Madeira – Waterways & Flowers

Mountains, coast & the capital
 

Holiday Highlights

Cauldron Experience | The Levada da Caldeirão Verde route ends with a natural pool and 100-metre waterfall.
Unique landscapes | The island’s oldest expanse of laurisilva (laurel forest) features magnificent wild ferns.  
Stunning routes | São Lourenço Peninsula features breathtaking scenery of the Peninsula and fossilised coral.
Capital delight | In Funchal, Blandy’s wine lodge reveals the history of the island’s world-famous fortified wine.
Madeira – Waterways & Flowers. 7 nights
Madeira – Waterways & Flowers. 7 nights
 

Holiday information

 

A walking holiday on Madeira

Classic levada walks reveal varied scenery and fabulous flora as you head across the island to the capital, Funchal. Another great feature of this self-guided hotel-to-hotel walking holiday is the high-quality accommodation, where your luggage will be waiting for you at the end of each walk.
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.

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.
 
Gallery

 

Itinerary

The key to Inntravel holidays is flexibility. You can start on the day of your choice, and are free to add extra nights. 
  • 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.
    Average temperatures and rainfall
      Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
    °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
  • Arrival in Santana
    Night 1: at Quinta do Furão (the first of two nights here).
    As your first night’s accommodation is on the day of travel, Day 1 is your first day of walking.
  • Out-and-back route (with transfers) to Levada Caldeirão Verde: 12km, 4hrs; ascent/descent 170m
    We include transfers to and from this spectacular route along the Levada da Caldeirão Verde, for which you should take a torch (important) and swimwear (optional!). This is because you pass through several tunnels before reaching the cauldron itself, a natural pool fed by a 100-metre waterfall. You might wish to add to the sense of adventure by taking a dip here, before retracing your steps to return along the same route.
    Levada en route to Caldeirão Verde
    Out-and-back route (with transfers) to Levada Caldeirão Verde: 12km
  • Santana to Santo da Serra: 15km, 4.5hrs; ascent 85m/descent 295m
    The day starts with a 30-minute transfer to Ribeiro Frio (‘Cold River’). Before starting out on the walk proper, it’s well worth making your way to a superb viewpoint from where the panorama encompasses a cirque of rugged green mountains and the Atlantic Ocean to the north. You then set off through woodland on a classic and very memorable levada walk, with the Levada do Furado and later the Levada da Serra acting as your guide. The flowers lining the water channels vary according to season, but whatever the time of year you’ll enjoy great views from the frequent clearings. What is even more impressive, however, is the path itself – as it leads you through short tunnels, between clefts in the rock and along ledges carved into the mountainside, you can appreciate the engineering prowess that was required to build Madeira’s network of levadas. You reach Santo da Serra, where you spend three nights at the Porto Bay Serragolf.
    Santana to Santo da Serra: 15km
    Levada do Furado
  • Choice of routes around Santo da Serra: 7.5km to 16.5km
    We offer a choice of three walks for your two days in Santo da Serra (pay locally for taxi and bus transfers). 

    Santo da Serra to Camacha: 16.5km, 5hrs; ascent/descent 210m
    Our first option leads you to Camacha, a small town famed for its wickerwork. There are two different ways to reach the town: either by following the Levada dos Tornos on what is a wonderful, secluded levada walk; or by taking the popular Levada da Serra do Faial trail – a lovely, oak-lined route with excellent waymarking (add 1km/30mins). Return from Camacha by bus.

    Santo da Serra to Maroços: 16km, 5hrs; ascent 280m/descent 770m
    Initially retrace your steps along the Levada da Serra to meet another levada which leads you down to Portela (or, to halve the walk, take a taxi directly to Portela). From here, you head into a very unique landscape: the island’s oldest expanse of laurisilva (laurel forest), which is made all the more atmospheric by the magnificent wild ferns. You then wind downhill through terraces of tiny gardens and allotments to the hamlet of Maroços, from where you can take a short taxi transfer back to your hotel.

