Canyoning, Madeira. Photo: Host/ Endemic Xperiences
5.0
| 13 reviews

Hiking and Canyoning Adventure in Madeira

5 nights
Moderate

Uncover the 'Hawaii of Europe' on this island adventure through subtropical forests, wild canyons and the mighty Atlantic

What's Included?

Activities & Certified Guides

All itinerary activities with local, expert, English-speaking guides

Hotel

5 nights in comfortable, locally-run hotels

Meals

All breakfasts, 4 packed lunches and 2 dinners – plus a traditional wine tasting

Transfers

Two set airport transfers and everything in between

Equipment

All your canyoning gear

Small Like-minded Groups

Solo-friendly by design, join our small n’ sociable groups of up to 10 like-minded, active and outdoorsy people
From

excluding flights

What's it like?

5.0
| 13 reviews
It was my first experience
May 2024
Burcu C.
It was my first experience
May 2024
Burcu C.
It was my first experience
May 2024
Burcu C.
It was my first experience
May 2024
Burcu C.
It was my first experience
May 2024
Burcu C.
Madeira trip
May 2024
Carol K.
Madeira trip
May 2024
Carol K.
Madeira trip
May 2024
Carol K.
Madeira trip
May 2024
Carol K.
Incredible Country with Lots to See
April 2024
Lauren R.
Incredible Country with Lots to See
April 2024
Lauren R.
Incredible Country with Lots to See
April 2024
Lauren R.
Incredible Country with Lots to See
April 2024
Lauren R.
The trip of lifetime! 10/10
April 2024
Stephania C.
The trip of lifetime! 10/10
April 2024
Stephania C.
The trip of lifetime! 10/10
April 2024
Stephania C.
The trip of lifetime! 10/10
April 2024
Stephania C.
The trip of lifetime! 10/10
April 2024
Stephania C.
Excellent trip all round
April 2024
Pete S.
Excellent trip all round
April 2024
Pete S.
Excellent trip all round
April 2024
Pete S.
Excellent trip all round
April 2024
Pete S.
Excellent trip all round
April 2024
Pete S.
Excellent trip all round
April 2024
Pete S.
Excellent trip all round
April 2024
Pete S.
Excellent trip all round
April 2024
Pete S.
Excellent trip all round
April 2024
Pete S.
Canyoning, Madeira. Photo: Host/ Endemic Xperiences
Madeira coastline. Photo: AdobeStock-28451612
Hiking the PR17, Encumeada, Madeira. Photo: Host/Madeira Mountain Tours

Unleash the adrenaline as you go canyoning in the heart of Madeira's Laurisilva forest and abseil down a 25m waterfall

Hike among volcanic peaks and lush levadas to wild swim spots, dazzling ocean views and an unforgettable sunrise at the island's highest point – Pico Ruivo (1862m)

Marvel at Ponta de São Lourenço from land and water as you explore this unique peninsula, eyes peeled for dolphins

Relax in comfy hotels with sea views, mountain vistas and swimming pools after each day of adventuring

Key Information

Day 1

Touch down in Madeira – the 'island of eternal spring'

Strelitzia flower, Botanical Garden, Madeira. Photo: GettyImages-118145515

Catch your first glimpse of the subtropical Madeiran archipelago from the plane, then meet your host and transfer to your hotel in Funchal, the island's vibrant capital. Framed by a dramatic backdrop of lush, cloud-tipped mountains on the island's south coast, the city unfolds over a series of steep hills and terraces, overlooking the Atlantic. There's quite a lot to explore in Funchal, including a colourful local market, exotic gardens, historic alleys, and an epic toboggan ride – so if you have some extra time to hand, it's a great spot to extend your stay and explore. Tonight, your guide will take you somewhere local to taste some delicious food and tell you all about the epic adventure ahead.

Day 2

Explore the central mountains

Hiking the PR17, Madeira. Photo: Host/Madeira Mountain Tours

Hiking

5hrs · 12km · 150m up · 600m down

Kick off your island adventure with a superb hike through Madeira's wild, mountainous interior. Setting off from Bica da Cana viewpoint at 1600m, you'll gradually descend the stunning PR17 trail along levadas (the island's unique irrigation channels), hiking through verdant, high-altitude vegetation – including the native UNESCO-protected Laurisilva forests. Trek through tunnels and duck underneath a couple of cascades to reach your final destination in Encumeada, where you can soak in the views over Ribeira Brava and the towering peaks of the Cordillera Central. Your home for the next two nights is an ocean-front hotel in quaint Sao Vicente – a gem of a village on the island's wild northern coast – and tonight, you'll taste some of Madeira's traditional wines paired with cheese. Cheers!

