Walking in Madeira

8 days
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4.3 / 5 from 47 reviews >
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Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Walking & Trekking
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Explore the verdant landscapes and coastal views of Portugal's largest island

During the course of this week you will have the opportunity to walk through the wild and varied scenery of Madeira, from gentle strolls along flower-lined levadas and spectacular coastal footpaths, to more demanding forays amongst the jagged ridges and peaks of the rugged volcanic interior. There is plenty of time to relax by the sea in the fishing village of Machico and discover the historic importance of Funchal, an old trade centre famous for exporting sugar and wine to the Indies and the New World.


  • Superb walking through Madeira's botanical paradise
  • Flower-lined levadas with stunning coastal views
  • Mild year-round climate perfect for walking
  • Picturesque fishing villages and the historic town of Funchal

Key information

  • 7 nights 3 and 4-star hotels/pensions, all rooms en suite
  • 5 days point-to-point walking; 1 free day
  • Group normally 4 to 16, plus leader. Min age 16 yrs
  • Altitude maximum 1862m, average 750m
  • Not suitable for vertigo sufferers
  • Transport by private minivan

What's included

  • All breakfasts
  • All accommodation 
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • Free arrival & departure transfers 

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request) 
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call for general departures:
(354) 567 8978
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.



Moderate: 5-6km/3-4miles an hour


Low altitude; some rough terrain - good paths with some steep ascents

Day by day breakdown
Day 28.0km/4.0miles
Day 312.0km/7.0miles
Day 412.0km/7.0miles
Day 516.0km/9.0miles
Day 612.0km/7.0miles

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 


  • Day 1

    Fly to Funchal; transfer to Machico.

    Fly to Funchal and transfer (approx. 15 minutes) to our hotel in Machico, which overlooks the beach of Machico Bay and is close to the picturesque historic fishing village.

  • Day 2

    Walk along Ponta de Sao Lourenco, where rocks contrast with the blue of the ocean.

    Today we walk the classic route along the Ponta de Sao Lourenco. Although challenging, this path takes us through some fantastic scenery as we admire wallflowers, stalwarts and many other tiny plants that resist this windy environment and manage to grow in soils with high levels of salinity. Rocks, sculptured by nature, have a great diversity of colours ranging from black to red, and are in stark contrast to the blue of the ocean. Madeira's Nature Park rangers watch over the plants and animals that belong to this eastern extremity of the island, around Casa do Sardinha. We return to Machico for the night.

    Walking time approx 3h30 (Elevation +170m, -270m)

    Total distance approx 8 km
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Spectacular walk along the north coast path to the fishing village of Porto da Cruz.

    This morning we will walk a scenic route along a cliff trail, up to the north coast. We set off along the little Levada do Caniçal, more modest and quieter than yesterday's, then begin a gradual climb up to the crest of the cliffs at Boca do Risco where we enjoy some amazing views along the north coast and may even be able to see the nearby island of Porto Santo. We then head west along the coastal path, a spectacular route in many places cut right into the cliff. We finally descend to the small town of Porto da Cruz, once a bustling port but now a sleepy little town. Later, we transfer to Santana for the night.

    Walking time approx 4h30 (Elevation +200m, –350m)

    Total distance approx 12 km
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Transfer to Queimadas; walk along Levada do Caldeirao Verde to the remote village of Ilha.

    From Santana we take a short transfer (stopping to admire the famous thatched roof houses) to Queimadas natural park where we will walk along the Levada do Caldeirao Verde. We finish this walk at the isolated village of Ilha before returning to Santana for the night.

    Walking time approx 5h (Elevation +90m, –500m)

    Total distance approx 12 km
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Early departure for sunrise at Achada do Teixeira; ascend the island's highest mountain, Pico Ruivo; follow a stone staircase down to Encumeada.

    Today we make the most strenuous walk of the trip. Starting with an early departure to see the sunrise at Achada do Teixeira, we ascend the island's highest mountain, Pico Ruivo (1862m). Our descent follows a spectacular ridge via Torrinhas Pass and over the saddle of Pico do Jorge to Encumeada. As we descend, bees buzz in 'Lily of the Valley' trees and the smell of wild thyme fills the air. After a long day in the hills, we arrive via a long series of stone steps at Encumeada, where we will spend the night.

