Funchal
National Parks

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Our most recommended Funchal National Parks

Hike Madeira: Pico Arieiro to Pico Ruivo

1. Hike Madeira: Pico Arieiro to Pico Ruivo

The sun rises over your hotel as you set out on your walking tour adventure. Leaving from the comforts of your room in Funchal on the Madeira Islands, we'll drive you up to the third highest peak in Madeira - the magnificent Pico Arieiro. You'll sip coffee or a drink on your way up to the base of the peak, looking out at all the stunning beauty this place has to offer. As we head from sea level up to the base at 5,964ft (1818m), you'll pass beautiful flora and fauna. Finally, we'll begin our mighty walk up the mighty Pico Arieiro up to the highest point on the island, the Pico Ruivo peak at 6107 ft (1862m). Finally, we'll walk down to Teixeira where you'll be comfortably transferred back to your hotel. And of course, no day of hiking is complete without a drink at a traditional bar, so we'll make sure to stop at one with a spectacular view to enjoy the closing of your day!

Madeira Walks - Rabaçal and the 25 Fountains

2. Madeira Walks - Rabaçal and the 25 Fountains

Rabaçal is a nature reserve on the island of Madeira that was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999. It is an area of intense natural beauty, brimming with waterfalls and unique flora and plant life, all of which you can experience on this wonderful guided walk. The 25 Fountains Walk starts by heading down the biggest valley of Madeira towards the Rabaçal reserve. Along the way you will walk along two of the oldest Madeira levadas each boasting a remarkable evergreen landscape with beautiful waterfalls scattered throughout. The 25 fountains refer to the 25 natural springs you will discover on the walk. Each spring falls into a small crystal clear lake surrounded by dense vegetation. Once you arrive here you may never want to leave! In this paradise-like oasis you'll be immersed in beautiful surronds, listening to the murmuring sounds of the water and the quiet chanting of the birds. For nature lovers this walk is an invitation into a unique and awe-inspiring slice of heaven. Rabaçal is a paradise of waterfalls, lakes and enchanting fountains and there is no better way to experience it than on a guided walk.

Madeira: Nature & Wine 4x4 Tour from Funchal or Caniço

3. Madeira: Nature & Wine 4x4 Tour from Funchal or Caniço

From Funchal, head to Serra d'Agua, a valley at the center of the island. Afterward, take a nice off-road drive with fantastic views over Porto Moniz, Ribeira da Janela, Paul da Serra, and São Vicente. Then, have a fabulous experience with a very important wine producer in Madeira, enjoying a guided tour through the vineyards, followed by wine tasting. Enjoy a professional explanation about traditions, wine culture, and wine production given by an oenologist. Finally, move on to Cabo Girão, the highest cliff in Europe and second in the world at 589 meters, known for its suspended glass floor balcony that offers a spectacular panoramic view over the Atlantic, Câmara de Lobos, and Funchal.

Madeira: Nuns Valley Half-Day Tour

4. Madeira: Nuns Valley Half-Day Tour

Explore the stunning landscapes of the Curral da Freiras (Nuns Valley) on a scenic half-day tour from Funchal. Journey to the center of Madeira to find dramatic, cloud-topped mountains and verdant valleys. Board the minibus in the center of Lido, and make your way to Eira do Serrado for one of the most beautiful views in Madeira. Continue down to Curral da Freiras, traveling past forest bushes and the quaint houses typical of the Madeiran countryside. Once in Nuns Valley, see a small village nestling between almost perpendicular mountains. How the huge cauldron in which the Nuns Valley formed is open to debate. Some people say it was the result of erosion, while older theories maintain it was a result of volcanic activity. What is beyond dispute is that the village is very isolated. The locals mainly live off what they cultivate, including the delicious chestnuts that are the centerpiece of the annual Chestnut Festival. Return to Funchal, stopping at the fishing village of Câmara de Lobos, where Winston Churchill painted his beautiful landscapes. Try some of the legendary Poncha drink before you leave.

Funchal: Whale and Dolphin Watching Speed Boat Tour

5. Funchal: Whale and Dolphin Watching Speed Boat Tour

Start with a short briefing from your biologist guide, which will provide information on the various types of wildlife you will search for on the tour. Set out in a speed boat with a capacity for 12 people. Admire the beautiful coastline of the island of Madeira while searching for various marine species. With a skilled crew, embark on a search for various species of dolphin and whales which are found in the waters surrounding the island. You are guaranteed to catch sightings of cetaceans while on the tour. If any species are not found, you will be offered a second trip for free.

Madeira East Island Tour and Levada Walk

6. Madeira East Island Tour and Levada Walk

This tour of the east side of Madeira island is designed to show guests how truly magical it is. Come and be awed by its spectacular beauty. To begin the day, pick-up is from the hotel at 8:00 to 9:00. The first stop will be at a viewpoint above Funchal. Continue to Camacha, famous for its beautiful wicker works, and stop to have a look around and then take a scenic drive up to Poiso where the start of the Laurissilva forest can be found. After this, make your way to the majestic views of Pico do Arieiro. Pico do Arieiro is the third highest peak on the island, standing 1818 meters. Next is what some consider to be the most beautiful spot on the island, Ribeiro Frio. Here you will visit a trout farm and do a levada walk to the Balcões. Following the walk, make your way to Santana to see its famous A-framed cottages and then continue along the northern coastal road to Faial. Stop for lunch in the northern part of the island. After lunch, carry on to the eastern part of the island, to the famous viewpoint of Pico do Facho. From here you will have incredible views of Ponta de São Lourenco, Machico and the airport. On a good day one can see the Desertas Islands as well Porto Santo, the small island adjacent to Madeira. The last stop will be a famous viewpoint above Machico. You will arrive back to Funchal by 17:00.