Day 3

Canyoning and wild waterfalls

Canyoning, Madeira. Photo: Host/Endemic Xperiences Madeira

Canyoning

3-4hrs

Dotted with hidden lagoons, cascading falls and ancient laurel forests, Madeira is truly a canyoning paradise. Get ready for a soaking today as you head to Ribeira do Lajeado for an exhilarating adventure in these 'Jurassic World' surroundings. Begin by hiking along the Levada do Alecrim through the dense Laurisilva forest, then continue by scrambling, jumping, sliding and abseiling (up to 25m) your way across the network of trails, river systems and secluded natural pools, alongside your expert canyoning guide. Look over the Vento and Risco waterfalls in the distance, then hike back, grab some lunch and head back to your hotel in Sao Vincente.

Day 4

Coastal hike to the natural pools at Porto Moniz

Porto Moniz Pools, Madeira. Photo: GettyImages-892303574

Hiking

5-6hrs · 10km · 600m up · 600m down

Take a short transfer to Achadas da Cruz, the most westerly point of Madeira, then descend down to the traditional village of Fajá da Quebrada Nova via a steep 2km trail, or via an equally vertical cable car ride. Whichever you choose, the coastal views will be truly mesmerising. Once home to an agricultural community, many of the old traditional buildings are now abandoned, giving the place a nostalgic charm. Continue hiking along the beach and then along the Vereda de Tristao River to Porto Moniz. Reward your efforts with a refreshing swim in the incredible tidal pools, then transfer to your final base – the coastal town of Machico.

Day 5

Spot dolphins and hike a coastal trail in Ponta de São Lourenço

Ponta de Sao Lourenco, Madeira. Photo: Host/Madeira Mountain Tours

Wildlife Watching

2.5hrs

Hiking

2-3hrs · 7km · 450m up · 450m down

Get ready for an epic day as you head out to explore the sea around Madeira's eastern tip. Ponta de São Lourenço is a peninsula of volcanic origin, where a semi-arid climate and exposure to northern winds cause the vegetation to be unusually low and absent of trees – a stark contrast with the rest of the island. Join a local marine biologist aboard a high-speed boat, keeping your eyes peeled for the abundant marine life: sightings of common and bottlenose dolphins, as well as loggerhead turtles, are common, and sometimes sperm whales. After lunch, you'll hike along the coastal trails of this incredible nature reserve, stopping for a swim along the way. Back in Machico, enjoy a final meal with your fellow adventurers and guide, then get some rest ahead of an early rise for your final day of adventure tomorrow.

Day 6

Sunrise views above the clouds

Sunrise, Pico Ruivo, Madeira. Photo: Host/Madeira Mountain Tours

Hiking

3hrs · 6km · 280m up · 280m down

You can't leave Madeira without witnessing the dazzling views from its highest point – Pico Ruivo (1862m). This morning you'll rise early – before dawn – for a short but incredibly rewarding hike that will take you to the roof of the island. Head torch on, you'll set off along the cobbled trail towards the peak. The view at the top will leave you speechless as you contemplate the golden sun rising above the clouds, with incredible views on the mountain ridge and far into the valley towards the ocean (weather permitting!). If you're leaving today, your host will then drive you back to the airport in time for your flight back home. Boa viagem!

Day 1

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 2 – Day 4

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 5

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 6

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

What is the food like?

Cheese tasting. Photo: host

Savour the delights of Madeira's cuisine with fresh produce and a wide variety of regional dishes. Most days, breakfasts will be continental style – consisting of bread, butter, local jams, fruit, pastries, cheese, ham, tea, coffee and juices. For lunch, expect freshly prepared lunch boxes with delicious sandwiches, cake and fruit. Evening meals are included on Days 1 and 5, and on the remaining evenings you can choose from several authentic local restaurants recommended by your host, where you can feast on local dishes such as traditional espetadas (beef skewers), grilled fish, fresh seafood, garlic bread or hearty, homemade soups.

Vegetarian diets can be accommodated, although veggie or vegan diets are not common in rural Madeira so meal options can be repetitive. Other dietary requirements are mostly possible to cater for – please let your host know any requirements upon booking.

What is the accommodation like?

