Madeira Discovery Tour



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Activity types:

  • Central location
  • Coastal
  • Hills & moorland
  • Hotel plus
From £919.00 - 7 nights


Prices are per person

Room 1:
Room 2:
Room 3:

Holiday overview

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.

Holiday Highlights

  • Funchal, the island’s capital
  • Ribeiro Frio National Park
  • Spectacular mountain views from Encumeada and coastal views from St Lawrence Peninsula
  • Small, sociable groups of up to 15 guests

Price includes

  • Good quality en-suite accommodation in one of our European partner hotels
  • Half Board – continental breakfast and evening meal
  • The services of an experienced HF Holidays’ leader
  • Full day excursions with all essential transport in resort
  • A local guide in Funchal and a visit to Blandy’s Winery 
  • ‘With flight’ holidays include return flights from the UK and hotel transfers

In pictures...


Hotel Galosol in Madeira, Portugal

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.

Galo Resorts who own and operate our partner hotel on Madeira – the Hotel Galosol, have embarked on an exciting new hotel project in Canico de Baixo. Their former 3-star Hotel Galomar, down the hill from the Galosol, is in the process of being completely rebuilt as a 4-star ‘green’ hotel -a first of its kind on the island.

The site is adjacent to the Hotel Galosol, and work is progressing well.  They now have completed the building and are now plastering and carryout out the first fix, electrical and plumbing. As this is located in a residential area, the site is not open until 8am.

We are working closely with the friendly and accommodating staff at our partner hotel, as well as our leaders in resort, to ensure all HF Holidays guests have an enjoyable holiday and are not unduly affected by these works.


Your room

The hotel has 123 spacious en-suite bedrooms.

These air conditioned rooms are bright and offer modern, comfortable beds. The warm Mediterranean colours and decoration create a cosy atmosphere. The balcony comes with table and chairs which invites you to relax. 

Satellite TV with English channels is standard, as is the radio channel, rooms also contain a 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.

Hotel Galosol bedroom


Hotel Galosol swimming-pool 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 ab outdoor and indoor pools.

There is a weekly entertainment programme including some live music. The bar and coffee shop overlook the sea. As well as the main restaurant there are  several bars on site.

Wi-Fi is free throughout the common areas of the hotel.


Our Holidays in Madeira are on a Half Board basis and includes breakfast and evening meal.

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.

The hotel has a well-stocked bar serving beer, wine and spirits.
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.

Evening meal

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. On the last evening your group will be transported to a local restaurant and sample Madeiran cuisine.

Madeira chef

In the evening

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.

On the final evening you can enjoy a local meal tasting local dishes and delacasies, a wonderful finale to this unique holiday. Vegetarian options are also available.

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.

The Curral and the Cape

Views over Funchal and Curral das Freiras, and the fishing port of Câmara de Lobos

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. 


Funchal Cathedral, colourful Mercado dos Labradores, Blandy’s Winery and Monte's Municipal Gardens and the Palace Gardens

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.

Madeira's Mountains

Pico de Ariero, Ribeiro Frio,  Santana and Penha d’Aguia (Eagle Rock)

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). 

Eastern Madeira

Camara de Lobos, Machico, Pico de Facho and Caniçal

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 eastwards 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.

Madeira's Coast, Valleys and Vistas

São Vicente, 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.

Holiday information

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.

Local 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.

Madeira is an incredible island, it’s not called the ‘Garden island’ for nothing. The Galasol Resort Hotel was excellent and the buffet meals provided a fantastic choice of food, though my favourite evening was a five course dinner out in Funchal on our last night. I most enjoyed the walk on our final day, Ponta San Lorenco, which took us right out on the peninsula with some excellent views and I enjoyed following the lavadas to some still protected places to get away from it all. Madeira does also have a great infrastructure so is easy to explore on your own, on the free day we crammed in three of the islands best gardens, using a cable car to travel between two. It’s an amazing place, with very friendly people and I would definitely go again! (Dr Newman, Norfolk)


The island’s capital and main harbour, has white houses and distinctive tiled roofs, which flow down to the harbour. 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.

Did you Know?

Funchal flower sellers are obliged to wear traditional Madeiran dress, which comprises a hat with a stalk (carapuca), a red waistcoat and a colourful, striped skirt.


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.


Travel by plane


‘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 short coach transfer takes approx 15 minutes to the Hotel Galosol.

British Airways plane




Driving to us

‘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 short transfer 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 £8.50
  • 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

 Coach heading to Glen Coe


Mike Craze

Mike is a professional Blue Badge Guide based at Winchester in Hampshire who has been guiding for 12 years and enjoys combining the facts and stats with a bit of fun and trivia as well.

A keen historian and member of an archaeology group in Hampshire, he likes nothing better than researching new places and learning about their ‘hidden secrets’ and telling their story. ‘History fascinates me. It’s like pulling at a thread that never stops unravelling.’

He is quick to acknowledge though that ‘sometimes it’s just about relaxing. Sharing a breathtaking piece of landscape or soaking up the atmosphere of a beautiful garden or mediaeval cobbled street. People are on holiday’.

Mike made the holiday most enjoyable. He is a very friendly and knowledgeable leader and it would be a great joy to go on another holiday with him.

Sandy Smith.

Sandy Smith is a university academic, specialising in geology and environmental sciences, and has written books on these topics. She is particularly interested in the origins of landscape, both natural and human-made. She leads HF Holidays’ Walking and Leisure Activities holidays in the UK, Europe and worldwide.

Brilliant - made everything so interesting and her local knowledge was really appreciated. 



Dates & Prices

Date Description Nights Brochure price Book
8 Oct 2018 MALEL - Madeira Discovery Tour - Without Flights 7 £919.00 Book Now

Prices are per person


  • Double room for sole occupancy: £16 per night
  • Sea view: £7 per person per night
  • Allow €23 for entrances
  • Non-member associate fee: £10 per person

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