01694 723600 info@secrethillswalking.co.uk
We meet as strangers and depart as friends


Madeira – Pearl of the Atlantic

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Why Book With Us?

  • Value for Money
  • Personal Service
  • Hand-picked Tours & Activities
  • No single supplement (UK only)
  • Flights from local airports (Europe only)

Make an Enquiry

Do not hesitate to contact us. We are an expert team and we are always happy to talk to you.

info@secrethillswalking.co.uk

01694 723600

You matter to us & we promise to provide you with a superb walking & social holiday, tailored specifically to your needs. We provide walking holidays for walkers & as walkers ourselves, we appreciate & understand the requirements of a walking holiday.

  • Year of travel 2022
    Jun 6, Nov 7
  • Year of travel 2023
    Feb 20, Jun 5, Nov 6
  • Refund guarantee
  • Year of travel 2022
    £930 for 8 days on 2022
  • Year of travel 2023
    £980 for 8 days in 2023
  • ABTA & ATOL Protected
  • Location: Madeira
  • Flights costed separately
  • Expert Tour Guides

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. Madeira is an island of fascinating natural beauty, rising steeply in splendid isolation from the Atlantic ocean. Once visited, never forgotten.

Our company specialises in solos and singles – we provided guided walking holidays in both the UK and Europe and we use some of the most beautiful locations. We also specialise in providing guided walking for specific groups.

If you decide to book this holiday, please complete the Quotation Request Form in full – this is the first part of the booking process… (as per ATOL requirements).

What you get on a Secret Hills Madeira  Holiday
  • Individual quotation
  • Flights
  • Transfer from airport to Madeira  hotel and return.
  • Bed and Breakfast accommodation
  • Packed lunch or cafe lunch
  • Guided walking- local Madeiran guides
  • Any transport needed on the walks
  • The services of a Secret Hills tour guide
  • Individual attention
  • Our administration and management service

What’s not included

Evening dinner

Hotel and Meals

Hotels

We use the Hotel Orquidea in the centre of Funchal  en suite rooms are spacious, twin bedded – some with baths and some with showers.. The hotel is an ideal place to host our walking programme, having easy access to restaurants, shops, supermarkets etc surrounds where you can The hotels’ breakfasts are continental, with cheeses and ham, yogurt, fruit and fresh rolls and preserves, with plenty of tea or coffee. A hot buffet is also available.‎

Your meals

Madeira has great walking but we also enjoy outstanding food – we eat at seven different atmospheric restaurants, in several areas of Funchal – in 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 £16 a head for two courses.

Packed lunch

We provide a simple –  locally produced at the bakery opposite the hotel – a filled  roll and piece of fruit for packed lunch. You may need to supplement this with your own energy bars/chocolate etc. Because of the nature of our walks there is little opportunity to stop for lunch at a cafe or similar on the walks.

Single Supplement details

For sole occupancy of a twin room, there is an additional £19 per night charge.

Itinerary

Madeira has wonderful walking. we choose our walks away from the madding crowds of the popular levada walks.

We use a minibus to take us to walk start and from walk finish.

You have a choice of two activities each day- we run a strolling and exploring option alongside our walking holiday.

Flights and Transfers

As from 13/12/21 – we will quote all our 2022 holidays in two stages 

Stage one – the price for land only

Stage two – the flight cost from your selected airport to your chosen destination and return

The combination of the two will add up to the total price we are quoting you.

Your flights

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. New Experience Holidays will quote you and in that quote any flight supplements there may be from the airport of your choice- will be shown- 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.

 

Tour Details

The Walks- five days walking with one free day

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,

Some of our walks – all chosen on the basis of the groups ability and the weather.

Riberio Frio – a breath taking 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 breath taking 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.

Camacha to Monte – usually our introductory walk.

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 breath taking 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. The Boca do Risco walk along the coast is simply stunning. On wet weather days – you may get one – we walk along the Point St Laurenco – jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean – with super geological features.

On the south west coast we walk along the levada at Prazares, then descend to Paul do Mar from the Hotel Atlantic, or to Paul do Mar from Faja de Ovelha.

On this holiday you have five walking days and one free day

The Climate

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.

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 is your holiday leader. We will arrange all aspects of the holiday from arrangements in the UK, to meeting you off your flight and settling  you into your hotel. We 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 .

Prevailing weather conditions

Madeira is a mix of sunny, warm weather- but there could be cloudy conditions and some high level mist- and be prepared for a shower or two- it is not a green paradise for no reason.

Exclusions

Although our leaders are well trained  and experienced in dealing  with different capabilities of our walking clients, if they have any concerns about  any clients ability or suitability to undertake safely any walking activity we plan or they feel that participation of an individual may affect the groups safety and cohesion, then they have full permission to exclude that client from an activity.

They will try at all times to provide an alternative suggested activity, though this may involve the client in additional local cost.

We rarely have to enforce this above recommendation, but it is a sensible and necessary protection for the individual client, the group and the leaders.

Holiday Highlights

Madeira is an island paradise with fantastic walking on the mountains and coast.