Hotel do Carmo pool, Madeira. Photo: Hotel do Carmo
Funchal

Spend your first night at a comfortable hotel in Funchal, Madeira's capital. You'll usually stay at the central 3-star Hotel do Carmo, featuring modern rooms, a 1960s-style bar with a snooker table and a lovely rooftop terrace with a swimming pool, boasting great views over the Atlantic Ocean and mountains. Departures on the 18th November and 16th December 2023 will be accommodated at the 4-star Hotel Turim Santa Maria whilst on the 20th April and 4th May 2024 you'll stay at the 4-star Enotel Magnolia. Your host will always confirm all the final accommodation details with you in a pre-departure message a few weeks prior to travelling.

Hotel Mediterraneo, Sao Vincente, Madeira. Photo: Host/Madeira Mountain Tours
Sao Vincente

You'll spend two nights at a new property on Madeira's wild northern coast, in the quaint ocean-front village of Sao Vincente. The Mediterraneo Hotel features comfortable rooms, an outdoor pool with a bar and sea views, as well as a spa tub.

Pool, Hotel Dom Pedro, Machico, Madeira, HotelWebsite
Machico or Santa Cruz

For the final two nights of the trip you'll stay at Hotel Dom Pedro in the coastal town of Machico.

For departures in 2025, groups will be staying in the coastal town of Santa Cruz, in the Santa Cruz Village Hotel.

Upgrades

Due to the limited capacity and availability of the hotels where you'll be staying, private room upgrades are not available for this trip. All rooms will be booked on a twin-share basis (or double, for couples).

This trip has been rated as Moderate

The activities on this trip can be done without any previous experience – you'll have expert guides to show you the ropes and help you navigate the canyoning. Although each day is not overly strenuous, you'll be fairly active for a few hours so the trip is best enjoyed if you have a decent level of fitness and agility, and if you enjoy the outdoors with some moments of adventure and adrenaline.

The hikes are up and down paths of moderate difficulty with some occasional steep, loose sections as well as some exposed paths. The sweeping views and lush wilderness of Madeira will reward every effort!

Canyoning will involve sections of hiking, scrambling, abseiling, optional jumps, sliding and swimming. Full gear and tuition will be provided, all you need is a basic fitness level. You should, however, be comfortable in the water and not be overly afraid of heights, as there is a 25m rappelling section to tackle.

What will I need to carry?

You'll need to have a larger bag suitable for all your belongings which will be transported for you, and then a small rucksack to carry personal items during each day of activity.

Madeira enjoys a subtropical climate with hot summers and mild winters, usually with sunshine throughout most of the year. Whilst the south of the island and coast are usually sunnier, colder temperatures, fog, or low clouds can be expected in the interior of the island and at higher altitudes, so it's important to come equipped for all weather conditions year-round (see our kit list for more information). In the winter months (between December and March), temperatures hover just under 20° C, mild enough to swim in the sea or a heated outdoor pool, though there's a slightly higher possibility of rain. The weather in the mountains can be pretty unpredictable, with rain and cold temperatures a possibility at any time of the year – especially at higher altitudes (above 1500m). The best you can do is to be prepared for anything and come equipped with layers of clothing, sunscreen and waterproofs.

Your host will be monitoring the weather conditions during the course of the trip and will suggest alternative, safer hiking routes should the weather get particularly bad. The dolphin-watching tour is, of course, dependent on favourable sea conditions – should this get cancelled, your host will replace it with an alternative activity.

Canyoning usually takes place at Ribeira do Lajeado, however the exact location will be dependent on water levels which will be checked beforehand by the local guides. If conditions in Lajeado are not optimum, your guides will take you to an alternative canyon on the island.

The Area

map

Logistics

Starts

Funchal Hotel

17:00

Ends

Funchal Airport (FNC)

10:00

Transfers

If you are flying into Funchal on Day 1, please ensure your flight lands by 17:00 in order to meet your host and the rest of the group in time for the initial briefing and dinner. There is one set arrival transfer included – this is usually at 17:00, however, your host will confirm the exact time and logistics ahead of your arrival. If you arrive early, or later, it's easy to make your own way to the start hotel in Funchal either by public bus (30mins, €3-5), or by taxi (20 minutes, approx. €15-20).

On some departure dates it may be that an alternative start hotel is being used in Funchal. Your host will inform you if there are any adjustments, and will always confirm all the final details with you in a pre-departure message a few weeks prior to travelling.

