The coast, villages and countryside of the Eastern Algarve and then explore the treasures of this most westerly corner of Europe.
Exploring lesser known coasts and levadas, trace the famous levada footpaths and through forests of laurisilva with amazing views across the island
Special Selection Hotels
What does this mean?
Tour codes: 26750
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.
If you love walking and have never visited Madeira 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 and cut through the mountains, linking the relatively wet north half of the island with the reasonably dry south.
Your 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 unique natural bathing pools. This little hidden gem receives so few visitors due to its remoteness, so our exploration here is unique and special. 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 is on the South Coast. We are are based in the quiet little town of Ponta do Sol where we cross high moorlands along the Levada do Paul, visit the world’s second highest sea-cliffs at Cabo Girão and explore the central mountains on our walk between Boca da Corrida and Encumeada.
If you have a good head for heights, you'll love Madeira!
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.
We fly into Funchal and transfer by road across Madeira to Porto Moniz in the north west corner of the island. The journey is extremely scenic and has spectacular mountain and coastal views.
Transfer Time = 1h 30m
During our time in Porto Moniz we will be enjoying the following walks:
Levada da Janela - A great introduction to levada walking on Madeira. At the start of our walk near the pretty village of Lamaceiros, there are panoramic views through a terraced valley down to the azure sea. The flat levada path is lined by lush vegetation including agapanthus and eucalyptus. There are tunnels to venture through, thundering waterfalls and spectacular views inland into densely covered rolling hillsides. We return to the café in Lamaceiros for refreshments before the descent back to Porto Moniz, enjoying 360 degree views of the north coast on the way.
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 sweeping views of the dramatic coast and steep hillsides with cultivated terracing. We can detour to the source of the levada, then follow it to Santa for a café refreshment, before continuing down the traditional cobbled steps to Porto Moniz.
Today we transfer to our second centre of Ponta do Sol.
Lombo do Mouro - Our transfer bus takes us up on to the impressive Plateau of Paul Da Serra where we will have our first views of the dramatic 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.
During our time in Ponta do Sol we will be taking in the following walks.
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 dramatic south coast. Upon reaching Rabacal we continue through Laurissilva forest either on Levada Das 25 Fontes or Levada do Risco, both of which finish with impressive waterfalls. 25 Fontes (springs) is a group of waterfalls 30m high tumbling down to a rock pool and has become a premier must see spot in Madeira. Returning from the waterfalls, we continue through the Calheta tunnel, then taking a pleasant woodland path to Atouguia and the end of the walk.
Cabo Girão & Levada do Norte to Faja - We begin with the visit to the Cabo Girão sea cliffs at 580m where its glass skywalk is now the most popular must see attraction in Madeira. Leaving the dramatic cliffs behind we walk along Levada Norte around lush rolling 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 pretty village, we take a stepped path down to Faja in the Ribeira Valley. The path down has 1600 steps and is a spectacular descent.
Fontes & Chao dos Terreiros - Beginning in the village of Fontes we complete a circuit of the rolling hills to the north of the village before descending to Meia Legua in the lush 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 with panoramic views 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 and enjoyable.
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
20th Sep 2021 - 27th Sep 2021 (7 Nights)
8th Nov 2021 - 15th Nov 2021 (7 Nights)
20th Dec 2021 - 27th Dec 2021 (7 Nights)
17th Jan 2022 - 24th Jan 2022 (7 Nights)
14th Feb 2022 - 21st Feb 2022 (7 Nights)
21st Mar 2022 - 28th Mar 2022 (7 Nights)
20th Apr 2022 - 27th Apr 2022 (7 Nights)
19th Sep 2022 - 26th Sep 2022 (7 Nights)
14th Nov 2022 - 21st Nov 2022 (7 Nights)
20th Dec 2022 - 27th Dec 2022 (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.
Porto Moniz is a relaxing coastal village and offers magnificent levadas. The Aqua Natura Madeira is a contemporary four star hotel delightfully situated in the cosy parish of Porto Moniz. 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.
En suite rooms include:
Like most hotels in Madeira, rooms do not include tea and coffee making facilities. All rooms have phenomenal 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.
En suite rooms include
Like most hotels in Madeira, rooms do not include tea and coffee making facilities.
This is a grade 5 walking holiday. 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. Some of the walks along the high peaks are dependant on weather conditions so may not be possible. To enjoy the walks you need a good head for heights 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 around 1870m. The scenery on our holiday is very dramatic and the excellent network of footpaths allows access without difficulty. Some of our walks are along the levadas, which are tracks cut into the mountainside, providing a route for the ingenious irrigation channels. The paths run along the side like a towpath on a miniature canal. These paths are normally flat but they can be quite narrow and may occasionally have a fairly large drop on one side, therefore a ‘head for heights’ is essential. During our stay we walk along the coast, in the mountains, passing villages, waterfalls and enjoying truly magnificent views.
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 from London to Funchal Airport. 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.
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
The internet is now an excellent resource of information about holidays in the Madeira including the tourist board website Visit Portugal.
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, including
Funchal, Madeira Islands by Unravel Travel TV on Youtube.
Books that may be of use are:
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 Plante Pocket Madeira by Lonely Planet and Marc Di Duca
A 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.
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
Maps and guidebooks relating to the areas you will be walking in may be bought 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. 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.
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.
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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