Exploring lesser known coasts and levadas, trace the famous levada footpaths and through forests of laurisilva with amazing views across the island
See what's planned
- Enjoy the little visited village of Porto Moniz, in the far northwest, with its popular natural bathing pools.
- Trace the famous Levada footpaths running beside water channels which cut through the mountains.
- Enjoy the peaceful Levada do Moinho with several watermills along its course and descents along cobbled tracks through pretty villages.
- Walk forests of laurisilva before reaching the peaks pushing 2000m offering amazing views across the island and beyond to the Atlantic.
If you are looking at this one week holiday why not make your stay two weeks by joining us on Complete Madeira.
If you love walking and have never visited Madeira then one of your best holidays still lies ahead of you. It is the perfect walker’s island, with an extensive network of well maintained footpaths through very varied terrain. The famous levada footpaths run beside water channels which cut through the mountains, linking the relatively wet north half of the island with the relatively dry south.
Your holiday starts in the little visited village of Porto Moniz, in the far northwest, with its sheltered harbour where a mass of pointed reefs provide natural bathing pools. Remoteness is the only reason the area sees so few visitors. Amongst our walks is the peaceful Levada do Moinho with several watermills along its course and descents along cobbled tracks through pretty villages.
Our second centre is on the South Coast. Our September 2020 - February 2021 holidays are based in the lovely little town of Ribeira Brava. Our March 2021 holidays - December 2021 are based in the quiet little town of Ponta do Sol. From both, we walk across high moorland along the Levada do Paul, visit the world’s second highest sea-cliffs at Cabo Girão and head into the central mountains on our walk between Boca da Corrida and Encumeada.
If you have a good head for heights, you'll love Madeira!
- Return flights from Gatwick to Funchal (British Airways or Easyjet)
- Airport transfers
- En suite accommodation with breakfast
- Dinners taken in the hotels or local restaurants
- All local transport costs.
What's not included?
- Entrance fees (unless otherwise specified)
- Personal expenses (such as your bar bill)
- Discretionary tips
- Optional excursions
- Travel Insurance (you can add this when you book)
The walking on the holiday is graded at 5. There are several types of paths on Madeira: almost completely flat levada paths which run beside the water channels criss-crossing the island; mountain paths through the central area around Curral das Freiras or the major peaks which can be steep at times; engineered paths, sometimes along cobbled or vehicle tracks, which descend towards the coast and coastal paths which undulate high above the sea. Some of the walks along the high peaks are dependant on weather conditions so may not be possible. To enjoy the walks you need a good head for heights at times and to be prepared for occasional long descents of around 1000m. Although the holiday is a Grade 5 there are some walks whilst we are in Porto Moniz that are more a Grade 6 due to long descents of up to 1,250m. The maximum altitude we reach on this holiday is 1,870m.
Our bottom line is happy travellers, and to that end we trust our tour leaders to use the itinerary below as a basis for providing you with a great holiday. We expect our leaders to make adjustments to the itinerary if the weather, group ability or other local conditions make that necessary. There are normally more options available to our leaders than those listed below and one or more of these options may well be chosen. All distances, heights & timings are approximate.
Aqua Natura Hotel & Spa
We fly into Funchal and transfer by road across Madeira to Porto Moniz in the north west corner of the island. The journey is extremely scenic and has spectacular mountain and coastal views.
Transfer Time = 1h 30m
Day 2 to 3
Day 2 to 3
Aqua Natura Hotel & Spa
During our time in Porto Moniz we will be enjoying the following walks:
Hotel do Campo
Today we transfer to our second centre of Ribeira Brava.
Day 5 to 7
Day 5 to 7
Hotel do Campo
During our time in Ribeira Brava we will be taking in the following walks.
Our exploration of Madeira is over and it’s a short transfer to Funchal airport for our return flight to the UK.
