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Walking in Madeira

8 days
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4.3 / 5 from 58 reviews >
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Trip code: 
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Walking & Trekking
Group size:
Min age:

Explore the verdant landscapes and coastal views of Portugal's largest island

During the course of this week you will have the opportunity to walk through the wild and varied scenery of Madeira, from gentle strolls along flower-lined levadas and spectacular coastal footpaths, to more demanding forays amongst the jagged ridges and peaks of the rugged volcanic interior. There is plenty of time to relax by the sea in the fishing village of Machico and discover the historic importance of Funchal, an old trade centre famous for exporting sugar and wine to the Indies and the New World.


  • Superb walking through Madeira's botanical paradise
  • Flower-lined levadas with stunning coastal views
  • Mild year-round climate perfect for walking
  • Picturesque fishing villages and the historic town of Funchal

Key information

  • 7 nights 3 and 4-star hotels/pensions, all rooms en suite
  • 5 days point-to-point walking; 1 free day
  • Group normally 4 to 16, plus leader. Min age 16 yrs
  • Altitude maximum 1862m, average 750m
  • Not suitable for vertigo sufferers
  • Transport by private minivan

What's included

  • All breakfasts
  • All accommodation 
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • Free arrival & departure transfers 

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request) 
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call for general departures:
074 340 4587
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.


Days of Walking & Trekking

Moderate: 5-6km/3-4miles an hour


Low altitude; some rough terrain - good paths with some steep ascents

Day by day breakdown
Day 28.0km/4.0miles
Day 312.0km/7.0miles
Day 412.0km/7.0miles
Day 516.0km/9.0miles
Day 612.0km/7.0miles

Responsible Travel

Tourism can be a real help to local communities, providing income, positive cultural exchanges and a financial incentive to protect their natural environment. Ours is a 'total approach' to responsible tourism, covering everything from the way we plan and operate our trips to the practices of Exodus as a company. 

On this trip, we stay in a range of hotels and simple pensions that employs local staff and uses local produce for the meals they provide. Several stops at villages and towns on our route are quite rural and the locals there depend heavily on tourism as a means of income hence, our visit will greatly benefit them. As a walking holiday, we actively encourage clients to interact with the locals, visit local cafes and bars, support local produce and craft and to experience what life is really like in Madeira. Additionally, walking trips like this have very little detrimental impact on the environment and the locals as it is a quiet, low impact activity requiring comparatively little resources to support.

To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 


  • Day 1

    Start Machico.

    We start at our hotel in Machico which overlooks the beach of Machico Bay and is close to the picturesque historic fishing village.
    Comfortable Hotel

  • Day 2

    Walk along Ponta de Sao Lourenco, where rocks contrast with the blue of the ocean.

    Today we walk the classic route along the Ponta de Sao Lourenco. Although challenging, this path takes us through some fantastic scenery as we admire wallflowers, stalwarts and many other tiny plants that resist this windy environment and manage to grow in soils with high levels of salinity. Rocks, sculptured by nature, have a great diversity of colours ranging from black to red, and are in stark contrast to the blue of the ocean. Madeira's Nature Park rangers watch over the plants and animals that belong to this eastern extremity of the island, around Casa do Sardinha. We return to Machico for the night.

    Walking time approx 3h30 (Elevation +170m, -270m)

    Total distance approx 8 km
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Spectacular walk along the north coast path to the fishing village of Porto da Cruz.

    This morning we will walk a scenic route along a cliff trail, up to the north coast. We set off along the little Levada do Caniçal, more modest and quieter than yesterday's, then begin a gradual climb up to the crest of the cliffs at Boca do Risco where we enjoy some amazing views along the north coast and may even be able to see the nearby island of Porto Santo. We then head west along the coastal path, a spectacular route in many places cut right into the cliff. We finally descend to the small town of Porto da Cruz, once a bustling port but now a sleepy little town. Later, we transfer to Santana for the night.

    Walking time approx 4h30 (Elevation +200m, –350m)

    Total distance approx 12 km
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Transfer to Queimadas; walk along Levada do Caldeirao Verde to the remote village of Ilha.

    From Santana we take a short transfer (stopping to admire the famous thatched roof houses) to Queimadas natural park where we will walk along the Levada do Caldeirao Verde. We finish this walk at the isolated village of Ilha before returning to Santana for the night.

    Walking time approx 5h (Elevation +90m, –500m)

    Total distance approx 12 km
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Early departure for sunrise at Achada do Teixeira; ascend the island's highest mountain, Pico Ruivo; follow a stone staircase down to Encumeada.

