Gardens and Plants of Madeira

PORTUGAL

Code: MAGDT

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Activity types:

  • Coastal
  • Flora
  • High Mountains
  • Hotel plus

Holiday overview

Join us on this holiday to the wonderful island of Madeira which is home to a fascinating mix of native plants along with a huge variety of cultivated ornamentals and crop plants. Many of these plants have been introduced from all corners of the world and thrive in the mild climate of Madeira. Almost since it was first settled in 1419, Madeirans have been creating gardens and plant collections, many of which are now open to visitors. Our tour will include visits to the Monte Palace Gardens, the Funchal Botanic Garden, the Quinta do Palheiro Ferreiro (Blandys) and excursions to see plants in the countryside. Please note – Madeira is very hilly and several of the gardens are located on sloping hillsides.

Holiday highlights

  • Admire the vast range of colours at the Monte Palace Gardens against the striking backdrop of Funchal bay
  • Enjoy a mix of larger public gardens as well as smaller gardens
  • Visit gardens in other parts of the island, taking in stunning views along the way
  • Your hotel offers fine views of the Atlantic and the rocky coast

Price includes

  • Good quality en-suite accommodation in one of our European partner hotels
  • Half Board – continental breakfast and evening meal
  • The guidance and services of our knowledgeable HF Holidays’ leader, ensuring you get the most from your holiday
  • ‘With flight’ holidays include return flights from the UK and hotel transfers
  • All transport to and from gardens on a comfortable, good-quality mini coach
  • All gardens admissions costs (please note this does not include entrance to private homes or castles, for which there is a separate admission fee)

In pictures...

Accommodation

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

Facilities

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.

Dining

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

Breakfast
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.

Drinks
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.

Itinerary

Arrival day

You will be met at Madeira airport and taken to your hotel, located near Funchal, the island's capital. Settle in and meet your holiday leader and fellow guests before dinner. Please be aware that walking shoes or sturdy footwear are advisable if you want to make the most of your visit to Madeira, for although we have footpaths that can be accessed by all, there are many over the site that require regular walking attire.

Exuberant plantings at the Municipal Gardens, the Promenade Gardens, Santa Catarina Park & Quinta Vigia

We begin our tour in Funchal with a visit to the Municipal Gardens, a small park with mature trees and shrubs and exuberant seasonal plantings. We'll then stroll through the Promenade Gardens which so impress visitors and visit the busy Market where fruit, vegetables and flowers are sold. After lunch we'll visit the Santa Catarina Park and the nearby Quinta Vigia, which is now the official residence of the island's president. 

Native flora at the Funchal Botanic Garden & grand terraces at Quinta da Palmeira

Today we'll see two superb gardens; firstly the Funchal Botanic Garden which is noted for its collection of native flora and its display of cultivated plants which have been introduced to Madeira over the years. The gardens continue to develop new collections and displays. In the afternoon we visit Quinta da Palmeira, a terraced garden with extensive views and recalling the grand merchants' residences of old.

Orchids at Quinta da Boa Vista, then several vegetation zones at central Encumeada  & down to the coast at Sao Vicente

In the morning we will visit Quinta da Boa Vista which mainly specialises in orchids. They have an extensive collection including many rare and endangered species. In the afternoon we drive across the island to see several of the vegetation zones which make up this diverse island. We will stop at Encumeada in the centre of the island. Weather permitting we will make a short walk (max 1 hour). We will end with a visit to Sao Vicente on the north coast.

A day of contrasts - wild natives at Ribeiro Frio & beautifully restored gardens at the old Municipal Gardens and the Monte Palace Gardens

A day of contrasts. In the morning we'll drive inland to Ribeiro Frio where there is a garden of native plants. Weather permitting we'll take a short stroll along a levada to see plants in the wild. There are cafes and picnic sites nearby. In the afternoon we'll travel to Monte, now virtually a suburb of Funchal to visit the old Municipal Gardens and the Monte Palace Gardens near Funchal. As well as the beautifully restored gardens guests can visit the sculpture and mineral displays.

Mature trees and exotic shrubs and flowers in Blandy's private gardens at Quinta do Palheiro Ferreiro & a delightful Flower Festival 

In the morning we'll visit Quinta do Palheiro Ferreiro (Blandy's), one of the finest private gardens on the island. Set on a hillside with magnificent views the gardens contain many mature trees, exotic shrubs and flowers. In the afternoon we'll return to Funchal to see the climax of the annual Flower Festival, the parade through the streets of the city. We can also see flower displays set out in the historic centre.

Free day

On 7-night holidays there is a free day, when you're free to relax and enjoy the facilities at the hotel or to explore the local area independently.

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.

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)

Funchal

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.

Travel

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

Bus

‘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

 

 

Bus

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

Leaders

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

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

Information

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

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