Madeira Discovery Tour
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Hills & moorland
In the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, the small island of Madeira is volcanic with rugged mountains draped in lush colourful vegetation and crammed with bright flowers. Just 35 miles long and 13 miles wide, this unique tropical gem offers much to explore, making this a truly 'must-see' destination.
- Funchal, the island’s capital
- Ribeiro Frio National Park
- Spectacular mountain views from Encumeada and coastal views from St Lawrence Peninsula
Great Reasons to Join Us:
- Great value: all prices include half board en-suite accommodation, plus five full day excursions, with plenty of stops at places of interest and short walks of up to 2½ miles
- Expert leader: all our leaders are experts in their field and will ensure that you get the most out of your holiday
- Accommodation: enjoy good quality accommodation and excellent food
- Sociability: we pride ourselves on the social atmosphere of our holidays - explore together, eat together, 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.
During your Discovery Tour you will have the opportunity to visit many fascinating places of interest. this is the proposed programme, but our HF Holidays' leader may adjust it at their discretion, taking into account factors such as weather or local opening times or the wishes of the group.
Monday: Arrival day
Tuesday: The Curral and the Cape
We start our day taking in fine views over Funchal and the east of the island before travelling through forests of eucalyptus and pine for views over Curral das Freiras (Refuge of the Nuns) before descending to visit this village. We’ll break for lunch at the fishing port of Câmara de Lobos before continuing to admire the view across the cape, passing by terraced vineyards where the grapes for the fortified wines are grown.
Today we enjoy a guided tour of the capital, Funchal, with our local guide. We’ll visit the Cathedral, the colourful Mercado dos Labradores and the famous Blandy’s Winery, home of Madeira wine. After an opportunity to taste the products, we continue to Monte, one of the suburbs of Funchal, where we’ll have time to the old Municipal Gardens and the Palace Gardens.
We begin the day with a climb in the coach to the Pico de Ariero, Madeira’s second highest mountain before descending to Ribeiro Frio for a short walk to an outstanding lookout point where we can admire the Ariero peak once again or stroll round this small town. After lunch we continue to Santana, home to a quaint style of housing known as palheiros. On our way back to the hotel we’ll take in views of Penha d’Aguia (Eagle Rock).
Friday: a free day to simply relax and enjoy the facilities at the Hotel or to explore independently. Your leader will be able to discuss some options with you.
Saturday: Eastern Madeira
We start the day travelling west along the coast to the fishing village of Camara de Lobos, centre of the island’s wickerwork industry. From here we continue to Machico, Madeira’s first settlement before ascending Madeira’s highest peak, Pico de Facho, in the coach for views over the harbour and the hills of Santo Serra. We descend to Caniçal, once a whaling port before continuing to the pleasant town of Santa Cruz.
Sunday: Porto Moniz and the Paúl de Serra
We start the day at São Vicente, possibly the prettiest settlement on the island before we take the dramatic coastal road to Porto Moniz, the island’s extreme northwestern tip. Our return to the hotel takes in views over the Janela Valley and the Paúl da Serra.
In the Evenings
The friendly atmosphere of our Discovery Tour continues into the evening. We’ll enjoy a leisurely meal and then you may also like to listen to local musicians, relax with a book in a quiet lounge or enjoy a drink at the bar. On one evening during the week, we’ll take a coach trip to enjoy an evening stroll and a drink in Funchal.
All transport relevant to the itinerary is included in the price of your holiday, but for flexibility we do not include entrances. Please allow around €23 per person for entrance fees.
With effect from 1st May 2017, all guests will be required to pay a new Municipal Tax (Eco Tax) of €1 per person per day. This has to be paid directly to the hotel by the guest.
Discovery holidays involve active sightseeing and you should expect to spend lots of time on your feet. Optional short walks of approximately 2½ miles allow you to stretch your legs and see the best of the local scenery.
Free day – on our 7 night holidays we allow one free day where there is no organised excursion. This is an ideal opportunity for you to relax, enjoy the hotel facilities or explore independently.
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. For flight times and prices please see the Dates & Prices tab.
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.
‘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:
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
Dick is an enthusiastic traveller and has travelled extensively world-wide and within Europe. He speaks a variety of European languages and is a keen amateur historian. He leads mountain walks in many European countries (including Turkey) and is equally at home on the pavements of European capitals where he enjoys not only the culture, but the opportunity to pursue his passion for music and theatre, architecture and food.
Dates & Prices
|2 Oct 2017||MALEL - Madeira Discovery Tour - Without Flights||7||£909.00||Book Now|
Prices are per person
- Double room for sole occupancy: £13 per night
- Sea view: £7 per person per night
- Allow €25 for entrances
- Non-member associate fee: £10 per person