    Walking time approx 7h30 (Elevation +650m, –1200m)

    Total distance approx 16 km
    Standard Hotel

  • Day 6

    High level walk through beautiful chestnut and eucalyptus woods to Corticeiras; panoramic local bus ride to Funchal.

    We enjoy another fine high-level walk. From Encumeada we walk through woods of chestnut and eucalyptus and then traverse below the rocky escarpment of Pico Grande, enjoying fine views to the south and back to the west. Eventually, we come to a superb viewpoint overlooking the spectacularly situated village of Curral das Freiras and then descend to the village of Corticeiras. We get the bus to Funchal where there will be time for exploration of the town, a visit to the market or shopping if you wish. We overnight in Funchal.

    Total walking time 6h (Elevation +400m, –650m)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Free day to visit the bustling 'Mercado dos Lavradores' (workers' market), Sé Cathedral or for wine tasting in Madeira's Wine Lodge.

    Our last day is free for you to explore Funchal, the Madeira archipelago's capital. The city is easily explored on foot and the must-see sights include the Sé Cathedral which was built between 1493 and 1514, and the magnificent statue of the man who discovered Madeira, Joao Goncalves Zarco, on the Avenida Arriaga.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Transfer to Funchal; fly to London.

    Transfer to the airport (approx. 30 minutes), fly to London.

Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info



No visa required for British passport holders.



There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts are included and usually consist of coffee/tea, fruit juice, rolls or bread, butter and jam, with the addition of cereal or cheese sometimes. Lunch (not included): normally bread or rolls, fresh salad, vegetables, cold meats or tinned fish, cheese and fresh fruit. The ingredients for lunch can often be bought at nearby shops and supermarkets, and prepared before walks. Evening meal (not included): normally a first course of soup or salad, a main course of meat or fish with vegetables and potatoes or rice, plus a dessert course. We regularly take our evening meal in our hotel, although there are other options. Madeirans eat a lot of meat and fish with rather plainly cooked vegetables. Vegetarians will normally find they get a balanced diet if they are prepared to be flexible.


The climate in Madeira is similar to that found around the Mediterranean and is renowned for its year round mildness however there is always the possibility of inclement weather. In May, April, June, October and November, temperatures are pleasant and some rainfall is to be expected. From July to September, daytime is a little warmer and it is typically dry with an average of seven to eight hours of sunshine a day, but the odd shower is still possible. Winter months are generally wetter, particularly at high levels with rain falling between periods of fine, settled weather (so waterproofs are essential). Please note that we may be forced to amend the itinerary depending on local weather conditions.

Is this trip for you?

This trip consists of 5 daywalks and 1 free day. The walks are either fairly easy medium-duration walks or harder, shorter walks and reasonable fitness is required. The paths we use are generally flat and well maintained but some of the routes cross rougher terrain with longer ascents and descents. Some of the paths are quite narrow and stony underfoot and require walking in single file. On several occasions where the path becomes narrow and has a steep drop to one side, walkers need a head for heights. Handrails sometimes protect these sections, but we do not recommend this holiday for vertigo sufferers. A few of the levada paths enter short tunnels through the rock but these are easily navigated with the aid of a torch. Should you decide not to walk on certain days, there is the possibility of getting a lift with the support vehicle. Altitude maximum 1,862m; average 750m.

Call for general departures:
(354) 567 8978
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.


Hotels & Pensions

Throughout your trek you will stay in good quality hotels and sometimes in standard pensions with en suite facilities.

List of hotels normally used:

Machico: Hotel Dom Pedro Baia          

Santana: Hotel O Colmo              

Encumeada / Serra de Agua: Estalagem Encumeada  or Pousada dos Vinhaticos 

Funchal:  Hotel do Centro

*Please note that on the 21st April and 22nd December departures a different hotel (Quinta da Serra) will be used and this will be located approx. 16km from Funchal. A complimentary shuttle bus to/from Funchal will be offered for those wishing to travel to Funchal for sightseeing.*


Call for general departures:
(354) 567 8978
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

Embracing a healthy lifestyle can be a challenge, but if you’re going to keep it up there’s got to be more to it than

