Explore Portugal’s largest and most enchanting island, the main island of Madeira. With its all-year-round subtropical climate, exotic botanical gardens, black sand beaches and volcanic mountain scenery, Madeira holidays are perfect for walkers and hiking enthusiasts alike.
It comes as no surprise that the Maderia Islands have won Europe’s Leading Island Destination 2020 at the World Travel Awards six times in a row. Located in the Atlantic Ocean, 350 miles from Morocco the island of Madeira boasts natural pools carved out of lava rocks, waterfalls and beautiful black sand beaches, there are plenty of opportunities to swim, snorkel and windsurf in the island’s warm waters.
On our Walking in Madeira trip discover the island’s spectacular coastal way-marked trails, visit the quaint fishing village of Machino and wander through the old trading centre of Funchal to learn about how their sugar and wine were exported to the Indies and the New World. On this Madeira tour, hike to the top of the island’s highest mountain, Pico Ruivo (1862m), enjoy a beautiful walk through the chestnut and eucalyptus woods from Encumeada and delve into the local history with a visit to the bustling Mercado dos Lavradores, “workers market” for a true cultural experience. We recommend trying their wide selection of tropical fruits, like peach-passion fruit, pitangas and Indian figs, or pick up some coloured bonbons that vary from Poncha to Madeira wine flavours.
Another spectacular Madeira holiday is our Marvels of Madeira Self-Guided Walk. While on this Madeira tour, you’ll explore the ancient cobbled circular route towards Sao Jorge, go on a gentle hike from the Parque das Queimadas to the Vale de Lapa and enjoy an exhilarating walk through pink belladonna flowers and eucalyptus trees to the lofty sea cliff of Cabo Girao for unforgettable views of the Atlantic.
Traditional Villages: The villages of Madeira nestle among breathtaking landscapes and offer a glimpse into the island’s rich cultural heritage. Boasting traditional houses adorned with colourful flowers and narrow cobbled streets, it almost feels as though time has stood still. From the vibrant Paul do Mar, known for its striking beauty, to the picturesque Faja da Ovelha and the fisherman’s village of Canical, each has its unique charms. The warm hospitality of the locals also adds to the allure of Madeira tours.
Pico Grande: Pico Grand is a majestic peak which rises proudly above Madeira’s stunning landscape. The mountain is a place of cultural significance, and it has long played a role in the folklore and traditions of the local community, making it an integral part of the region’s identity and history. Explore the trails that wind along Pico Grande and from its summit, immerse yourself in panoramic views across Ribeira Brava, Nun’s Valley and Pico Ruivo.
The Lakes of Madeira: Madeira is famous for its natural beauty, and its waters are no exception. This beautiful walk takes you above the ancient Rabaçal valley of the western plateau to the emerald-green waters of Lagoa do Vento, passing rock pools and cascading waterfalls, which have formed over millions of years. Along the way you can enjoy a refreshing dip, see wonderful flora and fauna and soak up fabulous views.
Sao Jorge: Sao Jorge is a beautiful coastal village with natural landscapes and rich cultural heritage. Known for its impressive cliffs and picturesque valleys, the region is a haven for hikers and nature lovers. The charming village introduces you to traditional Madeiran life, with its narrow streets, old stone houses and friendly locals. You can also explore the nearby Laurisilva Forest, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and indulge in Madeira’s delicious traditional cuisine.
Exploring Funchal: Funchal, the lively capital of Madeira, is a captivating city that stands on the picturesque coastline. As well as boasting crystal-clear waters and golden sandy beaches, it’s also renowned for its charming old town made up of cobblestone streets and colourful buildings. As you stroll through its narrow alleyways you’ll discover quaint shops, local markets and mouthwatering food stalls selling traditional delicacies. On our Madeira tours don’t miss the chance to visit the São Tiago Fortress or the Madeira Story Centre, which provide insights into the island’s history and traditions.
What a wonderful way to experience the varied landscape and unique plant life in Madeira! This was my first walking trip, and I was worried that I would get bored after a few days of walking, but what we saw each day was so different from the last! We did have one day of walking in the rain, but I think we got very lucky as the walk we did that day was covered for a lot of the way by trees and we were walking through some tunnels as well. The hotels were comfortable and lovely, but the one in Porto Moniz was beauuuuutiful!
Lovely island, great guide and group. Really nice hotels, lucky with the weather! However, the most interesting walks to the Eastern peninsula and the central mountains were very busy. Also, for me, the overall pace was rather slow and the distances covered could have been greater.
Madeira boasts a mild subtropical climate, making it a year-round destination. However, the spring and autumn months, from April to June and September to November, are often considered the best time to visit. During these periods, you can enjoy pleasant temperatures and fewer crowds. Owing to the island’s micro-climates, you’ll find the weather can vary depending on where you visit. When walking in the mountains it’s likely you’ll experience cooler temperatures and fog.
What are the best things to see on Madeira tours?
Blessed with beautiful landscapes and rich culture, Madeira is home to wonderful attractions. Some of the must-see places include the vibrant capital city, Funchal, with its historic centre and ornate gardens; Pico Ruivo, Maderia’s highest peak which offers breathtaking panoramic views; and the coastal town of Porto Moniz. Nature lovers should head to the magical Fanal Forest to see the unusual mist-shrouded trees and volcanic crater. Alternatively, hike among the hills of Machico for some of the best views of the island.
What are the best hiking trails in Madeira?
Madeira is a paradise for hikers, with its diverse landscapes offering a multitude of trails for all levels of expertise. One of the most famous hikes is the Levada walks, which are irrigation channels that crisscross the island, providing incredible views of the mountains and coastline. The challenging Pico Ruivo hike also rewards you with magnificent vistas, while the Vereda do Fanal guides you through an ancient laurel forest.
What is the traditional food in Madeira?
The cuisine of Madeira showcases a blend of Portuguese and international influences. The island is known for its freshly caught seafood, including specialties like espada (black scabbardfish) and lapas (limpets). Don’t miss the opportunity to try the famous Madeira wine, renowned worldwide for its unique flavours. The local dish of espetada, skewered beef cooked over an open fire, is also a must-try. You’ll also find honey cake and bolo do caco, a typical Madeiran bread, in many restaurants and local markets.
What is the most picturesque village in Madeira?
Ponta do Sol is often considered the most picturesque village of Madeira. This hidden gem captivates visitors with its raw beauty and sprawling coastal views and is referred to as the sunniest village on the island. The picture-perfect village provides a tranquil escape from the city, with its cobbled streets, pebble beach and pastel-coloured buildings.
How long do you need for hiking tours in Madeira?
Depending on how much of the island you’d like to see on Madeira tours, we’d recommend a minimum of eight days, as this allows you to explore some of the most beautiful walking trails. You’ll also have chance to stop off at local villages and discover the charms of the capital city, Funchal, at your own pace. As well as discovering the natural landscapes, you’ll have plenty of time to immerse yourself in the culture and history of the island.