Day 0 Saturday Depart Toronto on overnight flight
on SATA Air Azores to Madeira (via Ponta Delgada Azores).
(Air fare not included in the cost)
Day 1 - Sunday Arrive Funchal Airport at 11 AM and transfer to the Galosol Hotel (about 20 minutes).
The Galo Resort
offers many activities with yoga, fitness classes, gym, rental bikes,
snorkelling, aqua-fit and a spa.
The historic town of Funchal is just a 20 minute bus ride away and
here are found lovely botanic gardens, whale/dolphin watching tours,
markets selling exotic fruits and flowers and wineries where you can sample Madeira wine.
Day 2 - Monday
In the morning there is an optional tour of some of the lovely gardens in
the nearby Funchal region. Madeira is known as "the island of eternal
spring" because of its moderate climate.
Winston Churchill was a frequent visitor and called it "God's Floating
Garden". Flowers bloom year-round and in winter you will be
amazed at the botanical wonders.
Later in the day you will meet the HF walk leaders who will describe the
walks. In the evening the hotel has entertainment.
Day 3 Tuesday Choice of two guided walks
We first visit the famous high cliff of Cabo
Girao (Europe’s second highest sea cliff)
for views and a little excitement. Test your
nerve on the glass floored viewing platform
high above the sea and vineyards below.
After coffee we continue by coach to
start our first levada walk on the Levada
do Norte. This levada gives us splendid
views out to sea and leads us eventually to
viewpoints over the dramatic gorge of the
Ribeira Brava. 7.5 miles (12 km) with
minimal ascent and descent.
We also visit the Cabo Girao and after
visiting the viewing platform will commence
a descent to Levado do Facho, with views
over vineyards and the town of Camara de
Lobos. After a short walk through a levada
tunnel and the western side of the Cabo
Girao promontory we join the start of the
easier walk to Boa Morte and views of the
Ribeira Brava gorge. 11 miles (18km) with
130ft (40m) of ascent
Day 4 Wednesday Sightseeing plus
Our transport will take
us into the capital, Funchal, where a local
guide will take us on a tour
of this small, pretty city to include the
cathedral, the colourful Mercado dos Labradores and the famous Blandy’s Winery, home of Madeira wine, with
an opportunity to taste the products. In the
afternoon, we travel by cable car to the
village of Monte, the site of the famous Monte Palace Gardens, Monte
Church and the toboggan run. We pass through a deep gorge before joining
the Levada dos Tornos for a short walk through forest and farmland,
ending at a traditional tearoom.
Day 5 Thursday
Choice of two guided walks
Our walks today take us
to the western end of the island. We travel
past Funchal and enter the Ribeira Brava
Gorge. The coach will then take us high onto
the western moors. This end of the island
differs greatly from the high volcanic peaks
in the east. Here rolling moorland offers
views over the sea in both directions on a
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. 8 miles (13km) with 100ft
(30m) of ascent and 1,000ft (300m) of
Walk: We head off on the Levada da
Bica da Cana to reach a higher viewpoint to
the East. Returning via our
outward route we shall pick up the route of
the easier walk to Rabacal , the Levada das
25 Fontes and then via the tunnel to the
coach pick-up. 9.5 miles (15km) with 260ft
(80m) of ascent and 1,000 ft (300m) of
Day 6 Friday Free
day Enjoy the many fitness activities at the hotel or an
optional whale watching tour. Friday is market day
so you can visit the Funchal farmers' market to sample tropical fruit such
as custard apple, guava and oranges fresh from the tree. Tasting
your way through the town can include sampling passionfruit pudding or
bolo de mel (honey cake) and , of course, Madeira wine.
Day 7 Saturday Choice of two guided walks
Our walk starts on the Poiso Moors and
offers the opportunity to reach a ridge with
fine views of the Central Highlands. We
continue to the fire tower on Pico do Suna.
Our walk then descends to the waterhouse at
Lamaceiros where we have the opportunity to
visit an exciting stretch of the Levada do
Furado. After lunch we descend to the
village of Portela for drinks and our coach
home. 7 miles (11km) with 300ft (90m) of
ascent and 2,000ft (600m) of descent
We take a section of a high level path, the
Camino Real which crosses the island from
north to south, finishing in the village of
Encumeada for well-earned refreshments. This
is considered one of the finest hikes on the
island. 10 miles (16 km) with 900ft (270m) of ascent
and 2,000ft (600m) of descent
6 Sunday Choice of two guided walks
This group will travel through the Canical
Tunnel to the town of Canical and on to the
most easterly point of the island, the St
Laurence Peninsula. The walk here gives us
great views of both the northern and
southern cliffs and fine views out to sea.
After lunch we return by coach to Canical
with an opportunity to visit a café and/or
the Whaling Museum, before returning to our
hotel. 5 miles (8km) with 600ft (180m) of
Harder Walk: Today we’ll
travel east from our hotel to start our
walk at the Canical Tunnel. Here we climb
steadily towards the viewpoint on Pico do
Facho (ascent to the viewpoint is optional).
We then embark on a splendid coastal path
towards the port of Canical, enjoying great
views of the sea and coastline. After
refreshments in Canical we rejoin our coach
to reach the start point of the easier walk
along the St. Lawrence peninsula. 8 miles
(13km) with 1,000ft (300m) of ascent.
Day 9 Monday and Day 10 Tuesday
many interesting things to do. Take a bus
into Funchal to visit the
tropical gardens. At the Funchal docks you can sign up for a whale and dolphin watching tour.
You could explore Funchal's Old Town with its cobblestone streets and a 15th
century church. 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. Or
you could just relax on your
balcony and enjoy the weather knowing that you will be soon
be returning to winter.
Day 11 Wednesday Air Azores departs from
Funchal at 12.00 and arrives in Toronto at 18.35 (via Punta del Gada
In the evenings the hotel often has live entertainment... perhaps a Fado
singer or folklore show. On one evening there is a speaker who
lectures about Madeira and its history. There is an
opportunity one evening to visit Funchal as a group and walk along the
promenade followed by listening to some live music.
Click below for details: