Madeira, Portugal Guided Walking Holiday---- 8 Days, 7 Nights

Explore the walking paradise of the Garden Island of Madeira
Emerald green mountains and beautiful coastlines

Madeira is an island of facinating natural beauty and year-round subtropical sunshine.  Often referred to as The Pearl of the Atlantic, the island rises steeply from the Atlantic Ocean, standing with its small island neighbors, in splendid isolation off the coast of Africa.  Madeira is a treasured holiday destination, known for its landscapes, food and wine, gardens, beautiful mountain vistas, and its walking trails alongside its network of levadas.  All this combines to ensure a fabulous walking experience on this charming and bright oasis in the Atlantic Ocean.

The Island of Madeira and its neighboring islands make up the basaltic Madeira archipelago, created from a series of oceanic volcanoes millions of years ago.  The country is an autonomous region of Portugal, having first been settled by the Portuguese which is reflected in the historical and cultural character of the island.  Madeira is an island of flowers and greenery, but also of great historical beauty.  It has been touched by merchants, explorers and several sea faring nations in its short history and walking through its leafy and rich countryside simply captivates.  Funchal is the capital of Madeira and is the main harbor on the island set in a hillside basin with white houses and tiled roofs flowing down to the harbor.  Funchal is a good destination for shopping and sightseeing, with a vibrant market, an old town of narrow cobbled streets and old fishermen houses and the busy seafront.

  • Experience the unique walking paths alongside the island’s levadas, their banks planted with wild hydrangeas, lilies and agapanthus to stunning waterfalls, panoramic views and glimpse the magnificence of the mountains that make up the central part of the island.

  • Explore the architecture, colonial history and gardens around the bustling capital of Funchal where we base our holiday accommodations.

  • Choose from our strolling walks or a longer daily walk – both programs offering the chance to explore this beautiful island.

Holiday Price Includes

  • Full program of guided walks for five (5) days and one (1) free day.

  • Personal touring services and expert walking guidance from our tour leaders and local guides. Their knowledge of the walking trails, history of the island, plant life and geology is brilliant. The tour leaders arrange all aspects of the holiday for you and are there every step of the way.

  • Bed and Breakfast en-suite accommodations for seven (7) nights (based on double occupancy) in Hotel Orquidea located in the heart of Funchal. The 3-star hotel includes all amenities and is close to restaurants, shopping and area attractions. There is a single supplement of $225.00 for the 7 nights and will be quoted at the time of booking.

  • Lunches on the days we walk are also included and will be either a packed lunch or cafe' lunch along the trail. (Dinners are not included in the price; allow between 15 and 20 Euros for a two-course meal.)

  • Transfers between the Madeira Airport and our holiday base in Funchal upon arrival and at departure.

  • Transport to and from each day’s walk.


November 4, 2019      $ 1,760
June 1, 2020 $ 1,860
November 2, 2020 $ 1,860



Madeira Gallery

  The Walks

We walk on three kinds of terrain which adds to the enjoyment of this holiday.  Walks are between 8 and 9 miles a day and are graded moderate.  Strollers walk on abbreviated walks, between 4 and 5 miles daily, and tour the local gardens including St Caterinas, Magnolia, Orchard and Botanical Gardens along with local sites of interest.  The island hosts a massive irrigation system, carrying water from the springs in the north to irrigate the fertile soil in the south through levadas (aqueducts).  Alongside these levadas is an extensive network of walking trails, providing over 1,300 miles of paths.  Levada walking is the most popular form of exploring this island and we take in two levada walks – though we do add to the levada walks by venturing off the main tracks to explore.  The levada walks are generally flat with some descent at the end of the walk.  We also take in mountain paths which are generally of good quality with gradual climbing and some sharp descent.  There are some uneven sections and also tunnels.  A listing of selected guided walks available on the program include:

  • Riberio Frio. A breathtaking walk along a high level levada, with stunning views over the north coast, ending in a long descent through forest and arable land. We follow good quality paths, some uneven sections and tunnels.

