8th November 2010
Madeira - the place
Discover the walking paradise of the garden island of Madeira - in the company of walking friends who enjoy good walking, good food, good social chatter and who appreciate the beauty of simply wonderful scenery - with British tour managers, and superb local walking guides. Madeira is an island of fascinating natural beauty, rising steeply in splendid isolation from the Atlantic ocean, off the coast of Africa.The island is of volcanic origin, and has a network of levadas (water channels) that take water to irrigate the fertile soil in the south of the island. Madeira is a modern island, having benefited from joining the European Union, and its infrastructure supports our walking holidays brilliantly.
Once visited, never forgotten
We walk in three kinds of terrain, and this adds to the enjoyment of this holiday. Walks are 8/9 miles long and graded moderate.
Levada walking is the most popular form of exploring this island, and we take in two levada walks - though we do add to the levada walks by venturing off the main tracks to explore. They are a joy to walk along with the constant stream of water bubbling on one side, and ever changing views of deep valleys and hillsides usually to the sea, on the other
Riberio Frio - a breathtaking walk along a high level levada, with stunning views over the north coast, ending in a long descent through forest and arable land. We have coffee before the start, after a 40 minutes mini bus ride, and after the walk ends. Following good quality paths, some uneven sections, and tunnels.
Pico Do Ruivo Paul and the waterfalls - after climbing Pico do Paul, with breathtaking views above St Vicente, we traverse the plain to Bica da Cana, then along a beautiful levada with glorious waterfalls on all its journey - water, water all the way, crossing several stream valleys before reaching stunning waterfalls, falling 200 feet, seemingly out of the sky. We also have a coastal walk, from Machico to Laranja near Porto da Cruz,with excellent coastal views across the sea to distant islands and hills.
Our mountain walks are both excellent routes - the first skirts the Nuns Valley at 1200 metres, from Boca da Corrida to Encumeada underneath Pico Grande - simply breathtaking views. The second is even higher at 1650 metres high, traversing two of Madeira’s highest peaks from Pico Arreirro to Pico Ruivo. The mountain walks are on good paths, with gradual climbing, and some sharp descents to test the knees. Levada walks are generally flat, some descent at the at the end of the walk.
We also walk along the coast around Machico and Porta do Cruz.
On this holiday you have five walking days and one free day
It has a splendid climate, rarely getting above 28 degrees and below 15 degrees, and that means excellent walking conditions. It’s a haven for those who seek a relaxing walking holiday in close proximity to nature.The levada’s banks and the surrounding countryside are planted with hydrangeas, lilies and agapanthus. Its mountains are rugged and inspiring with generally good sea views. Gardens and parks are everywhere - planted with all manner of exotic trees shrubs and blooms.
New Experience Holidays, our partners in Walking in Madeira, arrange all aspects of your flights. Flights to Madeira leave the UK on Mondays, and all the major regional airports have carriers going there. We will endeavour to secure a flight from your nearest airport, there may be a flight supplement on the prices we have quoted in this leaflet. Paul Sawyer will quote you what supplement costs there may be from the airport of your choice, and may offer you other cost effective options. Any additional supplement for your flight will be payable at the time of reserving your holiday. The flight is 3.5 hours. Funchal Airport is a modern one, recently built to take account of the increasing number of holiday makers to this all the year round destination.
You will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel - a twenty minute journey along the fast motorway linking the airport to Funchal, and indeed many parts of the island. At the end of your holiday you will be transferred back to the airport.
Your Walk Leaders
We use local walking guides to show us the best of walking in this walking paradise - their knowledge of the history, plant life and geology is brilliant. Alan Garner and Chris Bland are your holiday leaders. They arrange all aspects of the holiday from arrangements in the UK, to meeting you off your flight and settling you into your hotel. They then manage your walk guiding. including all transport. We also arrange your evening meals as a group, though this is not obligatory. We have spent time selecting the best value for money restaurants in Funchal, We will also advise on where you can enjoy evening entertainment, the best places to change money and the best places to buy those take home presents.
On this holiday you have a free day - Friday - and we will advise on where to go and how to get there.
Or simply just chill out .
We use the Hotel do Centro in the centre of Funchal or the Lusitania, just off the hotel zone. In both hotels, the en suite rooms are spacious, twin bedded and with baths. There is a pool at the Lusitania, whilst at Centro, you have the use of the pool at the hotel’s nearby sister hotel. The Centro, right in the heart of Funchal’s shopping and cultural centre, is an ideal place to host our strollers programme, having easy access to restaurants, shops, supermarkets etc. The Lusitania, within a short walk from the Lido area, Funchal’s hotel zone, is quiet and has pretty surrounds where you can laze after a walk. Both hotels’ breakfasts are continental, with cheeses and ham, yoghurt, fruit and fresh rolls and preserves, with plenty of tea or coffee.
For sole occupancy of a twin room, there is an additional £14 per night charge.
Madeira has great walking but we also enjoy outstanding food - we eat at seven different atmospheric restaurants, in several areas of Funchal, the old town, with its family run businesses, the harbour, around the hotel zone, and in restaurants where locals eat. What can you expect? Fish galore - the local espadas, sea bass , bream, sardines, tuna, and a whole bewildering array of other fish. Meat lovers are not left out as the local delicacy is beef on a bay leaf tree spit. The steaks are good, and pork features on most menus. Vegetarians are not left out either. As a complete contrast, we eat Italian on one evening. Local wine is inexpensive and surprisingly palatable. Normally you can expect to pay £14 a head for two courses.
What you get on a Secret Hills Madeiran Holiday
- Transfer from airport to Madeira hotel and return.
- Bed and Breakfast accommodation
- Guided walking
- Any transport needed on the walks
- The services of a Secret Hills tour guide
- Individual attention
- Our administration and managment service
We are happy to arrange group holidays for all kinds of walking groups - from Ramblers groups to simply groups of friends. Madeira is a happy and safe place to share a holiday with walking friends - its climate is great for walking at all times of the year. We cost out each group holiday based upon what your needs are. There may be reductions for group leaders who are involved in the process of organising such a holiday, depending on numbers. Each groups holiday must reflect what the group want, so let us discuss your needs and put together a proposal for you. Dependent on numbers, we may use a different hotel, but we will always ensure that all your group are together. Give Alan Garner a ring, (01694 723600) for a full discussion on the Madeiran Experience.
Our partners in Madeira Walking
Secret Hills Walking are pleased to be associated with New Experience Holidays, who organise flights, accommodation and transfers for these holidays and provide you with ATOL security.
All your joining instructions and individual flight arrangements will be made by Paul and Deborah Sawyer. Once you have committed to a holiday, we will forward a New Experience reservation form, and you should pay all deposits and final payments to New Experience Holidays.
Secret Hills Walking is responsible for marketing and selling the holidays and for arranging your itinery when you arrive in Madeira. You will receive individual attention throughout your holiday from us.