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Holidays

Self-Guided Walking on Madeira

Portugal, Madeira
4 reviews
Available Departures: Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec

8 days from

US$1,240

without flights
Walk & Trek
Self-Guided
MODERATE MODERATE

Discover Madeira, the Pearl of the Atlantic, on this one week self-guided walking holiday

Trip Code: SGMA
Holiday Grades

Our Holiday Grades Explained

To show the relative difficulty of our holidays, each trip is graded on a scale of 1 to 12, with 12 being the most challenging. Although we have tried to make our grading system as clear as possible, it cannot take into account your personal interests, abilities or experience. If you have any questions about the nature of a particular trip or its suitability for you, please read the 'Is this holiday for you?' section or contact us.

 1 - 3 LEISURELY
1 - 3 LEISURELY

Suitable for most people in good health, holidays at this grade include only limited amounts of activity.

View leisurely holidays
4 - 6 MODERATE
4 - 6 MODERATE

Suitable for reasonably fit individuals, such as weekend walkers and cyclists. There can be the occasional more difficult day.

View moderate holidays
7 - 9 CHALLENGING
7 - 9 CHALLENGING

Physically challenging holidays, where you need to be prepared before you go.

View challenging holidays
10 - 12 TOUGH
10 - 12 TOUGH

Our toughest holidays, involving many long days, often in isolated areas. A high level of fitness and previous wilderness and mountain experience is essential.

View Tough holidays

Self-Guided Walking on Madeira

Highlights
  • Walk along the Levada do Norte, the oldest and longest levada on Madeira
  • Discover the fascinating high pitched Madeiran houses of Santana
  • Walk upon Paul da Serra Plateau some 1500m above the coast for breath-taking panoramas
  • Explore the botanical gardens of Monte, a festival of colour

At a Glance
  • Self-Guided
  • 6 days walking
  • Tuesday Thursday and Saturday departures
  • Join In Porto da Cruz/ End in Funchal

Accommodation & Meals
  • 7 Breakfasts
  • 7 nights Hotel
Overview

The lush green island of Madeira sits just off the coast of Morocco and is often referred as the Pearl of the Atlantic, a title justly deserved. This spectacular island really is Portugal’s colourful garden punctuated with exotic plants and is steeped in history, having been a strategic port for Portuguese explorers during the age of discovery. On this fantastic one week self-guided holiday you will circumnavigate the island to discover the deep roots of Madeira’s heritage, witness the colourful flora, taste the delicious Madeiran delicacies and walk in the footsteps of great explorers.



The island is a walkers paradise thanks to the fantastic network of levadas, not to mention the miles of beautiful coastal walking and high plateaus above the steep valleys left behind by its volcanic past. Your routes will take you to the tranquil springs of Ribero Bonito, to the northern coast with views across to neighbouring Porto Santo and to the centre of the island high upon the Plateau Paul de Serra. And when you have finished exploring you will retreat to pretty coastal towns to enjoy a relaxing swim or enjoy a glass of wine in our great selection of hotels.

Is this holiday for you?

If you want to experience Madeira’s rich culture on foot then this is the holiday for you. The fantastic steep valleys and coastal paths provide breath-taking vistas for surefooted walkers with a head for heights. Using the fantastic network of levadas the island possesses and fantastic coastal paths you will walk an average of 15km a day with up to 650m of ascent each day to lovely villages, vi …

If you want to experience Madeira’s rich culture on foot then this is the holiday for you. The fantastic steep valleys and coastal paths provide breath-taking vistas for surefooted walkers with a head for heights. Using the fantastic network of levadas the island possesses and fantastic coastal paths you will walk an average of 15km a day with up to 650m of ascent each day to lovely villages, vibrant botanical gardens and wild coasts. At the end of the busy day exploring you will spend 5 nights in a fantastic selection of 4* hotels, some with spa facilities and 2 nights in a family run 2* hotel in Porto da Cruz. Plus staying on a B&B basis you are sure to experience the island's warm hospitality as well as having the opportunity to sample traditional dishes in the many local restaurants.

Why KE?

Circumnavigating the entire island allows you to experience the very best of Madeira’s strong culture in just one week; from sampling the islands potent Poncha, to standing proud on Cabo Girao, Europe’s highest cliff top, for the ultimate panorama.


We have included all transfers to/from your walks each day, luggage transfers and a journey on the cable car to Monte, high above Funchal so all you have to do is put one foot in front of the other and enjoy your holiday!

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Itinerary

Check into your hotel in the charming coastal village of Porto da Cruz or 'Port of the Cross'. Nestled on the north-eastern coast of the island, surrounded by steep volcanic landscape, the village gained its name from the single cross on the beach which indicated to Portuguese explorers their arrival at the correct port.