  • Reviewed January 2018
    Brian Helsdon

    A great if (for me) a strenuous trip

    I really enjoyed this trip. We had a full (15) and varied group, two couples, an American family and ages ranging from late twenties/early thirties to seventies. They were great fun and helped to make the trip. We were also extremely fortunate, no rain in what is the wettest month in Madeira, sun and above average temperatures for the first half of the week. All the hotels were of an acceptable standard with generally very good and varied breakfasts. The exception was the hotel in the centre of the island where the choice at breakfast was very limited and the food quality poor. The walks offered varied terrain and fantastic views but certainly merit the grading moderate.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I enjoyed the end, the two days in Funchal, maybe because I felt I'd earnt it! We did an optional extra dolphin boast trip, went on the cable car and generally soaked up the atmosphere. Funchal at night during the Christmas period was lively with very tasteful decorations. The views of the north coast from several of the walks were spectacular.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader was Andre a very experienced mountain guide. He was extremely friendly and helpful and considerate to those of differing walking abilities and experiences. The walks all went well without incident because of this. He was also good at recommending places to eat which accepted 15 individual bills.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't do this without either regular walking experience or some preparation before hand. There are five walks. I ducked out of the most strenuous one ( I wasn't the only one) but the last was also for me hard going, too many rocks, too many tunnels and too many hills. To be fair it was not the route in the itinerary which we could not do because of road closures. Definitely consider walking poles, invaluable especially for the down hills.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I did this walking trip over the Christmas period 2017. I have nothing but praise for the Exodus sales staff, Lucy. When I first inquired the trip was fully booked. I persisted and she promised to let me know if anyone dropped out. They did. The problem then was getting a flight, the return fare was £550 for a so called budget airline but Exodus mitigated this by further reductions in the main price so affordable but pricey my fault for a last minute booking. Following on from my comment above I would suggest Exodus consider a less strenuous option for the last walk whilst the one in the itinerary is off limits. Finally a small beef, the hotels near Funchal, Machico and in central Funchal both charged for a key to the room safe. In this security age I find this unacceptable. I hope Exodus and its agents can negotiate this away in future.
  • Reviewed October 2017

    Walking in Madeira

    A very interesting and beautiful walking trip led by a very knowledgeable leader, Andre. Each walk was different and Andre provided a wealth of knowledge as we went along. Hotels and food were very good.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    All the walks were interesting but I particularly enjoyed day 2 on a levada and then a path high up on the north coast with great views all the way.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Andre was very passionate about Madeira and his knowledge of the plants, birds, history, etc. was very good. He was well organised and everything ran smoothly. He was great fun too.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Walking poles, good boots and waterproofs are always useful. There are some steep accents and descents but everyone in our group managed the distances okay.
  • Reviewed October 2017
    Pam Bennett

    Stunning varied scenery

    I read previous reviews prior to going on the trip, and they are all accurate. I would add that I was borderline fit enough for this holiday so found it challenging at times (it was a late decision to go), but I would not have missed a moment of it. I completed all the walks, which are all different from each other. The group I was with was very supportive. Andre the guide made one unit of us from the first night, and was watchful, prepared, knowledgeable and enthusiastic. As he said 80% is in your head, 20% in your walking ability. Apart from Andre, the other essential was walking poles, especially on the long downhill Day 4. I had not been on an Exodus holiday before, nor had I been on one without a companion. Any reservations I had were blown away very quickly. It was so enjoyable,I just love Madeira. I am looking for my next holiday already.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The feeling after the walk along the levadas to the Green Cauldron. After a days walking in the laurisilva it was like having been bathed in green for a day.Like no where else I have been.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Andre was the best. I say this even though it was my first Exodus holiday, I cannot imagine a better guide, professor or group leader.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I wore my walking boots every day after one day in walking shoes. The support and shock absorption of the boots made such a difference for me. I have already mentioned how useful I found the walking poles

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Do it, go there, enjoy.
  • Reviewed June 2017
    Eunice Poole

    Walking in Madeira

    I really enjoyed this trip. I have had other exodus walking holidays but this was the first one on my own since I lost my husband. I need not have worried as the people in the group were friendly and welcoming. The views were amazing and a abundants of wild flowers.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I think the whole trip was great and so very difficult to pick out spercific moments just the amazing views of the mountains and coastline.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader was Andre who was fantastic. He was always smiling and his love of his island and knowledge of the flowers, mountains and history was very infectious. Andre made sure we were all safe and enjoying the walks from the fast walkers to the slow and always stopped at the end for a welcoming cold beer! He even gave up his day off on our free day to show us around Funchal

