Arrival on the Flower Island
Together with my mother, I set out on my inaugural company excursion, filled with eager anticipation. Off to Portugal! Upon reaching the airport, our on-site colleagues warmly greet us and swiftly escort us to our initial accommodation in Porto da Cruz.
Well-rested and full of enthusiasm, we embark on the first day of hiking. As promised, the transfer picks us up on time and takes us to the starting point of today's tour. Among wild cacti and free-roaming goats, we ascend to the first viewpoint of the journey. After a short break, we continue along Madeira's typical water channels, also known as Levadas, and return via one of the most beautiful hiking trails along the serene North Coast to Porto da Cruz.
To top it all off, we savor the traditional sugar cane rum "Poncha" at the local sugar cane mill and can still admire the last surfers in the sunset. What a fantastic start to this hiking vacation.
Deep into the jungle of Madeira and high up to the plateau of Paul da Serra
Today kicks off our exploration in Santana, offering us the opportunity to discover the iconic traditional houses that characterize Madeira. These charming cottages, decked in red-white-blue with thatched roofs, are becoming increasingly rare on the island, making them a standout highlight of the day. Our hiking agenda features the "Royal Levada," leading us into the lush jungles of Madeira. The unique vegetation and the magnificent waterfall captivate our senses. It's advisable to bring rain protection for this excursion, as only a few manage to stay dry while passing through the waterfall. Following this relaxed hike, the transfer driver retrieves us and transports us to the quaint village of São Vicente. The spectacular sunset in the northern part of the island serves as the perfect conclusion to today's adventures.
On our third day of hiking, we ascend to greater heights as the transfer navigates us up steep roads to the Paul da Serra plateau. Along the journey, we are presented with distinctive views of the island. Gone are the slightly cooler temperatures experienced in the jungle yesterday. Instead, we anticipate encountering warm temperatures, steppe-like vegetation, and the captivating enchanted forest in Fanal. Today's hike takes us to the beautiful town of Porto Moniz. Upon arriving at the hotel, we immediately unpack our swimwear and refresh ourselves in the volcanic pools. A visit to these pools is a must to fully savor the beauty of Madeira.
Through eucalyptus forests down to the sea
Today, we continue towards the south coast. Along the Levada Nova, we savor the delightful scent of eucalyptus forests, gradually approaching our destination for the day, Calheta. Descending steeply towards the sea, we once again have a magnificent view over the southern coast of Madeira. Upon reaching Calheta, we relish the first golden sandy beach of this vacation and discover many charming eateries along the beach promenade. The island offers a rich array of culinary delights, featuring a variety of traditional dishes to enjoy.
After an unforgettable evening in Calheta, we continue our journey further south. In typical fashion, we commence the hike along a Levada, reveling in the views of the terraced fields. We take a break at the Cabo Girão viewpoint, letting the gentle spring breeze sweep over us. The day's excursion concludes with a bus ride to Funchal, the capital of Madeira.
The week has passed by so quickly! Now, the last day of hiking has arrived, and it can be customized based on individual preferences. Following a short city tour, we make our way to the cable car in the heart of Funchal, transporting us up to Monte where we visit the tropical garden and then take a leisurely walk back down to Funchal. On the last evening, we enjoy the remaining sunlight by the hotel pool before returning to snowy Austria.
A thoroughly well-planned hiking vacation on one of the most beautiful islands in the world was the best hiking experience for us this year. The lush vegetation of the island and delightful seafood dishes ensure the highest level of hiking enjoyment!