Madeira Explorers, Funchal

4.1
#3 of 37 in Trails in Portugal
Explore the rugged countryside and crisscrossing trails of a wild Portuguese island with Madeira Explorers, a tour company utilizing the region's historical network of canals. Originally constructed for farm irrigation, the levadas and their corresponding maintenance routes stretch for more than 2,500 km (1,553 mi) around Madeira. Join in on one of the leisure walks, each focusing on a different region or series of sites of the island. You'll find that they are designed for different levels of experience and capability, so you can embark on anything from a full-day hike to an easy stroll. Seize the chance to see some of the local flora and fauna, as well as the multitude of gardens, beaches, and ocean views. Though the company can provide backpacks and walking sticks, be sure to bring your own comfortable hiking boots or other sturdy footwear. Plan to visit Madeira Explorers and other customer-reviewed, writer-recommended Funchal attractions using our Funchal vacation generator.
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399 reviews
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  • August 14, 2017
    Took the "The lakes of Madeira" walk. Guide was great and sympathetic. Stopped on numerous occasions to tell about vegetation and history of the surroundings and of course the levadas in perfect Engli...  more »
  • August 12, 2017
    We went on 'The Lakes of Madeira' walk which our family really enjoyed. It was quite a hot day (26-28 degrees celsius) but the walk comprised open spaces in addition to much welcome shaded areas. Our ...  more »
  • August 4, 2017
    We had us as the highlight hike for the "Madeira's Lakes" because it was recommended by our travel advisors from the hotel and we wanted to see a little green. The hike itself is a whole day planned with 4.5 hours, but includes collecting all tour guests and the ride to the starting point, as well as the return trip including transport. We were picked up at 8:30 at our hotel in Caniço, until 9:15 were all guests in the bus and at about 11 o'clock we were at the starting point (at 1300 m). In the beginning we were 16 people with our tour guide of Emilia, but during the journey up the mountain, we learned that other 8 people from another bus would be added. This led to light concerns a bit, because the hotel tours as a small group tours "were sold in us" (by the trip Advisor). But it made no change Yes and Emilia was keen that everybody had fun. Overall went along it on 3 different Levadas, where we could see different vegetations and gather various impressions. There always again a lot of information on the part of the Guide, and she could enter also on individual questions very well. The tour took place in German. The tour is really recommended, because again and again to get a very good overview of parts of the island (at the end, it is up to 1500 meters) and you can see also Levadas and their origins. In many places you can see small medium-sized cascading waterfalls running down on rock walls or flow on the side of the road in the channels. More highlight we don't betray, you should rather see it / experience. However, one must note that during our visit (late July to early August) it hardly rained, so the water levels in the heights were not very high. But the weather was very pleasant with 25 degrees C (in the shade of the trees well 22 degrees and light to moderate wind), Emilia said that in the previous year at the same time there were also 34 degrees C.. Unfortunately, we have to get 2/3 of the way with, how the landscape up there is change: roads will be rebuilt and even a reservoir to be built (it has the background, that generating electricity on the island is long term transferred from diesel combustion on ecological and sustainable sources). However, this has the consequence that the paths inevitably cross the construction sites or you can get very close to them. That is, it may be that in a short time a different landscape is, as we have seen. We were so good 8 hours against 17: 00 back at the hotel, on the road. On the return, as well as on the trip there was a small break in a small town and a great pub (20 min each) on the half of the route, to visit a toilet or to buy a little something to eat or drink. It should also be mentioned that Emilia was not only our tour guide, but also our driver. On both counts, she was really very good ;). Conclusion: A very beautiful and varied tour with a great tour guide, go to the well again at this point a big thank you to. There would be not to criticize, there would have been full score. Therefore, there might be no full assessment, because the Group was too large, and it was so not so harmonious, as it was promised by Madeira explorers in the flyers. Same feedback, we gave to our travel advisors. It remains to be seen whether anything changes. In other languages tours we've seen again and again on our way, had on average 10 guests. Smaller groups allow all information (including those arising from the individual questions) to pass on the Guide and also the group must not so long waiting for stragglers, which let fall back photos or other reasons. If this is always the case, we cannot say. The reason was not communicated to us, why the Group was so great.
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Where to stay in Funchal

Funchal's array of accommodation presents an interesting conundrum, as many of the upscale hotels and budget options lie outside the city center. If you opt to stay there, you'll need transportation in order to best explore the city. Luxury hotels touting outdoor pools, spas, exclusive restaurants, and other amenities certainly dazzle with their locations along the coast. To get a taste of authentic Madeira culture and history, try staying at one of the
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