Madeira outdoor adventure island

Regions

Madeira

Starting Point

Funchal

Best time to travel

All year

Recommended Length

8 - 10 days

Minimum Age*

Outdoor Adventure

Activity Level **

4/5

Explore Madeira with all its wonderful highlights. Hike along beautiful lush, green Levada routes and along the stunning coastline, explore the waters around the island on fun sea kayaking and exciting whale watching tours and get a taste of Madeiran cooking traditions on a culinary day out. On top, discover some of Madeira's highlights on adventure tours around the island, relax around beautiful Funchal and venture off on an epic outdoor adventure tour on a days camping adventure in the West of Madeira.

Family Adventure Holidays

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

✓ guided walking tours along Madeira's stunning coastline and lush green levada routes
✓ outdoor and camping adventure in the West of Madeira
✓ whale and wildlife watching, eco boat tour to the Islands Desertas
✓ learn about Madeiran heritage, culture and traditions on guided tours to Santana and cooking experiences
✓ fun and thrilling tobbogging adventure on the mountains overlooking Funchal

 

Family Adventure Holidays

TOUR OVERVIEW

Day 1 - arrival - overnight in Funchal
Day 2 - guided Levada hiking tour to Caldeirão Verde - overnight in Funchal
Day 3 - adventure tour to the peaks of Madeira - Santana - overnight in Funchal
Day 4 - kayaking at Ponta de São Lourenço - whale watching - overnight in Funchal
Day 5 - guided coastal hiking tour Machio to Porto da Cruz - overnight in Funchal
Day 6 - outdoor, nature and camping adventure - overnight on the West coast
Day 7 - outdoor, nature and camping adventure - overnight in Funchal
Day 8 - Funchal - Monte - tobbogganing Monte to Funchal - overnight in Funchal
Day 9 - local market visit and cooking class - overnight in Funchal
Day 10 - eco boat tour to the Desertas Islands - overnight in Funchal
Day 11 - departure

 

DETAILED ITINERARY

DAY 1 - WELCOME TO FUNCHAL
Arrival to Funchal Airport - welcome to Madeira‘s capital! Transfer and check in to your hotel where you will spend the following 9 nights.
Overnight in Funchal.

DAY 2 - CALDEIRÃO VERDE - LEVADA WALK
Your first day on Madeira Island will take you straight onto a fairy tale walk through a lush forest. It starts off at 980 meters above sea level at Queimadas Forest Park and will lead you through a mossy paradise as part of the Laurissilva Forest - UNESCO World Heritage site since 1999. Encounter the variety of Madeira‘s extensive fauna and flora such as rare bird species and numerous endemic plants. After passing through tunnels naturally shaped by vegetation you reach Caldeirão Verde. This amazing waterfall feeds into an emerald lagoon.
Return to Funchal for your overnight stay.

DAY 3 - SANTANA & THE MOUNTAINS OF MADEIRA
Your day starts off with a visit to Pico Ruivo, Madeira‘s third highest mountain with an altitude of 1818 meters. Take in the breathtaking views from up there before continuing on your journey towards Ribeiro Frio and the Laurissilva Forest. The next destination of today is Santana, known for its “Casas de Santana“ - traditional, triangular houses with thatched roofs. Further along the north coast, in Porto da Cruz, you will visit a rum factory and the city of Machico where the Portuguese first landed in 1419. Before you return to Funchal you stop off in Camacha, famous for its wickerwork. Conclude your day with a sailing trip and spot some whales and dolphin if you are lucky.
Overnight in Funchal.

DAY 4 - KAYAK EXPERIENCE PONTA DE SÃO LOURENÇO OR DOLPHIN & WHALE WATCHING
Transfer from your hotel in Funchal to Marina Quinta do Lorde where a water taxi will take you to Cais do Sardinha. This is the starting point for your kayak adventure through the Ponta de São Lourenço. Your experienced guide will introduce you to kayaking and give you valuable recommendations how to best enjoy your experience. Once you are fully confident to head out on your own, the amazing nature reserve awaits to be explored at your own personal pace. Afterwards take some time to take advantage of the beautiful beach at Cais do Sardinha or relax and unwind at the Nature Spot Café with its amazing views. Return to Funchal in the evening for your overnight stay at the hotel.
Alternatively: Head out on a whale and dolphin watching experience. After a quick security briefing and introduction to the species that can be found on Madeira‘s coast you board your boat at Funchal Harbour. It will take you along the magnificent south coast of the island and to several lookouts that almost guarantee the sighting of dolphins. Other animals you will most likely see are whales, seal monks and turtles. In between take in the incredible views of the breathtaking coastline and Madeira‘s mountain range.
Overnight in Funchal.