Depending on your time of arrival you may wish to relax on the black sandy beach or take a swim in the village's fantastic swimming complex which was developed in 2004 for the village and its visitors to enjoy, and consists of 2 pools, a sun terrace and restaurant area- perfect for relaxing after your journey. Alternatively, you may wish to delve straight into the culture of the island and pay a visit it the last remaining sugar mill on the island where they have been distilling the sugar since 1927. Sugar cane was one of the main agricultural produces on the island and it is possible to visit the distillery and sample 'Poncha', a popular local drink made from sugar cane liquor, honey and freshly squeezed orange juice.

Accommodation

Hotel

Your first day walking begins with a short transfer to Machico, the first landing point on Madeira when the island was discovered back in 1419. Today the first pioneers of the island wouldn't recognise the town, with its man-made sandy beach made from sand shipped from Morocco.

Your route will take you away from the town between the hillside and along the impressive north-eastern coast. This sparsely populated coastline makes for some spectacular walking as you follow an ancient supply route, once used for cultivating the vineyards. Along your way you will be accompanied by breath-taking panoramas towards neighbouring island Porto Santo. Your route leads you all the way back to Porto da Cruz where you may have time to enjoy the village swimming complex or relax with a coffee before heading out for dinner.

Accommodation

Hotel

Meals

B

Ascent

550 M

Descent

550 M

Time

4-5 hours

Distance

15 KM

Your walk today starts on the edge of neighbouring town Santana, known for its colourful typical Madeiran houses, with their distinct triangular shape and high pitched thatched roofs. This part of the island is comprised of six parishes which have been awarded World Heritage status for the continuation of traditional crafts and agricultural way of life. You will have chance to learn of this strong heritage before commencing your walk along the rugged coast.

This northern part of the island is extremely dramatic, where the steep mountains drop flawlessly into the turquoise ocean. You will soon reach a spectacular viewpoint providing views along the entire northern coast from Porto Moniz to Ponta de Sao Laurenco, an ideal resting spot. Continuing you will pass the agricultural land where the villagers grow sugar cane, vegetables, and sweet smelling fruits including wine grapes. The final leg of your walk provides a great contrast to the start of your day as you follow the stunning Kings Levada through jungle-like vegetation to unveil the tranquil springs of Ribero Bonito before your transfer back to your hotel.

Accommodation

Hotel

Meals

B

Ascent

650 M

Descent

150 M

Time

4-5 hours

Distance

15 KM

Feeling refreshed, today you will head away from the coast and into the mountains, taking a transfer to the Paul da Serra high plateau. This fantastic plateau is the largest on the island at approx. 24km square and at a lofty average altitude of 1500m making for some great easy walking and even better panoramas over steep valleys. Your route will take you through UNESCO protected shady laurel forest, through colourful blooming broom bushes to Fanal and on to fairy-tale like wood forest and pastures. Here crooked trees, green meadows and grazing highland cattle create a beautiful peaceful experience, and you will pass several viewpoints providing the perfect picnic spot to end your walk.

A short transfer will take you down towards the coast once more, still accompanied by beautiful vistas out to the turquoise ocean, to reach your final goal of the day, Porto Moniz, a charming and well known spot for swimming. Here the natural pools were created by the hot powerful rock lava as it meets the cooling blue waters. You will have time to enjoy the natural swimming complex before checking in to your hotel for the evening.

Accommodation

Hotel

Meals

B

Ascent

150 M

Descent

350 M

Time

3-4 hours

Distance

11 KM

Today's walk will explore the south west coast of the island where you will discover the island's colourful wild growing flora. This part of the island, where the lush green hills fall steeply into the sea, is full of traditional charm. Your route begins in the small village of Prazeres, known as one of the loveliest villages on the island. Here there is time to stroll the quaint streets and perhaps enjoy a morning coffee before continuing on your way through fragrant eucalyptus forests. Depending on the time of your visit you may also find the colourful Calla Lilies, Amarryllis and Agapanthus which grow here in the fertile soils. Before long your route takes you back down towards the coast, towards your home for the night in the lively coastal village of Calheta. This popular holiday village is home to an elegant marina which makes for a lovely evening stroll before dinner, and there are some great restaurants to sample the island's delicacies.

