Walking vacation in Madeira

“Trek and transfer overland from Funchal where coastal paths, remote villages and stunning views over Madeira's mountainous interior await.”

Highlights

Funchal | Ponta de Sao Lourenco | north coast path to Porto da Cruz | Levada do Caldeirao Verde to Ilha village | Pico Ruivo ascent | Torrinhas Pass | stone staircase descent to Encumeada | Mercado dos Lavradores | Se Cathedral | optional wine tasting in Funchal |

Travel Team

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24 Oct 2020
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26 Dec 2020
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Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your vacation will help support conservation and local people.

Environment
Activity:
As we spend the most part of this trip climbing and traveling by foot, the need for fuel chugging transport is largely eliminated. We operate with a strict ‘leave no trace’ policy in order to protect the colourful flora and fauna we see along the way. At Funchal, clients have the chance to soak up some culture by seeing the Sé Cathedral, which was built between 1493 and 1514. Alternatively, we can support local craft and business by taking part in a tasting session of some of Madeira’s world renowned wines.

Accommodation and Meals:
Throughout your trek you will stay in good quality hotels and simple pensions. All of the accommodation is locally owned and run, which contributes to local employment levels. Each hotel is on a bed and breakfast basis, with a continental spread of fresh fruit, cheese, eggs, meats and bread. Lunches can be purchased at supermarkets or cafes recommended by your guide and dinners are a wonderful opportunity to become acquainted with Portuguese cuisine. Typical dishes include cod fish with potatoes and cream, grilled black scabbard fish, skewered or fried beef and honey cake.

UK Office:
It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK Offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.

Group Size:
This small group tour has a maximum of 16 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.
Community

The Impacts of this Trip

Community:
We make several stops at villages and towns on our route, including Porto da Cruz, Santana, Encumeada , Curral das Freiras and Corticeiras. Several of these locations are quite rural and on an already small island, the local communities here depend heavily on tourism as a means of income. We use locally run shops, restaurants, transfers and public transport which helps boost the economy of each area on the trip. The 'Mercado dos Lavradores' (workers’ market) at Funchal is a highlight in terms of supporting small businesses in the area. Locals and tourists gather here to do business, buy and sell colourful fruit, fresh fish and souvenirs.

A Fair Deal:
We work closely with our local operator and ensure that all of our guides are local and that in exchange for their expertise that they are paid and treated fairly. The leaders will give a briefing on Responsible Tourism issues to help you understand how you can help reduce your impact and maximise the benefits to the local community from your visit

Climate

4 Reviews of Walking vacation in Madeira

4.5 out of 5 stars
SHOW
2
2
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Reviewed on 03 Apr 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The beautiful walks that actually pushed me close to my limits and the great group although very large (16 persons!)

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Walks are harder than moderate but I found that good. Please note that Madeira is not only sunshine and lovely weathers. Up in the mountains it can get chilly (in one point I needed gloves) and rainy. Proper rain wear is a must.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


I think that the operator could do more to keep the environment clean. As the island is very touristic and so are many walks, there still are people who throw papers in the nature and don't bring their rubbish back to the hotel. It has to be encouraged more. Also, it would be good to encourage to use aluminium drinking bottles as the tab water is excellent in Madeira and not to buy the plastic bottles from the shops.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


All in all the week was absolutely great. Thank you. Some points, though, to re-consider in the arrangements:
1. Shopping for lunches in the supermarkets. I would prefer good and nourishing lunchboxes prepared by the hotel. I do enough food shopping at home, I don't enjoy that on vacations.
2. Taking the public transportation. This is very time consuming. That time could be used better if the transfers would take place with the private group busses as also described in the trip summary .

Reviewed on 08 Mar 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The lovely bunch of folks I was with.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


You should go, Madeira is lovely and has year round good temperatures and beautiful sub tropical plants and flowers.
Excellent variety of walking.


3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


We had a local guide who was great, he encouraged us to recycle rubbish from the beach after our swim and we used local buses and minibus. We ate in local restaurants.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


It was super, good to have a couple of free days to explore and great walks and company

Reviewed on 29 Oct 2018 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Following the narrow steep stone paths over the highest mountains. We really were up in the clouds.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Be prepared for some steep narrow paths with vertical drops to the side.
There is a lot of time in the afternoons to relax or explore further by yourselves.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Hopefully we gave people jobs, certainly supported local bars!! I hope some of our money went to helping repair and maitain the levada walks and mountain passes.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


It is the first time we have been on a walking vacation and certainly would go again and recommend to others. Especially single travelers as traveling with a group always gives opportunity to meet others.

Reviewed on 15 Apr 2018 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The volcanic geology flora and fauna. Stunning scenery.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


We walked in April. We experienced strong winds and wet conditions in the north. But enjoyed every minute. Recommend the dolphin and whale watching on the free day.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


The trip minimised transport requirements and used buses and local taxi / transportation and facilities such as restaurans and bars where available in lieu of the hotels.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Very enjoyable. Some strenuous sections but the levadas are largely gentle slopes following the contours.

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