Wild Landscapes of Madeira Members' Break

Madeira Guided Walking Holiday

Portugal - Madeira - AdobeStock_64289406.jpeg
Duration: 7 nights
Type: European Centre Based
Walking Grade: 2 & 4
from £1,099pp £919pp without flights FLIGHTS AVAILABLE

In the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, the volcanic island of Madeira has rugged mountains draped in lush vegetation and bright flowers. Just 35 miles long and 13 miles wide, this unique tropical gem offers diverse walking landscapes with many paths following its famous levadas (water channels) through the mountains to reach gushing waterfalls and sweeping views across the island. A head for heights is required for some walks! Coastal walks reveal steep cliffs rising dramatically out of the Atlantic Ocean topped with a range of vegetation from exotic, colourful flowers to prickly pear cacti. Madeira enjoys a mild climate year-round and is a great option for a winter or autumn walking holiday.

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

What’s included

  • A full programme of guided walks with 2 options every walking 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 PDF’s for each holiday, please click the button below to find the right trip notes for your departure date.

Welcome to Hotel Galosol. Unpack and settle in.

Today we visit the second highest sea cliff in Europe, the Cabo Girao. This high viewpoint has now been enhanced with a breathtaking glass viewing platform.

Option 1 - Cabo Girao & Levada do Facho

Distance: 11 miles (18km) 

Total ascent:130 feet (40m)

In summary: We also visit the Cabo Girao and after visiting the viewing platform will commence a descent to Levado do Facho, with views over vineyards and the town of Camara de Lobos. After a short walk through a levada tunnel and the western side of the Cabo Girao promontory we join the start of the easier walk to Boa Morte and views of the Ribeira Brava gorge.

Highlight: We'll get great views of the Cabo Girao cliffs from all angles; the viewing platform, from the levadas and even from the inside as we pass through a short tunnel in the cliff.

Option 2 - Cabo Girao & Levada do Norte

Distance: 7½ miles (12km) 

Total ascent: Minimal 

In summary: We firstly visit the famous high cliff of Cabo Girao (Europe’s second highest sea cliff) for views and a little excitement. Test your nerve on the glass floored viewing platform high above the sea and new vineyards below. After coffee we continue by coach to commence our first levada walk on the Levada do Norte. This levada gives us splendid views out to sea and leads us eventually to viewpoints over the dramatic gorge of the Ribeira Brava.

Highlight: Take a deep breath and step out onto the Cabo Girao viewing platform - the views are staggering.

Today our walks take us to the north of the island on two exciting routes in the Sao Roque Valley. Our day will include a visit to the pretty bay of Porto da Cruz.

Option 1 - Into the North of the Island

Distance: 7 miles (11km)

Total ascent: 200 feet (60m)

Total descent: 700 feet (210m)

In summary: Starting in Lombo Grande we descend through woods to the source of the Levada Castelejo, which we then follow along the valley side to Cruz. The route continues through lush farmland along the Levada Nova to Referta.

Highlight: Following one of the greenest and most unspoilt valleys in Madeira

Option 2 - Lombo Grande

Distance: 8 miles (13km)

Total ascent: 700 feet (210m)

In summary: Starting in the village of Roque do Faial we ascend through small farms to Lombo Grande then descend through woods to join the Levada Castelejo. The route follows the beautiful Sao Roque valley to Cruz and then on to Referta.

Highlight: Following a levada from its source, along a spectacular valley

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.

Option 1 - The Moorland Levada

Distance: 8 miles (13km)

Total ascent: 100 feet (30m)

Total descent: 1,000 feet (300m)

In summary: Today’s walk follows a gentle levada path to a lovely viewpoint over the hills and woods of Rabacal before descending to Levada das 25 Fontes which will lead us via a tunnel through a mountain ridge to meet our coach.

Highlight: Rabacal is considered one of Madeira's most beautiful areas.

Option 2 - Four Levadas in a day

Distance: 9 miles (14½km)

Ascent: 200 feet (60m)

Descent: 900 feet (300m)

In summary: Following the Levada do Paul, we have sweeping views down to the south coast. Our route continues with views of the deep Ribeira da Janela valley, descending through woodland to a rock pool perched between two waterfalls. Our walk ends on the Levada 25 Fontes.

Highlight: Traverse three of the five Levadas in the Ribeira da Janela valley.

Today's walks both offer incredible views over the highlands in the centre of the island.

