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Insider's Guide to Islands of Portugal

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South of Portugal, 320 mi (515 km) off the coast of North Africa, lies one of the jewels of the Portuguese Islands – Madeira. Famous for its wine, it also has year-round mild temperatures and spectacular volcanic landscapes. Take your walking shoes, ... 

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5 star rating: Highly Recommended
April 2014

Excellent very professional tour guide Live time experience Family of 4 with 2 tennenger

Doing what: Private Tour: Dolphin Swim Adventure in Madeira

2 star rating: It was OK, but could have been better
October 2013

This is very much a cultural tour rather than a sightseeing trip and if it's a cloudy day, as it was for me, the drive up to the viewing peaks may be cancelled. For the large part this trip is about seeing basket makers in action, fish farms, whisky factories, walking around town centres and viewing triangle house shaped shops. There was also a view from the far end of the island - which is spectacular, but clearly this sight seeing isn't the focus of the trip as we spent far less time at viewing points than in the factories etc. It's also very difficult to find something to do on the small hill that houses the restaurant if you don't select the lunch option. This tour is best suited to people who don't want to see the sights and who enjoy wandering around tourist factories, artisan shops and sleepy town centres.

Doing what: Full Day East Madeira - Camacha, Pico do Ariero, Ribeiro Frio, Portela, Santana

3 star rating: Worth doing
November 2012

Nice relaxing trip. Driver was ok, but overpriced. Normal price is only 20 Euros if you book through all travel agencies in Madeira !

Doing what: Full Day East Madeira - Camacha, Pico do Ariero, Ribeiro Frio, Portela, Santana

2 star rating: It was OK, but could have been better
November 2012

It was a very cloudy day and we could not see the views. The stops were just OK. Tour director was not the best.

Doing what: Full Day East Madeira - Camacha, Pico do Ariero, Ribeiro Frio, Portela, Santana

Richard H
United Kingdom

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
August 2011

We had a very short break in Madeira and wanted to sample some of the beutiful scenary. I've have used Viator several times before and was happy to book another tour with them. It was excellent, out hotel pick up was on time. The driver courteous and knowledegable giving us a commentary of facts and sights as we proceeded. Madeira has such a pleasant climate. Camacha, perched on the hillside with breathtaking views and flowers everywhere was followed by the drive up through the clouds to the mountain top.The views were stunning, looking down on the clouds and through the gaps down into Funchal and the harbour. It would have been nice to have seen to the island of Porto Santo, but the cloud did not break in that direction. The valley of Ribeiro Frio was wonderful, so green fresh with flowers everywhere. We had booked lunch and tucked into a feast of local produce with wine too. The traditional houses of Santana are so colourful and photogenic. The views on from the clifftops from Ponta do Rosto near the eastern tip of the island were beautiful. only spoiled by the fact we were nearing the ends of the day and making our way to Machico, the original landing place of the original settlers. A small but beautiful beach of golden sands topped it off. Alltogether an excellent day whcih I'd happily do again on any future visit.

Doing what: Full Day East Madeira - Camacha, Pico do Ariero, Ribeiro Frio, Portela, Santana

Barbara N
United Kingdom

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
August 2011

Very good multi-cultural trip. Guests from Brazil, Belgium, Korea, Portugal and UK. Mini bus which enabled us to visit places a large coach could not. Driver excellent, knowledgeable, funny and very accommodating. Lunch was excellent. Very good value for the money. Would recommend.

Doing what: Full Day East Madeira - Camacha, Pico do Ariero, Ribeiro Frio, Portela, Santana

John S
United Kingdom

4 star rating: Recommended
August 2011

Excellent trip lead by Manuel who drove us around the eastern part of the island and was very enthusiastic and knowledgeable about everywhere we went. However, we would prefer not to have spent 3 hours in a Theme Park, although the history of the island pavilion was very impressive and informative. This is a good way to see quite a lot of the island if you're not on the island for very long.