DAY 5 - HIKING TOUR VEREDA DO LORANO
This trip for more experienced hikers takes you on the path from Machio to Porto da Cruz, a former trade route. It starts of fairly easy with a walk through the Levada dos Maroços lined with Mimosa trees and surrounded by agricultural land. Accompanied by the fantastic views of Machio City you make your way up to the Boca do Risco view point. With the Atlantic Ocean below you, you can see as far as Porto Santo Island (weather permitting). After a short break you will continue your hike along a coastal path towards Porta da Cruz, immersing yourself into Madeira‘s extraordinary fauna with many species exclusive to the island. You will also come across one of Madeira‘s most iconic rock formations - Penha D‘Aguia. In Porta da Cruz you can visit the traditional sugar cane mill that is used for extracting the juice of the sugar cane used in the Portuguese alcoholic drink aguardente.
Transfer back to Funchal and overnight.

DAY 6 & 7 - CAMPING ADVENTURE
Today you will go on an overnight camping adventure to explore more of Madeira‘s fascinating nature. Early in the morning a 4x4 jeep will pick you up from your hotel and take you onto your tour to the island‘s secret, unspoiled spots, perfect to observe the diverse fauna and interesting wildlife of the island. You have the opportunity to take part in different activities throughout the day such as kayaking or walking tours. Conclude the day by watching the sunset over the Atlantic Ocean while enjoying a tasty BBQ prepared by your guide. Overnight in a tent in a safe environment, away from the hustle and bustle of civilization.
Wake up to the sounds of nature and enjoy a hearty breakfast provided by your tour guide. Depending on your exact location and weather conditions your guide will outline the tour program for today which may include several physical activities to your own liking, walking tours and off-road trips in the 4x4.
Overnight in Funchal.

DAY 8 - FUNCHAL & SURROUNDINGS
Today you will discover the surroundings of Funchal with its hilly hinterland. Your first stop is the Pico dos Barcelos with 355 metres from where you have a fantastic view over the capital. From Eira do Serrado, your next stop, you can overlook Nun‘s Valley where the village Curral das Freiras is situated. It is famous for its chestnut festival and the cherry drink Ginja. You continue on to Monte with its iconic wooden sledges that you can ride down the hill on (not included). Two men will steer the wicker sledge on its racy journey which takes about ten minutes with a speed of almost 50km/h at times. Definitely an adventure! Finish off the day with a visit to an Embroidery Factory where you will also have the opportunity to taste the famous Madeira wine.
Overnight in Funchal.

DAY 9 - LOCAL MARKET & COOKING EXPERIENCE
Today you will embark on an adventure of a different kind. Since Madeira is not only a paradise for nature lovers, but also for foodies you will be introduced to the island‘s local cuisine by actively taking part in a cooking experience. To get all the ingredients you need to make the traditional fish dish Ceviche, banana guacamole and beef on skewers, your day starts off at the local market. Packed with fresh local produce such as tropical fruit, unusual fish and seasonal vegetable, your passionate food guide will assist you in picking everything you need. After a short walk to the restaurant take a quick break to enjoy the spectacular view over Funchal. Have fun in preparing a traditionally Maderian meal under Expert Chef instructions which you get to enjoy afterwards of course including chosen Madeira wines to go with.
Overnight in Funchal.

DAY 10 - BOAT TRIP DESERTAS ISLANDS OR BOAT TRIP „BEAUTIFUL BAYS“
The Desertas Islands are three uninhabited island that are part of the Madeira Archipelago. They are ideal for watching wildlife and experiencing nature in a special, completely undisturbed way. A boat will take you on a 2h45 trip to the small rocky islands in the Atlantic Ocean, about 35km southeast of Funchal. Once your boat as anchored you will have the opportunity to snorkel in the crystal clear water surrounding the Desertas (gear provided). Your guide will then take you on a 45-minute walking tour of the island, followed by a traditional lunch served on board your catamaran. (Please be aware that the trip might be cancelled at short notice due to weather conditions or events beyond the local organiser‘s control.)
Alternatively you can take a boat tour towards Machico Bay, also located southeast of Funchal. Your journey continues on to Baía d‘ Abra, another marvellous bay and nature reserve full of wildlife and unspoiled natural beauty. You will anchor there to go for a swim or snorkel in the clear, cool water of the Atlantic Ocean. Relax and unwind on board the boat and look out for dolphins and whales which can be occasionally seen on this trip. Lunch will be served on board.
Overnight in Funchal.

