Exotic island paradise
Off the coast of Africa, in the blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean, lies one of the world's most beautiful islands. Discover its delights on a winter-sun holiday that includes some truly fascinating escorted tours and excursions. Sun-blessed and sub-tropical, this 'garden isle' home to a vibrant and varied array of exotic and colourful flora.
Funchal is the island's principal port, seat of government and main trade centre. Bars and cafes spill out onto flower-strewn streets, and shops and stores vie for your attention. Wander the open-air market, enjoy a flutter in the famous casino and don't miss the world-renowned Botanical Gardens.
Travel from your selected airport to Madeira and transfer to your hotel.
On today's included excursion, we tour Funchal's famous Mercado dos Lavradores produce market, and sample Madeira wine in Adegas de Sao Francisco, the town's oldest wine-tasting establishment. Afterwards, we drive to the Botanical Gardens to see their outstanding collection of sub-tropical and tropical plants and flowers.
Passing Camara de Lobos, a favourite painting location of Churchill, today's included excursion climbs the world's second highest cliff to Cabo Girao. We'll take lunch in Porto Moniz, overlooking the celebrated rock swimming pools, before continuing to Sao Vicente and then over Encumeada Pass to see the spectacular panoramas of the island.
Enjoy a popular and fun optional excursion to Pico dos Barcelos, for the finest view of Funchal, and then on to Eira do Serrado with its spectacular view of Curral das Freiras (Nuns' Valley). In Monte we'll visit the beautiful church and take the famous wickerwork toboggan ride down to Livramento.
In the evening, join us for an included dinner at a typical Madeirense restaurant. A glass of Madeira, traditional espetada - tender, marinated beef grilled and served with mixed salad, potatoes and hot country bread - and entertainment from traditional folk-dancers all add up to a wonderful night.
Today's optional excursion takes us to a fascinating network of irrigation channels (levadas) that criss-cross Madeira, carrying water to the vineyards and farms of the south. The channel maintenance paths provide the ready-made walking trails we'll use for the 'easy'-rated, seven-kilometre, Levada da Serra do Faial walk from Caminho do Pico do Infante to Rochao (duration approximately two and a half hours).
This afternoon, a second optional excursion brings the chance to take a jeep safari, during which you'll explore some of the hidden by-ways of the island's lush interior in an all-terrain vehicle.
On our final included excursion we'll visit the valley nature reserve at Ribeiro Frio, where the ancient mountain settlement of Santana still retains many examples of the island's traditional 'A-frame' thatched cottages.
Later, enjoy a final evening in the hotel, or venture into Funchal for a farewell dinner at the end of a fascinating week.
Spend the day relaxing at the hotel or exploring the surrounding area. Our Tour Manager will be happy to suggest places to visit and things to do.
Transfer back to the airport for check-in and your flight home.
The transfer time from the airport to your hotel is approximately 30 minutes.
Hotel transfer times
We sometimes need to combine transfers to and from your hotel. We always try to keep any wait to a minimum, but you may be asked to wait at the airport for up to an hour, while other incoming flights arrive, before the transfer to your hotel. Similarly, we may need to transfer you back to the airport up to three hours before your flight home departs.
Combining hotel transfers
If you have notified us of any special requirements, please check that they have been noted and acknowledged. This is especially important with any dietary needs you may have.
The majority of our tours involve a certain amount of walking, including a short walk from the coach stop to the town, attraction or venue you're visiting. If you are bringing a wheelchair, please let us know at the time of booking so that appropriate arrangements can be made.
Occasionally, for operational reasons, we may have to change the order of the excursions on your holiday. The final day-by-day itinerary will be confirmed on your Final Travel Documents, which you will receive approximately three weeks prior to your departure.
The all-inclusive package available at the Hotel Raga includes breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus soft or alcoholic drinks at lunch and dinner.