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Madeira - From North to South

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 - Madeira - From North to South

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 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 six 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.

Please note that on our Madeira holidays you need a good head for heights. 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.



You might also be interested in The Heart of Madeira

Holiday Highlights

  • Explore dramatic volcanic coastlines to the high sea cliffs at Cabo Girão.
  • Walk in little-visited areas of the island.
  • Trace the famous levadas which crisscross the island.
  • Walk through lush forest at Laurissilva.
  • Take some dinners in local restaurants to enjoy Madeiran cooking 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
      En suite accommodation with breakfasts taken in the hotels
      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 or Easyjet) 
  • Airport transfers by road c. 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Upgrades are available on most flights. For scheduled flights this may be Premium Economy, Business or First Class. Most low-cost carriers also have extra legroom seats.
  • If direct regional flights are not available, we can often offer add-on flights to a London airport at a competitive rate. Please ask us for details and a competitive quote.

 

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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