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      our holidays > Walking Holidays > Portugal & its Islands > Madeira – Waterways & Flowers

Madeira – Waterways & Flowers

Mountains, coast & the capital
This Holiday in a nutshell
  • self-guided hotel-to-hotel walking, luggage transported
  • classic levada walks
  • varied scenery, fabulous flora
  • high-quality hotels
  • stay in Funchal

Madeira is remarkable for two reasons: the levadas  (waterways) carved into the slopes, and the abundance of both familiar and exotic flowering plants which have earned the island the sobriquet ‘the floating garden’. Some of the flowers, such as the Nile lily, have been deliberately planted by the levadas , serving to make these waterways – which stretch for miles across the island – all the more inviting companions as you explore. With the watercourse on one side and often a drop on the other, you’ll need a head for heights; but they make navigation very easy, leaving you free to focus on the views.

Madeira's levadas have long been considered one of the world's great walking pleasures. Covering more than 1,200 miles, these narrow waterways link the wetter north to the dry south, every yard mirrored by shaded paths.
Nicholas Roe, Daily Mail

Levadas  may be a recurring theme of this holiday, but no two days are the same. In fact, as you cross the east of Madeira over the course of the week, different aspects are revealed, making this as an excellent introduction to this alluring island. En route, you discover an ancient pocket of laurisilva  (laurel forest), a remote high valley, towering sea cliffs, and the appealing capital, Funchal, where you can sample the island’s famous fortified wine.

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 Average Temperatures & Rainfall
  J F M A M J J A S O N D
°C 15 15 16 16 18 20 22 23 23 21 18 16
mm 112 93 75 49 30 18 9 12 38 82 110 108

The average maximum daytime temperatures and monthly rainfall relate to the nearest weather station and are intended as a guide only.

As you explore this Atlantic island’s coast, interior and mountains – all of which have their own microclimate – you should be prepared for variations of temperature, and for rain – Madeira has high levels of humidity. There are flowers all year, but April, May and June are particularly colourful.