Madeira Walking Week

Idyllic island exploration on levada and glorious mountain trails




From $1,140 Land only

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Holiday Overview


  • Summit Pico Ruivo and Pico do Arieiro, Madeira`s highest peaks
  • Explore Madeira`s west, east and centre on a series of day walks
  • Guided walks on every day and all meals included
  • Enjoy Madeira`s unique flora and fauna - a botanist`s dream!

With its rugged coastal scenery, impressive volcanic geology and lush levada trails, the Atlantic island of Madeira is a walker's paradise and a haven for keen botanists. Moving around Madeira and staying in different villages, we enjoy ever-changing sea views and have access to a variety of super day-walks. Following age-old paths and also hiking alongside Madeira's amazing network of irrigation channels known as levadas, we walk and hike through terraced farmland, explore extensive laurel forest, negotiate levada tunnels and cross jagged green ridges to find the best viewpoints. The scenery is far more varied than you may imagine and the floral diversity is remarkable! Highlights of this Madeira walking holiday include the enchanting green valley of Riberio do Poco, the dramatic mountain views at Encumeada and the spectacular trail that links Madeira's highest peaks, Pico Ruivo (1862m) and Pico do Arieiro (1810m). With daily walks of between 4 and 6 hours and plenty of time to enjoy our atmospheric sea-side locations and comfortable hotels, this is a brilliant walking holiday in Madeira.

Is this holiday for you?

This holiday is a series of day hikes and walks, any of which can be considered as optional. The walks themselves are mostly on good trails often following the famous 'levadas' or irrigation channels, but there are exciting sections including levada tunnels (the longest is just over 1km!), which lead us deep inside the hillside, and some places where there is considerable exposure (normally with a protective fence). Generally each day's walk will be from 4 - 6 hours allowing plenty of time for sightseeing and photography, although the walk along the Levado Ribeira da Janela will be a little longer. Some walks can be cut short with a short taxi ride if you are feeling a little tired. The majority of the walks also finish at a cafe where we can enjoy a coffee (or cold beer!) whilst we unwind. Our accommodation each night is in well appointed hotels, the majority of which have swimming pools where we can cool off after the walk, and simple spa facilities to which we have free access! Evenings will be spent enjoying the good food and, of course, sampling the local Madeiran wine!

Brief Itinerary

View in full
  • Meet at the group hotel in Machico. A single timed transfer from Madeira Airport in provided.
  • Curral das Freiras, via Boca do Cerro (1300m) to Boca da Encumeada (1007m). Transfer to Paul do Mar.
  • Levada walk from Prazeres (650m) to the village of Faja da Ovelha. Descend to Paul do Mar.
  • Along the Levada Ribeira da Janela from Fonte do Bispo (1230m) to Lamaceiros. Transfer to Porto Moniz.
  • Achadas da Cruz coastal walk. Transfer to Santana.
  • Along the Levada Caldeirao, via the Caldeirao Verde waterfalls, to Ilha (350m). Return to Santana.
  • Ascent of Pic Ruivo (1862m) and Pico Arierio (1810m). Transfer to Funchal.
  • Departure day. A single timed transfer to Madeira Airport is provided.
Mon 26 Oct - Mon 02 Nov Code MWW /08/15/ Adult$1,140 Status Limited Availability Book now
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Mon 11 Apr - Mon 18 Apr Code MWW /03/16/ Adult$1,140 Status Available Book now
Mon 02 May - Mon 09 May Code MWW /04/16/ Adult$1,140 Status Available Book now
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Mon 30 May - Mon 06 Jun Code MWW /06/16/ Adult$1,140 Status 2 more to guarantee Book now
Mon 13 Jun - Mon 20 Jun Code MWW /07/16/ Adult$1,140 Status Available Book now
Mon 12 Sep - Mon 19 Sep Code MWW /08/16/ Adult$1,140 Status Available Book now
Mon 24 Oct - Mon 31 Oct Code MWW /09/16/ Adult$1,140 Status Guaranteed Book now
Mon 31 Oct - Mon 07 Nov Code MWW /10/16/ Adult$1,140 Status Available Book now
We sell this holiday on a Land Only basis and you should book your flights to Funchal. Please refer to the 'Joining arrangements and transfers' section of the trip dossier for further details.

