Europe,  Madeira

Madeira – 06/2018

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Madeira by bus

I have decided to go to Madeira with my sister in mid-June as this is one of the least rainy months and also we were hoping it might be also a good weather for occasional bathing in the ocean. It was our first journey on our own without travel agency, and since neither of us have a driving license, we decided to travel by bus (well, to be honest, even if I had it, on narrow roads in Madeira I would be afraid of driving anyway). If you are also going to travel on Madeira by bus, you may appreciate some useful advice and tips. At the end you will find all links and mobile applications that we used.

Date: 18.6. – 30.6.2018

Itinerary

  1. Arrival from Prague + Funchal
  2. Pico Ruivo, Levada Caldeirao Verde, Levada Caldeirao do Inferno
  3. Santana & Sao Jorge 
  4. Pico Grande
  5. Sao Lourenco
  6. Levada do Moinho + Levada Nova and bathing in Ponto do Sol
  7. Porto Moniz + Cabo Girao
  8. Levada do Rei
  9. Balcoes & Levada do Furado
  10. Coastal trail from Canical to Porto da Cruz
  11. From Portela to Machico (Vereda das Funduras + Levada do Canical)
  12. Levada do Castelejo 
  13. Flight to Prague

Flight

To save money, we decided to fly from Prague with TAP Portugal via Lisbon. We bought flight tickets for the second half of June 2018 in August 2017 for 5,400 CZK (207 EUR) per person.

Madeira Airport is tiny, so orientation is very easy. There is a frequent bus service (Aerobus) to Funchal (https://www.sam.pt/en/aerobus-information.html ), it stops just outside the airport (5 EUR one way, return 8 EUR), and it takes approximately 30 minutes to the center of Funchal.

Our accomodation

This time we decided to go rather low cost so we chose a very cheap accommodation through booking.com right in the center of Funchal (Rua Dr. Fernao Ornelas 10) – a room with shared bathroom for only 280 CZK (11 EUR) per night as we were lucky for some discount so that’s why we finally decided to go to Madeira for 13 days. There were 6 rooms in total and two shared bathrooms, it was absolutely sufficient, no luxury, but clean. We had also a balcony and in the hall a fridge was available and a few pieces of dishes as well. Washing mashine and dryer was available for 4 EUR but we did not use it.

Especially the location was absolutely great, close to the bus, supermarket, etc. and I have to admit that Wifi was much faster than in some 4 stars hotels I visited.

The owner confirmed to us that the water is drinkable there, so we drank water from the tap, so that we don´t have to bring the bottles from the supermarket but I recommend always check in a specific accommodation, hard to say if the quality and source of water is the same everywhere.

Trips planning

We had a detailed plan from home but we changed the order of the trips completely because when we saw the weather forecast on arrival (almost everywhere cloudy, somewhere small rain), we decided to choose the trips one day in advance according to the current weather forecast – we were using mobil app MadeiraWeather where the weather of the individual places was hourly and I have to say that it was reliable and fortunately we have not experienced any rain, only twice it was rather cloudy, otherwise always sunshine and 21-23 ° C.

I was using for planning also the guide Madeira: The Finest Valley and Mountain Walks which helped me very much in planning the trips, below you can find what walk, part of the walk or combination of walks from this guide we used for each trip (well, this corresponds to the Czech edition of the guide, I am not able to say if other language editions have the same sequence of trails).

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Madeira-finest-levada-mountain-Walking-ebook/dp/B07Q49P84W

Before you go on a hike, I recommend to check the following website (http://www.visitmadeira.pt/en-gb/useful-info/walks/notice-to-walkers-and-listof-walks) to see if the path is closed or not.

Buses on Madeira

At the beginning, we were a little worried when we read from time to time on the Internet that the timetable can be obtained only in the Info Center and is not always up to date and other inaccurate information.

On the contrary, I have to say that bus service in Madeira is reliable, even though quite time-consuming, especially when you are traveling to the north or west of the island (2-3 hours), but the views are so beautiful that you can spent the time looking out the window and thanks to that the long journey is not boring.

Bus tickets

Tickets are cheap – from 3 EUR to 6 EUR per trip, depending on the number of zones. Bus tickets are purchased in the bus directly from the driver.

It is also good to pay attention to what the driver says, a few times he warned that it is necessary to change the bus but from the timetables you can´t read this information (we have experienced a change only in Machico, the driver repeats it again at the place of change but once when the bus was full, we experienced a family of French people who did pay attention and they found out about half an hour later that they were going elsewhere as they have missed the information to change the bus)

Bus companies

There are 4 bus companies in Madeira:

  • Horarios Funchal
  • SAM
  • Rodoeste
  • EACL

Timetable

All timetables are available on the internet, so you can plan everything from home and I really recommend to plan in advance because buses do not go very often, so it is good to plan your trip so that you don´t find out that you don´t have any way how to go back to Funchal.

