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 |

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Date
Price
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22 Dec 2018
US $ 1005
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Full
 
09 Feb 2019
US $ 925
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16 Feb 2019
US $ 1005
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23 Feb 2019
US $ 925
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02 Mar 2019
US $ 925
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09 Mar 2019
US $ 925
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16 Mar 2019
US $ 925
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23 Mar 2019
US $ 975
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06 Apr 2019
US $ 975
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20 Apr 2019
US $ 1005
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11 May 2019
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18 May 2019
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08 Jun 2019
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07 Sep 2019
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21 Sep 2019
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05 Oct 2019
US $ 975
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19 Oct 2019
US $ 975
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26 Oct 2019
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09 Nov 2019
US $ 925
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23 Nov 2019
US $ 925
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21 Dec 2019
US $ 925
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28 Dec 2019
US $ 925
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Vouchers
Accepted
Vacation type

Small group vacation

Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, traveling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week vacation, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travelers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.

What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Simplicity
Make the most of your vacation time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travelers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your vacation.

Solo travelers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those traveling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travelers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
Mythbuster
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travelers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travelers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
No.
Valerie Parkinson
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson

Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Roshan Fernando
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando

Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travelers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Walking vacation in Madeira

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.

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.

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.

2 Reviews of Walking vacation in Madeira

4 out of 5 stars
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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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