Option 1 - Poiso Moors, Levada do Furado to Portela

Distance: 7 miles (11km)

Total ascent: 300 feet (100m)

Total descent: 2,000 feet (600m)

In summary: We walk high in the eastern moors, with extensive views to the north and west (weather dependent), our route takes us along a levada to a waterhouse. We end our walk in the village of Portela with opportunity for refreshments.

Highlight: The views are completely different on this side of the island.

Option 2 - The Royal Path to Encumeada

Distance: 10 miles (16km)

Total ascent: 900 feet (270m)

Total descent: 2,000 feet (600m)

In summary: We take a section of high level path, the Camino Real, which crosses the island from South to North, finishing in the village of Encumeada for well earned refreshments.

Highlight: This is regarded one of the finest walks on the island.

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. Absorb the colours and scents of the flower markets, do a spot of shopping or visit one of the city’s museums or the Story of Madeira Exhibition.

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

Option 1 - Ponta do Sao Lourenco

Distance: 5 miles (8km)

Total ascent: 600 feet (180m)

In summary: We start our day in the town of Canical on the most easterly part of the island, the Sao Lourenco peninsula. Our coastal walk gives us great views of the sea cliffs before returning to Canical to explore its cafes and museums.

Highlight: The Whale Museum has fascinating exhibits on these great creatures, and on Madeira's whaling past.

Option 2 - Pico do Facho & Canical

Distance: 8 miles (13km)

Total ascent: 1,000 feet (300m)

In summary: Our walk begins at the entrance to the Canical Tunnel, climbing steadily to the viewpoint on Pico do Facho. Turning onto a splendid coastal path we return to Canical for refreshments before undertaking the Ponta da Sao Lourenco walk in the afternoon.

Highlight: This is a spectacular stretch of coast with views to match.

We hope to see you again soon.

Madeira Itinerary Map

Essential Information

Passport Requirements

You may need to renew your British passport if you’re travelling from 1 January 2021.

On the day you travel, you’ll need your passport to both:

  • have at least 6 months left
  • be less than 10 years old (even if it has 6 months or more left)

Use the government website to see if your passport is valid for this holiday

EHIC cards

The UK government has officially launched the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), which will replace the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). UK residents can now apply for one of the GHIC cards, which will gradually replace the EHIC cards as they reach their expiry dates. Every family member travelling requires a GHIC. You can make an application for yourself and on behalf of your partner and any dependent children under the age of 16. Both cards will offer equivalent protection for emergency and medically necessary healthcare needs when in the EU on a temporary stay, which includes holiday, study and business travel. Necessary healthcare includes things like

• emergency treatment and visits to A&E
• treatment for long-term or pre-existing medical conditions
• routine medical care for pre-existing conditions that need monitoring
• oxygen and kidney dialysis

The public only need to apply for their free GHIC cards when their current EHIC expires. The process is likely to take two weeks. For more information visit https://www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/healthcare-abroad/apply-for-a-free-uk-global-health-insurance-card-ghic/.

The GHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance. We advise all holidaymakers to also invest in travel insurance that covers healthcare, so they are covered for other issues that may arise, as well as cancellations and lost luggage.

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

All holidays are subject to availability. Prices are subject to change.
Prices based on two people sharing. Supplements may apply.
Non-member fee: £30 per person.

These departure dates can be booked with flights or as land only holiday options. All packages that include flights are ATOL protected. Advertised flight prices are based on UK flights departing from London. Regional departures and/or connections to London, if available, can be requested. Cabin upgrades may also be available on request.

Date (Start - End) Nights Itinerary Price Status Trip Notes Book
17 Oct - 24 Oct 2022
7 Itinerary £1,299 £1,119 Save £180 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
Date (Start - End) Nights Itinerary Price Status Trip Notes Book
17 Oct - 24 Oct 2022
7 Itinerary £1,099 £919 Save £180 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now

Important Information

  • Sea view: £20 per room per night.
  • Single room: From £245 (complete holiday)
  • With flight holidays: Flights from London Heathrow to Funchal included
  • Regional flight available from Manchester & Birmingham from £70pp. Other UK regional connecting flights available on request
  • Our airport taxi service operates at this resort – price per taxi: From £26 one way.
  • Independent travellers can join our transfer from Funchal Airport: From £14.50pp one way Guided walking and £31.50 Gardens Tours.
7 nights
European Centre Based
Walking Grade:

7 nights from £1,099pp £919pp
without flights

...or call 020 3974 8865

For group bookings of 10+ people click here

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