  • the sun in winter – always a bonus
  • scenery that is unique some as a World Heritage site
  • stay in a beautiful historic city
  • flowers everywhere, lots of formal and informal gardens
  • our relaxed social approach
  • warm evenings that entrance you
  • the Madeiran cuisine to delight you
  • UK tour guide as well as local guides

Grades and Difficulty

On each Madeira holiday we have two grades of walking.- moderate and easy.

On the moderate walks – 8/9miles – we ascend and descend at least once per day – up to 300 metres but generally over an hour and a half. Pace is critical – we don’t rush, there’s too much to see, but we do stride out where it is possible. Underfoot conditions in Madeira are generally good – it is volcanic soil and there can be some rocky sections – and we take care on these sections. Footpaths are well marked and accessible.

On the easy walks – which  may also include some sightseeing of villages. towns, gardens and things of interest generally – we won’t walk as fast, have plenty of stops and probably cover 5/6 miles. This will be done over the whole of the day.

There will be hills to ascend/descend but we will take these very steadily – we do not rush our clients. As with the walking grade – underfoot conditions in Madeira can be stony – it is – and we take care on those sections. The pace is slower, not snail pace but enough to give you a good stroll, and to allow you to enjoy the wonderful Madeiran countryside.

You will find the easy walking holiday advertised under Strolling and Exploring on our web site.

Each day you have the choice of either walking or strolling.

Meet New Friends

It’s all about meeting new friends. Each holiday is designed to be a friendly, relaxed and stress-free occasion. Talking is as important as walking on Secret Hills Walking Holidays. We don’t go in for discos, we may use an event that is taking place in the area we are in to boost the weekend’s activities – but it’s good, old fashioned chat that makes our short breaks successful.

“Make new friends that turn into old friends” – that’s our motto.

You might be surprised by what fun you’ll have with people who are older or younger than you during a holiday with us, and that’s exactly the sort of atmosphere we encourage; people find it very rewarding. It doesn’t matter what your reasons for travelling with us are, we’ve had people who are single, divorced or widowed, people who have partners that are unable to travel, and people who can’t holiday with their friends anymore as they’ve all got married themselves. There are people who want to make friends, see sights, and experience something completely new. Whatever your reason, we’ll welcome you with open arms and our friendly hosts will help you to get the most out of your holiday.

Don’t worry if this is the first time you have ventured to join a group holiday – its always a bit daunting – but we will look after you and ensure that you get used to being amongst friends again. Trust us to to get you back into the swing of things.

Oh – by the way – it’s not a dating agency – over the years we have had people meet and fall in love – but that’s just chance. Our aim is that you make like-minded friends – just relax and enjoy.

Just arrive and enjoy.

Great Reasons to Join us

There are other walking holiday companies that cover Europe but we believe we offer the best value for many reasons….

  • We specialise in organising guided walking holidays for singles and solo travellers
  • We are a small friendly company
  • We have a loyal customer base who return again and again (so we must be doing something right) – read our testimonials page on the website
  • We offer a lot of flexibility – you can stay extra nights which we are happy to organise for you. We are also very flexible on the walks we provide, adapting to suit walkers and weather conditions
  • Our walk leading is second to none. Unlike some other large Walking Companies, we use LOCAL leaders who live in the area and who love their surroundings. They have expert knowledge of everything you need to know to make an area come alive.
  • You are safe in our hands – our guides are experts, fully qualified in first aid. Also, because of their local knowledge of the hills, they can respond to any situation that might for example demand cutting short a route. They don’t need to consult maps – they know the hills intimately.
  • Our leaders are all easy-going, genuinely sociable people who want to ensure that you have the best time you can with the rest of the group. They make the weekend fun by engaging with all members of a group, and ensuring that everyone feels part of the group experience.
  • We give great value for money. Because we recognise that lots of walkers holiday on their own, we have negotiated no single supplement deals with all our hotels to ensure the best possible deal.
  • We always use good hotels, selected and constantly reviewed.
  • We have smaller groups than some of the larger walking companies because we believe the social experience is much better in a smaller group. People can talk to everyone, especially at dinner where you can all sit at one table in a small group. Our numbers vary from holiday to holiday but an average group size would be 8-12.

How to Book

How to book your holiday

Do not book on line at this point. Read on and follow the instructions.

In order to conform with ATOL bonding requirements, prior to you reserving a holiday with us, we need to provide you with an official quotation. This will contain all the details and costs of the holiday and your requested choice of flights and airports. You will find a GET QUOTE button at the top of the page, use this and fill in the form in order to start the quotation process. Once you have filled in the Quotation Request form, you will get an email confirmation from us.

We partner with New Experience Holidays who provide the ATOL bonding, so all quotations will be sent by them, and you will reserve and pay for your holiday with them.

The quotation process – ATOL BONDING requirement- the quotation is the first part of the contract between us and you.

The quotation will include

– the basic price of the holiday as advertised- the land only price

– the flight cost from the airport of your choice

– single supplement if this applies

– a choice of flights if this is applicable

– any specific requirement such as additional nights/ sea view rooms etc.

– final price and payment information

The Quotation stage – who sends you your quotation

In order to conform to ATOL bonding protection rules, New Experience Holidays will send you your full quotation normally by email- please ask if you want to receive the quotation by post.

