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Why your next walking holiday should be to Madeira

The best adventures are the ones we don’t expect we’re going to love. KE’s Customer Sales & Support Manager Tom Partington tells us about ... Read more
 Why your next walking holiday should be to Madeira
The best adventures are the ones we don’t expect we’re going to love. KE’s Customer Sales & Support Manager Tom Partington tells us about his trip to Madeira and why it’s one of the best destinations for an unforgettable walking holiday.

Whenever I’ve spoken to KE travellers, or anyone for that matter, who have been to Madeira I’ve always heard the same thing: that it will exceed all expectations. So it was with some excitement that I said ‘yes’ to this trip and packed my bags ready to discover the secrets of this Atlantic isle.

I quickly discovered that there is something undeniably special about a volcanic island and Madeira is no exception. From your first sweeping approach down towards Funchal you can see the island’s jagged mountain spine rising from the sea and striking a beautiful contrast to verdant, green carpet that makes up much of the island. The brief transfer from Funchal Airport to our nearby hotel provided ample opportunity to crane my head towards the hills and realise that we had an excellent week of walking before us.

It can be easy to go away on a week’s walking holiday and feel like you have barely scratched the surface of your destination. By using three different hotels as bases for our adventures we moved around the island and were able to enjoy every aspect of walking that Madeira has to offer without having to sit on a bus for hours on end.

There were days where we found ourselves the one group hiking on our trails. We descended from Achadas da Cruz, the islands most westerly point, into a fine mist of sea spray. We walked right from our gorgeous hotel in Paul do Mar to a stunning view point before joining one of the island’s many levadas and snaking our way through quiet villages and fields. We all giggled like school children as head torches went on and we felt our way through eight tunnels, some with water shooting from what seems to be solid rock to much amusement.

Our superstar of a local guide Roberto used his passion and knowledge to really make this holiday come alive. His knowledge of flora and fauna, knack for story-telling and love for his island really meant we felt like we were being let in on a secret with each day of walking.

To cap it all off, our final day of walking rounded off the week with aplomb. Everything seemed to have been working up to this point as we transfer a mere thirty minutes from our hotel in Santana to Achadas do Teixeira beneath Pico Ruivo, the highest peak on Madeira. Before the walk Roberto told us how this walk had been described as one of the finest in Europe so I set off prepared to take his words with a dash of hyperbole.

I quickly found myself eating humble pie as the beautiful balcony walk between Pico Ruivo and Pico do Arieiro more than took my breath away. A gorgeous, non-technical walk requiring little more than a mild head for heights offers some truly spectacular mountain views and really brings the curtain down in a fitting fashion.

Sitting outside the café on Pico do Arieiro or enjoying a fresh glass of Pancha on your return to Funchal you are left with two things. A knowledge that you have really squeezed the most out of your time here and a realisation that so many visitors to this island are missing out on what it really has to offer.

Do you want to know more about KE's Levada Trails and Peaks of Madeira? Just give Tom or another member of our adventure-loving team a call on +017687 29740 or USA/Canada toll-free 1888 630 4415.

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