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I was a bit older than the rest of the group, being 73 and did find the very rocky descents a bit difficult at times but if I can manage it anyone can

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I don't think so, just that as usual exodus gave me a very organised and enjoyable trip
  • Reviewed May 2017
    Joanne Elmer

    Perfect Adventure

    Perfect walking holiday in Madeira. This was my first walking holiday, first group holiday and first loan trip. I wouldn't have changed anything. Andrej, our guide was fantastic. He showed of the island with 5 different walks that showed of everything Madeira has to offer.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Difficult as was all so good. At one point I said "Every time we turn a corner there is another beautiful view which was completely different and awe inspiring".

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Fantastic. Knowledgeable and enthusiastic about his island and all it has to offer. Made everyone feel comfortable and created a good team atmosphere.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Lots of stone steps. Need strong knees and lots of energy!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Organise another Madeira trip to explore other more challenging areas of the island. I would love to go back and see more.
  • Reviewed May 2017
    Juliusz Chroscicki

    Great walks, beautiful island

    It was my first walking trip with Exodus so I was not sure how easy or difficult the walks would be for me based on the moderate rating. It turned out I managed just fine. As usual with Exodus trips everything was very well organised, hotels were clean and comfortable, food was good and plenty and the company delightful

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Even though very walk could be the highlight of the trip, if I were to select one, it would be the middle part of the Porto Cruz walk on day 2, a traverse of a mountain face dropping towards the ocean. I think the day 4 could have been the top pick if it were not for the weather. We did not see much that day as we walked mostly in a cloud and fog but that is something we have to accept when hiking in the mountains.And it was still a good day

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Andre is a pure delight. From the first moment he picked me up at the airport I knew he enjoys his jobs and takes pride of his island. He readily shared his vast knowledge of Madeira. He liked to joke but he also made sure that we were always safe and comfortable.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Trekking poles helped me a lot, especially during the descents on day 4.
  • Reviewed February 2017
    Paul Mcgovern

    Exhilarating walks

    The walks in Madeira were nothing short of exhilarating. Andre our group leader was knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and fun to be with. We had a laugh.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The porto Da Cruz walk was the most memorable of all walks from my 6 Exodus trips. Exhilarating, scary, and magnificent.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    I would give Andre 5/5 for knowledge, enthusiasm and personal attention.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    They say on trip notes that this trip is not suitable for vertigo sufferers. They are correct.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Great walking with fantastic leader.
  • Reviewed January 2017
    Juliette Webb


    A great island for walking - people and walking relaxed and friendly.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking in the mountains on day 4, amazing views.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The Guide was fantastic, really made the trip - he had a passion for his island and dealt well with the individuals in the group.
  • Reviewed November 2016
    Nicola Handcock

    Walking in Madeira

    A week of fabulous walks in mountainous terrain, with a well earned free day at the end of the trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Climbing to the highest peak on the island, in beautiful clear weather, and seeing Madeira falling away to the distant sea beneath us.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Great fun and very much a part of the group. He was able to change plans for us when the weather on the first day was so stormy that the scheduled walk had to be abandoned, and you have never seen anyone be on the scene so quickly whenever anyone slipped on the path. He was a big part of the holiday.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do take walking poles - while the uphills are steep and tougher than expected, the downs are far more treacherous and seem to go on forever! It rains a lot in Madeira!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This was a challenging holiday in terms of the walking, but I think everyone pushed themselves to their limits and was very pleased to have done so.
  • Reviewed April 2016
    David Williams

    Madiera Walking Holiday

    I really enjoyed the week's holiday I booked in Madeira through Exodus. The walks where perfect for me, not too demanding and not too tough. The scenery was stunning, the guide was knowledgeable and always had a very good sense of humour. The other people on the holiday were great company. The hotels were well chosen, the food was great. Everything was arranged very well indeed. The one disappointment was the weather, it was unseasonably cold. One word of advice, if you suffer from vertigo think twice before going on this holiday!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I cannot pick out a precise moment, but the day walking along the cliff edge was the best.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Great sense of humour, knowledgeable without being overbearing.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bring an extra layer or two as contingency, it was a bit colder than I expected.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Visit the Blandy's winery in Funchal. Really enjoyed it.

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.


What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.


2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.


3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.


 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 


Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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