    São Lourenço Peninsula: 7.5km, 3hrs
    For a contrast to the rest of the week, a third, stunning route (accessed by taxi or a combination of buses) takes in the breathtaking scenery of the São Lourenço Peninsula, revealing rocks of astonishing shapes and colours, as well as fossilised coral and sea shells, as you explore the island's treeless easternmost tip.
    Santo da Serra to Camacha: 16.5km
    São Lourenço Peninsula
    Santo da Serra to Maroços: 16km
    São Lourenço Peninsula: 7.5km
  • Santo da Serra to Funchal: 13km, 4hrs; ascent 100m/descent 320m
    A transfer from Santo da Serra brings you to Rochão, where you join the Levada da Serra do Faial through woodland of pine and eucalyptus to reach the historic village of Monte. You are rewarded with fine sea views, but the best is saved until last: at the cable car station you can gaze across the Bay of Funchal before descending into the capital (pay locally) to spend your last two nights at the Castanheiro Boutique Hotel.
    Santo da Serra to Funchal: 13km
    On the route from Santo da Serra to Funchal
  • Explore Funchal
    We provide notes for a self-guided walking tour of Funchal, exploring the Old Quarter (Zona Velha) and taking in landmarks such as the Mercado dos Lavradores, Funchal's colourful and lively fruit and vegetable market; the diminutive cathedral of 1485; the Museum of Art; and, of course, Blandy’s wine lodge, where you can learn about the history of the island’s world-famous fortified wine before savouring a sample or two from the leading producer. Please note that most of Funchal's main sights, including Blandy's and the market, are closed on Sundays.

    If you have time and didn’t do so en route to Funchal, it’s also worth returning by cable car to Monte to stroll amid the luxuriant plants of the botanic gardens, a visit that you can combine with a ride on the famous Monte Toboggan Run. The white-flannelled drivers will take you (quite quickly!) in a wicker chariot back down to the outskirts of Funchal to round off your week on a high.
 

Accommodation

All three hotels offer excellent standards of service.
 
Prices & travel options
All prices are in £ sterling (GBP). If you'd like to see what they equate to in your currency, use the converter. For general information on pricing, see the 'your holiday price explained' page.
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  • 7 nights: 02 January 2024 - 20 December 2024 & 02 January 2025 - 20 December 2025

    Start any day | End by latest date(s) shown above

    Starting Price Single room
    2 Jan - 24 Feb 2024 £995 £285
    25 Feb - 18 Apr 2024 £1055 £310
    19 - 25 Apr 2024 £1160 £400
    26 Apr - 30 Sep 2024 £1125 £320
    1 - 26 Oct 2024 £1160 £320
    27 Oct - 13 Dec 2024 £1240 £430
    2 Jan - 24 Feb 2025 £1035 £300
    25 Feb - 18 Apr 2025 £1100 £325
    19 - 25 Apr 2025 £1210 £420
    26 Apr - 30 Sep 2025 £1170 £335
    1 - 26 Oct 2025 £1210 £335
    27 Oct - 13 Dec 2025 £1290 £450
    3rd & 4th person discount -£60 to -£62
    Single traveller supplement £60 to £62

    Includes accommodation, meals and services integral to the holiday as described, plus walking notes and maps, but no travel from the UK, nor any connecting travel from the airport unless stated below.

    Book your flights through us and we'll find the best route and times to suit you. Please contact us to find out more about our flight booking service. We can also book connecting travel - see below.

  • Room upgrades (£ per person per night)

    Quinta do Furão, Santana
    Junior suite: 02 Jan - 20 Dec 2024 £17
    Junior suite: 02 Jan - 20 Dec 2025 £18
    Porto Bay Serragolf, Santo da Serra
    Superior: 02 Jan - 20 Dec 2024 £15
    Superior: 02 Jan - 20 Dec 2025 £16
    Castanheiro Boutique Hotel, Funchal
    Junior suite: 02 Jan - 31 Jul 2024 £11
    Junior suite: 01 Aug - 31 Aug 2024 £17
    Junior suite: 01 Sep - 20 Dec 2024 £11
    Junior suite: 02 Jan - 31 Jul 2025 £11
    Junior suite: 01 Aug - 31 Aug 2025 £18
    Junior suite: 01 Sep - 20 Dec 2025 £11
    Suite: 02 Jan - 31 Jul 2024 £28
    Suite: 01 Aug - 31 Aug 2024 £46
    Suite: 01 Sep - 20 Dec 2024 £28
    Suite: 02 Jan - 31 Jul 2025 £29
    Suite: 01 Aug - 31 Aug 2025 £48
    Suite: 01 Sep - 20 Dec 2025 £29

