Gardens and Plants of Madeira
Join us on the island of Madeira. Home to a fascinating mix of native plants and cultivated ornamental and crop plants
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Hills & moorland
Many of the plants on this wonderful island 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.
- Admire the vast range of colours at the Monte Palace Gardens against the striking backdrop of Funchal bay
- The flora of 'Quinta Jardins do Lago' is such a rich and diverse collection that it can rival any good botanical gardens.
- Visit gardens in other parts of the island, taking in stunning views along the way
- Enjoy a mix of larger public gardens as well as smaller gardens
- 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)
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 Gardens & Plants of Madiera 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.
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
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.
Day 2: Exuberant plantings at the Municipal Gardens, the Promenade Gardens, Santa Catarina Park & Quinta VigiaWe 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.
Day 3: Native flora at the Funchal Botanic Garden & Quinta Jardins do Lago
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 the splendid botanical gardens of Quinta Jardins do Lago, with more than 500 different plants unique in their variety and natural beauty.
Day 4: 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.
Day 5: Free Day
Day 6 : 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.
Day 7: 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.
Day 8: Departure Day
In the Evenings
The friendly atmosphere of our Gardens and Palaces 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.
What to bring
Guests should bring stout, comfortable footwear for rough, wet or uneven terrain in gardens.
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
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. With her wealth of experience, she leads a wide range of 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.
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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
- Non-member associate fee: £10 per person