Walks & Excursions
Madeira is a mountainous island with peaks rising to around 1870m. The scenery on our holiday is very dramatic and the excellent network of footpaths allows access without difficulty. Some of our walks are along the levadas, which are tracks cut into the mountainside, providing a route for the ingenious irrigation channels. The paths run along the side like a towpath on a miniature canal. These paths are normally flat but they can be quite narrow and may occasionally have a fairly large drop on one side, therefore a ‘head for heights’ is essential. During our stay we walk along the coast, in the mountains, passing villages, waterfalls and enjoying truly magnificent views.
Local Transport Costs
All local transport costs in conjunction with the advertised activity programme are included in the holiday cost. There may be occasions where additional visits or excursions are added to enrich your experience, these will be paid for locally by you if you choose to participate. Local transport can be a mix of private hire coaches, taxis, local buses and ferries depending on the itinerary.
A range of local excursions and activities may be available to book at your destination through a local operator.
We have no involvement in such activities or excursions which are not run, supervised or controlled in any way by
us. Your contract will be with the local activity supplier and we accept no responsibility for their actions or omissions.
When budgeting for your holiday, you will need to consider drinks, any meals not included in the holiday price,
non-included entrance fees, optional excursions you may choose to participate in locally and any souvenirs or
additional services such as laundry. A general guideline for lunches and drinks is £10-£20 per person per day.
Currency in Portugal
The currency in Portugal is the euro. You may wish to take some euro cash with you until you reach an ATM. Credit cards may not be accepted in smaller towns and rural areas.
Although entirely at your own discretion, tipping is an important aspect of tourism and hospitality life and expectations are fairly high. In order to simplify tipping, we strongly recommend that you allow your leader to take care of making sure tips are given to hotel and restaurant staff and to local guides and drivers. This will be done using some funds provided by us together with, if you wish, a contribution from you, which he/she will collect during the holiday.
Tour Leaders & Local Guides
Your tour leader makes the world of difference to your holiday and ours are as passionate about discovering the world on foot as you are. They're resourceful, organised and widely travelled. They will handle all the local administration and other needs that might arise to ensure that you don't have to worry about planning your days and you can enjoy your holiday. Although leading group holidays, they won't forget that every group is made up of individuals. Each tour leader has their own individual style, talents and professional backgrounds and all are trained, qualified, experienced and dedicated to making your holiday as enjoyable, interesting and inspiring as possible.
Leader's Evening Briefing
Each evening, your tour leader will discuss with you the programme for the following day. This will be your opportunity to discuss the details and ensure the planned activities suit your walking ability. If you have concerns on clothing or equipment, this can be discussed then also. If you do not wish to join the organised group programme, please let the leader know.
Your Travel Details
We travel from London Gatwick to Funchal with British Airways or Easy Jet. Travel in Madeira will be by road and the approximate travel times are as follows:
- Funchal Airport to Porto Moniz: 1 hour.
- Porto Moniz to Ponta do Sol/Ribeira Brava: 1 hour.
- Ponta do Sol/Ribeira Brava to Funchal Airport: 40 minutes
Booking Your Own Travel Arrangements?
If you wish to organise your own flights from a non-UK or provincial airport or travel by rail or car to your holiday destination, 'land only' reductions are often available. Please contact us for details.
Before finalising any independent travel arrangements, please check with us first - especially if doing so 12 weeks or more before your intended date of travel. If you do intend to join your holiday locally please do tell us at least 14 weeks in advance.
If you are joining and leaving your holiday overseas we assume, unless you advise us otherwise, that you will join and leave the holiday at your hotel.
Although airport transfers are not included for those making their own independent travel arrangements, if you wish to join the group at the overseas airport, depending on your flight arrival time, you may be able to be included on the group's transfer. Please contact us at least 5 weeks before departure for more details.
Please note that your flight must arrive within 30 minutes of the group flight to be able to join the group transfer. We also need your flight number, arrival time and departure point so that the group leader is able to meet up with you.
Regional Flights (R3). We offer regional flight options on this holiday and there will be one or two transfer vehicles between the airport and hotel to minimise any waiting time at the overseas airport on the outward or return journeys.
