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Traveller Rating


  • self guided walk
  • 4 nights in pensions and guesthouses
  • 3 nights in 4 star hotels
  • 3 Dinners
  • 7 Breakfasts

8 Days£1200GBP


Trip Code: JIM

Madeira Island Walking Trip highlights

  • Mild temperatures & year-round walking opportunities, even in the heart of winter
  • Walk along Madeira's unique ‘levadas’ system – the only place in the world
  • Treat yourself to a mix of 4* and smaller traditional properties in beautiful surroundings
  • Take in the dramatic mountains, deep valleys and rugged Atlantic coastline
  • Summit Pico Ruivo (1862m) - Madeira's highest peak
  • Admire the exotic and tropical flora
  • Choice in walks on several days

Our team have devised a walking itinerary that exemplifies the best that Madeira has to offer. Traverse the terraced hillsides and follow local trails and ‘levadas’ through the peaceful, idyllic countryside and ultimately reach the island’s highest peak (Pico Ruivo, 1862 metres). Stay at a mix of 4* and smaller traditional properties in beautiful surroundings and learn more about the island through our detailed route notes.

Closer to Africa than Europe, the Portuguese island of Madeira is blessed with a mild and equable climate all year round. Volcanic in origin, Madeira’s rugged interior rises abruptly to over 1800 metres, with forests of fragrant pine, eucalyptus and laurel flanking its jagged peaks. You will find colourful flowers and trees in bloom at all times of the year but the island is ideal for a walking holiday for another reason: its elaborate network of ‘levadas’ (irrigation channels), which wind their way across gullies and steep slopes to more than 2000km/1250 miles of channels and over 40km/25 miles of tunnels.

*An extra day is recommended in the bustling little capital of Funchal so that you will have time to visit a Madeira wine lodge, explore the colourful markets and the famous botanical gardens, enjoy the superb fish restaurants or spend more time at the picturesque Monte neighbourhood. Another extra day can be requested in Santana where you can enjoy a beautiful walk along the Levada do Caldeirao Verde.



Starting Point:


Finishing Point:


On arrival at Funchal airport, a short taxi transfer is included to Machico on the east coast. Machico was the landing point when the island was discovered. This peculiar corner of the island boasts the oldest church, the 'Capela dos Milagres', and two forts still bear witness of the locals’ defence against the many pirate attacks on the village. Accommodation: Stay two nights at one of two small ‘residencial’ (pension). All rooms have private facilities. The pensions have their own restaurant, where you can enjoy the evening meals. There are also good other places to eat.

Meals:  Nil

After breakfast you have a choice of two walks. Option 1: This is for walkers with a head for heights and in reasonable weather without high winds. Taxi or walk to the start of the Levada de Canical, which you will soon leave to climb to the Boca de Risco pass (300m). From there a cliff hugging coastal path takes you along the wildest stretch of coastline in Madeira, round the Espigao Amarelo, an exposed path with large drop below and down to Larano (200m). From Larano walk down road to Porto da Cruz and transfer by road (included in tour price) back to Machico. Option 2: A shorter option that can be done in adverse weather. Taxi or walk to the start of the Levada de Canical. You can follow this to its source near Ribeira de Machico/Marocos and transfer (included) back to your hotel in Machico in the afternoon. This levada was built in relatively recent times and is easy to follow. Both walks can be extended by 4.4km, 1.5 hours and over 300 metres of ascent by walking from Machico up to the viewpoint of Pico de Facho (322m) and then down to the start of the levada (irrigation channel) by the Canical Tunnel.

Meals:  B

A circular coastal walk around the Sao Lourenco peninsula, on the eastern point of Madeira island. This is different to any other walk during your week in Madeira, taking a trek through the volcanic remains, which are now a nature reserve. There are spectacular cliff views and wonderful flowers. Accommodation: Overnight in Santo da Serra, a village situated on a broad ridge at 650m above sea level. Two nights in a 4-star boutique hotel, located 400m from the village centre. All 21 rooms have en-suite facilities, TV and phone. The hotel has its own restaurant. There is a heated indoor pool, a spa and a small fitness room. The hotel also has an attractive large garden. *Today's walk includes transfers to the start and from the end.

Meals:  B,D

Transfer to Monte (included), at 550m high in the hills above Funchal. You have time to visit the tropical gardens and palace, and even take the wicker sledge ride down the road a couple of km. However, today's walk is one of those Madieran classics, starting at the top station of the cable car that comes up from Funchal. This is at the northeast corner of the Tropical Garden. You will follow the Levada dos Tornos and then climb up the hillside to follow the Levada da Serra. This levada contours at a higher level (about 750m) around the head of the ‘Valley of Paradise’. You reach Camacha (700m), from where you will be transferred back to Santo da Serra.

Meals:  B,D

This morning you will be driven to the start of today's walk in Camacha for a day of mostly levada walking back to the hotel in Santo da Serra. As you follow the Levada dos Tornos, there are many good views towards the coast and some dramatic, steep-sided valleys to traverse. The route includes a number of tunnels for which a torch (flashlight) is required, however none of the tunnels are very long (you can see the exit from the entrance of all the tunnels that you walk through). The levada altitude is approx. 620m and you are walking downhill with the flow of water. You will pass through a mix of cultivated land, small villages, hamlets and woodlands of eucalyptus, mimosas, pine and chestnut. There are some short steep ascents at the end of the day to Santo de Serra on tarmac roads with little or no traffic. You will be driven to Santana this afternoon for the next part of your holiday. Accommodation: Stay in the centre of the village at a 4-star pension. Rooms have hair dryer, cable TV, digital phone, air conditioning, double-glazing and balcony, with views over the fields and countryside. General facilities include a small indoor pool, sauna etc. The hotel has a popular restaurant and offers traditional island fayre. *Request with us an extra day & night in Santana in order to walk the levada from Queimadas to Ilha via Caldeirao Verde, another beautiful walk!

