MADEIRA DISCOVER - SELF-DRIVE
DAY 1 ~ ARRIVE IN FUNCHAL, MADEIRA
Fly into Funchal, Madeira. Upon arrival you'll collect your rental car and make your own way to your hotel.
Hotel Porto Mare
DAY 2 ~ FUNCHAL / HIKING
This morning you'll explore the city on your own. At the historical center of the city you'll find the fine government buildings and stately 18th century houses with iron balconies still overlook the harbor that attracted early settlers in the 15th century. In the “old town,” you’ll find some of the main monuments and attractions as well as the ancient fishermen’s houses, some now turned into lively restaurants.
Don't miss the 15th-century Cathedral. This is one of the few buildings that have survived almost untouched since the early days of the island’s colonization. Nearby, the Arte Sacra Museum displays Flemish paintings, embroidered vestments, and statues.
If you want to experience daily life you can visit the Lavradores Market where flower sellers wear bright traditional costumes, fruits and vegetables are laid out around a central patio and, at the bottom of the stairs, you will find the fish market, where, among other species you'll see the amazing scabbard fish (Peixe-Espada).
If you want to try the local Madeira wine you can pay a visit to São Francisco Cellars, in the cobbled courtyards of Saint Francisco wine lodge. It's possible to sample wines made on the premises dating back to over 150 years ago as well as more recent vintages.
In the Yacht Marina you will find seafood restaurants where you can stop for lunch. A stroll along the seawall around the marina affords wonderful views. Not to be missed is the Botanical Garden, displaying plants from Madeira and from all over the world.
Then you shall head to Monte where we have the opportunity of enjoying the shade of its big sycamores, walk through the gardens and climb the stairs to the Church of Our Lady of the Monte. You can get there by taking the cable car Funchal-Monte and the best way to get back down, and for a bit of a thrill is to take one of the famous toboggans.
This afternoon you'll enjoy a private hiking tour of the "levadas". The Levadas of Madeira are one of the Islands highlights. These Levada walks are walking trails along the maintenance paths of the water canals were built as an attempt by early settlers, to transport the water to the different parts of the Island. Nowadays the Levadas of Madeira cover more than 2150km and are excellent example where human intervention has not damaged the local environment. Due to their location the Levadas are the best way to explore the natural landscape of Madeira!
Hike to Cabo Girao and Quinta Grande. Starting at Quinta Grande, you'll walk amongst the terraced plantations along the North Levada enjoying staggering views over the southwestern coast. This tour will also include a stop at one of the most famous capes of Madeira - the Cabo Girão.
Hotel Porto Mare (B)
DAY 3 ~ HIKE - BAIA D'ABRA & PONTA DE SAO LOURENCO
The privately guided hike to Ponta de São Lourenço will take you on a true adventure amongst nature in a dry, yet very beautiful landscape. You will discover rare species that thrive in this very well preserved part of the island of Madeira. The colors of the ocean offer an interesting contrast with the cliffs, and in this setting you'll enjoy your picnic lunch. Don't miss the opportunity to dive into these crystal clear waters.
Hotel Porto Mare (B)
DAY 4 ~ EXPLORE WEST MADEIRA
Leaving Funchal along the coastal road you'll drive through the small fishing village of Câmara de Lobos, famous for being the inspiration for many of Winston Churchill's paintings. You can also visit the most famous Cape of Madeira: the Cabo Girão, the highest promontory in Europe and the second highest in the world (580m).
Visit the pleasant seaside village of Ribeira Brava, before heading up to Serra de Água and possibly as far as Encumeada, where, on a clear day, you can enjoy breathtaking views accross both the North and the South coasts.
From here you can continue on to S. Vicente, crossing the amazing and unique laurissilva forest, a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Arriving at the coast, you'll drive towards Porto Moniz along the road carved through rocks - a testament to human persistence and will to conquer the land. On the way back to Funchal, you'll cross the Paúl da Serra, a 1400m high plateau, from where you'll descend towards the coast and Ponta do Sol, continue back to Ribeira Brava and take the motorway back to Funchal.
Hotel Porto Mare (B)
DAY 5 ~ HIKE TO BOCA DA CORRIDA & ENCUMEADA
This walk is a must for the true hiker. It offers magnificent views along the way. One of highlights of this tour is the vantage point where you can admire the whole town of Curral de freiras from above and the verdant valle of Serra d'Água. Often you can also see cloud formations coming from the north descending down the southern coast in a picture postcard setting. (5.5 hours)
Hotel Porto Mare (B)
DAY 6 ~ EXPLORE EAST MADEIRA
Leaving Funchal behind you'll drive towards East Madeira, taking the road to Camacha, the wickerwork village, as it represents the center of this activity in Madeira. It is also the so-called “Madeira’s Capital of Culture” due to the variety of cultural activities and talented people living here.
Continuing on to Poiso you'll find Pico do Arieiro, one of the highest peaks of the island (1818 meters). You'll enjoy spectacular views from here, and if the weather is clear you can see as far as Porto Santo, the neighboring island.
At Ribeiro Frio you can visit a trout hatchery. Continue to Santana, a very charming village where you'll see the typical triangular thatched roofed cottages. Visit Porto da Cruz, famous for its old sugar cane factory and the "American dry wine” (dry red wine made from a grape variety called Americana). Then Portela, which commands a spectacular view over the Eagle's Nest, Machico (the landing point of the discoverers of Madeira).
DAY 8 ~ FLY HOME
Today you'll return your rental car to the airport and connect with your flight back home.
END OF TRIP
LAND COST FROM: $2,600 per person
accommodation for 6 nights in a 4 star hotel
car rental for 7 days
private tours as indicated in the itinerary
Car rental includes:
Collision Damage Waiver (CDW Insurance)
Theft Protection (TP insurance)
VLF (Vehicle Licensee Fee)
Domestic One Way Fee
Personal, Travel and Luggage Insurance
All meals not listed
Transfers & monument entrances fees not specified