Bridge & Walking on Madeira
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Difficulty is measured on many factors such as distance, ascent/descent, terrain, weather and more. There's no magic formula, but from our experience we use yellow for easy, orange for medium and red for hard. Challenger holidays require a high level of fitness and stamina.
- Easy walks of between 4 and 6 miles
- Harder walks of between 6 and 10 miles
- Daily Bridge competition
- Comfortable Bridge rooms, quiet and as light as possible
- Small prizes offered, for fun
Exercise your mind and body with this classic holiday combination. During the day you'll have a choice of two walks; either an easier (4-6 miles) or harder route (6-10 miles), both carefully selected to enable you to see the best of the local area. We'll return to the hotel in time to freshen up before the Duplicate Bridge competition in the evening.
Great reasons to join us:
- Great value: all prices include Half Board en-suite accommodation, Bridge fees, EBU qualified Bridge Director, and prizes
- Accommodation: enjoy high-quality accommodation and excellent food at our partner hotel
- Expert leader: we carefully select friendly and knowledgeable Bridge Directors for each holiday
- Sociability: we pride ourselves on the social atmosphere of our holidays - play Bridge together, eat together and relax together
Occupying an enviable position on the southeast coast, the 4-star Hotel Galosol offers fine views of the Atlantic Ocean, the Ilhas Desertas and the rocky Madeiran shore. The hotel has 123 spacious en-suite bedrooms, as well as an outdoor pool, an indoor pool and spa, several bars and a stylish restaurant overlooking the sea, with outdoor seating.
On the final evening you can enjoy a special dinner in the hotel’s Atlantis restaurant, which is dramatically set into the foot of the rocky cliffs at sea level, a wonderful finale to this unique holiday.
This accommodation has been branded 'Hotel Plus' as this hotel is close to the shops and local services and has a good range of facilities and add the "Plus" to your holiday.
These air conditioned rooms are bright and offer modern, comfortable beds. The warm Mediterranean colours and decoration create a cosy atmosphere. The balcony with table and chairs invites you to relax. Satellite TV with English channels is standard, as are a radio channel, minibar and safe (small charge). The spacious bathrooms/WC are equipped with a large mirror, vanity mirror, hairdryer, bidet and have either a bath tub or a large shower.
Guests have free use of Onda Revital Club, offering fitness classes, weekly morning jogging and yoga. The Wellness Centre has an indoor pool, saunas and Jacuzzi. There is a salt water pool and direct access to the sea via a clifftop lift, as well as outdoor and indoor pools.
There is a weekly entertainment programme including some live music. Wi-Fi is free throughout the common areas of the hotel. The bar and coffee shop overlook the sea. As well as the main restaurant there is the stylish Atlantis restaurant overlooking the sea, dramatically set into the foot of the rocky cliffs at sea level.
The buffet breakfast, served from 7.30am until 10am includes a variety of breads, jams, spreads, yogurt, cheese, fresh vegetables, muesli-bar, cereals, soft-boiled eggs, freshly cooked scrambled or fried eggs, omelettes and fresh fruit salad. There may also be some seasonal fruit such as bananas, passion fruit, papaya, melon and orange.
This meal is buffet style and available from 6.30pm until 9pm. The hotel prides itself on serving fresh, locally sourced produce and offers daily meat, fish and vegetarian selections, plus plenty of salads. For dessert there are fruit pastries, delicious cakes and other fresh cream desserts. Tea and coffee is served after the meal.
Lunch (payable locally)
You may be able to purchase a picnic lunch from the hotel. Alternatively it is possible to buy ingredients from local shops or on some days to eat at one of the local cafés; your leaders will advise you of the options.
Each evening your leaders will tell you about the the next day's activities and answer any questions you may have. During the evening you may like to join in an optional organised activity, such as a quiz, or chat in the bar overlooking the sea. There is an opportunity to visit the island's capital, Funchal, one evening and walk along the promenade followed by listening to some live music over a sociable drink.
9.30am–3.30pm: A choice of guided walks lead by experienced HF Holidays' walks leaders.
5.00pm-10.30pm: Bridge competition, with a break for the evening meal
You are of course free to opt out of any of the sessions but it would be helpful if you could let your leader know should you decide not to attend any of the evening competitions.
Small prizes will be awarded for competitions held during the holiday.
If you are on your own, there is no need to worry about whom you are going to partner, as partnerships will be arranged when necessary, and may be changed from day to day. Leaders are always happy to play when required and enjoy partnering all guests.
Free day On 7-night holidays there is a free day, on Friday, when you may relax and enjoy the facilities at the Hotel Galasol or to explore the local area independently.