Accommodation

Hotel

Meals

B

Ascent

50 M

Descent

650 M

Time

4-5 hours

Distance

17 KM

Your day begins with a short transfer along the coast to the start of your walk on Levada do Norte above Ribiera Brava. From the start you will be greeted by amazing views down the Ribiera Brava valley cut deep into the mountainside. Levada do Norte is the longest and oldest levada on the island and has played an important role in the irrigation of the precious farmlands in the area. You will need to be surefooted today as you follow the levada towards the small villages of Quinta Grande and Campanario. Along the way you will witness the importance of the levada engineering as you walk through the farmed terraces and discover the vast varieties of fruits which it waters. You will soon arrive at Cabo Girao, the highest cliff in Europe, which whilst you may need a head for heights the views this lofty spot provide are spectacular. Here you will have time to enjoy the vistas over the terraced fields and along the coastline before hopping on the bus to Funchal.

Accommodation

Hotel

Meals

B

Ascent

250 M

Descent

150 M

Time

5 hours

Distance

15 KM

Your final walk of the week begins with a transfer with a difference, taking the cable car to the pilgrimage site of Monte, with its impressive panoramic view over the city of Funchal. The cable car station is located in Funchal's old town, characterised by its narrow cobbled streets; the perfect spot for a morning coffee before ascending on the cable car to Monte. Arriving at Monte we recommend you pay a visit to the church of Nossa Senhora do Monte (Our Lady of Monte). The church not only contains spectacular chandeliers but the tomb of Charles I of Habsburg, the last emperor of Austria, who was exiled to Madeira in 1921. We also recommend a visit to the colourful Botanical Gardens, home to over 100,000 exotic plants and the location of the Nossa Senhora do Monte festival.

After exploring Monte, the church and the beautiful gardens you have a choice of undertaking a final walk through subtropical landscapes to the coast, or taking an exhilarating ride on one of the traditional wicker basket cars back to Funchal. These iconic cars date back to the 19th century as a mode of transport for Monte's wealthy and today is a popular experience for visitors looking for an adrenaline rush.

NOSSA SENHORA DO MONTE FESTIVAL: Each year on the 14th August thousands gather in Monte to celebrate the patron saint of Funchal. The festival is a celebration of tradition with food stall selling traditional bolo do caco while people dance in the streets to traditional music.

Accommodation

Hotel

Meals

B

Ascent

100 M

Descent

550 M

Time

3 hours

Distance

8 KM

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast in your hotel before making your onward journey.

Meals

B
Download Trip Notes
The Route
Airport Airport
Point Point
Direction Direction
Trek
Transfer

Essential Information

We've compiled some of our Frequently Asked Questions to help you learn more about this amazing trip.

  • All accommodation as described
  • Meals as described in the Meal Plan
  • Self-guided information pack containing your map and route notes
  • Luggage transfers
  • Welcome briefing
  • Transfers as described in the itinerary
  • Bus journey from Cabo Girao to Funchal
  • Cable car journey to Monte/ Funchal

  • Travel insurance
  • Travel to Porto da Cruz
  • Travel from Funchal
  • Visas (if applicable)
  • Tourist Taxes may apply and are usually under 5 Euros per person per night
  • Some meals as described in the Meal Plan
  • Personal equipment
  • Any additional activities/excursions indicated as optional

Each self-guided holiday comes with comprehensive route notes and a map or pocket guidebook of the area you are exploring. The route notes contain information about the places you will visit, about the local transport you might need, along with the detailed route notes for your daily walks or cycle rides. We even include some tips for the best places to stop for lunch.

You can expect to receive your Self-Guided Pack containing your route notes, a map or guidebook and all your relevant documents no later than 3 weeks before your holiday start date. We will send your documents using a signed for courier so that you can track your package and know that they are safely on their way to you. For bookings of more than 4 people we will send an additional Self-Guided Pack. If you do not need this additional pack please inform our sales team. Your pack will be sent to the lead booker so please remind them to pack it before you set off.

Should your self-guided trip be part of a longer adventure requiring you to leave home more than three weeks before your holiday start date, please do inform our sales team so that we can make alternative delivery arrangements.

Our Self-Guided Holidays are perfect for your next family holiday and are suitable for children of all ages.

Our partner hotels and accommodations are able to provide cots for young children, and some offer family rooms. We can also arrange hire of children’s bikes and tag along bikes for most of our self-guided cycling trips and with trips such as Lake Constance and the Danube offering routes on designated cycle paths you can rest assured in keeping your family safe.

As a parent we trust that you know your own child’s capabilities, so please read the itinerary details to ensure the distances covered each day are suitable for your family. If this is a first time walking holiday for your family, a centre based trip is a fantastic option as it allows you to easily opt out of a days walking if a day of building sand castles, swimming in the pool or visiting museums is calling instead.

Please discuss this further with our sales team who will be happy to assist in picking the best trip for your family.

