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THE FLOATING GARDEN OF MADEIRA

from £1385
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.
  • Product Code 26800
  • Holiday Type Special Selection Hotels
  • Grade Grade 5
  • Holiday Duration 14 Nights

Guided Walking Holidays - The Floating Garden of Madeira

Madeira has a perfect blend of terrains for walking but from our three centres we are able to explore the less well-known Levadas with dramatic coastal views. Experience this journey with Ramblers Walking Holidays. 

We start in Porto Moniz with its sheltered harbour and mass of pointed reefs which provide natural bathing pools. We walk the peaceful Levada do Moinho with several watermills along its course.

While in Ponta do Sol we walk the Levada de Lombo de Mouro, an attractive and little-walked levada starting high up near the island’s central pass at Encumeada. We follow the Levada do Paul over open moorland and through giant heather. We 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.

Moving east to Funchal we have many options and possibly the best walks, including walking to the far eastern end of the island where the promontory of Punta São Lourenço provides a wild and breezy walk quite different from anywhere else on the island over igneous rock with wonderful colours and formations.



You might also be interested in The Heart of Madeira

Holiday Highlights

  • Follow dramatic volcanic coastlines to the high sea cliffs at Cabo Girão.
  • The North Coast walk between Boca do Risco and Porto da Cruz.
  • Trace the island’s famous Levadas that crisscross the island.
  • The ascent to Boca do Cerro, then along a beautiful path down to Encumeada.
  • Dramatic views of the big peaks at Boca de Corrida.
  • Walk through lush forest at Laurissilva.
  • Some dinners in local restaurants to enjoy local cuisine and hospitality.
The holiday inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What's included in this holiday Items that are covered in the cost of holiday price.

      Return flights from Gatwick to Funchal (British Airways) 
      Airport transfers
      B&B en suite accommodation
      Dinners taken at the hotels or local restaurants
      All local transport costs.
Whats not included in this holiday Items that are not covered in the cost of holiday price.

  • Entrance fees to some museums and historic buildings (unless otherwise specified)
  • Personal expenses (such as your bar bill)
  • Discretionary tips
  • Optional excursions
  • Insurance
Please select Departure Date to view:

Please see Holiday Information Sheet for this holidays individual departures itinerary (located under View Departures & Book tab)

Whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the outlined itinerary and advertised program, 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.

This departure: Grade 5

  1. Day 1

    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.

  2. Day 2

    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

  3. Day 3

    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

  4. Day 4

    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.

  5. Day 5

    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

  6. Day 6

    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.

  7. Day 7

    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

  8. Day 8

    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

  9. Day 9

    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.

  10. Day 10

    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

  11. Day 11

    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

  12. Day 12

    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.

  13. Day 13

    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.

  14. Day 14

    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.

  15. Day 15

    Departure - Our exploration of Madeira is over and it’s a short transfer to Funchal airport for our return flight to the UK.

Travel Details

  • Return flights from Gatwick to Funchal (British Airways) 
  • Airport transfers by road c. 1 hour 15 minutes
  • We can offer regional flight options and often there will be up to two transfer vehicles (which may include coaches, minibuses or taxis) from the airport to the hotel and vice versa which will minimise any waiting time at the overseas airport.

 

Trip Map

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Aqua Natura Madeira Hotel, Porto Moniz

The Aqua Natura Madeira is a four star hotel delightfully situated in the relaxing coastal village of Porto Moniz, in the north of the island. Rooms offer dazzling views over the Atlantic Ocean, free Wi-Fi, en-suite bathrooms, tea and coffee making facilities and mini bars. Facilities include a solarium area equipped with Jacuzzi and sauna, and a gym and massage room. Opposite the hotel lies one of the main highlights of Porto Moniz, the natural swimming pools that are formed by volcanic lava, and filled with crystal-clear sea water at high tide. Breakfasts are taken at the hotels; dinners will be in local restaurants.


Enotel Baia, Ponta do Sol

Nestled in the historic and quaint Ponta do Sol sits the Enotel Baia (insert hyperlink here). It has direct access to the sea with a sheltered rocky beach being a stone’s throw away. A comfortably appointed four star hotel offering spacious accommodation, its facilities include a heated indoor swimming pool, cocktail bar and restaurant.


Hotel Do Carmo

This comfortable 1960's themed hotel is located within five minutes walk of the old marina and a stones throw from Funchal town centre and its facilities include a sun terrace with fantastic views of the old town and Atlantic Ocean, outdoor seating area, swimming pool, bar with pool table and lounge areas.


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