Marvels of Madeira Self Guided Walk Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Self-Guided Holidays, Premium Adventures
Destinations:
Portugal
Programmes:
Walking & Trekking
Trip Code:
W07MF
Activity Rating - Leisurely/Moderate
Leisurely / Moderate

You are reasonably fit, enjoy the outdoors and are looking for some exercise. Some previous experience is preferable for activity based trips.

8 Days Flight Inclusive
8 Days Land only
Min age: 12

Trip Overview

Surging from the Atlantic Ocean, Madeira offers a temperate sub-tropical paradise perfect for year-round walking. One of Madeira's many charms is its infinite variety; each day's walking and every levada - the island's unique network of water channels - is different. Landscapes vary from cultivated vine terraces and verdant slopes dotted with white hamlets to coastal cliffs with balcony views over the azure seas. Also a nature lover's paradise, there are over 120 endemic species of flora and fauna including the pride of Madeira, the bird-of-paradise, along with jacaranda, tiny bisbis birds, chaffinches and hawks - the list is endless. On this self-guided, hotel-to-hotel holiday, the island's coastal paths and levadas take you from the sleepy wine village of Santana on the north coast to bustling Funchal in the south.

At a Glance

  • Good quality hotels throughout, all with pools on site or nearby
  • 6 days varied walking with some steep ascents and descents
  • Magnificent mountain scenery; stunning coastal trails and flower-lined levada walks 
  • Altitude maximum 1200m, average 700m
  • Excellent Madeira wine; plenty of tasting opportunities

Trip Highlights

  • Stunning coastal trails and flower-lined levada walks 
  • Friendly, high quality hotels, with swimming pools
  • Time to explore bustling Funchal

Is This Trip for You?

Activity Level: 2 (Leisurely/Moderate)
This holiday uses paths by the levadas which are, at times, narrow with drops to the side. You need to be a confident, sure-footed walker, not deterred by heights. There are ascents and descents every day which makes this a slightly more demanding holiday than the distances suggest. A torch is required for the Caldeirao Verde walk (day 3).

As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. There may be others on the same departure date as you, but you will not be organised together. You are provided with route notes for each day, which begin with an overview of the walk and advice on lunch, followed by detailed instructions. The route notes contain a 24 hour emergency assistance telephone number should you need it and in emergencies, the hotels are normally able to dispatch a taxi or pick you up themselves. They may wish to charge for this service.

You may find our Fitness Training Guide a useful reference: http://www.exodus.co.uk/assets/pdf/Exodus_WT_Fitness_Training_Guide.pdf

Group

As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. A local representative is on hand to assist you and will meet you at the beginning of the week to go through the route notes and point out particular places of interest. Your luggage is transferred and route notes and maps are provided. The route notes contain an emergency telephone number. In an emergency, the local representative is normally able to dispatch a taxi or pick you up themselves. They may wish to charge for this service.

Please note: the walking and luggage transfers included in this tour are subject to a minimum of 2 people (in total) booked on the departure. A supplement (payable in advance) to cover these transfers and sole occupancy of a room will apply if only 1 person travelling on a departure date.

Adult min age:
12
Min group size:
1

Itinerary

Land Only

Start City:
Santana
End City:
Funchal

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Santana

    Arrive at your hotel near Santana or Porto da Cruz where our local partner will brief you on the week's walking.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
  • Day 2

    Walk a circular route to Sao Jorge and take in fabulous coastal vistas

    A panoramic coastal path leads you to the ancient cobbled route linking Santana to Sao Jorge. Agapanthus and cacti line the descent to the seaside 'resort' of Calhau. It's then along the base of the cliffs, where big Atlantic rollers come sweeping in, before you climb to enjoy balcony views. There are fabulous coastal vistas as you ascend to Sao Jorge, with the village's lighthouse glimmering above the azure waters. The mighty peak of Pico Ruivo frames the horizon as you return to Santana.


