Madeira Discovery Tour
Discover the famous Levadas and panoramic views on the 'Pearl of the Atlantic'
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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
- Small, sociable groups of up to 15 guests
- 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
A short bus ride from Funchal, and Occupying an enviable position on the southeast coast, the clifftop 4-star Hotel Galosol offers fine views of the Atlantic Ocean, the Ilhas Desertas and the rocky Madeiran shore. The hotel is located within the resort of Caniço de Baixo, a residential area with shops and a few local restaurants.
|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.
|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 are 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 include 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.
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.
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 delicacies, 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'll have the opportunity to visit many fascinating places. The following is our provisional programme, and your HF Holidays' leader may adjust it at their discretion, taking into account factors such as weather, local opening times, or other events. This holiday includes active sightseeing and you should expect to spend lots of time on your feet.
For maximum flexibility, admissions are not included; Please allow up to €25 per person for entrances (there may be concessionary and group discounts which may reduce this price). Please bring cash as card machines are not always available at all venues.
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.
Sometimes things happen beyond our control – the weather, traffic jams or changes at the places we visit. If we need to adjust your holiday programme, for whatever reason, your leader will help smooth the way.
Day 1: Arrival Day
Day 2 : 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.
Day 3: Funchal
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 visit the old Municipal Gardens and the Palace Gardens.
Day 4: Madeira's Mountains
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).
Day 5: 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.
Day 6: Eastern Madeira
We start the day travelling west along the coast to the village of Camacha, centre of the island’s wickerwork industry. From here we continue eastwards to Machico, Madeira’s first settlement, before ascending Madeira’s highest peak, via Portela before descend to Caniçal, once a whaling port.
Day 7: Madeira's Coast, Valleys and Vistas
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.
Day 8: Departure Day
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.
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.
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.
‘With flight’ holidays – the hassle-free option
Book your holiday ‘with flight’ and choose between Gatwick, Manchester and Birmingham 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.
‘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
Jim is a professional horticulturist with more than 35 years' experience working in local authority parks departments and commercial nurseries, in Britain and abroad. For more than 15 years he was a lecturer in plant production and landscape management. He has also run his own nursery and landscape design business. Jim combines visiting gardens and plant spotting with hiking and sightseeing in various countries. Jim leads Walking, Discovery and Garden Tours in Europe.
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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 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