Flights SHOULD NOT be booked until you have received your booking confirmation and the trip is showing 'Guaranteed to Run' or 'Limited'.

If flying from the UK there are a number of low cost airlines offering flights to Funchal. These include Easyjet who have flights from London & Manchester, Thomson Airways who have flights from London ,Manchester, Newcastle, Glasgow, Jet 2 who have flights from Leeds Bradford, East Midlands & Manchester, Thomas Cook Airlines who have flights from London, Manchester, Glasgow and Monarch who have flights from London, Norwich, Birmingham, Manchester and Cardiff. Other Airports maybe available. Click on the 'Flight information' link below for further information on booking low cost airlines. Alternatively if you would prefer to book a 'flight inclusive package' using scheduled airlines from the UK please contact our flights department for a quote. Whilst flight prices are likely to be more expensive you will benefit from full financial protection.

BOOK WITH KE CONFIDENCE - No surcharge guarantee*

* Against Land Only services.

Map & Itinerary

The Route

  • airport
  • point
  • peaks
  • trip direction
  • transfer
  • trek

Holiday Itinerary

  • Meet at the group hotel in Machico. A single timed transfer from Madeira Airport in provided.

    Meet at the group hotel in the coastal town of Machico, close to the airport. Flight time allowing you can spend the afternoon relaxing at one of the nearby cafes and enjoying the seaviews. KE Land Only package services begin with an evening briefing from the guide.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals d

  • Curral das Freiras, via Boca do Cerro (1300m) to Boca da Encumeada (1007m). Transfer to Paul do Mar.

    After breakfast at the hotel we take our picnic lunch and transfer for 35 minutes to Curral das Freiras (650m), which lies deep in a steep sided valley. Our first walk starts in the shade of the chestnut, eucalyptus and pine, trees as we zigzag upwards. Soon coming into broom and gorse scrub we follow a stoney path carved from the rock before reaching a viewpoint where we can see Pico Ruivo and Pico do Arieiro (sometimes spelt Areeiro) across the valley. Further we reach today’s high point at Boca do Cerro (1300m). The panoramic paths offers wonderful views into the central massif and the Paul da Serra plateau. We then continue in a northerly direction along the ridge where the path is flanked by bracken and broom with few trees. We cross over a stone-arched bridge which spans the rocky gorge on the Ribeiro do Poco continuing to Curral Jangao. We then pass by various peaks and come into the shade of the laurels and ascent a slope dominated by eucalyptus and we cross the stream at Poco. The path then opens up again and we have fine views of Pico Grande before we arrive at our destination at Boca da Encumeada (1007m). Here we meet the waiting vehicle and transfer the 35-40 mins to Paul do Mar.

    • Accommodation Hotel with swimming pool

    • Ascent 870m

    • Distance 14km

    • gps data View now

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 570m

    • Time 6 hours walking

  • Levada walk from Prazeres (650m) to the village of Faja da Ovelha. Descend to Paul do Mar.

    Starting from our hotel right on the coast, we walk along the sea front to Paul do Mar harbour. From here we climb steeply along the ‘Camino Real’ (the old cobbled trail) crossing the Ribeira Seca in a gorge and continuing upwards past fig trees and prickly pears to the village of Prazeres at 650m. We then head westerly following a levada Calheta/Nova, one of the Maderia walking classics through agricultural land and pine forests. We pass a few charming small villages and rivers as we contour gently downwards. At the village of Faja da Ovelha we may have time for a coffee or cool drink before we enjoy the beautiful descent to Paul do Mar. The views over the sea and across to the cliffs opposite are spectacular. It is possible to take a taxi down, 15 minutes (own expense) if the knees are tired.

    • Accommodation Hotel with swimming pool

    • Ascent 870m

    • Distance 18km

    • gps data View now

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 870m

    • Time 5 hours walking

  • Along the Levada Ribeira da Janela from Fonte do Bispo (1230m) to Lamaceiros. Transfer to Porto Moniz.