Luggage Allowance & Travel Documents
For all those booking a flight or rail inclusive holiday, details of your travel arrangements and baggage allowance will be confirmed in your travel documents, sent to you approximately 10 days prior to departure.
Personal Details Check
To ensure that we can accurately administer your holiday arrangements, please confirm that the personal details we hold for you are up to date and that you have provided the information we need to secure your holiday travel and accommodation arrangements. Please check your passport details, date of birth and any other important details necessary for us to properly manage your holiday booking. You can view and update information already provided, and add details not yet asked for, by using the Manage My Booking facility on our website www.ramblersholidays.co.uk, or by calling our Sales and Reservations team on +44 (0)1707 331133. When you receive your booking confirmation please check the details as soon as possible.
Passports and Visas
General Passport Advice
It is a good idea to carry photocopies of the personal details pages of your passport.
Should you lose your passport, this may assist with the issue of replacement documents
and your return to your home country.
Passport and visa requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to
ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on, and comply
with, such requirements.
General travel and destination advice for UK nationals is available from the Foreign and
Commonwealth Office at www.fco.gov.uk/travel
and at www.gov.uk/travelaware.
Brexit Passport Advice
You should have at least 6 months validity left on your passport from your date of arrival.
If you renewed a 10 year passport before it expired, extra months may have been added to your passport’s expiry date. These extra months will not count, so you should ensure that your passport is not older than 9 years and 6 months from the date of issue at the time of travel.
You may wish to renew your passport sooner rather than later, in order to make sure you have it in time for your holiday or travel plans.
Please ensure to regularly check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website for updates on passport requirements leading up to and after Brexit or contact us for more assistance.
UK Government Brexit Information for Passports can be found at www.gov.uk/guidance/passport-rules-for-travel-to-europe-after-Brexit.
The UK Government has published a website tool to check the validity of your passport under these rules which can be found at www.passport.service.gov.uk/check-a-passport.
In the event the UK leaves the EU without a deal, UK citizens will be able to visit the EU for up to 90 days within a 180-day period without a visa. The UK Government also has information for travellers available at gov.uk/EUexit
Non British Passport holders should consult the host country’s embassy for applicable passport and visa entry requirements.
Breakfast and dinners are included in the holiday price. Hotel breakfasts are buffet style and include a variety of dishes such as fresh fruit, salad, yoghurt, cold meats, cereal, eggs, bacon, breads, cake and pastries. Dinners are taken in local restaurants in Porto Moniz each evening so you can immerse yourself in the local culture and explore the centre. We dine in the hotel in Ribeira Brava where we can enjoy delicious local delicacies made from fresh local products. Lunches are not included in the holiday price and these can be taken as picnics or in local cafes.
Footwear & Kit List
Lightweight waterproof walking boots with a good moulded sole (such as Vibram or similar) and a deep tread and which provide ankle support are strongly recommended and may be essential for some walks.
General Kit List
Outdoor activities are always safer and more enjoyable if you are prepared.
If you have not travelled with us before the following list might be of use:
- Waterproof jacket (Goretex or similar) and trousers
- Lightweight quick-drying trousers
- Walking T-shirt/shirts
- Walking socks
- Fleece or jumper
- Sun hat, sunglasses, lip salve and sun block
- Warm hat and gloves (if appropriate)
- Swimwear (if appropriate)
- Day sack (this should be able to carry all you would need for the day's activity)
- Day sack liner
- Water bottle - at least 1 litre capacity (more than 1 bottle may be required)
- Basic first aid kit
- Walking poles (should you find them useful)
- Sit mat
This list is not exhaustive and every walker is different and may have their own preference.
Torches / Headtorches
On this holiday you will find it extremely helpful to bring a head torch or hand held torch to assist you.