At the end of your trip, you will be dropped at the airport, usually at around 10:00. We recommend booking a flight that departs after 12:00 to ensure you have enough time to join the final sunrise hike. If you are extending your trip and wish to be dropped off in Funchal city centre instead of the airport on Day 6, you can request this with your local host – there may be a small fee to pay, depending on the number of fellow travellers who share this service. Once you have booked your flights, please provide your host with this information.

Travel options

There are regular flights to Funchal from major airports across the UK and Europe. If you choose to arrive early, there are regular buses across the island that you can use to explore. Our local host has a wealth of information about accommodation and activities – please don't hesitate to contact them for advice before planning your experience.

Enjoy 12.5% Off Outdoor Gear

In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 12.5% discount to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.

What's included?

  • All your canyoning gear

What do I need to bring?

BAGS

  • Soft duffel bag or rucksack
  • Daypack (20-30 litres)
  • Waterproof liner for rucksack
  • Small drybags, if you want to take your phone with you on the water-based activities

CLOTHES

  • Hiking boots (worn in)
  • Sports shoes that you don’t mind getting wet (for the canyoning)
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Waterproof trousers
  • Breathable wicking layers
  • Fleece jacket or a jumper
  • Lightweight trousers/shorts/skirts
  • T-shirts
  • Underwear and socks
  • Swimwear
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunhat
  • Something to sleep in
  • Sandals or flip-flops

OTHER

  • Headtorch
  • Snorkelling gear (optional)
  • Hiking poles (recommended)
  • Universal travel plug adapter
  • Power bank or solar charger
  • Passports (and visas)
  • Travel insurance documents
  • Ear plugs
  • Insect repellent
  • Suncream
  • Personal first-aid kit (inc. blister treatment)
  • Personal items (biodegradable toiletries, sanitary wear etc)
  • Quick-dry towel
  • Alcohol hand-gel
  • Two reusable water bottles x1 litre
  • Energy bars and snacks - read our article on Best Hiking Snacks
*Requests for optional extras can be made after booking on your “My Bookings” page

Additional Night in Funchal Twin/Double Room

Payable Before Departure

Additional Night in Funchal Twin/Double Room

Additional Night in Funchal Single Room

Payable Before Departure

Additional Night in Funchal Single Room

Private arrival transfer Funchal Airport - Funchal Hotel (1-4 pax)

Payable Before Departure

Private arrival transfer Funchal Airport - Funchal Hotel (1-4 pax)

Private departure transfer Santana - Funchal Airport (1-4 pax)

Payable Before Departure

Private departure transfer Santana - Funchal Airport (1-4 pax)

Lucy C.(June 2024)
Maderia hiking

Andre the guide was fantastic! He made everyone feel welcome and we all enjoyed his company, was in awe of his knowledge and he made the whole trip fun and run smoothly. Jorge was also amazing and ensured everyone had all the information needed and even came early to pick me up at the airport.

The hikes were lovely, much shorter than I was expecting and relatively easy given the terrain. The views were amazing and it was good to see the variety the island had to offer! Even with thick fog on the 'sunrise hike' plans were quickly changed so we could experience it fully!

The canyoning day was the best! The guides/instructors were fab and made sure everyone felt safe and secure. Just a note- you don't need to take shoes as they provide them and cannot take your phone- they took amazing photos of us.

No whales or dolphins for us unfortunately, but the boat trip was enjoyable! Make sure you take full waterproofs!

Hotels and transfers were beyond expectation and you had alot of downtime to enjoy the region you were in. Make the effort to go to local restaurants- the food was delicious and reasonably priced.

All in all, a wonderful trip. I'd have preferred longer hikes or an option to do more activities (unfortunately the kayaking had been cancelled).

Diane E.(May 2024)
A truly magical adventure

A truly amazing trip, with the best guide on the island (Nuno). The landscape, particularly in the North of Madeira is spectacular. The hiking was hard but lots of fun and the canyoning was something I never thought I would do but will definately be doing again.

Burcu C.(May 2024)
It was my first experience
It was my first experience
It was my first experience
It was my first experience
It was my first experience
It was my first experience

It was my first experience with much better adventures and it was great. I loved the program, it was a very active program. I did hiking and canyoning for the first time in my life and I fell in love with both. Thank you very much to Nunu and Jorge for the whole organization. I have always felt their endless support in every matter. Also, many thanks to our guides Phipe and Gonzalo, who made us go canyoning, for giving us a very safe canyoning experience. It's definitely a route you won't regret. The hotels we stayed in were very comfortable, and there are many options for quality food on the island.

