Madeira Walks: 5 Things Not to Miss

Hiking in the Pico Ruivo, Madeira
Hiking in the Pico Ruivo, Madeira

Madeira, the Portuguese island, is famed for its excellent walking temperatures – year-round! But there are many more reasons for the island to be popular, besides its good weather. If you are interested in the rich Portuguese history, a varied landscape that ranges from rugged coastline to pine forests and a wealth of flowers then read on and find out what Madeira walks can look like.

Beautiful scenery, well selected hikes, expertly handled logistics. It was so hard to leave Funchal!- E & K Pavlik from Canada

Escape to excellent walking temperatures. Madeira, just over 3.5 hours away from London, less than 2 hrs from Lisbon, and 7 & 8 hours from Toronto & Miami respectively, is one of your best options in Europe. The island enjoys an impressive year-round flowering season thanks to its subtropical climate and rich volcanic soil. For example, October and November still see well over 10 hours of sunshine daily and temperatures in the low-20oC. In comparison, the average temperature for England is half of that.  

When thinking of exploring Madeira, walks are a good option and below you can find 5 reasons to go.

Enjoyed the great views, the way the tours were laid up so we had very different walks each day.- J Brandstrom from Sweden

#1 Levadas

Follow Levadas in Madeira with Walkers Britain©Leo-setä

Rising steeply from the Atlantic Ocean off the coasts of Europe and Africa, Madeira offers both a mild year-round climate and a 1,350-mile network of ‘levadas’ to discover on foot. Follow ‘levadas’ through a peaceful pastoral countryside or traverse terraced hillsides; dating back to the 16th century, these irrigation channels or aqueducts are specific to Madeira, originally built to carry water to the agricultural regions. Read more about the levadas of Madeira.

#2 Flora

Explore the flora of Madeira on a walking holiday
©cudipeich

Volcanic in origin, Madeira’s rugged interior rises abruptly to over 1,800 metres (approx. 6,000 feet) with forests of pine and laurel flanking its jagged peaks. The island is home to a myriad of colourful flowers and trees, such as jasmine, begonias, freesias, magnolia and camellias.

#3 Pico Ruivo

Hike up a mountain in Madeira

Walk up to Pico Ruivo, Madeira’s highest peak, from where there is an exceptional ridge walk following the backbone of the island. The views to either side over the island and ocean are very rewarding.

#4 Orchids

Visit Madeira's flower festival

Loose count of how many orchids you can see in the dedicated Orchid Garden – there are more than 7,500 species! Madeira’s subtropical climate and rich volcanic soil make for perfect growing conditions and orchids here enjoy an impressive year-round flowering season. A dedicated weeklong Flower Festival takes place every spring.

#5 Funchal

Visit Funchal on a Madeira holiday

Spend time in the bustling little capital of Funchal: visit a Madeira wine lodge, explore colourful food and flower markets and enjoy superb fish restaurants to finish off a week of impressive Madeira walks.

Intrigued? With Sherpa Expeditions you can visit the Portuguese island on an 8-day trip called Madeira Island Walking. Learn more about it by downloading the trip notes here or contact one of our travel experts in the UK office.

Portugal, Madeira, Walking

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