Your contacts at New Experience Holidays are Matthew Newcombe, Anna Brown and Paul Sawyer.

We need to know your preferred departure airport. We can guide you about the right airport and options – simply read the web pages for the country you are wanting to visit, or email us for flight advice.

The Booking Process

Once you have accepted the quotation, fill in a New Experience booking form (this can be done online) or send in the completed form, and pay both the deposit – normally £250 – plus the additional flight costs to New Experience.Holidays  Final payment is also made to New Experience Holidays.

Once you have booked, you will not be sent a reminder of when to pay the full amount, so please diarise this.

About three weeks prior to departure, New Experience Holidays will send you holiday joining details, including your flight details with instruction to print off your boarding cards.

Once you arrive at your holiday destination

Secret Hills Walking Holidays (Slovenia Walking Holidays) organise all aspects of your holiday– including guiding, transport to walks start and provide you with an experienced tour guide. You make your won arrangements to get to the airport in the UK, we meet you at the airport you are flying to, and help you with your transfer to the appointed hotel.

It is important to read New Experience Holidays’ Terms and Conditions – click on the tab on their web site – before you sign the booking form.

 

Our Relationship with New Experience Holidays / ATOL Bonding

Our Partners in Europe 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  them.  Once you have committed to a holiday, and have accepted the individual quote we send, New Experience will send you a reservation form and all deposits / final payments will be made to them. Secret Hills Walking is responsible for marketing and selling the holidays and for arranging your itinerary when you arrive at the airport in the country you are visiting. You will receive individual attention throughout your holiday from us.

ATOL Bonding – New Experience Holidays REGISTRATION

Insurances Required

Insurance – you need to be fully covered

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against travel, medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). Our partners New Experience holidays will ask for this information as a condition of reserving a place. If you are a UK citizen and travelling in Europe you should obtain the UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) which is available only online from the UK Government website. This gives you medical care at a reduced cost, and some cases for free, in many European countries, but should not be considered a substitute for adequate travel insurance.

Location

If you want a holiday that is adventurous and romantic, that’s completely unique and different, and yet, one that’s totally unforgettable and exotic? Madeira’s just the place.

With fuchsia Bougainvillea, scarlet Poinsettias and lilac Jacaranda trees blanketing the landscape in quilts of exotic blooms throughout the year. Located in the Atlantic Ocean, just north-west of the Canary islands and a little further away from Africa, it is famous for its’ balmy summers and warm winters making it the ideal holiday destination all year. Madeira has two sides, north and south, separated by a mountainous spine. The south warm and sunny, whilst the north a little cooler.
Its capital city,. Funchal has over the years retained a charm of its own with whitewashed colonial buildings, 15th century churches, picturesque squares and relaxing promenades.

The narrow back streets of the old part of the town are packed with tavernas, the contrasting Marina has a more cosmopolitan vibe, with its’ pavement café’s and excellent seafood restaurants specializing in freshly grilled lobster. The Madeira Botanical Gardens set high above Funchal are easy to reach by car, bus, or the preferred method of the Teleférico Cable Car. Connecting the Gardens with the old town of Funchal, the cable car floats over gorges and hillsides with stupendous views on offer.

For the energetic and adventurous Madeira offers endless opportunities from mountain walking, hiking to para-gliding. Levadas were once used to bring water down from the mountains to the fields, now they are Madeira’s prime walking territory. Covering 2,000 kilometres, this natural network of routes encapsulates stunning countryside. The islands of the Madeira Archipelago not only have beautiful seascapes but have an abundance of marine wildlife.

A. walking paradise –  Madeira will surprise you, enchant you. Join us and enjoy.

Photos

Reviews

7 Reviews
Sort By:RatingDate

Hilary Clifford

Solo Traveller

It was a great week Alan and you work tremendously hard to give everyone a really good time. I enjoyed the island, the walking and the company.
Many thanks and see you again soonish
Hilary

March 23, 2022

Madeleine Delucchi

Solo Traveller

Guided walking excellent. All good. Will recommend to friends.

March 23, 2022

David Sharp

Solo Traveller

I had never experienced a guided walking holiday but the selection of walks, the guiding (with Roberto and colleague) and Alan’s organisation of the walks, evening dinner arrangements, lunches etc were all excellent… I thoroughly enjoyed the holiday, very sociable group and great walking / hiking experience. Many thanks to Alan and team.

November 30, 2021

Tony King

Solo Traveller

Pre holiday information – Good, everything I needed to know and more. Hotel very good. Guided walking experience – It was excellent, very enjoyable. I would definitely do another holiday and recommend your holidays to others. Overall a great trip, everything was excellent.

November 29, 2021

Colin Harrison

Solo Traveller

Usual friendly informative service. Absolutely nothing adverse to report. The walking in Madeira was superb and offered great variety with wonderful views. Roberto and Miguel were first class guides. A thoroughly enjoyable holiday, Madeira is an excellent walking destination. Another most enjoyable holiday, Alan, Well done and thanks Etremely well organised. The hotel was very good,

November 20, 2021
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