Dayhike the ancient forests, canals, mountain ridges and seacoasts of Madeira

Madeira, the ‘Island of Flowers’ (also sometimes called the “Hawaii of Europe”), is a tiny, verdant Portuguese archipelago created by a volcanic hotspot on the ocean floor in the Atlantic Ocean off the northeast coast of Africa. Madeira is at once a rugged mountainous wilderness and an award-winning vacation spot for Europeans with renowned beaches, a wide array of family-friendly adventures, delicious food, a distinctive fortified wine, and a history dating back to the 15th century! Part of the reason for this reputation is that it features a year-round temperate climate – even in winter the daytime temperature hovers around 70ºF. Weeks of stunning adventures, easy to challenging, for people with boots on their feet and a daypack on their back!

Madeira is a true hiker’s paradise with over 450 hiking trails and over 3000km (that’s over 1864 miles!) to explore, encompassing a wide range of vistas, terrain and ecology.  These include rainforest walks with exotic birds in the canopy that take you to waterfalls that drop from far above you into inviting pools; rambles through millenia-old Laurissilva forests, an ecosystem that dates back 20 million years and are only found today on a few subtropical islands off the African coast; routes up steep jungled slopes to peaks with the ocean shining deep blue far below; hikes along precipitous volcanic ridges to cliffs surrounded by sea that feel like the ends of the earth; and precipitous ridge walks from peak to peak with immense 360 views.   Some hikes you can do by yourself, for other ones it’s advised to hire a local guide.   Then, once your appetite for hiking adventure has been satisfied for the day, wind steeply down to a picturesque town with a relaxed make-shift bar serving rum mixed with fresh fruit juice, a restaurant serving the local Madeira wine and fabulous local seafood, a comfortable beach-side hotel, and even natural hot pools right on the beach.

Getting There and Getting Around

The roads are narrow, steep and winding so distances are greater than they seem, and car rentals involve some risk to life and limb, but it’s possible to move easily from place to place with buses and hired drivers from the main city, Funchal, where the international airport is located.

  • Suitable Activities: Day Hiking, Global Adventures, Naturalist
  • Seasons: Year-round
  • Weather: View weather forecast
  • 6,100 ft
  • Land Manager: Land Manager Varies
  • Parking Permit Required: see Land Manager
  • Recommended Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Route/Place Capacity: 12
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