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Landscapes of Western Madeira

Explore a verdant paradise on foot
 

Discover Madeira’s traditional side on this self-guided, single-centre walking holiday. Using your hire car to get about, there are a variety of areas to explore and walks to enjoy, including some lesser-known levadas, and at the end of each day relax at your homely accommodation, complete with a pool.

Landscapes of Western Madeira. 7 nights
Landscapes of Western Madeira. 7 nights
 

Holiday information

 

A walking holiday in western Madeira

The name 'Madeira' conjures up images of levadas (waterways) lined with exotic flowers, and of luxuriant mountain slopes. Western Madeira is no different in this respect – there is certainly no shortage of drama or colour in the scenery – but what does set it apart is that it is the quieter, more traditional side of the island.
The levadas here are not as well known among walkers as those elsewhere, and many of the villages still feel quite remote – their backdrop of forbidding cliffs and mountains meant that, until a generation ago, some were virtually cut off from the outside world. Further inland, the high Paúl da Serra also feels startlingly different, its wild expanses of moorland grazed by cows and sheep. Thanks to your included hire car, you can explore all this and more on this very flexible holiday suitable for walkers of all levels.
 
Gallery
 

Walking & more

The key to Inntravel holidays is flexibility. You can start on the day of your choice, and are free to add extra nights. There's no fixed itinerary, so take your pick of our suggested walking routes and driving tours as the mood takes you. With your hire car, the possibilities are endless, so you can get to know the quieter, western side of Madeira as well as heading east to reach some of the island’s better-known attractions, including the colourful markets and lush botanical gardens of the island’s spirited capital.
  • 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 16 16 16 16 18 20 22 23 23 21 19 17
    mm 111 93 74 48 29 17 8 10 39 81 110 108
  • Choice of routes: 5km to 19km

    Along the Levada Nova: grade 2, 19km, 6.5hrs; shorter options 11.5km 4hrs or 14km 5hrs
    This first fascinating walk will whet your appetite for what's to come. Take the local bus (it's only a 10-minute walk to the bus stop) to the western end of the Levada Nova. There are three possible starting points, depending on how far you wish to walk. Wherever you choose to start, you will be rewarded with a relatively easy walk, following this flower-lined waterway along the contours, as it winds initially through villages and then shady eucalyptus forests before descending to your hotel. En route, there are plenty of places to stop and enjoy your picnic.

    From Jardim do Mar to Paúl do Mar: grade 3, 5km, 3hrs
    This second walk is a dramatic route from one coastal village to another. Starting with a short drive to nearby Jardim do Mar, you follow old cobbled mule trails up the steep hillside – for centuries the only access, apart from by sea to the harbour. The views grow in grandeur as you climb, initially back to where you started but soon forward to the picturesque fishing village of Paúl do Mar, nestling on the seashore beneath towering cliffs. The fenced path initially winds down through terraces of fruit trees, rare wild olive trees, prickly pear and Pride of Madeira, before a final steep zig-zagging descent down a narrow steep-sided gorge which offers dramatic views of ochre volcanic cliffs, caves and waterfalls. At the sea, relax on the waterfront of this traditional fishing village and enjoy a seafood lunch before returning by taxi.
    The route from Jardim do Mar to Paúl do Mar
  • To the lighthouse: grade 1-2, 13km, 5hrs
    Explore the island's westernmost tip on a circular walk that follows a combination of panoramic country lanes and a levada, before visiting the lighthouse at the island's westernmost point which boasts astonishing views along the coast and out over the Atlantic Ocean. Starting at Ponta do Pargo, you pass through copses of date palm and eucalyptus, descending past a solitary white chapel set high above the sea at Cabo. Nearby, a short stroll will take you to a cliff-top viewpoint for more astonishing views. Shady pine forests and small hamlets of traditional Madeiran houses line the hillsides as you return to Ponta do Pargo ('pargo' is a species of local fish), from where we recommend you take the short drive to visit the lighthouse. Parking at the restaurant at Fajã Grande, you follow the path for just 1km to reach the lighthouse where there is a small exhibition and a wonderful viewpoint. Ask politely, and you may even be allowed to climb the tower to the light from where you can watch the seabirds soaring above the waves.
    Ponta do Pargo walking route
  • Choice of routes: 8km or 10.5km, or a combined 15km route
    Approximately 1,200 metres above sea level, the rugged heartland of the island is the wild-feeling Paúl da Serra plateau, a landscape of moor and heath not found elsewhere on Madeira. We offer two routes from here, both entering the surrounding woodland to reach pretty waterfalls and small lakes, and which can be combined into one longer route.