This trip starts at your hotel in Porto da Cruz. All of our self-guided holidays are sold on a land only basis allowing you the flexibility to choose the travel method which best suits you. The nearest airport for this trip is Funchal Airport with many departures from regional UK airports.

If you are flying to Funchal Airport you can travel via public transport to Porto da Cruz, the journey takes approximately 1 hour and costs approx. 3-4 euros. Alternatively, it is possible to take a taxi from the airport which costs approx. 30 euros.

This trip is on a bed and breakfast basis to allow you the most flexibility during your holiday.

Water is drinkable from the taps on this holiday. Please fill your personal bottles for your day in the morning. We do not encourage the purchasing of single use plastic bottles.

It is not just fantastic walking this Pearl of the Atlantic has to offer. The island's fertile volcanic soils and incredible network of levadas make for a plethora of fresh and tasty produce, not to mention the fantastic seafood the local fisherman catch daily from the surrounding North Atlantic Ocean. This holiday is on a bed and breakfast basis allowing you to sample all the great tastes the island has to offer.

The island has many fantastic seafood restaurants serving delicacies such as grilled limpets fresh from the grill served with garlic butter, lemon and local bolo do caco (a typically Madeiran flat round bread). For meat eaters we recommend sharing picado with your travelling companion; made with fried chunks of beef, garlic and red peppers served in a large dish surrounded by French fries designed for everyone to grab a fork and dig in.

Food is varied and plentiful on Madeira and it’s not just savoury dishes the Madeirans excel at. Across the island you will find bakeries filled with delicious treats to satisfy any sweet tooth including the traditional Portuguese tarts pastel del nata and bolo de mel, a honey cake traditionally eaten at Christmas time. And let’s not forget the aperitif for which the island is famed- Madeira Wine. The fortified wine comes in many forms from a sweet dessert wine to a dry aperitif making the perfect end to an evening meal or a souvenir to remember a great holiday on the island.

We have handpicked a great range of 4* hotels for your trip, you will also spend two nights in a family run 2* hotel in Porto da Cruz. Each hotel has been specially chosen for its great location and warm hospitality. All of the hotels offer something different such as wellness centres, pools and cosy bars perfect for relaxing after a busy day walking on the island.

All of our hotels offer a great breakfast buffet to fuel you for the day ahead and are in close proximity to many bars and restaurants where you can enjoy a traditional Madeiran meal.

It is possible to arrange additional nights accommodation if you would like to extend your time on the island. Please speak to our sales team for more information.

Your main luggage will be transferred between each of your hotels while you are out on your walk. We ask that you please ensure that each piece of your luggage is under 20kg and that your luggage is ready for collection in the morning on the day of each hotel change. You will also need a daypack to carry your daily essentials with you whilst you are walking.

Europe

Your passport must meet 2 requirements. It must be:

  • less than 10 years old on the day you enter (check the ‘date of issue’)

  • valid for at least 3 months after the day you plan to leave (check the ‘expiry date’)

For the latest details on visiting countries within the EU or the European Economic Area (EEA), please check the UK Government website

The information that we provide is for UK passport holders. A passport with 6 months remaining validity at the end of your stay is generally required, and you should have at least 2 blank pages for each country that you visit.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents and visas for your holiday. Please ensure that you check for the latest advice before travel. For the most up to date information on entry requirements, please visit the UK Government website.

Vaccinations

You should contact your doctor or travel clinic to check whether you require any specific vaccinations.

GHIC / Medical cover

UK residents should carry a free Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). This entitles you to state provided medical treatment when you're visiting an EU country or Switzerland. This is not a substitute for medical travel insurance which is vital when travelling overseas.

The advantage of a self-guided walking holiday is that you decide the pace however getting some additional exercise before coming on an active holiday makes a lot of sense. The fitter you are, after all, the more enjoyable your walks will be. You should be comfortable with walking 3 to 5 hours for consecutive days. We suggest that you try to fit in a number of daily walks in hilly countryside before your trip and its always a good idea to spend some time walking in the footwear you are going to use on this holiday.

Madeira has a mild sub-tropical climate, with the Gulf Stream ensuring pleasant warm temperatures all year round. The hottest months are July and August with average temperatures around 23 ºC, in February and November the maximum temperature is around 18-20 ºC. There would be no beautiful greenery on Madeira without a little rain, however there are many micro climates across the island. Madeira generally has sunshine all year around, with May through to September being the driest months with very little rain. October through to March can be wetter, but with still just an average of 6 days of rain per month.

