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Madeira New Year Guided Walking Holiday

Panorama of Madeira island, Portuguese archipelag. Ponta de Sao Jorge on the ocean coast
Duration: 8 nights
Type: European Centre Based
Walking Grade: 2 & 4

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 diverse walking landscapes and much to explore, making this a truly 'must-see' destination and ideal for a sunny New Year break. Walk the famous levada paths to waterfalls and breathtaking views. Explore lush valleys and discover the wild beauty of the coast. Spend a sightseeing day in Funchal and the isolated Curral das Freiras. In the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, off the west coast of Africa, Madeira is a magical volcanic island with rugged mountains draped in lush colourful vegetation and crammed with bright flowers. Over its fascinating history, Madeira has attracted merchants, explorers and pirates. Christopher Columbus married the first Governor’s granddaughter in the 15th century when the Portuguese settlers arrived. The island has a wealthy history of sugar cane plantations, although sugar cane is no longer the main crop. This has been replaced with vines that produce the famous Madeira wine. This beautiful island rising from the ocean with steep cliffs and high mountains was once believed to be the lost civilisation of Atlantis. Funchal is the island’s capital and main port. White houses and distinctive tiled roofs flow down to the harbour, favoured by cruise ships. Reflecting its wealth and history, the capital now makes a great destination for shopping and sightseeing. The old town has narrow, cobbled streets and restored fishermen’s houses. The market, built in 1937, has two storeys and is vibrant and colourful, thanks to the wares of its famous flower sellers. At the seafront, a modern cable car station takes passengers to the hilltop 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. Madeira enjoys an all year round mild clim

Holiday Highlights

  • Discover this island paradise - emerald green mountains and dramatic coastlines
  • Visit bustling Funchal to uncover the city’s fascinating colonial history, gardens and wine trade
  • Follow Madeira’s famous levadas to stunning waterfalls and panoramic views
  • Visit Cabo Girao and stand on the highest cliff skywalk in Europe, open every day to see spectacular views
  • With a fantastic variety of walks, ‘the Pearl of the Atlantic’ cannot fail to delight and surprise, such as the Caminho Real de Encumeada

What’s included

  • A full programme of guided walks with 2 options every walking day plus 1 full sightseeing day
  • All transport to and from the walks
  • The services of experienced  HF Holidays’ leaders
  • ‘With flight’ holidays include return flights from the UK and hotel transfers
  • 7 nights’ accommodation in en-suite rooms
  • Half Board – extensive breakfast and evening buffet meal

Trip Notes

Trip notes are detailed, downloadable PDFs for each holiday.

Download Trip Notes

Welcome to Hotel Galosol. Unpack and settle in.

Today our walks take us to the north of the island on two exciting routes.

Today we will visit the capital, Funchal. Our local interest guide will take us on a guided tour of this small, pretty city to include the cathedral, the colourful Mercado dos Labradores and a visit to the famous Blandy’s Winery, home of Madeira wine, with an opportunity to taste the products. In the afternoon, we travel by coach high into the mountains to a viewpoint overlooking the Central Highlands and the Curral das Freiras (Valley of the Nuns). Then we can walk down the old path which
leads to the Curral das Freiras. For many centuries this was the only means of reaching this remote valley.

Each week there is a free day when no guided walks are offered. This is an ideal opportunity to relax around the hotel, walk independently or visit local places of interest. Some options for your free day may include:

Hotel: Have a relaxing day enjoying the facilities of the hotel or book an activity with Loko Loko Adventure Activity Centre where our guests receive a 10% discount. This can be a tour of the island by bus, jeep, boat or segway. Other options include horse riding or bike hire.

Funchal: Take the local bus into Funchal and explore further, including a visit to the Monte Palace Tropical Gardens via cable car from the harbour area, shopping or visiting one of the city’s museums or the Story of Madeira Exhibition.

Local information website: For information on Madeira please visit

Today both groups walk on spectacular levadas.

Our walks today take us to the western end of the island. We’ll travel past Funchal and enter the Ribeira Brava Gorge. The coach will then take us high onto the western moors. This end of the island differs greatly from the high volcanic peaks in the east. Here rolling moorland offers views over the sea in both directions on a clear day. Torches are useful on this day, when walking through one of the levada tunnels.

Our walks on our final day are at the far eastern end of the island.

We hope to see you again soon.

Madeira Itinerary Map

Hotel Galosol - Madeira

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 an impressive range of facilities including indoor and outdoor swimming pools, gym and wellness centre. 


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 - a great place to sit and gaze at the view. 

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 public areas of the hotel.

Food & Drink

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.

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.


The hotel has a well-stocked bar serving beer, wine and spirits.

Your Evenings

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.

Portugal - Madeira - Hotel Galosol - Hotel Galosol - Reception Lounge.jpg

Getting to Hotel Galosol - Madeira

Find out more about this location including travel details and room types.

More Information

What to Bring

Essential Equipment

To enjoy walking/hiking comfortably and safely, footwear, clothing and equipment needs to be suitable for the conditions. Safety and comfort are our priorities, so our advice is to come prepared for all eventualities.

  • Footwear with a good grip on the sole (e.g.Vibram sole) is the key to avoiding accidents.
  • Walking/hiking boots providing ankle support and good grip are recommended (ideally worn in), and specialist walking socks to avoid blisters.
  • Several layers of clothing, which can be added or removed, are better than a single layer (include spares).
  • Fabrics (lightweight and fast drying) designed for the outdoors are recommended.
  • Waterproof jacket and waterproof over trousers.
  • Warm hat and gloves. 
  • Denim jeans and capes are not suitable on any walks.
  • Rucksack with a waterproof liner.
  • Thermos flask for hot drink.
  • Water bottle (at least 2 litre).
  • Spare high-energy food such as a chocolate bar.
  • Small torch.
  • First aid kit – your leader’s first aid kit doesn’t contain any medication or blister kits (such as Compeed).
  • Sun hat and sunglasses
  • Sun cream.

Optional Equipment

  • Walking poles are useful, particularly for descents.
  • Insect repellent.
  • Camera.
  • Gaiters.

Guest Reviews

8 nights
European Centre Based
Walking Grade:

8 nights from 0pp

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