Horarios Funchal and SAM also have a mobile app to download.

Bus stops

The have request stops in Madeira and they are almost everywhere (every couple of meters).

So when you are standing at a stop, you have to wave at the driver and when you get off, you have to press the button above your head so that the driver stops at the nearest stop.

If you don’t want to get off at the center of a town, it’s good to tell the driver where you want to go and ask him to remind you when to get off. In this case, I recommend that you sit as close as possible to the driver so that he does not forget you. Sometimes it was useful that the driver informed us about the best stop to get off because, for example, at one of the levadas we found out according to the map, which stop would be the best, but in the end there was one more better which was not marked on mapy.cz.

Also I recommend to check for the way back if the bus stop is on the same place accross the street or if you are coming back from another place, it is good to ask somebody if the bus goes from there, because once it happened to us that there was a bus stop but the bus was not passing via this stop and the stop was elsewhere…

Timetables are usually posted only at the main stop in the town, at all other stops there is no timetable or indication of bus number. Therefore, it is also good to always keep a certain time reserve because the timetable always shows only the main stop in the town and if you go from another, time may vary slightly. All buses depart from Funchal, so it is ideal to stay close to the center of Funchal when traveling by bus

Horarios Funchal – Small bus terminal station is at the beginning of the promenade in Rua José da Silva (https://mapy.cz/s/lakarafofa), only 5 stations, so it was never a problem to find our bus

SAM – the buses of this company had a stop at the beginning of Avenida do Mar (https://mapy.cz/s/gebomacohu)

Rodoeste – it took us a while to find a stop for this company, fortunately one lady advised us that one stop was at the Anadía shopping center (approximately here https://mapy.cz/s/hofenuvotu)

The main stop of Rodoeste should be here – https://mapy.cz/s/mezafasemu

Day 1

Funchal

We arrived in Madeira 15:15 and we managed to catch Aerobus at 15:30 without any problems (we had only a hand luggage so we didn´t have to wait for luggage). We quickly checked-in in our accomodation and then we went on a tour of Funchal. It is a very nice picturesque town which doesn´t look like a capital at all.

Typical strelitzia

First we visited Zona Velha with beautiful painted doors. Most of them can be found in Rua de Santa Maria and others in the side streets, over 200 of them. You can find more information on official web site of project Arte portas abertas (http://www.arteportasabertas.com)

Parks are also worth a visit. First we visited Jardim público (https://mapy.cz/s/fedocetate), a beautiful park with various interesting trees from all over the world.

Then we visited the Parque de Santa Catarina (https://mapy.cz/s/doturaduru) with a beautiful view of the city.

We visited also the well-known market Mercado dos Lavradores (https://mapy.cz/s/pacuzumala) where we did not buy anything because the fruit is really overpriced (e.g. maracuja for 20 – 25 EUR / kg, elsewhere for about 8-10 EUR).

Espada - most often done with banana

If you are going to Madeira in June, be sure not to miss the fireworks held at the Atlantic Festival (Festival Atlântico), it was a really nice show (the best view was from Santa Catarina Park). It is an international competition and the winner will take on New Year’s fireworks.

Day 2

Pico Ruivo

When we were looking at the weather forecast on the first day, we were wondering where to go, because practically the whole island was supposed to be cloudy or light showers. Only the mountains were supposed to be sunny according to the forecast, so the choice was clear and it was a good choice, all day sunny and 21 ° C.

We chose a trip to Pico Ruivo together with Levada Caldeirao Verde and Caldeirao do Inferno. Actually I was in the mountains for the first time (I do not count Czech Šumava: p) and although I am still young and slim, I´m not in a good shape and when going uphill, I get short of breath, I would say even more than a retired person, so we chose the easiest hike from Achada to Teixeira. It is really an easy trail, just 2,8 km way there, often on a flat or slight hill, a greater ascent just last 1 km, but not very difficult, there are nice stairs, so this trail can be done really by anybody, even those who are not used to walking in the mountains.

There is no bus to Achada do Teixeira, so we took a bus to Santana and there we took a taxi at the taxi stand. I checked the price beforehand so that the taxi driver doesn´t try to overcharge us and he said it would cost 15 EUR. On the taximeter it showed even 17,70 EUR but according to the agreement we paid 15 EUR. Since we took the first bus, we were at 9:20 in Achada do Teixeira and although it is the easiest way to Pico Ruivo, the morning was not crowded with tourists, there were only 4 cars in the parking and we were the only tourists who arrived by bus /taxi.

