Program and Lodging:
Day 1: Arrival – Welcome at Funchal airport.
20 min. drive to Santo da Serra. Lodging in a 4* small charming Hotel surrounded by nature and by the traditions of Madeira. The Hotel dates from 1920, but was restored in 1999 and is now classified as part of the regional heritage.
Day 2: The Laurel forest on the Levadas (13 km, flat and down, 4 h).
Short car transfer (15min) to Ribeiro Frio, and you will have you first memorable hiking day in Madeira. Set deep in the Laurisilva forest on the eastern side of the island you will marvel at display of light and shade filtering through the laurel and heather trees! This is a magnificent trail all along the “Levada do Furado” (Levada is a water irrigation channel), passing through tunnels inside the rocks. On this day is possible optionally to a side hike to the top of Suna Pic (just 150m+ in ascent). This is a 30min uphill very rewarding by the spectacular west views over the high Madeira mountains. After leaving the levada go down on a forestall road to Santo da Serra Village. Overnight same Hotel as day before. Optional Hike to Suna pic: add 2 km more.
Day 3: The amazing cliff day – (15 km, 5h).
After breakfast transfer to Machico and go up to Facho Pic (322m). You will get on a trail along Caniçal Levada for 2km with great views for a the tiny terraces where islanders farmers cultivate the fertile Madeira soil. The path then ascends gently to the a crest - Boca do Risco where a stunning panorama of the north coast cliffs awaits. From Boca do Risco the trail, etched into the cliff face and following more or less the 300m contour, continues along the wildest stretch of coastline till the town of Porto da Cruz. Lodging at Guest House.
Day 4: Sky Walking on Madeira Mountains (12 km, 800 m+, 6 h).
Short car transfer (40 min.) to Arieiro Pic (1817 m) the third island highest summit. This is a superb trail with spectacular mountain scenery, an unforgettable with breathtaking views over the entire island. This trail is unique in that it links the two highest peaks of Madeira Island, Pico Ruivo (1861 m) and Pico do Arieiro (1817 m), traversing part of the Central Mountain Massif. End at Achada do Teixeira and small transfer by car to Santana (15min). Overnight on a typical Hotel in Santana.
Day 5: Green day, on the Laurel paradise! (15 km, flat and down).
Short transfer by car to Queimadas (10 min). This is a gorgeous day – maybe the most beautiful levada of the island, going into one of the deepest valleys of this island, always on green and luxuriant scenery inside the Laurel Forest. The trail goes along the levada through waterfall-filled ravines with walls festooned with mosses and ferns. Discover Caldeirão Verde ("Green Cauldron") where a thousand foot tall waterfall plunges into a pool and the fantastic and remote landscapes of the Caldeirão do Inferno where waterfalls plunge over enormous cliffs and rushing waters roar through narrow gorges. Return going down through a narrow trail on the Laurel forest till arrive to Ilha Village. Beautiful view over the north coast villages. Short transfer by car to Santana (15 min). Overnight same hotel as day before. Overnight same Hotel as day before.
Day 6: Crossing the island (19 km, 900 m+, 6 h).
Short car transfer to Achada do Teixeira (15min) and start another spectacular hike day in the high mountains along the highest ridge in the center of the island. Hike up till you get to the higest island summit (Pico do Arieiro, 1861 m) and continue continue along a high ridge, which forms the backbone of the island, with fabulous views either side. This is a strenuous but very rewarding hike and the hardest day of this tour! Lodging on a Hotel on the mountains.
Day 7: Ridge over the Nuns Valley (14 km, 600 m+5 h).
Last day to say good bye to the mountains! Still another beautiful mountain hike on Madeira. Starting from the Hotel the trail passes through abandoned hamlet of Curral Jangão before ascending steadily to round the bulky shoulder of Pico Grande. Here you can climb to the summit of “Pico Grande” (1 h going up). The trail then picks its way along open ridges offering splendid views of Madeira's high peaks to the east and to the west to the windswept plateau of the Paúl da Serra. Magnificent views from the trail to a village tucked into a deep valley - Curral das Freiras (Nuns Valley) and the enchanting green valley of Ribeiro do Poco. It's really mesmerized by the power of the rugged mountains all around and lush green valleys of Encumeada below. A real beauty! Transfer to Funchal (40 min) and overnight in a Hotel by the sea close to Funchal historic center.
Day 8: Departure – Farewell at Funchal airport.
Level of difficulty: High.
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