    A transfer from Paul do Mar (approx 45mins) brings us to Fonte do Bispo (1230m) at the top of the levada near Galhano where we start our days sensational walk following the Levada Ribeira da Janela down to Lamaceiros. This is really a gem of a walk through a series of exciting tunnels, splendid views and rock arches. Walking through bilberry and candleberry filled pockets we enter the first of our 8 tunnels along this levada. We have grand views from our path high above the valley with the Ribeira da Janela below. We pass beautiful waterfalls with rock pools and an array of ferns and mosses clinging for life on the rocky surfaces. We descend into the Janela valley with its densely-wooded sides before ending our walk surrounded by hydrangeas and apple trees in Lamaceiros just above Porto Moniz. We have a short transfer to our hotel in Porto Moniz on the north-west tip of the island and famous for its natural swimming pools to enjoy the sea and a deserved glass of wine.

    • Accommodation Hotel with swimming pool

    • Ascent 200m

    • Distance 16km

    • gps data View now

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 950m

    • Time 6 hours walking

  • Achadas da Cruz coastal walk. Transfer to Santana.

    We drive approx 15 mins to the most westerly point of Madeira to reach the starting point of our walk at Achadas da Cruz. Today’s walk is splendid with total immersion in the Madeira countryside. The narrow path starts at the cable car station, which is used to transport wine and other products up and down the steep slopes to and from the fertile soils near the sea called faja. It is also not unusual to see farmers coming up and down with their crops. We walk along the coast to the beach not far from where the explorers Joao Goncalves Zarco and Tristao Vaz Teixeira anchored their ships in 1419. We ascent up and along the Vereda de Tristao river to a viewpoint where we have magnificent views of the sea, cliffs and Santa village. From here we descent along an old paved path to reach Porto Moniz. From here we transfer along the coast to our next stop in the pretty town of Santana in preparation for our walk tomorrow. Santana has classic Madeirense A-frame homes prettily painted with thatched roofs to the ground.

    • Accommodation Hotel with swimming pool

    • Ascent 780m

    • Distance 10km

    • gps data View now

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 1040m

    • Time 6 hours walking

  • Along the Levada Caldeirao, via the Caldeirao Verde waterfalls, to Ilha (350m). Return to Santana.

    We leave the coast after breakfast and drive for 15 minutes to Queimadas (880m) just below Pico das Pedras. Starting at the lovely thatched houses our walk starts on an easy path with some tremendous views of the surrounding mountains and sea. We then join the Levada Caldeirao and follow it past the ferns, lush, rainforest like flora. If we have the energy we can opt for a slight detour to the Caldeirao Verde waterfalls, which can be very dramatic after some rain. We then descend steeply downwards on log steps, through the heather, into the woods, and finally past agricultural fields and pretty houses to Ilha (350m). Here we may have time for a coffee or glass of refreshing wine before returning in the vehicle for the 15 mins back to our hotel in Santana.

    • Accommodation Hotel with swimming pool

    • Ascent 170m

    • Distance 15km

    • gps data View now

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 643m

    • Time 6 hours walking

  • Ascent of Pic Ruivo (1862m) and Pico Arierio (1810m). Transfer to Funchal.

    After our week walking we have the climax with the highest point on the island Pico Ruivo (1862m). Leaving Santana after breakfast we drive for 30mins to Achadas do Teixeira (1592m). Quickly we reach a ridge with great views ahead of the mountains, and down through the valleys to the sea. Ahead of us we see the peaks of Torres as we walk along our path through the boulders and rocky outcrops, and across sections of bare pumice. We pass the refuge (possibly stopping for some refreshments) before we continue up the heather-clad slopes to the summit of Pico Ruivo, the top of Madeira. Splendid views surround us of the rock, verdant valleys and blue sea. After the excitement of our achievement our walk continues on an exposed section of path deeply cut into the cliff face before zigzagging up to the base of Torres and a high level path is found. We then descend through the vegetated slopes and through a tunnel to Pico do Gato and then a brief but sharp ascent Pico Do Cidrao. All along this route the views are marvellous. Descending and saying goodbye to the mountains we arrive at Pico Arieiro (1810m). Our waiting vehicle then takes us back the 35 minutes to Funchal and our hotel. Tonight we have a celebratory dinner in Funchal town.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Ascent 890m

    • Distance 9km

    • gps data View now

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 690m

    • Time 5 - 6 hours walking

  • Departure day. A single timed transfer to Madeira Airport is provided.

    KE Land Only package services end after breakfast. A single timed group transfer to the airport is provided. Flight time allowing you can spend the morning exploring Funchal.

