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Insider's Guide to Islands of Portugal

Major attractions, tips and our top things to see and do.

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The forested, rugged and volcanic landscape of mountainous Madeira is best seen on foot and there are many hiking routes across the island. These range from challenging treks up Arieiro and Ruivo, two of the island’s highest peaks, to vertiginous hikes along coastal clifftops and gentle seaside strolls. Madeira is warmed by the Gulf Stream and temperatures stick around 20°C all year, so walking is always a pleasure.

The interior of Madeira is riddled with irrigation channels known as levadas; they wend their way through its sub-tropical forests, around mountains and into remote villages untouched by tourism, and every one is accompanied by a path originally intended for maintenance workers. They are all clearly way-marked and make for excellent walking through varied scenery, from tropical forests to neat cherry orchards or barren volcanic plateaus. 

As a taster, the Valley of Paradise levada walk is 3.25 miles (five km) in length and offers two hours of easy hiking through eucalyptus trees and fruit orchards around Camacha. More arduous is the Ribeiro Frio to Portela full-day levada walk; it covers seven miles (11 km), passing through Madeira’s indigenous laurissilva forest and giving amazing views of Porto da Cruz and the curious bluff-shaped volcanic plug of Penha d’Aguia. 

The circular levada hike along Ponta São Lorenco, the arid and volcanic terrain at the eastern point of Madeira, follows cliffs that rear out of the sea and gives breathtaking views over rocky coves and wild seascapes spread out below. 

Walking can be combined with seeing the tourist sights around Funchal; take the cable car up to Monte for panoramic views over the city and the Atlantic from the Palace Tropical Gardens. Take your chances with an exhilarating toboggan ride back down to Livramento; from there it’s a two-miles of a calf-aching schlep back down to Funchal. The gentlest hiking option of all in Madeira is the stroll along the wonderful seafront promenade from Funchal to the beachside bars and cafés of Câmara de Lobos.

Tours & Tickets

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Grand Madeira Island Tour - Porto Moniz and Santana

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 5 Reviews

Spend a day admiring the picturesque scenery of Madeira. Start today with a beautiful view over Camara de Lobos from Pico da Torre followed by stunning views ...  Read more

Location: Funchal, Portugal
Duration: 8 hours (approx.)

From USD $82.02

Half Day Fauna and Flora Tour to Laurel Forest - Birdwatching and Hiking

Admire all details of Laurel Forest, UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site, from flowers and tree to birds and butterflies. Be amazed with the views of deep ...  Read more

Location: Funchal, Portugal
Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $41.01

Full Day Birdwatching Tour - West Madeira Island

If you want to learn about Madeira Island's natural treasures, don't join a crowded tour, join this full day Birdwatching tour with up to only eight ...  Read more

Location: Funchal, Portugal
Duration: 8 hours (approx.)

From USD $109.36

Half Day Birdwatching Tour - East Madeira Island

Observe the endemic species and sub-species of Madeira while delighting yourself with the scenery of the Eastern part of Madeira. On a tour mainly by car with ...  Read more

Location: Funchal, Portugal
Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $41.01

See all Hiking in Madeira Tours & Tickets

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