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Portugal’s name ‘garden of Europe’ has been well-earned. Indeed, thanks to the benefits of the Gulf Stream, the exotic plants which explorers brought back long ago from the four corners of the world have become indigenous all along the Atlantic coast. But beyond its gentle climate and varied vegetation, Portugal is above all known for its history rich with navigators and adventurers who have endowed this marvellous country on the western tip of Europe with some beautiful historical treasures.
Madeira - the ‘island of eternal spring’ - is covered by luxuriant subtropical vegetation making it look like a veritable floating garden in the middle of the Atlantic. To fully appreciate its wonders, a walk along the levadas is a must: these aqueducts make up a sophisticated network of canals that cross a wild natural habitat of nature reserves. The neighbouring island of Porto Santo is also worth a visit: it boasts a magnificent sandy beach of 9 km, guaranteeing perfect seaside holidays.
Funchal is a colorful city, overlooking a wide open bay to the south. The old streets climb steeply and in the past people used sledges to bring vegetables to the market. Today, cars weave through the one-way streets and it is almost impossible to park. So you might as well go on foot! The Sé cathedral dates from the end of the 15th century, its very sober exterior contrasts with the richness of its interior decoration. Don't miss the Collegiate Church in the Municipal Square, the São Lourenço Fortress, the Palacio do Governo Regional, the Praça do Municipio and the Igreja do Colégio. The hotel area extends to the west of the city center. Distance from the airport: 21 km.
The municipality of Caniço is composed of 3 villages: Caniço Alto, Caniço Baixo and Garajau. Caniço Alto is a picturesque village surrounded by important market gardens. Around the central square of Caniço you will find many bars, restaurants and stores. Caniço Baixa is a nice residential area by the sea, about 2.5 km from Caniço Alto, with villas, hotels, apartments and some restaurants. Garajau is a residential area about 3 km from the sea and about 2 km west of Caniço Alto. Distance to the airport: 10 km.
Santana, on the north coast of Madeira, is famous for its pretty traditional thatched-roofed houses, which have become a veritable symbol of the island. These simple little houses, often painted red, were formerly the homes of farmers and country folk. Leaving Santana, one can enjoy the spectacular views offered by the craggy north coast, or set off on a hike towards the island’s hinterland to the north and the east.Distance to the airport: 22 km.
Situated on the south-west coast, Calheta has a pretty marina as well as two beaches with golden sands. It is also home to a museum of modern art as well as a rum distillery which produces, in particular, the white rum used in the quintessential Madeiran poncha. Numerous starting points for hiking trails are located just a few kilometres away for nature lovers. Distance to the airport: 51 km.
São Vicente is a beautiful coastal city with the features of a mountainous village. A 620-metre long walking trail links the Varadouro and Baía dos Juncos districts and invites you to take a beautiful walk. The high waves and excellent water sports make Sao Vicente attractive for surfers and water sports enthusiasts.
São Vicente's tourist attractions include caves, the volcanic centre with ancient underground lava channels and the 17th century Baroque church "Igreja de São Vicente". This church is located in the centre of the picturesque city. Distance to the airport: 50 km.
The charming little town of Porto Moniz, named after the Portuguese Francisco Moniz, is located in the northwest of Madeira Island. It is known for its natural lava pools that fill up at high tide, in which you can swim. Porto Moniz is also the ideal starting point for your hikes, as there are two beautiful viewpoints that can be reached by walking along small paths, which will allow you to enjoy a breathtaking panorama of the city. Distance to the airport: 65 km.
Located in the south east of Madeira Island, Santa Cruz is one of the oldest towns on the island. The Cristo Rei de Garajau viewpoint with its breathtaking views of the Garajau Reserve, Caniço de Baixo and the Atlantic Ocean is well worth a visit! From here you can even take a cable car directly to Garajau beach. Distance to the airport: 3 km.
Visit to the capital to admire its famed monuments, wander in the narrow little streets of the old town and discover its famous market (Mercado dos Lavradores). After a visit to the botanical garden, stop by a cellar for a tasting of Madeiran wine.