    Today we make the most strenuous walk of the trip. Starting with an early departure to see the sunrise at Achada do Teixeira, we ascend the island's highest mountain, Pico Ruivo (1862m). Our descent follows a spectacular ridge via Torrinhas Pass and over the saddle of Pico do Jorge to Encumeada. As we descend, bees buzz in 'Lily of the Valley' trees and the smell of wild thyme fills the air. After a long day in the hills, we arrive via a long series of stone steps at Encumeada, where we will spend the night.

    Walking time approx 7h30 (Elevation +650m, –1200m)

    Total distance approx 16 km
    Standard Hotel

  • Day 6

    High level walk through beautiful chestnut and eucalyptus woods to Corticeiras; panoramic local bus ride to Funchal.

    We enjoy another fine high-level walk. From Encumeada we walk through woods of chestnut and eucalyptus and then traverse below the rocky escarpment of Pico Grande, enjoying fine views to the south and back to the west. Eventually, we come to a superb viewpoint overlooking the spectacularly situated village of Curral das Freiras and then descend to the village of Corticeiras. We get the bus to Funchal where there will be time for exploration of the town, a visit to the market or shopping if you wish. We overnight in Funchal.

    Total walking time 6h (Elevation +400m, –650m)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Free day to visit the bustling 'Mercado dos Lavradores' (workers' market), Sé Cathedral or for wine tasting in Madeira's Wine Lodge.

    Our last day is free for you to explore Funchal, the Madeira archipelago's capital. The city is easily explored on foot and the must-see sights include the Sé Cathedral which was built between 1493 and 1514, and the magnificent statue of the man who discovered Madeira, Joao Goncalves Zarco, on the Avenida Arriaga.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    End Funchal.

    The trip ends in Funchal.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info




There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts are included and usually consist of coffee/tea, fruit juice, rolls or bread, butter and jam, with the addition of cereal or cheese sometimes. Lunch (not included): normally bread or rolls, fresh salad, vegetables, cold meats or tinned fish, cheese and fresh fruit. The ingredients for lunch can often be bought at nearby shops and supermarkets, and prepared before walks. Evening meal (not included): normally a first course of soup or salad, a main course of meat or fish with vegetables and potatoes or rice, plus a dessert course. We regularly take our evening meal in our hotel, although there are other options. Madeirans eat a lot of meat and fish with rather plainly cooked vegetables. Vegetarians will normally find they get a balanced diet if they are prepared to be flexible.


The climate in Madeira is similar to that found around the Mediterranean and is renowned for its year round mildness however there is always the possibility of inclement weather. In May, April, June, October and November, temperatures are pleasant and some rainfall is to be expected. From July to September, daytime is a little warmer and it is typically dry with an average of seven to eight hours of sunshine a day, but the odd shower is still possible. Winter months are generally wetter, particularly at high levels with rain falling between periods of fine, settled weather (so waterproofs are essential). Please note that we may be forced to amend the itinerary depending on local weather conditions.

Is this trip for you?

This trip consists of 5 daywalks and 1 free day. The walks are either fairly easy medium-duration walks or harder, shorter walks and reasonable fitness is required. The paths we use are generally flat and well maintained but some of the routes cross rougher terrain with longer ascents and descents. Some of the paths are quite narrow and stony underfoot and require walking in single file. On several occasions where the path becomes narrow and has a steep drop to one side, walkers need a head for heights. Handrails sometimes protect these sections, but we do not recommend this holiday for vertigo sufferers. A few of the levada paths enter short tunnels through the rock but these are easily navigated with the aid of a torch. Should you decide not to walk on certain days, there is the possibility of getting a lift with the support vehicle. Altitude maximum 1,862m; average 750m.

Call for general departures:
074 340 4587
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.


Hotels & Pensions

Throughout your trek you will stay in good quality hotels and sometimes in standard pensions with en suite facilities.