As a reputable tour operator, KE supports the British Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office's ‘Travel Aware campaign to enable British citizens to prepare for their journeys overseas. The 'Travel Aware' website provides a single, authoritative source of advice for all kinds of travellers and we recommend that prior to travel, all KE clients visit the official UK Government website at travelaware.campaign.gov.uk and read the FCDO Travel Advice for their chosen destination. North Americans can also check out the U.S. Department of State website: www.travel.state.gov 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 FCDO advise against travel for any reason, we will contact everyone booked to travel to discuss the situation.  We receive regular updates direct from the FCDO and are in constant touch with our contacts on the ground.  If you have any questions about government travel advice, please call our office.

KE do not encourage the use of single use plastic items. We are ensuring that our agents all over the world are working together to reduce the problem and educate those around them. We are leading by example in our KE office by reducing our plastic use.

  • 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

It is an essential condition of joining a holiday with KE Adventure Travel that you have a valid travel insurance policy to cover the cost of medical treatment and to protect the value of your holiday in the event of cancellation.  When taking out insurance please ensure the policy you choose covers you for the activities and altitude included in your itinerary.

For appropriate insurance cover we recommend Campbell Irvine Direct.  Please go to our Travel Insurance page for further information and to get a quote.

Please note that a paper copy of your travel insurance is required if you are travelling to Huaraz and the Huayhuash region.

  • Hiking boots with good grip soles

  • Functional base layer

  • T-shirts

  • Hat

  • Windproof jacket

  • Fleece / extra layer

  • Long/short hiking trousers

  • Hiking socks

  • Waterproof jacket

  • Waterproof trousers

  • Rucksack (approx. 20 l)

  • Small first aid kit inside your rucksack

  • Sunscreen

  • Water bottle or hydration pack

  • Camera (batteries/memory card)

  • Mobile Phone (ensure your data package covers your destination)

  • Power bank

  • Waterproof phone cover

  • Sun glasses

  • Personal wash kit

  • Reusable cloth bag for shopping to avoid the use of plastic bags

  • Tupperware for picnics

  • Walking poles

  • Headtorch & spare batteries

  • Your self-guided route notes

Cotswold Outdoor Red PantonMany of the Equipment items listed above are available from Cotswold Outdoor - our 'Official Recommended Outdoor Retailer'. When you book a holiday with KE you will receive 12.5% discount voucher from Cotswold Outdoor and other retailers.
>> Find out more

Reviews

4.5 out of 5 from 4 reviews

Excellent introduction to a lovely island ★★★★

A very enjoyable self guided walk on a lovely island which was well organised on the ground. The hotels were fine and all the transfers worked well with helpful and friendly drivers. We were fortunate with the weather - warm and sunny with only one really wet day (Day 6). On that day we caught the bus rather than extending the walk into Funchal. We found the walks are not difficult though there is a steep road descent on day 5 down to Calheta. There are always taxis around offering their s ervices! By the end we'd perhaps had enough of levada walking which is lovely but inevitably gets a bit samey. We were disappointed on Day 2 to only do a half day walk on the Kings Levada and not along the coast because of erosion (?). The Kings Levada was superb at the far end but we were not sure why a longer walk could not have been devised while the path is being repaired. The GUIBO app was excellent and we rarely looked at the paper map and route instructions. We arrived a day early because of flight times on the Day 1 we did the alternative Day 2 walk from Portela to Porto da Cruz which was a really nice first walk though a steep descent into the town. As an introduction to the island this self guided walk is definitely recommended.
By Robert from Darlington | 11 March 2024

A great introduction to walking Madeira ★★★★

This was our first trip to Madeira. We visited in January 2024. The weather started off good but then we had a significant amount of rain, on some days we had amber/orange weather warnings for rain. The walks still went ahead and we were glad we had planned well and taken all wet weather gear including waterproof gloves, socks, Gortex clothing. Although the trip is self guided the ground agent works with all nationalities and we shared transfers with a German Couple. They were not prepared for t he weather and on some days did not do the walks. Even when it wasn’t raining the paths along the lavadas were wet and muddy. The walk on the second day has been cut short due to erosion. It’s now just a lavada walk, there and back. This was the least enjoyable walk - it’s easy to do with car hire and not the kind of walk you pay for on a trip like this. This walk needs to be changed to something more exciting. The hotels were all great. One small and practical, one very blingy, a perfect one in Porto Moniz but the Savoy Saccharum being our least favourite as we were given the worst of rooms. It looked out into a damp courtyard - lots of mosquitos in the shade. We found it difficult to dry out our gear as there were messages to not hang anything on the balcony. I suggest up grading at this hotel to a sea view. After the trip ended we rented a car and a house and stayed on the island to do another 5 independent walks. I recommend the trip for first timers walking on the island as an introduction.
By Lynne from Devon UK | 28 January 2024

