holiday locally please do tell us at least 14 weeks in advance.
If you are joining and leaving your holiday overseas we assume, unless you advise us otherwise, that you will join and leave the holiday at your hotel.
Although airport transfers are not included for those making their own independent travel arrangements, if you wish to join the group at the overseas airport, depending on your flight arrival time, you may be able to be included on the group's transfer. Please contact us at least 5 weeks before departure for more details.
Please note that your flight must arrive within 30 minutes of the group flight to be able to join the group transfer. We also need your flight number, arrival time and departure point so that the group leader is able to meet up with you.
Regional Flights (R3). We offer regional flight options on this holiday and there will be one or two transfer vehicles between the airport and hotel to minimise any waiting time at the overseas airport on the outward or return journeys.
Luggage Allowance & Travel Documents
For all those booking a flight or rail inclusive holiday, details of your travel arrangements and baggage allowance will be confirmed in your travel documents, sent to you approximately 10 days prior to departure.
Personal Details Check
To ensure that we can accurately administer your holiday arrangements, please confirm that the personal details we hold for you are up to date and that you have provided the information we need to secure your holiday travel and accommodation arrangements. Please check your passport details, date of birth and any other important details necessary for us to properly manage your holiday booking. You can view and update information already provided, and add details not yet asked for, by using the Manage My Booking facility on our website www.ramblersholidays.co.uk, or by calling our Sales and Reservations team on +44 (0)1707 331133. When you receive your booking confirmation please check the details as soon as possible.
General Passport Advice
It is a good idea to carry photocopies of the personal details pages of your passport. Should you lose your passport, this may assist with the issue of replacement documents and your return to your home country.
Passport and visa requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on, and comply with, such requirements.
Brexit Passport Advice
You should have at least 6 months validity left on your passport from your date of arrival.
If you renewed a 10 year passport before it expired, extra months may have been added to your passport’s expiry date. These extra months will not count, so you should ensure that your passport is not older than 9 years and 6 months from the date of issue at the time of travel.
You may wish to renew your passport sooner rather than later, in order to make sure you have it in time for your holiday or travel plans.
Please ensure to regularly check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website for updates on passport requirements leading up to and after Brexit or contact us for more assistance.
UK Government Brexit Information for Passports can be found at www.gov.uk/guidance/passport-rules-for-travel-to-europe-after-Brexit.
The UK Government has published a website tool to check the validity of your passport under these rules which can be found at www.passport.service.gov.uk/check-a-passport.
In the event the UK leaves the EU without a deal, UK citizens will be able to visit the EU for up to 90 days within a 180-day period without a visa. The UK Government also has information for travellers available at gov.uk/EUexit
Non British Passport holders should consult the host country’s embassy for applicable passport and visa entry requirements.
Lightweight waterproof walking boots with a good moulded sole (such as Vibram or similar) and a deep tread and which provide ankle support are strongly recommended and may be essential for some walks.
Footwear As Hand Luggage
We recommend that you either wear your walking boots or shoes or pack them and some waterproofs in your hand luggage as in the unlikely event that your hold luggage is delayed, you will still be able to participate in the holiday programme.
General Kit List
Outdoor activities are always safer and more enjoyable if you are prepared.
If you have not travelled with us before the following list might be of use:
This list is not exhaustive and every walker is different and may have their own preference.
Torches / Headtorches
On this holiday you will find it extremely helpful to bring a head torch or hand held torch to assist you.
Travel Documents Checklist
Documents and Information to take with you:
Electricity in Portugal
Electricity is supplied at 220 Volts. If you wish to use electrical equipment you will need a European two pin adaptor with round pins. More information can be found at https://www.power-plugs-sockets.com/
Water To Go
An alternative to bottled water from single-use sealed water bottles is filtered water from a refillable bottle containing its own water filter such as a Water-to-go bottle available from www.watertogo.eu. Just fill up from any water source and save the environment from disposable plastic bottles.
We have negotiated an exclusive 15% discount with our partners Water-to-Go for you as a thank you for helping the environment. Please go to their website at www.watertogo.eu and enter the code RWH17 when ordering. In addition, Water-to-Go will match the discount with a donation to our charity, Heart & Sole, which will allow us to continue to make a difference in the countries you visit on our holidays.