DAY 11 - DEPARTURE
After an adventurous week in Madeira a transfer will take you to the airport for your departure.

 

Family Adventure Holidays

SERVICES INCLUDED

Family Adventure Holidays

 

- accommodation in good standard middle-class hotels, farm stays, guesthouses and self-catering
- activities, visits and tours as outlined, with a certified, English speaking guide where desired/required
- all taxes and insurances for the activities
- expert travel planning, trip preparation and 24/7 on-tour support

Family Adventure Holidays

TIMES & RATES

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Description

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GALLERY

Family Adventure Holidays

Family Adventure Holidays

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Family Adventure Holidays

TRAVEL TIPS

When to travel
The best time to travel Madeira is from April to October. During these months it is mostly dry with temperatures around 25 degrees. However during the summer Leste - a hot dry wind from the Sahara - can affect the island and might bring temperatures up, but rarely over 32 degrees. The rain period kicks in from November and is most prevalent throughout January and February with temperatures around 17 degrees. The Atlantic Ocean reaches a temperature between 18 degrees in the winter and 22 in the summer. Some activities such as canyoning for example is only possible during the winter months in some places as there won‘t be enough water or none at all during the warmer months. Hence adventurers should plan carefully what they are intending to do in Madeira and what the best time for it is to avoid disappointment.
How to travel
The easiest and quickest way to reach Madeira is by plane arriving into Madeira International Airport in Santa Cruz, about 20 minutes from the capital Funchal on the south coast of the island. Funchal is also a good base for exploring the island as distances to most sites and natural highlights are short and comfortable to reach. Funchal has a harbour as a starting point for boat trips around the island or whale and dolphin watching trips. Within Madeira you can choose between many different means of transport. There are plenty of private companies offering jeep safaris, tuk-tuk tours or even cable car rides. There is also a public bus services that connects the rural areas and caters most of the major tourist attractions. The most convenient way to get around and discover the remote places on your own is to hire a car. The taxi company “Bolt“ offers rides that are cheaper than the traditional taxi services and can easily be hired by an app through your smartphone.

Travelling with Children
Madeira is a great destination for families with children. Due to its variety of activities it has to offer, short travel distances and moderate temperatures, even younger children will enjoy the island. There are many hikes through Madeira‘s amazing nature that are suitable for children and where they can learn so much about nature and endemic species. Watching dolphins and whales in their natural habitat or camping in the wild are only two of the thrilling adventures that are enjoyed by the whole family. There are also several special interest museums such as the Volcanism Centre & Caves at São Vicente. It might not be the fun park-type of vacation, but definitely the best of both worlds to enjoy for adults and children alike.

What to bring
No matter if you are big into hiking or not, during your stay in Madeira you will eventually walk some of the paths through Madeira‘s forests or along rock formations. Therefore bring good hiking or walking equipment:
- hiking shoes/boots
- walking sticks (might come in handy on longer walks on uneven terrain)
- warm jacket for walking the mountains (frost and snow can occur during the winter); even in the sommer months temperatures drop with altitude
- rain gear (like on every small island weather can change quickly from sun to rain or vice versa)
- sun screen, sun cover/hat and shades
- swim gear
- snorkel gear (on most organised trips it is provided though)
Obviously don‘t forget your personal stuff and your camera/phone with extra storage as you will be taking lots of incredible photos!

 

For more practical travel advise and general information on visiting Madeira, please follow the link below.

 

Family Adventure Holidays

* The minimum age is based on the overall tour, some activities can require a higher minimum age, this will be advised at proposal stage. While not all activities are suitable for very small children, we are happy to tailor the tour to meet your specific wishes and needs.

**  The activity level is based on the amount of tours and activities included (1 - few tours and activities with a lot of free time, 5 - a lot of tours and activities with little free time). The activity level does not reflect the difficulty of the activities or tours included. Itineraries can be tailored to match the preferred level of activity.

Image by Sander Lenaerts

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