Madeira is just beautiful! ★★★★★

We undertook the self-guided Madeira walking holiday in November 2023, and fell in love with the island. The self-guided walking is straightforward: - None of the walks are difficult. They’re on good surfaces, and whilst the detailed route notes talk about a need for sure footedness and a head for heights in places (eg the walk from Boco do Risca to Porto da Cruz), there’s arguably an over-abundance of caution being exhibited. My wife doesn’t have a good head for heights, and at no time on any of the walks did she feel apprehensive. She too thought the detailed route notes over-egged the warnings in this respect. - The GUIBO app access provided for this trip for navigation is brilliant. I’ve used OutdoorActive on previous KE self-guided trips, and whilst you can use it for this Madeira trip (KE provide the GPX files), I’d say the GUIBO app is better for this particular holiday. I never once needed to resort to the route notes or paper maps. - Transfers and luggage transfers never missed a beat. - The long descent into Calheta can be skipped, if desired. It’s a long stretch of very steep asphalt that some may find hard going on their knees. However, if you are happy doing it, I’d recommend it, as the views are fabulous (don’t be put off by the fact it’s on asphalt), and it means a more fulfilling end to the walk. - The day from Calheta to Funchal is quite a long walk if you do the full thing, at around 25km. The basic walk is 12km or so, and if you want, it can end there, at a fabulous view point. However, if you’re up for it, I’d recommend carrying on with the optional extension and walking-in all the way to your hotel in Funchal. It’s a lovely walk, and a very satisfying way to finish. - The scenery on the walks is fantastic. - The day’s walk on the Paul da Serra plateau is harder than it sounds on paper / in the app. There’s no big ascents or descents, but it’s on “rolling trails” all the way, making it surprisingly leg-sapping. The first hotel of the trip (Hotel Costa Linda) in Porto da Cruz was lovely, clean and basic. “Basic” isn’t a criticism - it’s actually perfectly in keeping with the quiet and small nature of Porto da Cruz. The hotels then get even better and better! The Calamar at Sao Vicente was lovely. Fabulous little spa and great sauna (just make sure to turn it on plenty of time before you use it … you can set it to be incredibly hot!). Tip - we were booked into a “mountain view” room. For a €5 upgrade, we got a sea view room - well worth it! The hotel at Porto Moniz (Aqua Natura Bay) is better still, and then the hotel at Calheta (Hotel Savoy Saccharum Resort & Spa) is just absolutely superb! (We paid a €30 upgrade to get a sea view room, on a high floor, and it was well worth it). For us, the hotel in Funchal was a bit of a disappointment, but that’s just us - for us, it wasn’t as good as all the other hotels on the trip. Good food and good coffee matter to us when on a walking holiday, so special mention goes to: - Bar a Pipa in Porto da Cruz - best coffee on the whole trip, even though the coffee in Madeira was pretty universally excellent; - Pasteleria Terenzinha in Porto da Cruz - great cake shop and good coffee; - Padaria do Calhou in Sao Vicente - fabulous cakes; - Conchinha in Porto Moniz - fabulous little cafe / restaurant. A lovely self-guided walking holiday - nice mixture of walking, beautiful scenery and great food and drink. Probably the self-guided walking trip we’ve enjoyed the most, so far.
By Adrian from Leeds | 12 December 2023

Wonderful way of seeing Maderia ★★★★★

This holiday was first class and we would highly recommend it. Having done guided holidays only we were a bit unsure about what self guided meant, really it means you have the best of being supported, routes planned, hotels sorted, luggage moved, highlights planned and if anything did go wrong you have a team in the area who can help you (we did not need them, but hugely reassuring). We were sent the routes a few weeks before both paper and gpx which allowed us to “see” what we were doing. W e did use paper in the main and occasionally gpx and we would absolutely recommend being able to do both to give comfort at all times. The weather in Madeira is very very variable, the sheer height of the mountains means that you really do get four season in a day so waterproofs are needed but in saying that we ate outside everyday in February but we were surprised at the variations in weather against forecasted weather as forecasts seemed repeatedly way off. The hotels on this trip were better overall than expected particularly the hotel Savoy Saccharum where we sat in the sky bar and watched the sun set. The Hotel Aqua Natura Bay in Porto Moniz was again lovely, they really did make you feel very welcome and both these hotels we would go back too. We booked extra nights before and after the trip and in hindsight the four days in Porto da Cruz could have been better if we had stayed Machico for 3 then moved to Porta Da Cruz simply because not much to do there. On arrival in Funchal after the walking I must admit my initial impressions were a bit flat possibly because I had walked 16 miles and ended up in the most built up atypical holiday destination, however I grew to love Funchal too (we had four days there) the open top bus was a great way to orient ourselves and we saved day six’s walk to the final day and that was perfect as we were back walking in the levadas and then to walk through the botanical garden was again a very special way to end the holiday.
By Margaret from Biggar | 07 February 2023