Maps, Guidebooks & More
Suggested map is 'Madeira Tour and Trail Map - David Brawn. To give you an idea of the walking on offer on Madeira why not take a look at the Trailblazer Madeira Walks book with downloadable GPS tracks and waypoints. Written by Oliver Breda.
The Map Shop
Maps and guidebooks relating to your the areas you will be walking in may be brought before your holiday from The Map Shop at www.themapshop.co.uk
Health requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on, and comply with, such requirements at least 6 to 8 weeks before departure. Advice on vaccinations is available from your GP.
Health Advice for Portugal
No compulsory immunisations are required for visits to Portugal.
You should be up to date with the usual immunisations recommended in the UK.
You may wish to consider immunisations against Tetanus.
Dengue fever exists in Portugal; please take normal precautions against mosquito bites.
Further Travel Advice
For further advice please visit:
You might wish to take a small bottle of antibacterial hand gel with you for times when you're unable to wash your hands.
You must be adequately insured to join our holidays. We do not insist that you insure with us but we require that you are adequately insured for the nature of your holiday. You will be unable to participate in our local walking and other activity programmes without being able to demonstrate that you have valid travel insurance.
Please ensure that as a minimum your travel insurance policy covers you for travel to your holiday destinations (country and geographical region) and for medical expenses, mountain rescue (including helicopter rescue) and emergency repatriation to your home country in the event of illness or injury. Your policy should also provide adequate cover for the activities, included and optional, you are likely to participate in during your holiday.
See our brochure or website for further advice regarding holiday insurance.
Whoever you insure with, please ensure that you take full details, and ideally the policy itself, with you on holiday and provide our tour leader with your insurer's name, the policy number and emergency assistance contact numbers.
Please note that it is very difficult to obtain travel insurance once your holiday arrangements have started.
Please take your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) with you; it will help you in the event of you needing medical assistance during your holiday. Please note that the EHIC has an expiry date, so please check that your card is valid for the duration of your holiday. Please note however the EHIC should not be considered a substitute for medical or travel insurance.
For more information please visit ehic.org.uk.
The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office provides up to date information on security and local laws for travellers, together with current passport and visa information, at www.gov.uk/travelaware. Please take a few minutes to look at the current advice on your planned destination.
Please be aware of what's going on around you, take sensible precautions with your credit cards and passport and avoid displays of wealth such as wearing expensive jewellery or watches. Do not carry more cash on you than you will need for each day, and we recommend that a money belt is used.
We're committed to ethical tourism in all our destinations. Our holidays are designed for you to discover the essence of the country you are visiting. Travelling in small groups not only gives you an up close and personal experience of your destination, but minimises your impact on the immediate environment. We feel that the most important starting point to protect the environment is to be out in it. For more details visit our website.
The Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust
Unlike many tour operators we have our own trust through which RWH Travel’s profits are channelled back into a variety of outdoor, walking-related or environmental conservation projects in the UK. The focus of the Trust’s financial support is Britain’s leading walking charity, The Ramblers, and their role in promoting the benefits and importance of walking to the British public. In addition the Trust welcomes applications for small grants from local organisations in the UK who need support for walking-orientated activities. This includes the establishment of footpaths and bridleways, funding for rebuilding bridges and renovating huts, as well as bursary funding for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award for children who could not otherwise afford to do it. Please visit the ‘About Us’ section of our website and click on the Charitable Trust link for more details.
Heart and Sole
We appreciate that we are in a fortunate position to be able to use our profits to help make a difference to people's lives. Heart & Sole is a venture managed by our office staff, whose aim is to reach the heart of the communities in the countries we visit. Through Heart & Sole, we hope to make more of a long term, direct impact to these communities, particularly in less developed countries where even a small amount goes a long way. See our website for more information and details of some of the projects we support.
Please do provide us with a mobile phone contact number. We will only use this to contact you with important information relating to your holiday arrangements.
Do keep your mobile phones switched on and readily available when travelling to the airport or if delayed in transit so that we can contact you with any last minute information relating to your travel arrangements.
As a matter of courtesy, please switch off your mobile phone during walks, or endeavour to minimise its use. Please also try to minimise the use of mobile devices during group meals.
No Visa Required
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