Madeira: Garajau Nature Reserve Kayak and Snorkel Tour

7. Madeira: Garajau Nature Reserve Kayak and Snorkel Tour

After getting picked up from your hotel, start the day at Funchal Harbour where you will learn everything you need to know about kayaking before heading to the nature reserve. Upon arrival at Garajau, enjoy a 40-minute paddle towards Lazareto. Stop for a break on the beautiful pebble beach and take in the views of the surrounding rock features from times gone by. Afterwards, discover Madeira's native marine life as you snorkel through crystal-clear waters. In the event of poor weather conditions, you will have the opportunity to explore the sea from the safety of your kayak instead. Finish the day with a spot of cliff diving before heading back to your hotel for the evening.

From Funchal: Enchanted Terraces and Porto do Moniz Tour

8. From Funchal: Enchanted Terraces and Porto do Moniz Tour

Depart Funchal and travel by 4WD vehicle towards Madeira's northwest coast, passing a stunning green landscape to locations such as Serra de Água. Journey along forgotten and enchanted old roads and get a glimpse into the island's everyday life. Go to Encumeada, where one of the island's famous walking trails leads to Madeira's highest peak. Pass through the laurel forests of Chão dos Louros and marvel at the mountains and valleys from Ginjas and Paul da Serra. Continue to Fanal in the middle of the Laurissilva Forest and then proceed to Porto do Moniz, famous for its natural swimming pools. If weather permits, enjoy the warmth of the sea or continue to Seixal known for its black sand beach. Stop for lunch (optional and not included) in Seixal, before continuing to the coastal town of São Vicente. Make your way back to Funchal at the end of the tour.

Desertas Islands Full-Day Catamaran Trip from Funchal

9. Desertas Islands Full-Day Catamaran Trip from Funchal

On this full-day catamaran trip to the Desertas Islands you’ll sail along the south coast of Madeira Island. On arrival you’ll disembark in clear waters onto a beach of volcanic origin, where you’ll have a chance to enjoy a swim. Covering an area of 12,586 hectares the Natural Reserve of the Desertas Islands comprises all islands and islets (Ilhéu Chão, Deserta Grande, Bugio, and adjacent islets) and all of the surrounding marine area. It has been designated a nature reserve for over 25 years, and is now internationally known for its monk seal conservation efforts. Today this protected area can be visited by sea. Deserta Grande is the only island where visitors can disembark, and you’ll enjoy a guided walk to the conservation center to learn about the monk seal protection efforts and also about endemic flora and fauna.

Madeira Lakes - Levada Walk

10. Madeira Lakes - Levada Walk

This is a walk unlike any other – many guests say that it is the walk they have enjoyed the most. Deep in the valley of the western plateau, you will marvel at rock pools that have been carved over millions of years by the water as it runs towards the sea, forming magnificent waterfalls and cascades. If you choose the summer to do this tour, be sure to bring your bathing suit and take a refreshing dip in the invigorating and crystal clear mountain waters. This is a moderate difficulty walk so you will experience diversity in walking through various types of terrain from the flat terrain of the levadas to the challenging mountains, along unmarked paths as we make our way up to the oldest mountain in the western side of the island. A truly unforgettable experience!

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What people are saying about Funchal

Overall rating

4.3 / 5

based on 842 reviews

This trip is fabulous. Leanna was a fabulous guide, setting the expectation about the walk clearly at the beginning and at regular intervals throughout the walk. Along the way she gave a host of really interesting information about the route, surrounding nature and Madeira. The wal itself and views are epic. I'm not an avid walker, but am of decent fitness and found it okay, but the 400 steep stairs towards the end are a challenge. You get an hour at the peak to spend as you like and lunch above the clouds is sublime. I read a couple of reviews before booking saying they felt rushed - I couldn't disagree more. The pace of the walk was very moderate and understanding of all walking abilities, especially the second half which is pretty much all uphill. I didn't feel rushed once. You can take as many pictures as you like and catch up, no questions asked. Would definitely recommend.

My friend and I completed the walk with Amilcar, he was very competent, calming and understanding of each member of the tours fitness abilities. He was funny and caring, especially to a woman who had a lung condition within the group, taking the time to ensure she was okay on steep inclines. He drove the taxi in a safe manner ( and trust me when you see the high roads of Maderia you want to feel confident about the person behind the wheel). The walk is beautiful and worth completing. Its a busy route, however we all share this planet so be patient! If you want empty mountain's to hike best come to Ireland :) Overall, you will feel comfortable with this company - they are time efficient and our tour guide, Amilcar, was extremely good at his job! Thanks again, we will be back!!!! Hannah and Maire

Nice 11km walk next to the Levadas. Not too much training needed as it was mostly going down or flat. Last part through a tunnel. Not advisable for people with extreme fear of heights or claustrophobia. All our group (18 people) enjoyed a lot. One person from another group had to return because of fear of heights - this was taken care of very professionally with an alternate route and I think the person enjoyed also in the end.

We were picked up in central Funchal by Bruno driving his minibus, on time and at the correct location. We travelled via tortuous road through city and country, with spectacular scenery. First stop was an impressive overlook with cafe shops and loos, second was in the little village in the Valley of the Nuns, and third was in Camara de Lobos, a pretty fishing village. Bruno was informative and amusing.

Very pleasant drive with the car and a nice travel companion who took care of everything.