    2 options: Walking time 3.5hr, distance 10km/6.2mi or walking time 4hr, distance 13km/8.1mi.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 13 km / 8 miles
    Activity (hours):
    4
  • Day 3

    Walk through Caldeirao Verde Levada into the Vale da Lapa

    A transfer (10 mins) takes you up to the Parque das Queimadas - all the hard climbing is done for you! The walk follows the beautiful (and shady) Caldeirao Verde Levada (the Green Cauldron Levada) into the Vale da Lapa. The scenery is magnificent; the views of the sea, of hilltop villages, and of the lofty central peaks are unforgettable. You head up the valley through a series of impressive levada tunnels to the magnificent waterfall at Caldeirao Verde. Then it's back down the Lapa Valley to Ilha before taking the local bus (payable locally) back to Santana or a pre-arranged transfer back to Porto da Cruz.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 14 km / 9 miles
    Activity (hours):
    5
  • Day 4

    Walk from Ribeiro and descend into Santo da Serra

    A scenic 30-minute ride takes you to Ribeiro Frio. You join the Levada do Furado, a verdant paradise of laurel, heather and pine with waterfalls tumbling into the gushing river. Tiny firecrest and tame finches flit between the trees, which occasionally part to reveal stunning views of white hilltop hamlets. You descend to Santo da Serra's vibrant square with its lively market; wood smoke fills the air as meats grill al fresco - you must try the traditional espetada (marinated meat skewered on laurel twigs)!

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 14 km / 9 miles
    Activity (hours):
    4
  • Day 5

    Walk the Ponta de Sao Lourenco's Nature Reserve's peninsula loop

    Starting with a transfer (30 mins), today's walk takes you to the most eastern point of Madeira, to Ponta de Sao Lourenco's Nature Reserve, where you'll walk the hugely popular peninsula loop, with sweeping views, jagged peaks and masses of flora and fauna.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 8 km / 5 miles
    Activity (hours):
    3
  • Day 6

    Take the Levada do Norte before arriving in Cabo Girao

    A transfer takes you to Boa Morte to take the Levada do Norte, through pine and eucalyptus trees, and on paths lined with pink belladonna flowers. High on the poios (terraces) the path wanders through pretty villages, before arriving in Cabo Girao where the majestic expanse of the Atlantic is spread out before us. A transfer will take you on to the 5-star Quinta da Bela Vista above Funchal where you will spend your last 2 nights.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 12 km / 7 miles
    Activity (hours):
    3.5
  • Day 7

    Spend your last day exploring the coastal town of Funchal

    Spend your last day exploring at leisure in Funchal, perhaps starting in the bustling market near the harbour - it's full of atmosphere and ablaze with colour. Enjoy lunch on the harbour, saving room for an afternoon cream tea at Reid's, then it's time to relax by the pool or in the beautiful exotic gardens of your hotel.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
  • Day 8

    Trip ends in Funchal

    Meals included:
    Breakfast

All ascents, descents and distances listed above have been measured by our local partners or tour leaders. Please note that different GPS measuring devices can give differing results dependent on the barometric pressures at the time. Measurements stated throughout these trips notes are given to help you understand the types of terrain and distances you will encounter.

Accommodation

Hotels

Our accommodation choices offer as many contrasts as the walks: in Santana your 4-star hotel has stunning Atlantic Ocean views; in Santo da Serra your hotel dates back to the 1920s and has been used as a family home and tea house over the years, and in Funchal, the 5-star Quinta da Bela Vista is one of the most exclusive hotels on the island.

Room upgrade

From £10 per person, per night based on 2 people sharing.

All prices are based on 2 persons sharing, so if there is an odd number of people travelling in your party or you are travelling alone, there will be a compulsory single room supplement payable in advance.

Where a single supplement is available, paying for a single will only guarantee a room for single use. It does not necessarily mean a twin or double room will be provided for sole occupancy.

Please note that a member of the group may be allocated a single room by default if the make-up of the group means there isn’t anyone for them to share with. Paying the supplement in advance is the only way to guarantee a single room.

Single supplements cannot be refunded retrospectively.

Single supplement from £245.00

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

All continental buffet style breakfasts, 2 picnic lunches and all evening meals are included.

Madeira is well known for its excellent fresh fish and seafood, tasty soups and mouth-watering fresh fruit. Grilled meats especially chicken (often cooked on a natural wood grill), also make a good choice for your evening meal. A more traditional dish is espetada - skewered beef cooked on an open grill served with lots of salad and boiled potatoes.