The route begins at the Camacha, a basketwork centre, and continues towards the top of the island - stunning panorama guaranteed! - up to the third summit of Madeira, the Pico do Arieiro (1,818 m). We will go through the national park as far as Ribeiro Frio and its trout farm before going along the north coast, through Faial and on to Santana with its little thatched-roofed houses. You will enjoy an excellent lunch. Departure for Porto da Cruz (Eagle Rock), via the terraced fields typical of the region and the Portela pass towards the eastern point of Ponta de São Lourenço, from which you can admire the magnificent panoramas and the view of the Desertas islands.
From Funchal you will travel to the charming fishing village of Câmara de Lobos, then to the second highest headland in the world: Cabo Girão, standing at a dizzying height of 580 m and offering an unparalleled view. After the visit to Ribeira Brava, we will cross the Encumeada pass on the way to São Vicente. A moving experience before the force of the Atlantic Ocean crashing against the north coast. Along the craggy route you can admire the waterfall known as the ‘Bridal Veil’. In Porto Moniz, visit to the natural pools carved into the lava by erosion, then lunch break. You will then be ready to take on the nature reserve on the high plateau of Paul da Serra. Return to the hotel.
Located 40 km north-east of Madeira, the island of Porto Santo stands in total contrast with its neighbour. Much smaller (42 km²) and more sparsely populated (4,300 inhabitants), it is made up of a large plain where some peaks rise to the north-east and south-east, the highest of which, Pico do Facho, stands at just 517 m. Aside from winter, when its fields are green thanks to the humidity, its limestone soil and lack of vegetation give it the ochre colour of a desert. A huge golden sand beach that runs along the south coast for more than 7 km and a mild climate (average annual temperature 19°C), draw tourists to this quiet island. The inhabitants of Porto Santo live off of fishing and several crops (cereals, tomatoes, melons, watermelons and figs). The vines produce an excellent, very sweet white wine.
The island of Porto Santo can be visited daily:
- Departure from Funchal harbour: 8:00 a.m. (Fridays 6:00 p.m.)
- Return from Porto Santo: 6:00 p.m. (Fridays 10:00 p.m.)
- Departure from Funchal harbour: 8:00 a.m. (Fridays 6:00 p.m.)
- Return from Porto Santo: between 7:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. (10:00 p.m. on Fridays)
Duration of journey: 2 and a half hours
An excursion with transfers and guided visit can be done daily except on Fridays and Tuesdays.
- 7:00 a.m.: transfer from the hotel to Funchal harbour
- 8:00 a.m.: departure of boat
- 10:45 a.m.: arrival in Porto Santo. Tour of the island. Free afternoon on the beach in Porto Santo (bath towels not supplied)
- 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. transfer to Porto Santo, return on board the Lobo Marinho to Funchal. Transfer to hotels
- Important note: reserve your tickets two to three days in advance.
From the panoramic viewpoint of Pico dos Barcelos (350 m) - with a superb view of Funchal - you will continue to the Valley of the Nuns before climbing the Eira do Serrado (1,094 m). The journey will take you to Monte and its pilgrimage church. Optional: descent by wicker sledge.
You will discover the island’s hinterland and its luxuriant vegetation via charming routes. Departing from various viewpoints, you will be able to admire the beauty of Madeira and learn more about the traditions and inhabitants of the island.
Discover the levadas, the ingenious Madeiran irrigation system. Thanks to its irrigation canals, water from mountain springs is directed to the most remote parts of the island. This method, mainly used for terrace cultivation, has been employed for centuries and today the circuit is around 2,150 km long. During these walks, you will have the chance to admire beautiful views and quintessential corners while enjoying the silence and clean air. Sturdy shoes and rain protection are essential. Every day, hikes are proposed with different levels of difficulty.
Visit the beautiful bays on board the 'Bonita da Madeira', a charming caravel.
For nature lovers, this trip takes you to the wild bay 'Baia d'Abra'.
This nature reserve invites you to swim, dive and relax. Let yourself be overwhelmed by the colorful palette of the cliffs that surround you, while enjoying a delicious meal on board.
Duration approx. 5 hours. Transfer to the port included.
The excursions on offer, as well as their prices and times, may vary depending on the location of the hotel. Excursion prices are provided for information purposes only and may be subject to change. For more information and to book, please contact your local LuxairTours guide.
A mandatory tourist tax is to be paid on site (at the hotel) in Santa Cruz and Caniço and not included in the prices.
• €1 per person/per day (max. €5 per stay)
• this tourist tax does not apply to children under 18 years of age