Day 2: Levadas to Monte
Easier Walk: This walk starts from the Levada dos Tornos. This major well-maintained levada leads us through shady woodland to the delightful Hortensia Tea Rooms. Here you can relax in beautiful gardens before continuing to join the route of the harder walk to Romeiros, Babosas and Monte. There may be time to visit the famous Tropical Gardens in Monte. 6 miles (9.5km) with an ascent of 300ft (90m).
Harder Walk: This walk will follow the Levada da Serra do Faial through the do Paraiso estate before descending steeply to join the lower Levada dos Tornos. This leads us to the village of Romeiros which lies above Funchal. There follows a descent into a wide beautiful valley and a final ascent to the village of Babosas and our final destination of Monte. Here there will be an opportunity for a welcome drink before catching the coach back to the hotel. Just over 7 miles (11.5km) with an ascent of 300ft (90m).
Day 3: Sightseeing Day
Our transport will take us into the capital, Funchal. Our local interest guide will take us on a guided tour of this small, pretty city to include the cathedral, the colourful Mercado dos Labradores and a visit to the famous Blandy’s Winery, home of Madeira wine, with an opportunity to taste the products. In the afternoon, we travel by coach high into the mountains to a viewpoint overlooking the Central Highlands and the Curral das Freiras (Valley of the Nuns). Then we can walk down the old path which leads to the Curral das Freiras. For many centuries this was the only means of reaching this remote valley.
Day 4: Levada do Norte
Our walks today take us past Funchal and just west of Camera do Lobos. Firstly we stop at the dramatic cliff view point Cabo Girao where in 2012 a splendid glass bottomed viewing platform was installed. The views of the coast on a clear day are very good. The coach then takes us a short distance to the start of our walks along the Levado do Norte.
Easier Walk: Having reached the levada we follow it through a variety of scenery much of it agricultural with many plants and flowers to identify. We shall see the small scale intensive agriculture on the island but also have good coastal views as we walk from one valley into another. 6 miles(10km) with negligible ascent or descent.
Harder Walk: Our walk starts at an earlier point along the levada and has the possibility of extending past the pickup point to obtain views into the Riberia Brava Gorge. The features will be similar to that of the easier walk. 8 miles(13km) with possible extension with negligible ascent or descent.
Day 5: A free day to simply relax and enjoy the facilities at the Hotel Galasol or to explore the local area independently.
Day 6: Boca da Corrida and Encumeada
Easier Walk: After enjoying the spectacular views from the viewpoint to the right of the Boca (Col or Pass) da Corrida we commence our walk over the hills to Fontes. The walk is initially on a wide track with good views to left and right. The walk continues on a narrow path which undulates and crosses a number of streams on its way to our lunch spot at a picnic area at the Forest Station at Trompica. Thereafter the route descends to a quiet road which takes us through the village of Fontes to a bar and pick-up point. 5.6miles (9km) with 410ft (125m) of ascent and 490ft (150ft )of descent.
Harder Walk: The harder walk follows the same route as the easier walk as far as the Trompica Forest Station. We then begin to climb on a wide track with the opportunity to continue to a magnificent viewpoint on the Eira dos Terreiros before returning to the track which takes us to Pico da Cruz (views of the Ribeira Brava gorge) and descending to the bar at Fontes. 7.6miles (12.2km) with 1295ft (395m) of ascent and 2164ft (660m) of descent.
Guests are advised to use walking poles on the narrow undulating path
Day 7: Canical and Marocos
Easier Walk: We shall pass through the Canical Tunnel to the eastern town of Canical which has become quite an important commercial port. After coffee in Canical we continue to Baia da Abra for the start of our walk on the St Lawrence Peninsula. The walk along the peninsula gives us views along the cliffs of the north east and south east coasts. We may also marvel as the aircraft arriving at the island manoeuvre for their final approach to the airport. After a picnic lunch we return to our coach for a journey to Marocos for refreshments and a reunion with the harder walkers. 4.5 miles (7km) with 625ft (190m) of ascent and 625ft (190m) of descent
Harder Walk: From the eastern end of the Canical Tunnel we follow the levada into the fertile terraces of the Ribeira Seca (dry). We continue into this picturesque valley and at the village begin to climb up to the Boca do Risco. Our exertions are rewarded with great sea and cliff views once we reach the col. We now return to the levada and follow it inland to the village of Marocos for refreshments and transport home. 10miles (16km) with 500ft (150m) of ascent and 500ft (150m) of descent
Please note, every effort is made to adhere to this itinerary; however there may be circumstances beyond our control which could lead to a change in the programme.
What to bring
Bridge: All your Bridge stationery and equipment will be supplied. You may, however, like to bring a notebook and pen to make your own notes. EBU Members - don’t forget to bring your EBU membership number to earn Master Points on this holiday.
