Hampshire Hikes & Historical Sites
Bring intriguing coastal trails and history alive in South Hampshire.
Famed for its levadas and flowers, Madeira is an excellent walking destination with a steady year-round climate.
What does this mean?
Tour codes: 26700
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 are looking at this one week holiday why not make your stay two weeks by joining us on Complete Madeira.
Whether you visit Funchal as part of our two week holiday or as a stand alone week, you will enjoy some excellent and varied walking. If you have a good head for heights, you'll love Madeira!
It’s difficult to choose the best walk. Is it the high level walk between the island’s two highest peaks, Pico Arieiro and Pico Ruivo, sometimes above the clouds? Perhaps 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? Every walk in eastern Madeira is complete with dramatic scenery and unique panoramic views! 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.
Our hotel could not be in a better location in Funchal, just a stone's throw from exuberant streets filled with restaurants, shops, fish and flower markets, and the cable car up to Monte. This 1960's themed hotel is a real gem and gives you the ability to explore Funchal further. It's close enough for us to enjoy evening strolls into the main streets where we'll be immersed in the friendly local atmosphere and sample local cuisine in traditional restaurants. Funchal really is a truly splendid place to be as the sun goes down over the harbour!
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.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we may unfortunately need to withdraw a tour that is currently confirmed to operate and we therefore reserve the right to cancel your booking. We would always do our utmost to give you plenty of notice should we have to do this. Selected elements of this tour, including local attractions and restaurants, may change at late notice. Please ensure you have valid insurance cover before you travel.
On arrival in Funchal Airport, we transfer by private coach to our hotel in the centre of Funchal, ready for our adventurous week ahead.
Transfer Time = 40m
Our itinerary is expected to follow the daily schedule outlined below but please bare in mind that the order of the days may be amended, or walks substituted, due to weather conditions, attraction opening times, public transport timetables or changes beyond our control.
During our time on Madeira we will explore the island through a variety of walks which may include one or more of the following:
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 panoramic viewpoint. The decision to finish at either Encumeada or Curral is weather dependent, Encumeada being a longer route. Both routes have spectacular views of the dramatic high peaks in all directions.
Ribeira Frio to Portela: This is a beautiful and very enjoyable levada walk. There are spectacular views towards the central mountains from Balcoes and down to the north coast by Porto da Cruz. Our route takes us through lush laurisilva forest, a laurel type forest with a unique and niche selection of plants and animals. Madeira is said to have the world’s best preserved example and concentration of this ancient forest so this really is a unique and magical walk!
North Coastal Path: From the Caniçal tunnel we cross terraces, slowly rising to the Boca do Risco pass, where suddenly the turquoise sea opens up in front of us several hundred metres below. We follow a narrow winding cliff path to the pretty village of Porto da Cruz where there will be time for refreshments or maybe a swim in the sea water pools at the beach before returning to Funchal. A great way to finish a fantastic day!
The Big Peaks: This is an extraordinary walk, some would say one of the greatest day walks to be experienced! Starting at Pico Arieiro at over 1800m, we wind our way through spectacular rock formations to Pico Ruivo, passing through several tunnels on the way. Some days you are above the clouds, with the islands dramatic peaks poking through and the vast Atlantic beyond. From Pico Ruivo, an easy path descends past the strange and unique rocks at Homem en Pe to Achada do Teixeira. On our way back to the hotel we may have time to stop in Santana to see some of the island’s traditional thatched cottages.
Free day: There will be a rest day offered during the week for personal exploration. There are so many walking options to be considered, or maybe immerse yourself in culture by visiting other areas of Madeira.
It’s time to say farewell to Madeira as we take a short transfer to Funchal airport for our return flight to the UK.
Departure dates for your selected tour
13th Sep 2021 - 20th Sep 2021 (7 Nights)
1st Nov 2021 - 8th Nov 2021 (7 Nights)
27th Dec 2021 - 3rd Jan 2022 (7 Nights)
10th Jan 2022 - 17th Jan 2022 (7 Nights)
7th Feb 2022 - 14th Feb 2022 (7 Nights)
14th Mar 2022 - 21st Mar 2022 (7 Nights)
13th Apr 2022 - 20th Apr 2022 (7 Nights)
12th Sep 2022 - 19th Sep 2022 (7 Nights)
31st Oct 2022 - 7th Nov 2022 (7 Nights)
27th Dec 2022 - 3rd Jan 2023 (7 Nights)
Below is the accommodation featured on this holiday across all departure dates. Please refer to the Itinerary for more detail about each night's accommodation for each departure date.