    Extra nights (£ per person per night) in a double or single room

    Quinta do Furão, Santana (with dinner) Double room Single room
    02 Jan - 30 Jun 2024 £121 £193
    01 Jul - 20 Dec 2024 £132 £204
    02 Jan - 30 Jun 2025 £130 £205
    01 Jul - 20 Dec 2025 £140 £215
    Porto Bay Serragolf, Santo da Serra (with dinner) Double room Single room
    02 Jan - 20 Dec 2024 £92 £125
    02 Jan - 20 Dec 2025 £96 £130
    Castanheiro Boutique Hotel, Funchal (B&B) Double room Single room
    02 Jan - 30 Jun 2024 £96 £180
    01 Jul - 31 Jul 2024 £110 £200
    01 Aug - 31 Aug 2024 £118 £219
    01 Sep - 30 Sep 2024 £110 £200
    01 Oct - 31 Oct 2024 £104 £192
    01 Nov - 20 Dec 2024 £92 £164
    02 Jan - 30 Jun 2025 £100 £187
    01 Jul - 31 Jul 2025 £114 £208
    01 Aug - 31 Aug 2025 £123 £228
    01 Sep - 30 Sep 2025 £114 £208
    01 Oct - 31 Oct 2025 £108 £200
    01 Nov - 20 Dec 2025 £96 £171
    Extra nights are not possible in early May due to flower festival.
  • RECOMMENDED AIRPORT(S):
    Funchal

    Travelling from the UK

    Travelling from outside the UK

    If you are flying from outside Europe,  you may need to fly via Lisbon. To discuss onward connecting travel to the start of your holiday, please contact us.

    Outward route Airline
    Belfast Intl. - Funchal jet2 
    Outward route Airline
    Birmingham - Funchal jet2,  TUI 
    Outward route Airline
    Bristol - Funchal easyJet,  jet2 
    Outward route Airline
    Nottingham East Midlands - Funchal jet2,  TUI 
    Outward route Airline
    Edinburgh - Funchal easyJet,  jet2 
    Outward route Airline
    Glasgow - Funchal jet2,  TUI 
    Outward route Airline
    Leeds Bradford - Funchal jet2 
    Outward route Airline
    Gatwick - Funchal British Airways,  easyJet,  TUI 
    Gatwick - Funchal (via Lisbon) TAP Air Portugal 
    Outward route Airline
    Heathrow - Funchal British Airways 
    Heathrow - Funchal (via Lisbon) TAP Air Portugal 
    Outward route Airline
    Luton - Funchal Wizz Air 
    Outward route Airline
    Stansted - Funchal jet2 
    Outward route Airline
    Manchester - Funchal easyJet,  jet2,  Ryanair,  TUI 
    Manchester - Funchal (via Lisbon) TAP Air Portugal 
    Outward route Airline
    Newcastle - Funchal jet2,  TUI 
    Travelling from outside the UK

    If you are flying from outside Europe,  you may need to fly via Lisbon. To discuss onward connecting travel to the start of your holiday, please contact us.

    This list of flight options should be used as a guide only, and you should check each airline’s website for current routes, frequency and schedules. Not all flights operate daily, and may not run for the entire season. You should also heed the latest flight arrival time and earliest flight departure time stated in the connecting travel section, as it may not be possible to arrange connecting travel outside these times. Please do not book your flights until we have confirmed your accommodation to you. Alternatively, our expert reservations team will be happy to offer advice and to make flight bookings for you for any of the options listed above. We charge £35 per person for our flight booking service. Your flights are then covered by our package-booking conditions, which give you greater protection in the event of delay or cancellation, as well as providing ATOL cover.

  • Prices below are based on 2 people travelling together. If you are travelling solo or as a party of 3 or more and our arrangements include a taxi, please contact us for prices; additional passengers often pay less.

    Where a price range is given, the price you pay depends on your date of travel.

    Connecting travel options - flying via Funchal

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    direct taxi Funchal airport to hotel (0h30) £36-£37 flexible
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    direct taxi hotel to Funchal airport (0h30) £25-£26 flexible
What is included
  • 7 nights
  • 5 dinners
    2 picnics
    7 breakfasts
  • luggage transported
  • route notes and maps
  • GPS navigation
  • transfers on days 1, 2 & 5
 
Reviews

If you've experienced this holiday first hand, why not write a review?

We are keen for as many customers as possible to review their holiday. To make it easier to do so, we include a specific review section on our post-holiday questionnaire, and this is what we publish here, unedited. Read our full review policy >

 

FAQs

If you have any questions relating to this or any other Inntravel holiday, our friendly travel experts will be happy to help. You might also find our General FAQs section helpful.
  • We’ll send you route notes and maps 2-3 weeks before your holiday. The route notes not only contain directions to get from A to B, but also include practical information about places of interest and eateries along each route, plus cultural information about the area. If/when you are moving between hotels, you leave your luggage in reception as you leave, and it will be transferred ahead to your next accommodation, meaning that all you need to take with you are a camera, sun cream, drinks, food and waterproofs.