List of hotels normally used:

Machico: Hotel Dom Pedro    

Santana: Hotel O Colmo              

Encumeada / Serra de Agua: Estalagem Encumeada  or Pousada dos Vinhaticos 

Funchal:  Hotel do Centro

*Please note that on the 11th May 2019 and 21st December 2019 a different end hotel (5-star Quinta da Serra) will be used and this will be located approx. 16km from Funchal. A complimentary shuttle bus to/from Funchal will be offered for those wishing to travel to Funchal for sightseeing.*


Call for general departures:
074 340 4587
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed March 2019
    Helen Botham

    Fun in Madeira

    Lovely bunch of folks , lots of laughs and good local guide who always made sure we could eat together and knew some great restaurants. He also found us chances to swim in the sea at the end of some walks. Great weather and varied walks amongst the flowers, plants and mountains of subtropical Madeira. Plenty to do in Funchal in our free time, beautiful gardens.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Being with such lovely people

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Andre was lovely . He was up for a laugh and happy to answer all questions. He made sure we understood what we were doing with a meeting the previous evening. He was young and fit and had the transport , local buses and minibus , well organised and also knew good bars for an after walk drink and a good variety of excellent restaurants.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go for it. That was my first holiday on travelling on my own and it was excellent. I recommend going from your local airport if you can. I went and returned a day early so that I could fly from Manchester and this fitted in well with the holiday.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Thank you Exodus.
  • Reviewed January 2019
    CLIVE Beauvais



    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?


    What did you think of your group leader?


    Is there anything else you would like to add?

  • Reviewed October 2018
    Martha Knight

    Stunning views, wonderful walks, excellent company

    I'm just back from a fabulous week's walking in Madeira. The scenery, weather and company could not have been better. Thank you to Andre, our guide, for helping to make this week so successful. There was lots of laughter along with some strenuous walks set against the majestic background of mountains and the Atlantic Ocean. I highly recommend this trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    All the walks were completely different but the second day's walk was stunning covering both the mountains and the ocean and including the levadas. The drink at the end of the walk was a welcome reward in a bar set next to the ocean. Pretty perfect.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader, Andre, was great. He was knowledgeable, fun to be with and always seemed to be aware of our safety needs without being intrusive. He clearly loves Madeira and managed to pass in this love to the group. The arrangements went smoothly and all transport and luggage transfers were seamless.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go to Madeira!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    One of the walks was hard because of the climb up the mountain consisting of many flights of steps. Be aware of any personal limitations such as knee problems. The walks are considered of moderate difficulty but that one was tough and many of us felt it had been under graded. The views at the top, however, were worth it!
  • Reviewed September 2018
    Chris Moss

    Madeira walking

    The walks were well planned and we were lucky to have a well rounded and very pleasant group. The first two days were rather "easy" but after that the walking took us further afield and we spent plenty of time off the beaten track in some wonderful landscapes. Overall I think the walking could have been a bit more challenging, overall only just a "moderate" walking grade. The hotels were fairly modest, they were simple, but fine, twice there was no wi fi in the rooms though. Funchal worth a visit in its own right.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The levada's are fascinating as well as unique, the walk along the Levada do Caldeirao Verde was really memorable and it was a glorious day. The early rise for sun rise on Pico Ruivo and the walk to the summit and back down into the Nuns Valley to the hotel was the longest day and the best and the hotel has a stunning location - a really memorable "five star" day.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Andre was very on top of his job, he planned and explained well and was always pleasant company with a well rounded knowledge of the island although perhaps with a bias towards flora and fauna, I'm not sure I picked up much about contemporary social and economic life on the island.
  • Reviewed September 2018
    Robert Rutter

    Walking in Madeira

    Holiday was very good once in Madeira. Booking and office support from Exodus UK was poor. We paid a surcharge of over £300 pounds to get flights six months prior to departure. There were people in our group who arrived later in the day that didn't pay any surcharges. We could have got a later flight also.... No one has come back to me about this after my first survey. Also, Exodus don't have enough staff in the London office to even answer your phones. Dreadfull in light of the money we your customer pay. SORT IT OUT. That was my fourth holiday with Exodus, I doubt personally that I will book another in light of the London office. It's a shame you let all of your reps that are actually in front of your customers down. Learn the lesson. Rob Rutter

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    See above

    What did you think of your group leader?

    See above

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't book via Exodus

    Is there anything else you would like to add?


    Reply from Exodus

    Reply from Exodus

    We would like to thank Rob for taking the time to provide us with feedback both on his holiday evaluation form (HEF) and in his review. Whilst HEFs are read by 2 members of staff, we endeavour to make it clear both in the email we send inviting clients to complete their HEFs, as well as at the end of the survey itself that due to the volume of feedback we receive, we are unable to respond on an individual basis to the comments our clients make. We do, as a result of this, provide an email address which clients are welcome to use if they would like to raise any specific concerns to our customer services team. We would like to apologise if this could be further clarified. Flight prices can vary quite significantly throughout the year and even when flights are booked early, sometimes a supplement can be applicable, as explained in our trip notes. We were pleased Rob enjoyed his time in Madeira, but we are nonetheless very sorry that he was disappointed with the support he received from Exodus prior to travel.  –  Marta Marinelli, Product Manager.

