Gardens and Plants of Madeira
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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), Quinta Palmeira 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
- See the exotic flowers and plants native to Madeira in the beautiful Quinta Palmeira
- 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
- Stay in a 4-star hotel, offering fine views of the Atlantic and the rocky coast
Great Reasons to Join Us:
- Great value: all prices include Half Board en-suite accommodation, plus five full-day excursions, with entrances to public and private gardens and all transport
- Knowledgeable leader: learn more about the design and planting of these Madeiran gardens from your expert leader
- Accommodation: enjoy a 4-star hotel in an enviable position overlooking the sea
- Sociability: we pride ourselves on the social atmosphere of our holidays − visit gardens together, eat together and 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.
Arrival day Monday:
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
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.
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.
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.
Friday: a free day for you to relax and enjoy the facilities at your hotel, visit Funchal or take a local bus to other parts of this lovely island.
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.
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.
Monday: Departure day
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.
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.
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, 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 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, and Garden Tours in the UK.
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: £13 per night
- Sea view: £7 per person per night
- Non-member associate fee: £10 per person