    For more detailed information, see our walking holidays in Europe page.
  • Yes, prior to going on holiday you will be able to download GPX tracks so that you can follow your route on your smartphone or dedicated GPS device if you wish. It’s entirely up to you whether or not you use them – our detailed, step-by-step route notes remain the principal means of guiding you from A to B – but we provide them as a secondary means of navigation for additional reassurance when walking.
  • We can book a wide range of routes from the UK with a variety of airlines. As well as being more convenient for you to book all elements of your holiday together, it also means that we’ll accept liability for your travel arrangements, so if things go wrong, such as the airline going bust, we’ll make suitable alternative arrangements for you. The fee for this service is £35 per person (£15 for children aged 2-11). More information on flights >
  • We can’t book flights that originate outside the UK, but if you wanted to book your own flights to London (or elsewhere in the UK), we can make all onward travel arrangements (including flights) from there. Alternatively, if you are booking your own flights to an airport in continental Europe that’s appropriate for your holiday, we can book onward rail travel and/or taxis. More information about how we can tailor holidays for customers outside the UK >
  • Since our holidays are self-guided, we recommend calling us for a chat about your plans before making a booking, especially if it’s the first time you’ve booked with us.
    The price panel shows the supplement for a single room and also the single traveller charge (this covers (luggage) transfers and other costs which are usually shared between two people).
  • Once you’ve decided on your exact itinerary (our travel experts will be happy to offer advice), you need to provide us with your party’s details, either by phone or via our booking form. At this point we also ask you to pay a deposit so that we can secure a room for you immediately on confirming availability with the hotel(s). If it turns out that we can’t secure the accommodation for the holiday you’ve requested, or offer an acceptable alternative, we’ll refund your deposit promptly and in full. After booking your accommodation and other key elements, we'll then book your travel (or you can do so if you’re making your own arrangements) and send you a Booking Confirmation and Invoice.

    More information about the booking process >
    Information about accommodation, general practicalities and more >
    Booking conditions >
  • Yes, it’s something we insist on, even for holidays in the UK. The vast majority of holidays go smoothly, but when things go wrong, it can be expensive to put them right. Buying a new pair of walking boots after your suitcase is stolen mightn’t seem so bad, but the bill for being airlifted down from a mountain with a broken leg or flown home while still recovering from an illness or accident can incur a five or six-figure bill.

    Many insurers offer travel insurance (you can find details on our insurance page of a policy that you may like to consider if you are a UK resident), but you do need to make sure that you’re covered for medical emergencies – including falling ill with Covid-19 while on holiday – and repatriation. We also recommend that you are covered for other eventualities, such as cancellation and loss of luggage and passports.

    When you purchase a policy, be sure to check that it covers the activities you'll be doing on holiday and that it is adequate for your own individual needs.
  • It is your responsibility to ensure you are in possession of the correct travel documents, with the correct validity. If you’re a UK citizen, you need a full British passport to travel to Portugal, Madeira and the Azores, but not a visa (please note, however, that a new travel authorisation system is being introduced). If you are a citizen of another country, you’ll need to check requirements with the national embassy or your own consulate.

    Current information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice for UK citizens can be found through the Travel Health Pro website. You must make sure you have adequate insurance cover for illness, accidents and repatriation (see the insurance question). You should also apply for a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) if your EHIC has expired (if you have a still-valid EHIC, you can use this until it expires).
  • The official language is Portuguese. The currency is the Euro. Portuguese time is the same as GMT/UTC. It uses Daylight Saving Time, so in summer is on the same time as BST.
  • For information on the practicalities of travel now that the UK is no longer part of the European Union, visit www.gov.uk/visit-eu-switzerland-norway-iceland-liechtenstein.
  • The UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) provides up-to-date, country-by-country travel advice, as well as information on security, local laws, passports and visas for UK citizens.

    If you live outside the UK, see our essential travel information page for a list of relevant websites.
  • You are the best judge of your child’s/children’s capabilities. We are happy to take bookings for families of older children/teenagers if they walk regularly, love the outdoors and are comfortable with the distances and ascent/descent involved. Please note that the bedrooms at most of the accommodation we use will normally only sleep a maximum of 3 people, and sometimes only 2.
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