Discovery Tour of Madeira
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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.
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, to visit the old Municipal Gardens and the Palace Gardens.
We begin the day with a climb in the coach to the Pico de Facho (Peak of the Torch) viewpoint. From here we enjoy wide views of the island, before returning to the coast and to Saint Lawrence Peninsula for a short walk. We continue to the city of Caniço for a short stop at the very interesting whaling museum. In the afternoon we continue to the charming village of Porta Cruz before turning inland to return to Funchal via the Ribeiro Frio National Park.
We start the day travelling west along the coast to the fishing village of Camara de Lobos and continue to the charming town of Ribeira Brava before heading along to Encumeada, giving magnificent views to both north and south. From here we continue to the northwest coast and the charming town of Porto Moniz before returning south and to Funchal via Calheta.
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 £45 per person for entrance fees.
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.
‘With flight’ holidays
For flight times and prices please see the Dates & Prices tab.
We offer flights from Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow (regional flight supplement £100) to Funchal.
If you book a ‘with flight’ holiday with us, we automatically include transfers between the airport and the hotel. The coach transfer to Caniço de Baixo takes 30 minutes.
All our overseas holidays can also be booked without a flight. This is ideal if you are travelling from overseas, or prefer to make your own arrangements from your local airport. If you choose this option the transfer to the hotel is not included.
HF Holidays can help you to reach the hotel in the following ways:
HF Holidays’ transfer coach from Funchal airport. These are timed to meet the HF Holidays’ flights (provisional HF Holidays’ flight times can be found on the dates and prices tab or call 020 8732 1220). Cost per single journey is £7.50. Please note that HF Holidays is not responsible for your onward travel if you fail to meet the transfer coach under any circumstance.
Our Airport Taxi service operates at this resort, offering quick and easy transfers for guests booking their own flights. All prices are per taxi for single journeys, allowing you to mix and match different transfer options. Transfers must be pre-booked. Please call 020 8732 1220 for more details
From Funchal airport by taxi transfer £30 per taxi single journey
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, and Garden Tours in the UK.
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
|3 Apr 2017||MALEL - Madeira Discovery Tour||7||£879.00||Book Now|
|2 Oct 2017||
MALEL - Madeira Discovery Tour
Flight - Outbound
Flight - Return
|2 Oct 2017||
MALEL - Madeira Discovery Tour
Flight - Outbound
Flight - Return
|2 Oct 2017||MALEL - Madeira Discovery Tour||7||£879.00||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: (2016) £5 per person; (2017) £10 per person