Meals:  B

Time to head up into the high mountains for a spectacular walk along the highest ridge in the centre of the island. The walk starts with a road transfer (included) up to Achado do Teixeira (1592m), from where it is about an hours walk up to the summit of Pico Ruivo (1862m), the highest summit in Madeira. From there you can continue along a high ridge, which forms the backbone of the island, with fabulous views either side (weather permitting). This is a strenuous but very rewarding walk and the hardest day of this tour. There are more ‘downs’ than ‘ups’ and you eventually descend to Encumeada (1007m), a high road pass and cafe. From here it is a short road walk down below the pass to your hotel. Accommodation: Our 3* pension is a welcoming destination after a long day in the hills. All rooms have en-suite facilities, balcony with mountain or valley views, TV, and phone. The public lounge has a fireplace. The restaurant and bar are in traditional rustic style. There is an outside drinks terrace. The natural setting of the hotel among the forest and peaks is quite outstanding. *Today's route does need reasonable weather conditions. If the weather outlook is poor or the path is closed you can ride with your baggage from Santana to Encumeada for an alternative walk, to Ginjas (13 km/8 miles, 3.5 h bus or taxi back to Encumeada not included).

Meals:  B,D

Today you will be transferred from Encumeada to Boa Morte and the Levada do Norte as it contours around the mountainside, crossing two tiny farmlng areas (Campanário and Quinta Grande) to finish at the amazing viewpoint of Cabo Girão, Accommodation: We use a 4-star hotel which is located from the centre of Funchal. The hotel has fully equipped rooms, with TV. It also has a good restaurant, swimming pools, a small fitness room, etc.

Meals:  B

After breakfast, a transfer to the airport is included in your trip price and takes approx. 30 minutes.

Meals:  B



The map and elevation chart are for illustrative purposes only and meant to provide general guidelines.
On self guided trips, actual route information provided before departure will be more detailed.


  • 7 breakfasts, 3 dinners
  • 4 nights accommodation in pensions & guesthouses & 3 nights in 4 star hotels on a twin share basis with ensuite facilities
  • Transfer from Funchal airport to first accommodation and from last accommodation back to Funchal airport.
  • Luggage transfer
  • Vehicle transfers day 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6
  • Information pack including route notes, GPX files & maps
  • Emergency hotline

  • 4 dinners, all lunches & beverages
  • Entrance fees
  • Travel insurance
  • Travel to Funchal (and back at the end of the tour)
  • Personal expenses such as laundry and phone calls
  • Unscheduled transfers required during the trip
  • A supplement will apply if you are travelling solo or book a single room
  • Guide - this is a self guided holiday
  • A tourist tax maybe requested from your accommodation that you pay to them directly.
  • Excesss Luggage




We grade the tour as 'Moderate' (grade 3). We do not recommend this trip if you suffer from vertigo or balance issues. As far as fitness goes the walks should present no difficulties for anyone in reasonable condition and accustomed to walking in hilly areas. When walking in the high mountains you may encounter mist (low cloud) and it is necessary for those days to be experienced with compass and map. Short sections of some walks may be loose and slippery underfoot and a head for heights is an advantage on quite a few occasions. On any day you can if you prefer opt out of the walking and travel with the baggage. Day Stages: 9-17km per day, with ascents of up to 800m, descents of up to 1000m. 3.5 to 7 hours walking per day.

Departure dates



High Season
Peak Season Supplement
If trails are closed for maintenance alternative walks will be supplied.
A supplement or minimum stay may apply when travelling during the Christmas and New Year period.
Due to a landslip, the Levada do Furado is currently closed.

Priceper person from


Options & Supplements*
  • Single SupplementGBP£280
  • High Season Single SupplementGBP£320
  • Peak Season Single SupplementGBP£340
  • Solo Traveller SupplementGBP£640
  • High Season Solo Traveller SupplementGBP£680
  • Peak Season Solo Traveller SupplementGBP£740
*Prices listed are per person

Frequently Asked Questions

To enjoy your walking holiday in Madeira, reasonably good cardio fitness and the ability to walk up and down some steep slopes in warm conditions will be needed.

Vertigo will be an issue for severe and moderate sufferers. Some of the trails are quite narrow along or on the side of the levadas (irrigation channels) and there are some drops, usually on one side. Some walks go through tunnels where you may get wet feet.

Definitely, we would recommend to plan at least an extra day in Funchal and perhaps one in Machico.

Very easy! You will be transferred to the first hotel in Machico and from the last hotel in Funchal back to the airport.

Wet weather can occur any time of year, but especially in the spring. Trails can be closed at short notice due to landslips, in which case our team will do their best to find an alternative route for you and change the programme slightly.

Madeira Island Walking Trip reviews

Why travel with us

Personal Experience

We've been walking and cycling the planet for over four decades and are passionate about delivering exceptional service. Combined, we’ve travelled to virtually every corner of Europe, and are eager to share the many benefits of travelling on foot or by bike.

Great Value & Quality

Our well priced trips offer great value for money. Included in your package are comprehensive route notes, maps & guide books along with bag transfers and locally run accommodation. We take the stress out of organising your holiday.

Self-Guided Specialists

We have been operating active self guided holidays since 1973. We handle all the necessary logistics so that you can relax and explore your destination at your own pace. Many of our tours depart daily, giving you even greater flexibility.

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