    Risco falls & 25 Fontes: grade 1-2; 10.5km, 4.5hrs
    The first, one of Madeira's popular and iconic walks, passes through dense evergreen landscapes to visit a number of waterfalls, including the Risco falls and 25 fontes (springs) that feed a small turquoise lake.

    Levada do Alecrim and Pico Rabaçal: grade 2; 8km, 3.5hrs
    The second follows woodland trails along the atmospheric Levada do Alecrim and passes waterfalls and natural pools, with the option of ascending the peak of Rabaçal for wide-reaching views over the Paúl da Serra and the spectacular Rabaçal Valley.
    Walking routes in the central highlands
  • Into the Rabaçal valley: grade 1-2; 11.5km, 4hrs
    After driving north to Lamaceiros, you follow a classic route that ascends from the coastal plain into the largest valley on Madeira, Rabaçal, following one of the oldest levadas on the island. You enter a wild and seemingly untamed forest, which closes in on each side, the narrow gorge walls covered in moss and ferns dripping with crystal clear water permeating from the trees above. There are even two short tunnels to pass through - torch needed - as you make your way to a pleasant picnic spot by an old water house at the half-way turning point. On the return, the views are surprisingly different, with glimpses of the sea beyond. The lush nature of the landscape is perfect for such flowering plants as hortensia and agapanthus which add dashes of colour as you walk, as do the many startled lizards darting into the undergrowth from their sunny basking spots, and the tame chaffinches that will beg for the crumbs from your picnic.
    Into the Rabaçal Valley
    Looking down over the Rabaçal Valley
  • The cliffs of Cabo Girão: grade 1-2; 8km, 3hrs
    After a 30-minute drive to Camara de Lobos, you walk through traditional villages and small farms to reach Cabo Girão, the second-highest sea cliffs in the world. Venture out onto the viewing platform - it has a glass floor - to stare in wonder at the 580-metre vertical drop to the sea below.
    The levada approaching the cliffs of Cabo Girão
  • Pico Arieiro and Pico Ruivo: grade 3, 11km, 5.5hrs
    If you don't mind a longer drive, you can also experience some of Madeira's other 'classic' walks, the best – and most fulfilling – of which is the dramatic path linking the peaks of Arieiro and Ruivo, the highest on the island, via a couple of easily accessible tunnels round the base of craggy Pico Torres. Viewing platforms on the summit of Pico Ruivo offer spectacular, far-reaching views across the mountains of the interior. The routes are steep in places and dramatic - but clearly signposted and well protected.
    The route from Pico Arieiro to Pico Ruivo
  • Explore the island with your hire car
    We provide instructions for two driving tours that will take you around the entire island.

    Eastern Madeira
    The first heads along the south coast to the island's capital, Funchal, before climbing up into the mountainous interior. We suggest a detour to reach the dramatic viewpoint of Arieiro, before continuing on to Porto da Cruz and the São Laurenço peninsula, where we provide notes for a short walk to stretch your legs. You return via Machico, the old capital, Santo da Serra and Camacha, home of the island's famous wicker craftsmen.

    Western Madeira
    The second route initially takes you along the dramatic old south coast road - and through a waterfall! - before heading up into the dramatic Serra de Agua valley with its impressive mountain peaks. You cross the Paúl da Serra plateau and descend to the ancient forests of Fanal, where again we suggest a short walk. You continue down to Porto Moniz on the north-west coast, returning to Calheta via the edge of the Paúl da Serra, from where there are excellent views down to the coast.

    Sightseeing
    Of course, you needn't spend all your time walking or driving. Relax on one of Madeira's few white-sand beaches at nearby Calheta, which you can combine with a trip to the art museum above the town, the island's only surviving sugar cane brandy and honey factory, or a whale-watching trip from the harbour.
  • Explore the capital
    It is well worth spending a day amid the old colonial houses of the capital, Funchal. Here, you have an array of intriguing places to visit, and we provide notes for a walking tour to make sure you get the best out of your visit, including a trip to the Mercado dos Lavradores, the town’s colourful and lively fruit and vegetable market. Other places not to be missed are the Zona Velha (Old Quarter), with its many bustling shops and welcoming cafés; the unassuming cathedral of 1485; the Museum of Art; and, of course, Blandy’s wine lodge (closed Sundays) – learn about the history of the island’s world-famous fortified wine before savouring a sample or two from the leading producer. We advise parking on the seafront beside the cable car station so that you can also make the trip up the mountainside to visit Monte and its botancial gardens. The best – and most thrilling – way to return to Funchal is via the famous Monte wicker toboggan run, whose white-flannelled drivers will take you (quite quickly!) down to the outskirts of the town – the perfect way to complete your exploration of this astonishing island.
 