Traveller Reviews
4.5 out of 5 from 4 reviews

Excellent introduction to a lovely island
★ ★ ★ ★
A very enjoyable self guided walk on a lovely island which was well organised on the ground. The hotels were fine and all the transfers worked well with helpful and friendly drivers. We were fortunate with the weather - warm and sunny with only one really wet day (Day 6). On that day we caught the bus rather than extending the walk into Funchal. We found the walks are not difficult though there is a steep road descent on day 5 down to Calheta. There are always taxis around offering their s ervices! By the end we'd perhaps had enough of levada walking which is lovely but inevitably gets a bit samey. We were disappointed on Day 2 to only do a half day walk on the Kings Levada and not along the coast because of erosion (?). The Kings Levada was superb at the far end but we were not sure why a longer walk could not have been devised while the path is being repaired. The GUIBO app was excellent and we rarely looked at the paper map and route instructions. We arrived a day early because of flight times on the Day 1 we did the alternative Day 2 walk from Portela to Porto da Cruz which was a really nice first walk though a steep descent into the town. As an introduction to the island this self guided walk is definitely recommended.
By Robert from Darlington | 11 March 2024

A great introduction to walking Madeira
★ ★ ★ ★
This was our first trip to Madeira. We visited in January 2024. The weather started off good but then we had a significant amount of rain, on some days we had amber/orange weather warnings for rain. The walks still went ahead and we were glad we had planned well and taken all wet weather gear including waterproof gloves, socks, Gortex clothing. Although the trip is self guided the ground agent works with all nationalities and we shared transfers with a German Couple. They were not prepared for t he weather and on some days did not do the walks. Even when it wasn’t raining the paths along the lavadas were wet and muddy. The walk on the second day has been cut short due to erosion. It’s now just a lavada walk, there and back. This was the least enjoyable walk - it’s easy to do with car hire and not the kind of walk you pay for on a trip like this. This walk needs to be changed to something more exciting. The hotels were all great. One small and practical, one very blingy, a perfect one in Porto Moniz but the Savoy Saccharum being our least favourite as we were given the worst of rooms. It looked out into a damp courtyard - lots of mosquitos in the shade. We found it difficult to dry out our gear as there were messages to not hang anything on the balcony. I suggest up grading at this hotel to a sea view. After the trip ended we rented a car and a house and stayed on the island to do another 5 independent walks. I recommend the trip for first timers walking on the island as an introduction.
By Lynne from Devon UK | 28 January 2024

Madeira is just beautiful!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
We undertook the self-guided Madeira walking holiday in November 2023, and fell in love with the island. The self-guided walking is straightforward: - None of the walks are difficult. They’re on good surfaces, and whilst the detailed route notes talk about a need for sure footedness and a head for heights in places (eg the walk from Boco do Risca to Porto da Cruz), there’s arguably an over-abundance of caution being exhibited. My wife doesn’t have a good head for heights, and at no time on any of the walks did she feel apprehensive. She too thought the detailed route notes over-egged the warnings in this respect. - The GUIBO app access provided for this trip for navigation is brilliant. I’ve used OutdoorActive on previous KE self-guided trips, and whilst you can use it for this Madeira trip (KE provide the GPX files), I’d say the GUIBO app is better for this particular holiday. I never once needed to resort to the route notes or paper maps. - Transfers and luggage transfers never missed a beat. - The long descent into Calheta can be skipped, if desired. It’s a long stretch of very steep asphalt that some may find hard going on their knees. However, if you are happy doing it, I’d recommend it, as the views are fabulous (don’t be put off by the fact it’s on asphalt), and it means a more fulfilling end to the walk. - The day from Calheta to Funchal is quite a long walk if you do the full thing, at around 25km. The basic walk is 12km or so, and if you want, it can end there, at a fabulous view point. However, if you’re up for it, I’d recommend carrying on with the optional extension and walking-in all the way to your hotel in Funchal. It’s a lovely walk, and a very satisfying way to finish. - The scenery on the walks is fantastic. - The day’s walk on the Paul da Serra plateau is harder than it sounds on paper / in the app. There’s no big ascents or descents, but it’s on “rolling trails” all the way, making it surprisingly leg-sapping. The first hotel of the trip (Hotel Costa Linda) in Porto da Cruz was lovely, clean and basic. “Basic” isn’t a criticism - it’s actually perfectly in keeping with the quiet and small nature of Porto da Cruz. The hotels then get even better and better! The Calamar at Sao Vicente was lovely. Fabulous little spa and great sauna (just make sure to turn it on plenty of time before you use it … you can set it to be incredibly hot!). Tip - we were booked into a “mountain view” room. For a €5 upgrade, we got a sea view room - well worth it! The hotel at Porto Moniz (Aqua Natura Bay) is better still, and then the hotel at Calheta (Hotel Savoy Saccharum Resort & Spa) is just absolutely superb! (We paid a €30 upgrade to get a sea view room, on a high floor, and it was well worth it). For us, the hotel in Funchal was a bit of a disappointment, but that’s just us - for us, it wasn’t as good as all the other hotels on the trip. Good food and good coffee matter to us when on a walking holiday, so special mention goes to: - Bar a Pipa in Porto da Cruz - best coffee on the whole trip, even though the coffee in Madeira was pretty universally excellent; - Pasteleria Terenzinha in Porto da Cruz - great cake shop and good coffee; - Padaria do Calhou in Sao Vicente - fabulous cakes; - Conchinha in Porto Moniz - fabulous little cafe / restaurant. A lovely self-guided walking holiday - nice mixture of walking, beautiful scenery and great food and drink. Probably the self-guided walking trip we’ve enjoyed the most, so far.
By Adrian from Leeds | 12 December 2023