Walking: To enjoy your walking comfortably and safely, it is essential that your footwear, clothing and equipment are suitable for the conditions likely to be encountered. On average, September is the hottest month of the year in Madeira, when clear blue skies and hours of sunshine are practically guaranteed every single day. However, the island may also experience the occasional day with light rain and/or moderate breezes, so our advice is to come prepared for all eventualities.
Bring a rucksack, a water bottle (at least 1 litre) and spare high-energy food such as a chocolate bar, and first aid kit – your leader’s first aid kit doesn’t contain any medication or blister kits (such as Compeed). Many guests find walking poles useful, particularly for descents. You may find a thermos flask handy if you like to have a hot drink. Insect repellent, sun hat, sunglasses and protection cream and a camera are all optional extras you may choose to bring.
An introduction to the area
Over its history, Madeira has been visited by merchants, explorers and had brief periods of occupation including British troops, which has resulted in a diverse population from North Africa and blonde, blue-eyed Europeans. Christopher Columbus married the first Governor’s grand-daughter in the 15th century when the Portuguese settlers arrived on the island. The island has a wealthy history of sugar cane plantations and has bred many romantic stories of pirates. Sugar cane is no longer the main crop; this has been replaced with vines that produce the famous Madeira wine. The amazing beauty of the island rising from the ocean with steep cliffs and high mountains was once believed to be the lost civilisation of Atlantis.
Funchal – The island’s capital and main harbour. White houses and distinctive tiled roofs flow down to the harbour, favoured by cruise ships. Reflecting its wealth and history, this capital boasts large hotels and is a good destination for shopping and sightseeing. There are three key elements: the market, old town and seafront. The old town has narrow, cobbled streets and older fishermen’s houses. The market has two storeys, built in 1937, and is vibrant and colourful. At the seafront, a modern cable car station takes passengers to the hill top town of Monte. This is where the wealthy merchants of Funchal lived to enjoy the cooler air and is well known as the start of the famous wooden toboggan ride down the cobbled streets. There are also some beautiful botanical gardens to visit.
Rural interior – Not far from Funchal is an area dominated by small scale agricultural landscapes and more spectacular gardens to visit. The interior also has micro-climates, depending on altitude, allowing locals to grow a diversity of crops, with bananas below and vines planted on narrow terraces carved out of the mountains. There are spectacular peaks, waterfalls and vistas.
Madeira has a unique irrigation system, channels dug out carrying water down mountains, called levadas. Alongside these is a network of walking trails wrapping around the island, which suit all ages and abilities.
Shops & facilities
There are a small selection of shops for basics, within walking distance of the hotel. Otherwise gift shopping can be done in Funchal, a bus ride away.
We recognise that everyone’s travel arrangements are unique, so all our holidays to Europe can be booked ‘with flight’ or ‘without flight’, giving you more flexibility and choice.
‘With flight’ holidays – the hassle-free option
Book your holiday ‘with flight’ and choose between Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow flights to Funchal airport.
If you choose this option we automatically include return transfers between the airport and the hotel.
The coach transfer takes approx 15 minutes to the Hotel Galosol.
For flight times and prices please see the Dates & Prices tab.
‘Without flight’ holidays – the flexible travel option
Alternatively, tailor your journey to suit you by booking your holiday ‘without flight’ allowing you the freedom to book your own flights from your local airport.
If you choose this option, transfers are not included in the price. However, below are some suggestions to help you reach your destination:
- We can book you a seat on the HF Holidays’ transfer coach from Funchal airport.
This is timed to meet the HF Holidays’ flights* (provisional flight times can be found on the dates and prices tab or you can call us on 020 8732 1220 for more information). Cost per single journey is £7.50.
- Why not let us book you a private taxi transfer at a cost of £30.00 per single taxi journey?
Transfers must be pre-booked. Please call 020 8732 1220 for more details
* Please note that HF Holidays is not responsible for your onward travel if you fail to meet the transfer coach under any circumstance.
Titch is a professional Bridge teacher. She ran her own Bridge School in Devon for many years before selling it to move to Surrey. Bridge has been an important part of her life, opening doors when she moved to new countries in her youth, including Hong Kong, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, East Africa, Canada, India, etc. Titch works for the English Bridge Union, training Bridge teachers all over England. Her love of the game is infectious and she believes every player is an ambassador to Bridge. Learning and playing Bridge is equivalent to taking your brain to a mind gym and giving it a good work-out, thereby keeping it fit and active while also improving the memory. Titch’s classes are relaxed and full of good humour.
Dates & Prices
We're sorry, there are no dates available for this holiday at the moment. Please check out our other tours and breaks or call our team on 0345 470 8558 to be notified of new dates as soon as they become available.
Prices are per person
- Double rooms for sole occupancy: £13 per night
- Seaview: £7 per person per night
- Non-member associate fee: £10 per person