Portions are generous, especially in smaller, less touristy restaurants and main dishes come with the traditional salad and potatoes. You will also get a basket of bread on the table, even if you don’t ask for it. Some restaurants also bring you portions of soft cheese and fish paste with the bread and will add these to your bill.

Wine

Madeira’s wine is probably the island’s most famous export. This strong, fortified wine, which tastes a little like port or sherry, comes in a range of flavours (from dry to very sweet) and is renowned throughout the world. It was used to seal the signing of the American Declaration of Independence and is still used today to toast those offered the Freedom of the City of London.

Transportation

Your luggage will be transported between the hotels by taxi or minibus. The local representative is often able to dispatch a taxi should you need it in an emergency, but may wish to charge you for this service. Transfers to walking start points on days three, four, five and six are included. A one way cable car ticket is included for use on Day 7.

Weather & Seasonality

Weather Information

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).

Weather Charts

Joining Instructions

The tour itself normally begins at the start hotel in Santana on the evening of Day 1 of the itinerary. Arrival and departure transfers are included* (for both land only and flight inclusive travellers) between Funchal Airport and the hotel in Santana (approx. 30 mins) at set times which coordinate with the standard flights. Please ask your Sales Consultant for times. If the hotel in Santana is not available an alternative in Porto da Cruz is used.

Arrival/departure transfers at non-standard times can also be arranged for you, often free of charge (subject to prior arrangement).

*Please note: the above free airport transfers are subject to prior arrangement and at least 2 people (in total) booked on the departure. A supplement (payable in advance) may apply if only 1 person travelling on a departure date.

Flights:
We can also book flights for you if you wish. The standard flights we usually use are with TAP Portugal from London Heathrow to Funchal via Lisbon, departing 06:00, arriving 12:00. Return: Funchal to Heathrow via Lisbon departing 12:45, arriving 18:40. Please note that the standard flights may occasionally change throughout the season so please enquire for up-to-date details.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Transfers Details

Transfers included from Funchal airport at 12:00 and back to Funchal airport at 10:30. The transfer to and from the airport is 20 min. 

Location start:
Santana
Location end:
Funchal

What to Take

Essential Equipment

Walking boots
Water bottle
Daypack
Sun hat, sun cream and sunglasses
Warm jumper
Torch

Optional Equipment

Walking poles
Swimwear

Practical Information

Passport

Portugal

All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information offered below is to help you with that process. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Visa

Portugal

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

Vaccination

Portugal

There are no specific health risks.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

The above information can change at short notice; as we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. Please note: vaccinations that are routinely recommended to residents of the UK, North America or Australasia are not considered to form part of the travel health advice, and you should ensure these are kept up to date where necessary.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

Local Time

Portugal's Timezone:
Europe/Lisbon WET (GMT +00:00)

Electricity

Portugal's Electricity:

European 2-pin plug. 

Money

Portugal's Currency

The national currency of Portugal is the Euro (EUR), with an exchange rate at the time of publication of approximately 1.2 to the UK£ and 0.9 to the US$.

Exchange rates are correct at the time of publication.

ATM Availability

ATMs are available, but we recommend taking some Euros cash with you in case you can't get to a bank at the start of the trip.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

Allow €10-15 for lunch or dinner (taken in a restaurants), excluding alcoholic beverages. You will also need some extra cash for drinks or ice creams in cafés or bars during the day walks or in the hotel bar in the evening. Typically a beer or coffee will cost around €1.5 and a reasonable bottle of wine at dinner about €8.

At the end of day 3 you will need to get a Local bus, approximately €5 payable locally.

Responsible Tourism

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

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In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 14 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.

On all trips

In booking this trip you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

In an emergency, please contact our 24 hour out of hours service on +44 (0) 844 326 7041.

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

TRAVEL AWARE – STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

How to Book

1. Check availability

Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.

2. Secure your place

You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.

3. Complete your booking and payment

When you're ready to book, go to www.exodus.co.uk for online booking, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque. Book with confidence: Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582 issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA ‐ The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.

TRIP NOTE VALIDITY

These Trip Notes are valid from the "Current as" date on page one. They will occasionally be updated post booking and pre-departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary bookers will be written to separately. All customers will also receive a link to the most up-to-date version of the Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions pre-travel.