  • Pico Do Ruivo Paul and the waterfalls. After climbing Pico do Paul with breathtaking views above St Vicente, we traverse the plain to Bica da Cana, then along a beautiful levada with waterfalls all the way, crossing several stream valleys before reaching stunning waterfalls, falling 200 feet, seemingly out of the sky.

  • Machico to Laranja near Porto da Cruz. Coastal walk with excellent views across the sea to distant islands and hills.

  • Boca da Corrida to Encumeada underneath Pico Grande. Our mountain walk skirts the Nun Valley at 1200 metres with superb views.

  • Pico Arreiro to Pico Ruivo. Another mountain walk traverses two of Madeira’s highest peaks at 1650 metres high.

  • Camacha to Paradise Valley to Monte along the levada.

  • Walk along the Levada Novo through agricultural land and descend at Faja da Ovelha on a winding and steep path to sea level at Paul Do Mar. Walk along the sea front before ascending into Prazares.

Holiday Tour Leaders & Guides


Great Circle Route is pleased to be associated with Secret Hills Walking, our partner in Europe Walking.  Secret Hills Walking has been in the guided walking tour business in the United Kingdom and Europe since 2002, and as walkers themselves, they appreciate and understand the requirements of a walking holiday.   Great Circle Route develops itineraries focusing on walking/hiking, history, gardens and culture of the places we visit and we personally research, fully vet and coordinate all holidays with Secret Hills Walking to ensure our guests are completely satisfied.  Our touring team comprises leaders from Great Circle Route and Secret Hills Walking and often we complement the team with local guides who are passionate and knowledgeable about the area and the walking routes.

Further Travel Information

Getting to the Madeira holiday.   The price for this holiday is land only and does not include flights from the United States to Madeira.  The transfers included in the holiday price are between the Madeira Airport and our hotel in Funchal.  You will need to notify us of your arrival and departure times so that we can accommodate your transport.  It is ideal to arrive by mid-afternoon to allow yourself a bit of time to relax.  We can help research your options for arranging travel to Madeira.  Please note that the published holiday dates are the dates you arrive in your holiday area and not when you leave the United States.

Extra days and nights. If you are interested in adding any extra days and nights to your holiday to explore more of the area, and you would like our help, please let us know.

Passport and Visa Requirements for U.S. Citizens.  Passports must be valid for at least three (3) months beyond the period of intended stay and issued within the past ten (10) years.  It is further recommended that your passport have at least six (6) months validity remaining beyond the date of completion of the holiday and ensure there are a sufficient number of blank pages in your passport (usually 4 to 6).  Consult the U.S. Department of State's website for the most current country requirements.  No Visa is required for stays up to 90 days.

Weather.  The climate on Madeira is subtropical but is often identified with Mediterranean in the lower elevations and microclimates across various locations on the island.  Generally, winters are mild and summers are hot.  The climate is perfect for walking - the temperature rarely going below 59 degrees or going above 82 degrees.

Official language.   Portuguese is the official language of Madeira and English is widely spoken.

Single Supplement. For solo travelers, should you require a single room there may be a supplement if we are charged a supplement. Typically, holidays in the United Kingdom do not require a single supplement while our European holidays most often charge a supplement for single accommodation. In the event there is a supplement, we will notify you of this in our quote to you and prior to your booking.

Travel insurance.  Travel insurance for financial protection and peace of mind is recommended.  Unexpected events before or during a trip may leave you with cancelled plans, delayed flights and missed connections, lost or damaged luggage, or unforeseen medical expenses.  Therefore, we strongly recommend obtaining Travel Insurance to protect your travel investment.  Companies that provide comprehensive policies include Travel Guard, Travel Insured International, Allianz, Travelex to name a few.

Sustainability.  We support, where applicable, the concepts of responsible and sustainable tourism.  Our trip will involve the use of in-country and local industries for all our visiting needs whenever feasible and possible.