    • Meals b

Holiday Information

  • English speaking local guide
  • Timed group airport transfers
  • All transport and transfers required by the itinerary
  • All accommodation as described in the trip dossier
  • All meals

  • Travel insurance
  • Tips for local staff
  • Airport transfers (other than group transfers)
  • Miscellaneous personal expenditure - drinks and souvenirs etc

The group will spend 1 night in the traditional coastal town of Machico (nr the airport), 1 night in Funchal, 2 nights in Paul do Mar, 1 night in Porto Moniz, and 2 nights in Santana. All accommodation is in 2 - 3 star standard hotels with private bathroom based on twin share. Most hotels have a terrace where we can enjoy the views. There are also swimming pools at the majority of the hotels, which is great for a cooling dip to relax after the days walk. Some of the hotels even have a spa/wellness centre where you can get a pleasant massage in the evening! Anyone travelling alone will be paired with another individual traveller of the same sex for room share. Depending on availability single rooms may be available on request for a supplementary fee.

View the gallery below for images of the style of accommodation used

All meals are included in the holiday price from dinner on day 1 to breakfast on day 8.

Madeiran food has a Mediterranean flavour and take, however almost any type of food restaurant can be found on the island, from local to Italian and Chinese. However much of the local food and dishes are prepared from ingredients grown on the island or caught from the sea. Fish is popular, as well as chicken and pork. Meals are always eaten with potatoes, vegetables, rice or salads. Marinades of garlic, salt and bay leaves are also popular. Breakfast will usually be continental with tea, coffee, bread, jams and fruit. For lunch the group will be given a packed lunch to carry on the day's walk. This normally consists of a sandwich made with cheese, tomatoes, olives, ham or other meats, plus some fruit. Some days you will also receive a pasta or rice salad made by the hotel. For this purpose we recommend that you take a small tupperware box (and plastic fork) to carry the salad for lunch. Dinners are taken either at the hotel or a local restaurant and there will be plenty of variety for everyone’s palate. Madeira wine is world famous and there are vineyards all over the island. However there are also many local wines which are well priced and of reasonable quality – and it will always be plentiful!

On day 1 a single timed transfer from the airport to the hotel in Machico is provided. At the end of the holiday there will be a single timed group transfer from the group hotel in Funchal back to the airport. This transfer is scheduled to the arrival of the Easyjet flights from London Gatwick into Madeira Airport and depart Madeira Airport for Gatwick on the last day in the late morning.

If your flight schedule does not allow you to take advantage of this transfer we can arrange a private transfer for you or you should make your own arrangements to travel to the group hotel. Clients must inform the KE office of their flight details and should let us know if a transfer is not required. Hotel contact details and an emergency number will be provided with your booking confirmation.

The group will be accompanied by an experienced English Speaking local guide throughout the trip.

We estimate that approximately €100-150 should be sufficient to cover all personal expenses including tips for your guide. If you buy many drinks in the afternoon/evenings you may need slightly more cash. Cash can be withdrawn from ATMs at the airport and the main towns, and credit cards can also be used to pay for most goods and services.

Tipping is the accepted way of saying ‘thank you’ to you trekking leader and local team. Tipping is entirely voluntary and should be dependent on good service. We advise you to tip as a group.

We ask you to restrict your luggage to a single main bag and a small daypack (large enough to carry your waterproofs, lunch, water and camera each day). There is no weight restriction as such other than that imposed by your international carrier but you will find travelling easier with lighter luggage. We recognise that for some of our holidays and for some of our travellers, the KE Trek Bag (see below) may not provide the best solution when packing for your trip. A bag with fitted wheels or a holdall with more than one compartment and more than one access zip can, in some circumstances, be more appropriate. We have no problem if you choose to use an alternative bag.

All KE clients will receive a FREE KE trek bag.  These have been specially made to stand up to the rigours of adventure travel.  Your KE bag will be posted to you when your trip is guaranteed to run or on receipt of your booking if the trip is already guaranteed.  If you have travelled with us before and already have a KE trek bag you can select an alternative free gift in the booking process.

This holiday does not involve any significant ascent to altitude and we would not expect any altitude issues with this trip.

The following checklist should help you with your packing. As a general rule, you should always try to keep the weight of your equipment to a minimum.