Travel Documents Checklist
Documents and Information to take with you:
- Passport (make sure it's yours and valid)
- Your travel tickets or e-ticket itinerary
- Any visa or electronic travel authorisation (if required)
- Holiday money
- Credit or debit cards (and separate details of who to call if lost)
- Car parking ticket and car park directions (if prebooked)
- Coach or rail travel tickets (if prebooked)
- Your holiday Booking Confirmation document
- Your travel insurance details
- Alternative form of identification (such as a driving licence)
- Photocopy of the personal details pages of your passport
- A valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) if relevant
- Details of any medical condition or allergy your holiday leader should know about
Electricity in Portugal
Electricity is supplied at 220 Volts. If you wish to use electrical equipment you will need a European two pin adaptor with round pins. More information can be found at https://www.power-plugs-sockets.com/
Water To Go
An alternative to bottled water from single-use sealed water bottles is
filtered water from a refillable bottle containing its own water filter
such as a Water-to-go bottle available from
Just fill up from any water source and save the environment from disposable plastic bottles.
We have negotiated an exclusive 15% discount with our partners Water-to-Go
for you as a thank you for helping the environment. Please go to their website
at www.watertogo.eu and
enter the code RWH17 when ordering. In addition, Water-to-Go will match the
discount with a donation to our charity, Heart & Sole, which will allow us
to continue to make a difference in the countries you visit on our holidays.
Maps, Guidebooks & Other Information
Maps, Guidebooks & More
The internet is now an excellent resource of information about holidays in the Madeira including the tourist board website Visit Portugal.
If you key many of the local places mentioned in this holiday fact sheet into YouTube, you will find a vast array of spectacular footage of the area, including
Funchal, Madeira Islands by Unravel Travel TV on Youtube.
Books that may be of use are:
Madeira Travel Guide 2020 by Madeira Travel Guide et al.
A Birdwatcher’s guide to Portugal, the Azores and Madeira Archipelagos by Colm Moore
Madeira Walks: Challenging Trails and High Altitude Routes by Shirely and Mike White Head, Rosamund Brawn et al.
Lonely Plante Pocket Madeira by Lonely Planet and Marc Di Duca
A suggested map is 'Madeira Tour and Trail Map - David Brawn. To give you an idea of the walking on offer on Madeira why not take a look at the Trailblazer Madeira Walks book with downloadable GPS tracks and waypoints, written by Oliver Breda.
BBC 4’s TV programme – Nature Wonderlands: Islands of Evolution see’s Richard Fortey travel to Madeira in episode 3 to examine volcanic islands.
The Map Shop
Maps and guidebooks relating to the areas you will be walking in may be bought before your holiday from The Map Shop at www.themapshop.co.uk
Visit the following websites for an idea of the climate in your destination:
Find out more
UTC, UTC +01:00
3hrs from UK
Visas and Passports
No Visa Required
Avg. Rain: 109mm
Avg. Rain: 93mm
Avg. Rain: 75mm
Avg. Rain: 66mm
Avg. Rain: 52mm
Avg. Rain: 26mm
Avg. Rain: 12mm
Avg. Rain: 16mm
Avg. Rain: 44mm
Avg. Rain: 91mm
Avg. Rain: 111mm
Avg. Rain: 120mm
Staying Healthy On Holiday
Health requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility
to ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on,
and comply with, such requirements at least 6 to 8 weeks before departure.
Advice on vaccinations is available from your GP.
Health Advice for Portugal
No compulsory immunisations are required for visits to Portugal.
You should be up to date with the usual immunisations recommended in the UK.
You may wish to consider immunisations against Tetanus.
Dengue fever exists in Portugal; please take normal precautions against mosquito bites.
Further Travel Advice
For further advice please visit:
You might wish to take a small bottle of antibacterial hand gel with you for times when you're unable to wash your hands.
You must be adequately insured to join our holidays. We do not
insist that you insure with us but we require that you are adequately
insured for the nature of your holiday. You will be unable to
participate in our local walking and other activity programmes
without being able to demonstrate that you have valid travel insurance.
Please ensure that as a minimum your travel insurance policy covers you
for travel to your holiday destinations (country and geographical region)
and for medical expenses, mountain rescue (including helicopter rescue)
and emergency repatriation to your home country in the event of illness
or injury. Your policy should also provide adequate cover for the activities,
included and optional, you are likely to participate in during your holiday.