Doing what: Full Day East Madeira - Camacha, Pico do Ariero, Ribeiro Frio, Portela, Santana

John W
United Kingdom

4 star rating: Recommended
August 2011

This trip started off as a disaster. The bus turned up about 10 minutes early and the guide did not check paperwork so a couple called Williams; who had booked a different trip took our place by mistake. At around 14:15 i went to check with the very friendly and helpful "Guest relations" lady, who phoned the tour company and they eventually sent another minibus to do the tour. Due to go at 14:00 went at 15:00. We did the trip in reverse with the wine tasting first. Nice visit , very olde world cellar and interesting tasting the 4 types of madeiran wine. Then off to the top of the nuns valley. No wonder the Madeiran drivers are good as the bad are all dead, going off the steep, narrow roads. Great views from the top, cafe, shop etc. well worth the trip. Then off to the Monte suburb. The gardens are splendid with a great variety of plants, trees etc. Did we want to do the sldge run? 25 euros a couple, and goes downhill for about 2 kilometers down toward Funchal town, pulled by two energetic men. We passed as my wife had done the run 20 years ago and it's no fun on your own. Well worth the money trip.

Doing what: Half Day Traditions and Enchanting Valleys - Eira do Serrado, Curral das Freiras, Monte, Madeira Wine Tasting

John W
United Kingdom

3 star rating: Worth doing
August 2011

If i had to rate this trip on the number or variety of birds seen it would rate a 1 star, but maybe they knew i was coming and flew away. The guide "wind birds", worked hard taking us from place to place but remained spectacularly unsuccessful. Apart from a wandering wader and a few terns that was it. However the scenery around the island was great, and being only a small group of 5 made it very comfortable. Would i do this trip again? No.

Doing what: Full Day Birdwatching Tour - West Madeira Island

Denise C
United Kingdom

2 star rating: It was OK, but could have been better
July 2011

It was ok, but meal was only average, and meat was tough. Mass meals are never a success generally. Wouldn't particularly recommend it.

Doing what: Madeira Nights Tour - Dinner and Show

2 star rating: It was OK, but could have been better
May 2011

We arrived at the pick up stop at 6:30pm. My confirmation said that the bus would pick up at 7:00pm. Unfortunately, it didn't pick us up until 8:00pm. We were just about to leave when it arrived. The tour itself was nice, but not worth the cost.

Doing what: Madeira Nights Tour - Dinner and Show

2 star rating: It was OK, but could have been better
January 2011

The Two stars are for the extremely pleasant woman driving the mini bus. However, the rest of the experience left "a little to be desired" (I am being kind): The meal was not great (aside from the Espatada Meat) and included reheated 'frozen veg' and limp looking salads. The wine was below average (and I drink cheap wine normally so certainly wasnt expecting 'great') and unless you are in the centre of the (large) room, you can't see the singing and dancing so have to shuffle about to stand and watch whilst trying not to block the view of the folks who *are* seated centrally. At least half the dancers looked bored (borderline miserable) and I felt sorry for them. It certainly wasnt a great experience of 'authentic' madeiran culture/cuisine - we got that from Madeira itself & restaurants in Funchal Old town the following nights. As for the 'view from a belvedere'...suffice to say you can easily get this view by walking westwards out of town at night or get on the open top bus after dark - does the same thing. I wouldnt recommend this to a friend and would not go again. Indeed it felt like a somewhat 'wasted' evening. Just head instead to one of the many good Old Town Restaurants that do Fado and you will be much better served - in all respects. (However, if you want a cheap way to get drunk - the 'drink all the wine you want' part of the deal might appeal - as it apparently did for many of my fellow diners that night...which again detracted from any remote possibility of 'traditional medeiran' ambience!) I feel slightly embarrassed by this review because true as it is, the mini bus driver was a real delight - so she gets 5 stars.

Doing what: Madeira Nights Tour - Dinner and Show

1 star rating: I do not recommend this
October 2010

This is not a tour, even though it is billed as such. It is a dinner show that is basically a advertised as a tour to scam tourists into coming to a particular restaurant way up in the hills in a suburban neighbourhood. Basically, you are picked up in a van from your hotel, driven around the city to pick up other tourists at their hotels, then taken to the restaurant. There is no commentary ot sightseeing. At the restaurant you are fed a mediocre "traditional" Portugese meal of salad, soup, steak and ice cream for dessert. It is similar to a Brazilian steakhouse where it is all you can eat, but only 1 type of steak roasted on a spit. While you eat lcoals perform a traditional Portugese dance with live music. When you have finished with the meal, the driver takes you back to the hotel and makes a quick stop on the way down the mountainside so you can take pics of the city and shore from above. I guess this would be the tour. This was clearly a well oiled operation to just fill this mediocre restaurant with tourists every night. If you want to go eat, take this "tour" but don't expect to see the island.

Doing what: Madeira Nights Tour - Dinner and Show

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