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from £949
Exploring lesser known coasts and levadas, trace the famous levada footpaths and through forests of laurisilva with amazing views across the island

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.

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 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.

If you have a good head for heights, you'll love Madeira!

You might also like to take a look at our one week Eastern Madeira holiday or why not extend your stay by combining both one week holidays and discover Complete Madeira

Holiday Highlights

  • Enjoy the little visited village of Porto Moniz, in the far northwest, with its popular natural bathing pools.
  • Trace the famous Levada footpaths running beside water channels which cut through the mountains.
  • Enjoy the peaceful Levada do Moinho with several watermills along its course and descents along cobbled tracks through pretty villages.
  • Walk forests of laurisilva before the peaks pushing 2000m offer amazing views across the island and beyond to the Atlantic.
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 or Easyjet)
      Airport transfers
      En suite accommodation with breakfast
      Dinners taken in 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 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.

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 to 3

    During our time in Porto Moniz we will be taking in the following walks:

    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

  3. Day 4 to 7

    Today we transfer to our second centre of Ponta do Sol. After the transfer we will walk the Lombo do Mouro - 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.

    Our remaining days in Ponta do Sol will see us take in any number of the walks below:

    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

  4. Day 8

    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)
  • Arrival transfer by road c.1hr.30mins
  • 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
  • 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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Our Accommodation on this holiday

Below is the accommodation featured on this holiday. If you are on a multi-centre holiday, these are highlights of the places where we stay. Please refer to your Holiday Information sheet (which can be found under View Departures & Book), for your departure date and for all your accommodation details.

Aqua Natura Madeira Hotel, Porto Moniz

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 ensuite 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.  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.