Mary D.(May 2024)
Such an amazing experience, my

Such an amazing experience, my first solo trip so I was a bit apprehensive but this absolutely convinced me; it was fantastic to be in such a stunning, adventure-friendly place with likeminded people. Would recommend ten times over, and am already booking my next MBA holiday!

Evelyn G.(May 2024)
Great Madeira Trip

The trip was really well organized. The hikes and the landscape were amazing, same as the guides Jorge and Nuno, who told as a lot about the plants and history of Madeira. My expectations of this trip were more than fulfilled and the country and scenery are beautiful. I really loved the canyoning as it was a great group spirit and everyone took care of each other. My highlight was the whale watching. Altough we could not see any whales, we had the possiblity to go into the water and swim with dolphines, which was incredible.

I can only recommend much better adventures to everyone who is open minded and loves nature, traveling and adventures.

Kelly S.(May 2024)
Amazing introduction to Madeira

Amazing trip with MBA! This is the second holiday I've booked with this company, and I've been impressed! Our guides, Nuno and Jorge were fantastic; both very friendly, engaging, and knowledgeable. The landscape is incredible, breathtaking views all around the island. I didn't know what to expect with the canyoning, but I loved it! The guides we had for this experience were top notch and went above and beyond to make each person in the group feel safe and created a fun vibe! The food and accommodation was great! I really enjoyed the tempo of the holiday, nothing too strenuous but still active each day and with varied activities. We had a great group and got lucky with the weather. All in all, I'm very happy with this trip!

Carol K.(May 2024)
Madeira trip
Madeira trip
Madeira trip
Madeira trip
Madeira trip

Great trip with a great group of people! We thoroughly enjoyed the itinerary and the variety of activities. Jorge and Nina are very good guides. The hiking routes were varied and brought us to some beautiful scenery. The sunrise hike was amazing! We enjoyed the mix in of whale watching and canyoning. We saw so many sperm whales! The companies they used for those activities were excellent. The hotels were comfortable and in good locations. One improvement to the itinerary would be on day 4. After spending the whole day hiking it would have been nice to enjoy more time at the natural pools at Porto Moniz. We felt very rushed and only got to spend 30 minutes there. Madeira is a beautiful island and we enjoyed our vacation there.

Lauren R.(April 2024)
Incredible Country with Lots to See
Incredible Country with Lots to See
Incredible Country with Lots to See
Incredible Country with Lots to See
Incredible Country with Lots to See

Excellent group holiday. Our guide Nina was excellent and incredibly knowledgeable. The country it’s spectacular and the activities and hikes we went on were brilliant. The group were very welcoming to me as a solo female traveller.

Richard I.(April 2024)
maderia trip

Overall excellent- maderia, the guides , Jorge,Nina where all top!!’ Improvement ideas:

  • dont have the first night dinner in a restaurant where music is playing so loud you cant hear each other which is important on first meet
  • have dinner on last night earlier as everyone tired and have wider choice
  • offer some lunch choice - i only like plain sandwiches so couldnt eat any of them
Stephania C.(April 2024)
The trip of lifetime! 10/10
The trip of lifetime! 10/10
The trip of lifetime! 10/10
The trip of lifetime! 10/10
The trip of lifetime! 10/10
The trip of lifetime! 10/10

AMAZING Trip. As a solo female traveler I always consider safety to be my top priority when choosing tour companies and adventures. Pedro was a fantastic and super knowledgeable guide and kept the group safe through the ever changing weather, beautiful scenery and amazing hikes! This was definitely the trip of a lifetime, SUPER FUN and well organized. It also really helps when you have an amazing group of people traveling with ya!! I will definitely be a returning customer.

Lara S.(April 2024)
Revitalising sense of Freedom

I didn’t have too many expectations going to Madeira but this trip left me feeling so grateful to have had such a good varied time. The canyoning and different hikes and areas across Madeira were well considered, the food was amazing and everything was well planned. Pedro is a really experienced and considerate guide and lead the group really well. Loved the canyoning mix, dinners, sea pools and hike variance. Particularly loved the hotel on the coast which had a hot tub and felt like a piece of seaside paradise and relaxation after a busy day. Such a good week! Amazing people!

Pete S.(April 2024)