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Guided Winter Walking & Sightseeing

in Madeira, Portugal


Day 0  Depart Toronto on an overnight flight to Madeira  (Air fare not included in the cost)

Day 1
Arrive Funchal Airport and transfer to the Sentido Galosol Hotel (about 20 minutes). Later in the afternoon we have a short orientation walk to see the surrounding area. If time allows we may get to the Cristo Rei statue that looks westward across the ocean to its counterpart facing eastward  from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil which was once a Portuguese colony. Before dinner there will be a  short briefing by the guides.

Day 2 -
 Morning at leisure. 
In the early afternoon our private transportation takes us to the Mimosa Valley to start our first walk.  This 7 km walk is situated in Machico and an easy path along the levada (a 16th century irrigation system) where you will see local people going about their everyday tasks caring for their land and animals. Abundant flowers, fragrant shrubs and acacias grow all along the way. At the end of the path there is a short steep descent with a hand rail.

Day 3   Funchal
This morning our private transportation takes us into the capital, Funchal, (about 20 minutes) where a local guide will lead us on a walking tour of the Old Town to see the 15th century Cathedral, Rua Santa Maria with its artistic doors, the colourful farmersí market, Mercado dos Labradores.  You may wish to stay in Funchal for lunch and perhaps use the afternoon to explore some of the gardens. Madeira is known as "the island of eternal spring" because of its moderate climate. Flowers bloom year-round  and in winter you will be amazed at the botanical wonders.  There are several wineries if you wish to sample Madeira wine. Carnival in Madeira is from Feb 7 to 18, 2024 so there are often street performers.

Day 4   Full day walking and sightseeing
Today we travel to the town of Canical on the north eastern side of the island to walk the Sao Lourenco Peninsula. This is a moderately challenging walk to the end of the peninsula and back (with a stop at the Rangers hut for lunch and and restrooms). The walk can be windy but the scenery is spectacular The elevation change is 400 metres on dirt and gravel paths (some stairs). The shorter walk ends at the Ramger's hut and returns to Canical by Zodiac (weather permitting). For those who do not wish to walk today there is an interesting Whaling Museum in Canical. After the walk we continue to the fishing village of Porto da Cruz to visit the 100 year old steam powered sugar mill before returning to the hotel.

 Day 5   free day
Optional Whale/dolphin watching excursions might interest you.
Optional:  Garden tour

Day 6 
Today's walk follows a gentle levada path to a lovely viewpoint over the hills and woods of Rabacal before descending to Levada das 25 Fontes which will lead us via a tunnel through a mountain ridge to meet our coach. The path is bordered by prehistoric heather trees, lily of the valley trees and Laurasilva forest. We picnic by a watefall. The path is mostly flat with a short section fo stairs (60 metres) with a railing. On our return we stop at the Cabo Giro Viewpoint where on can step onto a large glass observation platform high above the sea.

Day 7
Today is a more challenging full day on the King's Levada. This 11 km walk is situated in the beautiful valleys of Sao Jorge and will take you into one of the lushest places on the islands. Walk through a rain forest and see a profusion of herbal and medicinal plants and at the same time hear about the healing properties of these ancient remedies. Walk behind a waterfall and arrive at a true paradise on earth.

Day 8 
In the morning there is a guided visit to the Botanical Garden which covers 35,000 sq metres and boasts 2,500 species of plants from all over the world many of which are endangered. Established in 1960 on what was originally a private park owned by the Reid family (of Madeira wine fame), the garden allows visitors to enjoy a world tour of the plant kingdom and also to see the Natural History Museum and the Herbarium. There are five main areas to visit, the endemic plant area, the tree garden, the succulent garden, the tropical and medicinal garden and Loiro Park which houses exotic and rare birds.

After this excursion there are plenty of things to do in Funchal. An exploration of the town might include lunch sampling Madeiran specialties like a "prego"  (a steak or fish sandwich using  grilled "bolo do caco" bread  smeared with garlic butter and cheese and served warm). Try it with a glass of Madeira wine and follow it with some passionfruit ice-cream

Day 9 
We begin our day with the vibrant Sunday farmers' market in Santo da Serra. It is a great place to pick up a picnic lunch, sample homemade pastries or just browse. Beside the market are garden paths lined with blooming camelias. We continue to Serra de Agua, one of the most beautiful places in Madeira. for an easy 6 km hike amid diverse flora and fauna. Serra de Agua is an isolated village nestled in a charming valley and encircled by mountains. Its name comes from a historical watermill used for sawmilling  which was a primary source of income here thanks to the abundance of woods.

Day 10 
Transfer to the airport for your return flight.
Free day to enjoy the facilities at the hotel or to explore Canico.

Day 11 
Today we head for Camacha in the highlands of Madeira for a hald day walk in Paradise Valley.  It is an easy, shaded walk of 6 km surrounded by delightful wildflowers, eucalyptus and pine forest.

Day 12  Free day

Day 13  Transfer to the airport for your return flight

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Madeira Accommodation
Cost Itinerary
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