Accommodation

Your base for the week is the delightful Quinta das Vinhas, located in Madeira's sunniest corner. We recommend adding extra nights to discover the traditional side of Madeira further.

For extra space and privacy, you have the option of upgrading to one of the cottages in the grounds. Please indicate your preference at the time of booking.
Quinta das Vinhas
  • quinta

Bedrooms

 
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.
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  • 7 nights: 01 June - 30 November 2019 & 01 February - 30 June 2020

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

    Starting Price Single room
    1 May - 30 June £635 £150
    1 - 13 July £695 £150
    14 July - 18 August £770 £150
    19 August - 15 September £725 £155
    16 September - 25 October £665 £155
    26 - 31 October £645 £145
    1 - 23 November £595 £135
    1 - 29 February £590 £225
    1 - 31 March £620 £240
    1 April - 23 June £655 £265
    3rd & 4th person discount -£90 to -£180
    Single traveller supplement £90 to £180

    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.

    Price includes: 7 days' category C car hire (eg VW Polo (255, 255, 255) or similar with manual transmission and a 1.2L or 1.4L engine, depending on vehicle)

    Driving time between airport and hotel: 1h

    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 das Vinhas
    Cottage: 01 May - 30 Nov 2019 £10
    Cottage: 01 Feb - 30 Jun 2020 £12

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

    Prices include an additional day's car hire
    Quinta das Vinhas (B&B) Double room Single room
    01 May - 30 Jun 2019 £64 £84
    01 Jul - 13 Jul 2019 £72 £92
    14 Jul - 18 Aug 2019 £82 £102
    19 Aug - 15 Sep 2019 £72 £92
    16 Sep - 31 Oct 2019 £65 £85
    01 Nov - 30 Nov 2019 £60 £80
    01 Feb - 31 Mar 2020 £60 £90
    01 Apr - 30 Jun 2020 £66 £100
  • 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 
    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,  Norwegian,  TUI 
    Gatwick - Funchal (via Lisbon) TAP Air Portugal 
    Outward route Airline
    Heathrow - Funchal (via Lisbon) TAP Air Portugal 
    Outward route Airline
    Luton - Funchal TUI 
    Outward route Airline
    Stansted - Funchal jet2 
    Outward route Airline
    Manchester - Funchal easyJet,  jet2,  Thomas Cook,  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. We charge £30 per person for our flight booking service (£50 for India and Nepal). 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.

What is included
  • 7 nights
  • 3 dinners
    3 picnics
    7 breakfasts
  • route notes and maps
  • 7 days' category C car hire
 
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 hotel to hotel, 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.
  • We can book a wide range of airlines and routes from the UK. 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. For Europe and Morocco, there’s a £30 booking fee per person (£15 for children aged 2-11). For India and Nepal, the booking fee is £50 per person. More information on flights >
  • We can’t book flights that originate outside the UK, but if you wanted 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.
  • 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 cost tens of thousands of pounds.

    You don’t have to buy our policy (if you live outside Europe you’ll definitely need to make your own arrangements, as the policy is only for UK and EU residents), but you do need to make sure that you’re covered for medical emergencies and repatriation. We also recommend that you are covered for other eventualities, such as cancellation and loss of luggage and passports.
  • 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 (if you are travelling after 31 October 2019, see the Brexit question below for more information). 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 can be found through the following NHS link: www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/advice/ You must make sure you have adequate insurance cover for illness, accidents and repatriation (see the insurance question). UK citizens should also obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) by applying at a Post Office or at www.ehic.org.uk. The EHIC allows reciprocal health care but should not be seen as a substitute for travel insurance. EHICs may cease to be valid in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
  • 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.
  • Even in the event of a no-deal Brexit, it’s been confirmed that flights will continue as normal and that you won’t need a visa to go on holiday (the limit on stays is 90 days). What you will need if there’s no deal is a passport that is valid for at least 6 months beyond the date of your arrival (extra months added because you renewed your passport early do not count) and adequate travel insurance to cover you for accidents and illness in case reciprocal health deals are suspended. If you are driving while on holiday, you will probably need an International Driving Permit (plus a Green Card if you are taking your own car to Europe). More information >
  • The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) 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.
Last fetch time is : 7/16/2019 5:31:19 AM