See our brochure or website for further advice regarding holiday insurance.
Whoever you insure with, please ensure that you take full details, and ideally
the policy itself, with you on holiday and provide our tour leader with your
insurer's name, the policy number and emergency assistance contact numbers.
Please note that it is very difficult to obtain travel insurance
once your holiday arrangements have started.
Please take your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) with you; it will help you in the event of you needing medical assistance during your holiday. Please note that the EHIC has an expiry date, so please check that your card is valid for the duration of your holiday. Please note however the EHIC should not be considered a substitute for medical or travel insurance.
The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office provides up to date information
on security and local laws for travellers, together with current
passport and visa information, at www.gov.uk/travelaware.
Please take a few minutes to look at the current advice on your
Please be aware of what's going on around you, take sensible
precautions with your credit cards and passport and avoid displays
of wealth such as wearing expensive jewellery or watches.
Do not carry more cash on you than you will need for each day,
and we recommend that a money belt is used.
We're committed to ethical tourism in all our destinations.
Our holidays are designed for you to discover the essence
of the country you are visiting. Travelling in small groups
not only gives you an up close and personal experience of
your destination, but minimises your impact on the immediate
environment. We feel that the most important starting point
to protect the environment is to be out in it.
For more details visit our website.
The Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust
Unlike many tour operators we have our own trust through which RWH Travel’s profits are channelled back into a variety of outdoor, walking-related or environmental conservation projects in the UK. The focus of the Trust’s financial support is Britain’s leading walking charity, The Ramblers, and their role in promoting the benefits and importance of walking to the British public. In addition the Trust welcomes applications for small grants from local organisations in the UK who need support for walking-orientated activities. This includes the establishment of footpaths and bridleways, funding for rebuilding bridges and renovating huts, as well as bursary funding for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award for children who could not otherwise afford to do it. Please visit the ‘About Us’ section of our website and click on the Charitable Trust link for more details.
Heart and Sole
We appreciate that we are in a fortunate position to be able
to use our profits to help make a difference to people's lives.
Heart & Sole is a venture managed by our office staff, whose
aim is to reach the heart of the communities in the countries
we visit. Through Heart & Sole, we hope to make more of a long
term, direct impact to these communities, particularly in less
developed countries where even a small amount goes a long way.
See our website for more information and details of some of the
projects we support.
Staying In Touch
Please do provide us with a mobile phone contact number. We will only use this to contact you with important information relating to your holiday arrangements.
Do keep your mobile phones switched on and readily available when travelling to the airport or if delayed in transit so that we can contact you with any last minute information relating to your travel arrangements.
As a matter of courtesy, please switch off your mobile phone during walks, or endeavour to minimise its use. Please also try to minimise the use of mobile devices during group meals.
We welcome all comments about our holidays and value ideas for the future. If you have provided us with an email address we will invite you to complete an online questionnaire or to add feedback to our page on the independent review site 'Feefo'.
Please note that this Holiday Information sheet may be periodically updated and reissued.
In most cases the revisions will be minor and the overall nature
of the holiday will remain unchanged. Should we make a major change
to your holiday arrangements between you booking your holiday and
your date of travel we will notify you to specifically draw your
attention to any significant change.
You may wish to review the latest version of this Holiday Information Sheet online prior to travel.
Please note that any advertised offers, benefits or initiatives may be discontinued at any time.
Ramblers Walking Holidays
Our office is open and our Sales & Reservations team are available to speak to you from:
- 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday
Please quote your Booking Reference number and Tour Code whenever contacting us.
We wish you an enjoyable holiday!
Our holiday walking grades
Full day walks with moderate amounts of ascent and descent.
The paths are mostly good, but there may be some steep and rough ground.
Walks will last up to 6 hours and could involve as much as 750m of ascent and descent. Some walks will be less demanding.
Discover more about our walking grades