You must bring the following items:

  • Hiking boots
  • Socks
  • Spare laces
  • Trekking trousers / pants
  • Lightweight waterproof overtrousers / rainpants
  • Underwear
  • Baselayer (wicking) shirts
  • T-shirts and/or casual shirts
  • Fleece jacket or warm jumper
  • Lightweight windproof/waterproof jacket
  • Lightweight gloves
  • Sunhat
  • Warm hat
  • Eyewear - sunglasses
  • Daypack c. 25 - 30 litres
  • Headtorch / headlamp (on some days we will be walking through tunnels – please make sure you have fresh batteries)
  • Sun protection (including for lips)
  • Water bottles 1 Litre / 2 pint (x2)
  • Tupperware box for lunch salad (approx 15x10x3cm)
  • Plastic fork/knife/spoon for eating lunch
  • Washbag and toiletries
  • Small padlock (to lock your KE trek bag)
  • Basic First Aid Kit. Including: antiseptic cream, throat lozenges, diarrhoea treatment (Imodium), painkillers, plasters and blister treatment, Insect repellent, and re-hydration salts (Dioralite).

The following items are optional:

  • Trainers or sandals
  • Gaiters
  • Shorts
  • Swimwear (most hotels have pools)
  • Towel (for swimming)
  • Small plastic cup for tea/coffee at lunch (guide carries a flask)
  • Antibacterial handwash
  • Trekking poles
  • Insect repellant – (DEET)
  • Camera, media, batteries

For each holiday there is a minimum number of participants required to enable it to go ahead. Once the minimum number is reached, the trip status will change from 'Available' to 'Guaranteed to run'. You can check the trip status for each departure in ‘Dates and Prices’ table. Other than in exceptional circumstances, we will not cancel a trip once it has achieved this guaranteed to run status and so you are free to proceed with your international flight booking and other travel arrangements.

A passport with 6 months remaining validity at the end of your stay is generally required. The information that we provide is for UK passport holders. Please check the relevant embassy or consulate for other nationalities. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents and visas for your holiday. Visa requirements and charges are subject to change without notice. If you are travelling outside the EU you should have at least 2 blank pages in your passport.

Visa Europe

UK and USA passport holders do not require a visa.

You should contact your GP or travel clinic to check whether you require any specific vaccinations. UK residents should obtain a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This entitles you to state provided medical treatment, but is not a substitute for medical travel insurance which is still vital when travelling overseas.

The unit of currency in Europe is the Euro.

We recommend you check if you require an adaptor for your electrical items at:

This is a moderately-paced walking holiday, but it makes a lot of sense to spend some time before coming on any active holiday getting some additional exercise. The fitter you are, after all, the more enjoyable you will find the experience. While regular hiking is the best preparation, any regular exercise (jogging, squash, swimming etc.) is good for developing cardio-vascular fitness. Before setting off we recommend that you make time to fit in several 5 – 6 hour walks in hilly country.

As a reputable tour operator, KE supports the British Foreign & Commonwealth Offices ‘Know before you go’ campaign to enable British citizens to prepare for their journeys overseas, and we recommend that all KE travellers take a look at the FCO Travel Advice for their chosen destination on the official FCO website: North Americans can also check out the U.S. Department of State website: for essential travel advice and tips.

KE treat the safety and security of all clients as the most important aspect of any trip we organise. We would not run any trip that we did not consider reasonably safe.  Should the FCO advise against travel for any reason, we will contact everyone booked to travel to discuss the situation.  We receive regular updates direct from the FCO and are in constant touch with our contacts on the ground.  If you have any questions about government travel advice, please call our office.

Madeira has a mild sub-tropical climate, with the Gulf stream keeping the temperatures warm all year. The hottest months are July and August with average temperatures around 23 ºC, in February and November the average maximum temperature is around 18-20 ºC. The beautiful green in Madeira comes from the rain, however there are many micro climates, with the southern lowlands being the driest and the northern parts, where there is no shelter from the mountains the most. May – Sep are the driest months with very little rain and Oct-Mar wetter with an average of 6 days of rain per month.

Walking in Madeira – Cicerone Guide, Paddy Dillon Walk! Madeira – Discovery Walking Guides, Shirley & Mike Whitehead Madeira – Landmark Guide, Richard Sale Madeira & Porto Santo – Cadogan Guides Madeira – Insight Guide

Madeira - Freytag-Berndt und Artaria KG, 1:40,000

Large, contoured road map with hiking trails and tourist information marked.

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