  • Reviewed September 2018
    Peter Burn


    This was my first Exodus Tour. It will not be my last. Organisation was great. The guide (Andre Pontes) was superb - he made sure that everyone was enjoying themselves and that everyone was safe. He has very good people skills, and was a font of knowledge. I am 57 years old and moderately fit. The walking was just right for me. The others in the group (we were 11) were a lovely bunch. Madeira is beautiful.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Watching the sun rise from the top of a mountain

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent, really excellent (Andre Pontes)
  • Reviewed June 2018
    Paul Lomas-Clarke

    General review

    Everything was very good except the hotel near Encumeada which was expensive,had very poor staff, and no acoustic attenuation between rooms. In short wholly unsatisfactory. For this reason Exodus does not get an Excellent rating

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The mountains

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Very good

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    One of the walks is very hard

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Find a better hotel near Encumeada. Cut down the number of hotel stops and use buses 2 hotels is quite enough in a week.
  • Reviewed April 2018
    Helen Rogers

    A beautiful island

    Walking is a great way to see Madeira. The paths were in generally good condition, and the drops were not as daunting as I had expected - although you definitely need to look where you are going! The weather in Madeira is much more localised than I had realised - if it's important to you, make sure you look at the forecast for specific places. The mountains were rainy, and colder than expected - be prepared for anything! Most of the group went whalewatching in Funchal - this wasn't mentioned in the trip notes, but was great fun. No whales, but several dolphins - also a great way to get a view of Funchal from the water.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I enjoyed all of the walking. The cherry blossom above Funchal was superb.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Add me to the Andre fan club. Very sociable, generous with his time and knowledge. He had to substitute a couple of walks due to weather and rockslides, and we were not disappointed, even though we had been looking forward to the published itinerary. He's an excellent walking guide, well aware of everyone in the group.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Most of us used trekking poles, and were glad of them. Be prepared for anything - the weather is the boss of the itinerary. Most of the hotels were very pleasant, one was slightly disappointing - but the obvious place to stay given the itinerary.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It's a beautiful place, well worth the visit.
  • Reviewed April 2018
    Kerry Daly

    Dramatic trekking in the mountains of Madeira

    First time Exodus traveller and I was not disappointed. Madeira was every bit as beautiful as I had hoped: sea vistas (with huge waves on our Day 2 coastal walk), exotic flora and fauna, and at times, dizzying mountain heights that take your breath away. People in our group of 12 were delightfully friendly and supportive. Excellent leadership on this trip. Overall, a very satisfying travel experience.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    walking the cliffs on the northern coast with a raging sea below

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Andre, our leader, is a native of Madeira and he was very generous with his knowledge of the history, culture and nature of his beloved homeland. As others have commented, he has a wonderful sense of humour, is very effective in bringing the group together, and went out of his way to check in with each member of the group to ensure that they were safe and content.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Given the heights and some the slippery conditions (we had several days of rain), trekking poles indispensable. Need to be prepared for changes in itinerary (we had two days that were changed) as the weather in the mountains can be unpredictable (ie. cold, wet, fog). Fortunately our leader had good back up plans.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Accommodation was comfortable. Breakfasts however, were very uneven - some excellent with hot buffets, others really on the skimpy side which wasn't ideal when you had many hours of hiking ahead.
  • Reviewed April 2018
    Maureen Pinder

    A fun week despite stormy weather!

    I very much enjoyed my week in Madeira, despite having 'Storm Emma' lash us for days. It's a beautiful island, with great views. We saw wild canaries, firecrests, blackcaps, lizards and lots of lovely flowers as we walked. Unfortunately the storms made some of the planned itinerary, such as the highest peak, impossible. So guide Andre had to invent more sheltered walks for us, and we managed 4 days walking instead of the planned 5, which was pretty good in the circumstances. Andre was great, all the hotels were nice, and the group (full at 16) were all good fun. I'll definitely go back - in the summer!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The one sunny day, and out walk along the cliffs of the north coast.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Andre was great: knowledgeable and funny.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't expect great weather. I think we were very unlucky, but it's known to be changeable in general.

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.


What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.


2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.


3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.


 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 


Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

Private Adventures 

Not found the date you’re looking for? We can organise this itinerary as a Private Adventure – just click on the tab above the list of dates and prices, let us know your preferred dates of travel and how many people are travelling, and we’ll do the rest!

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Call us on 074 340 4587