Funchal is a modern city with a dramatic mountainous lush green backdrop. It is a surprisingly quiet city with winding narrow roads and 500 years of history represented in its museums, churches and gardens. In contrast, it's also an exuberant modern city with water activities, nightlife, docking port and a variety of shops. Most shops, restaurants and other services you may require are within walking distance from the hotel.
The Hotel do Carmo is a simple three star 1960's themed city hotel. 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 plus exploration in the evenings and on your free day! Facilities include a sun terrace with fantastic views of the picturesque old town and impressive Atlantic Ocean. There is an outdoor seating area, a swimming pool, bar with pool table and a cosy lounge area to relax in.
We stay in twin and double bedded rooms. Single rooms are double for sole use. Rooms are uniquely decorated with photos of various 1960's icons. The furniture is simple and from the 1960's period so you may find antique tills, telephones and stereo's dotted around your room and the hotel! Its quirky décor and unique design may not be to everyone's taste but this hotel has been selected as its location is superb.
Room facilities include:
Like most hotels in Madeira, rooms do not include tea and coffee making facilities.
This is a grade 5 walking holiday with full days of walking. Madeira is a mountainous island with peaks rising to around 1870m. The scenery on our holiday is very dramatic and the excellent network of footpaths allows access without difficulty. 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, and coastal paths which undulate high above the sea. During our stay we walk along the coast, in the mountains, passing villages, waterfalls and enjoying truly magnificent views. Some of the walks along the high peaks are dependant on weather conditions so may not be possible. The maximum altitude we reach on this holiday is 1,870m.
To enjoy the walks you need a good head for heights as some paths are very narrow with large drops on one side, and to be prepared for occasional long descents of around 1000m. Although the holiday is a Grade 5 there are some walks that are more like a Grade 6 due to long descents of up to 1,250m.
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.
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.
Return flights are from London to Funchal Airport. We will transfer by private coach to our hotel in Funchal, taking approximately 40 minutes depending on traffic conditions.
During the week we'll travel by foot coach, local buses and cable cars.
If you intend joining and leaving the party in Madeira, we assume, unless you have advised us otherwise, that you will meet and leave the party at hotel. If this is not your intention, please let us know in writing at least 5 weeks before departure.
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.
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
Many local libraries stock a selection of travel guides and books which may offer you more information. Apart from any books available in local libraries, the internet is now an excellent resource for information about holiday destinations. You may find the below websites, books and programmes useful.
Maps of the areas we visit (1:200 000 scale) are available locally and at specialist map shops in the UK.
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.
If you key many of the local places mentioned in this holiday fact sheet into YouTube, you will find a vast array of spectacular footage of the area.
Funchal, Madeira Islands by Unravel Travel TV on Youtube.
Madeira Travel Guide 2020 by Madeira Travel Guide et al.
A Birdwatcher’s guide to Portugal, the Azores and Madeira Archipelagos by Colm Moore
Madeira Walks: Challenging Trails and High Altitude Routes by Shirely and Mike White Head, Rosamund Brawn et al.
Lonely Planet Pocket Madeira by Lonely Planet and Marc Di Duca
BBC 4’s TV programme – Nature Wonderlands: Islands of Evolution see’s Richard Fortey travel to Madeira in episode 3 to examine volcanic islands.
The Map Shop
If you cannot find the maps or books locally we recommend:
The Map Shop
5 High Street
Upton upon Severn, Worcs
If you key many of the local places mentioned in this holiday fact sheet into YouTube, you will find a vast array of spectacular footage of the area.
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.
It is a condition of booking with Ramblers Walking Holidays that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the trip, including all optional activities.
Your travel insurance policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation. Please ensure your policy covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are walking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. Medical and repatriation insurance cover are not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
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.
Looking for travel insurance cover?
If you have not already arranged cover, please visit SunWorld who offer travel insurance.
SunWorld policies include cover for COVID-19, subject to applicable terms and conditions.
From January 1st, 2021 UK travellers can continue to use their European Heath Insurance Card (EHIC) – which can last up to five years, until its expiry date, to gain access to medical assistance during your holiday. However, you will no longer be covered in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland. Travellers without a valid EHIC can apply for a new UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), which will replaces the EHIC once it has been phased out. Please note however that the EHIC/GHIC should not be considered a substitute for medical or travel insurance.
For more information, please visit www.nhs.uk/ehic
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.
Visas and Passports
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