Wonderful way of seeing Maderia
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This holiday was first class and we would highly recommend it. Having done guided holidays only we were a bit unsure about what self guided meant, really it means you have the best of being supported, routes planned, hotels sorted, luggage moved, highlights planned and if anything did go wrong you have a team in the area who can help you (we did not need them, but hugely reassuring). We were sent the routes a few weeks before both paper and gpx which allowed us to “see” what we were doing. W e did use paper in the main and occasionally gpx and we would absolutely recommend being able to do both to give comfort at all times. The weather in Madeira is very very variable, the sheer height of the mountains means that you really do get four season in a day so waterproofs are needed but in saying that we ate outside everyday in February but we were surprised at the variations in weather against forecasted weather as forecasts seemed repeatedly way off. The hotels on this trip were better overall than expected particularly the hotel Savoy Saccharum where we sat in the sky bar and watched the sun set. The Hotel Aqua Natura Bay in Porto Moniz was again lovely, they really did make you feel very welcome and both these hotels we would go back too. We booked extra nights before and after the trip and in hindsight the four days in Porto da Cruz could have been better if we had stayed Machico for 3 then moved to Porta Da Cruz simply because not much to do there. On arrival in Funchal after the walking I must admit my initial impressions were a bit flat possibly because I had walked 16 miles and ended up in the most built up atypical holiday destination, however I grew to love Funchal too (we had four days there) the open top bus was a great way to orient ourselves and we saved day six’s walk to the final day and that was perfect as we were back walking in the levadas and then to walk through the botanical garden was again a very special way to end the holiday.
By Margaret from Biggar | 07 February 2023

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2024

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2025

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Land Only Information

Departures available on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

Please note our 'from price' listed is based on 4 persons on twin or double occupancy, however we can quote for any number of travellers, including solo travellers, contact our sales team for a quote.
All of our self-guided holidays are sold on a Land Only basis allowing you the flexibility to choose the travel method which best suits you. You may even wish to make this holiday part of a bigger adventure or pair it with one of our other holidays. We can arrange additional nights accommodation before or after your self-guided trip, ask our sales team to find out more about this.

Our sales team will be happy to provide you a quote for scheduled flights or alternatively you may wish to book your own flights with a low cost carrier from your nearest regional airport.

Please DO NOT book your flights before you have received your booking confirmation and your deposit has been taken.

We offer some transfers to your hotel from the nearest airports, please refer to the 'joining arrangements and transfers' for further details for this trip.

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Changes to flights

Please be aware that the flight industry is experiencing a high level of service fluctuation and changes to your flights may occur. This may also require amends to the transfers and joining arrangements. Thank you all for continuing your patience and understanding.

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The price of our holidays can change depending on a variety of factors but unlike some other tour operators, KE have undertaken to guarantee the Land Only price of your holiday will not change after you have booked. The price when you book is the price you will pay, whether you are booking for this year or the next. Book early to avoid any tour price increases, get the best flight prices and take advantage of our 'No Surcharge Guarantee'.

KE Adventure is a fully bonded tour operator. We hold an ATOL license (No: 2808) and are bonded with ABTA (Membership No: W4341)


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