Madeira walking vacation

“Levadas, the mountain-view Balcony Walk and flowering Funchal – this vacation spends a week walking around the greatest hits of Madeira.”

Highlights

Funchal | Sao Lourenco Peninsula | Queimadas Forest Park | Caldeirao Verde waterfall | Porto Moniz | Levada do Moinho | Ribeira da Cruz | Paul do Mar | Levada Calheta | Balcony Walk | hiking, whale watching and rum tasting
Responsible Travel, Travel Team

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03 Aug 2019
US $1100
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07 Sep 2019
US $1100
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28 Sep 2019
US $1100
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12 Oct 2019
US $1040
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02 Nov 2019
US $990
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01 Feb 2020
US $1010
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15 Feb 2020
US $1010
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07 Mar 2020
US $1050
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21 Mar 2020
US $1050
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04 Apr 2020
US $1060
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18 Apr 2020
US $1060
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16 May 2020
US $1050
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23 May 2020
US $1050
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30 May 2020
US $1050
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20 Jun 2020
US $1050
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15 Aug 2020
US $1050
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05 Sep 2020
US $1020
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19 Sep 2020
US $1020
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03 Oct 2020
US $1020
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Vouchers
Accepted
Vacation type
Small group vacations
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.
Meet a local guide
No matter how experienced your group leader, they can never make up for the knowledge gained from a lifetime in the destination. That’s why many of our trips work with local guides around the world – who invite you into their homeland with pleasure.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Madeira walking vacation

Madeira is a magical island, and the best way to see it is by foot! Our one-week trip aims to offer travelers the opportunity to get to know the lie of the land, without joining a bus-based package tour.

We use a local operator, family-run hotels and local restaurants that serve fine traditional cuisine (try the fantastic Madeira Wine and Madeira Cake!), which means that the money our groups bring remains within these small communities. Here, the rural island culture continues much as it has for centuries, and we spend as much time as possible out and about walking and learning more about this island's natural environment.

In addition to the above, we are continually looking for ways to improve and are proud to be ‘Responsible in everything we do’. Education is key and so all staff, Tour Leaders and partnering suppliers are trained in responsible and sustainable tourism. At our Head Office, we continually strive towards a sustainable and planet-friendly working environment, including having solar panels installed and a company commitment to reducing our plastic usage. As well as this, we have valuable and longstanding partnerships with UK charities Toilet Twinning and Send a Cow, plus many smaller initiatives and projects around the world. We’re members of UK travel industry bodies Tourism Concern and AITO because we believe it’s important to share our knowledge and experience, as well as learn from other operators. We acknowledge that air travel has a negative impact on our environment, so we work together with Cool Earth to offset carbon and protect our important rainforests.

8 Reviews of Madeira walking vacation

4.5 out of 5 stars
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4
2
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Reviewed on 28 Mar 2019 by

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


The walks; particularly the first and last day

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


take layers and windproofs/waterproofs

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


Benefited locals

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


Excellent. Felipe is an amazing guide; his love of the island and knowledge of its flora really enhanced the walks

Reviewed on 21 Feb 2019 by

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


The whole vacation was amazing, our guide Filipe Gomes was brilliant, and probably the best guide I've had so far, loved and knew everything about his culture, history and plants of the island, and very enthusiastic to keep and preserve the natural beauty of the island and it's habitat. The views were amazing out of this world and walking to Pico de Ruivo, Madeira's highest point in the mountains, was magical with the clouds passing by. We were also lucky with a great group that gelled well together like a little family.

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


Have a good amount of fitness, especially for walking up hill as there is a lot of long steep climbs and steep steps. And good walking poles will help a lot.

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


Yes, Our guide and driver were from Madeira, both spoke good English, were very helpful as were all the staff at the hotels, and gave us all lots of tips of how to get around the island and what to look out for. For example good places to get our pack lunches, avoid paying tourist extras, keep the same water bottle and just re-fill saving on plastic. Filipe our guide does a lot of voluntary work re planting in the mountains and helping others, and is so enthusiastic about helping maderia keeping its natural beauty.

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


Had a fantastic time, made 11 new friends, was a little nervous at first as I haven't done a walking vacation for about 11+ yrs but im so glad I did it, it was out of this world, the other walkers (now friends), our guide (Filipe) and places we visited + all the little exras that Filipe did with us the whole experience was a 5* + Thank you!

Reviewed on 25 Aug 2018 by

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


The walks were excellent. The hike to the top of the mountain was especially memorable. The lead as we're so interesting. Our guide, Philippe, was
absolutely wonderful - better than excellent.

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


Be ready to enjoy the company of others, to enjoy the food and the beautiful environment.Yes

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


Yes - we supported local businesses and were responsible visitors.

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


Excellent - 10/10

Reviewed on 07 Apr 2018 by

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


Getting to the top of Pico Ruivo (the highest peak in Madeira) above the cloud level.

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


Walking poles are useful.

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


Yes. We ate at small local places and tried many foods grown, caught or produced locally.

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


Excellent

Reviewed on 26 Apr 2014 by

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


Each day's hike showed a different landscape - lots of variety.

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


It is classed as a moderate walking vacation but there are some aspects of it which are challenging so a good level of fitness is required.

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


The English guide was extremely enthusiastic about Madeira and knew the island very well, but I feel that a local guide should have been used. All other staff were local.

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


Extremely enjoyable vacation. One that I would recommend.

Reviewed on 25 Feb 2013 by

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


The walks, particularly when the weather allowed us to view the spectacular scenery and the group of people we walked with.

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


BRING A FULL SET OF WATERPROOFS!!!
We went in February and did not pack over-trousers and regretted it. It is cold in the mountains and any cloud coming over the Island has to climb 1800m, so will deposit a full load of rain on you. We walked on one day in heavy rain from start to finish and were soaked through. Our assumption that we would be warm as we were on a subtropical island was wrong. Come prepared for bad weather and then you will be able to enjoy it more if the weather is good!


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


We ate in local restaurants and used local drivers.

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


Our tour leader did very well to choose walks that we could do in inclement weather conditions, he was attentive and ensured the experience was fun and memorable.

Reviewed on 14 Nov 2011 by

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


Sea kayaking and swimming with the turtle.

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


You need to have a relative level of fitness.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes, guide was local.

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


Great. Problem though with monarch airline transfers, delay resulting on missing our connection back to Ireland.

Reviewed on 12 Feb 2007 by

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


The balcony walk - beautiful, interesting, fabulous views, challenging.

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


Take waterproofs and good pair of boots. Book later if you want to be sure of better weather, but early season meant we saw NO ONE on the walks, except occasionally near the beginning or end.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Expected to have a local guide, providing local employment, but he was British. Had 2 local drivers. Obviously provided income at hotels, shops etc. Driving around not good for environment but guess walking is OK if you're careful.

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


Walks were VERY well planned, giving great variety and insight into geography/geology of island. Disappointed in hotel accommodation which was adequate, clean etc but somewhat shabby, absolutely no outlook from rooms (6ft from another rooms window in one case so had to keep curtains closed.) Felt that for price paid it should have been better. Guide was very good. Group dynamics easy and pleasant but actually don't think this group vacation malarkey is for me! Weather was pretty shocking but that was just bad luck! Madeira is stunningly beautiful, Funchal very pretty, but the island more developed than I expected. So overall: ***

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