Journey from the North to the South of Madeira walking through magnificent
mountain scenery and along stunning coastal paths
Surging from the Atlantic Ocean, Madeira offers a temperate sub-tropical
paradise perfect for year-round walking. One of Madeira’s many charms is its
infinite variety; each day’s walking and every levada – the island’s unique
network of water channels – is different. Landscapes vary from cultivated
vine terraces and verdant slopes dotted with white hamlets to coastal cliffs
with balcony views over the azure seas. Also a nature lover’s paradise, there
are over 120 endemic species of flora and fauna including the pride of
Madeira, the bird-of-paradise, along with jacaranda, tiny bisbis birds,
chaffinches and hawks – the list is endless. On this self-guided,
hotel-to-hotel holiday, the island’s coastal paths and levadas take you from
the sleepy wine village of Santana on the north coast to bustling Funchal in
* Stunning coastal trails and flower-lined levada walks
* Friendly, good quality hotels, with swimming pools
* Time to explore bustling Funchal
Day 1 Fly to Madeira
Arrive at your hotel near Santana where our local partner will brief you on
the week’s walking.
Walk a circular route to Sao Jorge and take in fabulous coastal vistas
A panoramic coastal path leads you to the ancient cobbled route linking
Santana to Sao Jorge. Agapanthus and cacti line the descent to the seaside
‘resort’ of Calhau. It’s then along the base of the cliffs, where big
Atlantic rollers come sweeping in, before you climb to enjoy balcony views.
There are fabulous coastal vistas as you ascend to Sao Jorge, with the
village’s lighthouse glimmering above the azure waters. The mighty peak of
Pico Ruivo frames the horizon as you return to Santana.
2 options: Walking time 3.5hr, distance 10km/6.2mi or walking time 4hr,
Walk through Caldeirao Verde Levada into the Vale da Lapa
A transfer (10 mins) takes you up to the Parque das Queimadas – all the hard
climbing is done for you! The walk follows the beautiful (and shady)
Caldeirao Verde Levada (the Green Cauldron Levada) into the Vale da Lapa. The
scenery is magnificent; the views of the sea, of hilltop villages, and of the
lofty central peaks are unforgettable. You head up the valley through a
series of impressive levada tunnels to the magnificent waterfall at Caldeirao
Verde. Then it’s back down the Lapa Valley to Ilha before taking the local
bus (payable locally) back to Santana or a pre-arranged transfer back to
Porto da Cruz.
Walk from Ribeiro and descend into Santo da Serra
A scenic 30-minute ride takes you to Ribeiro Frio. You join the Levada do
Furado, a verdant paradise of laurel, heather and pine with waterfalls
tumbling into the gushing river. Tiny firecrest and tame finches flit between
the trees, which occasionally part to reveal stunning views of white hilltop
hamlets. You descend to Santo da Serra’s vibrant square with its lively
market; wood smoke fills the air as meats grill al fresco – you must try the
traditional espetada (marinated meat skewered on laurel twigs)!
Walk the Ponta de Sao Lourenco’s Nature Reserve’s peninsula loop
Starting with a transfer (30 mins), today’s walk takes you to the most
eastern point of Madeira, to Ponta de Sao Lourenco’s Nature Reserve, where
you’ll walk the hugely popular peninsula loop, with sweeping views, jagged
peaks and masses of flora and fauna.
Take the Levada do Norte before arriving in Cabo Girao
A transfer takes you to Boa Morte to take the Levada do Norte, through pine
and eucalyptus trees, and on paths lined with pink belladonna flowers. High
on the poios (terraces) the path wanders through pretty villages, before
arriving in Cabo Girao where the majestic expanse of the Atlantic is spread
out before us. A transfer will take you on to the 5-star Quinta da Bela Vista
above Funchal where you will spend your last 2 nights.
Spend your last day exploring the coastal town of Funchal
Spend your last day exploring at leisure in Funchal, perhaps starting in the
bustling market near the harbour – it’s full of atmosphere and ablaze with
colour. Enjoy lunch on the harbour, saving room for an afternoon cream tea at
Reid’s, then it’s time to relax by the pool or in the beautiful exotic
gardens of your hotel.
Trip ends in Funchal
Trip ends in Funchal