We wanted to combine the trip also with Levada Caldeirao Verde and Inferno, so on the way from Pico Ruivo we joined Vereda da Ilha – it was a 7.7 km descent, first on paths with beautiful mountain views, then much of it through a beautiful laurel forest with stairs, so the descent was quite challenging. Here we met only one pair of tourists in the opposite direction.

Since it was lunch time, we decided to have a lunch on a place with a nice view. I took out the bread and the tempting looking sausage I bought at Pingo Doce. I bite and I was wondering what a strange sausage it was because it had a pretty strange structure. I started examining the ingredients and found out that “morcela” is something like our black pudding :p ugh, I don’t eat anything from the pig slaughter :p  Well, I speak Portuguese, but somehow I didn’t think of examining it, so I had really a „hearty“ lunch – bread only…

When the descent seemed long, I checked the map (mapy.cz), to see when we will finally arrive to Levada do Caldeirao Verde and I did well because we just passed the turn, singpost was completely missing. So I recommend using some mobile application with maps, marking was mostly good but missing a few times.

Levada Caldeirao Verde & Levada Caldeirao do Inferno

Levada do Caldeirao Verde is one of the most famous levadas and also the most crowded of all the 8 levades we went through. Here we had to get round tourists quite often. There are several tunnels on this levada, so I suggest to take with you a headlamp. It is one of the most beautiful levadas, so it is definitely worth a visit, as well as Levada do Inferno, which continues right after Levada do Calderiao Verde.

We didn´t have enough time, so we decided not to go all the way to Pico das Pedras because we would miss the taxi to Santana and the last bus. So I called a taxi from Queimadas and luckily we managed to get the last bus from Santana. The taxi doesn´t go to Queimadas up to Parque das Queimadas (the place with nice typical houses) but it was necessary to go down the road for about 10 minutes.

Trail – 21,1 km (based on mapy.cz 10:46 hrs.) – https://mapy.cz/s/2VuEe

  • PR 1.2 Vereda do Pico Ruivo
  • PR 1.1 Vereda da Ilha
  • PR 9 Levada do Caldeirão Verde

Our transportation

There

Bus

Taxi

  • From Santana taxi to Achada do Teixeira
  • Santana – taxi stand in street Rua Doutor João Almadahttps://mapy.cz/s/23Yfi           
  • Price – 15 EUR

Back

Taxi

  • Taxi z Queimadas
  • Taxi doesn´t stand here, needed to call a taxi – Taxi Santana: +351 291 572 540),
  • Price – 10 EUR

Bus

  • Bus 103
  • Santana 17:25 – Funchal 19:00

 

Duration

  • The trip took us about 7.5 hours (with breaks for food, photos, filming)

Guide – Madeira: The Finest Valley and Mountain Walks (Czech edition)

  • Combination of routes 33, 28, 29

Useful information

  • Refreshments – none along the way
  • I suggest you take the headlamp for the tunnels
  • if you have the possibility to drive by car, I recommend to go early in the morning to avoid a large number of tourists

Day 3

Santana

The next day we chose a relaxing trip to Sao Jorge. It was needed to change bus in Santana, where the break was 40 minutes, which was enough for a short visit tour of typical houses.

Sao Jorge

We had time to take lunch in Sao Jorge, so we went to Cabo Aereo Café, a restaurant with a beautiful view of the sea and rocks. I had a typical Espado fish with a banana for 12 EUR

https://www.google.cz/maps/place/Cabo+Aéreo+Café/@32.8304791,-16.9032457,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0xc606819dd657e95:0xda4e564b69f34206!8m2!3d32.8304746!4d-16.901057?hl=cs

In Sao Jorge we decided for a short trail along the coast with a beautiful view of the coast. On Ponta de Sao Jorge there is a wooden footbridge and at the end there is a place where fishermen go fishing. Even though the footbridge looks flimsy, you can walk safely to the end.

We had enough time, so we visited the lighthouse.The entry is free, we just had to register and the gentleman carefully checked our soles. My sister just had to clean better her muddy hiking boots, then we had to leave there our backpacks and only then we could go up and enjoy the view of the surroundings.

On the way to the bus, we came across an abandoned place where a Swiss cheese plant (Monstera deliciosa) was growing (it is grown in my country as a house flower) and we decided to pick a few fruits because they are commonly sold as fruit in Madeira. It takes quite a long time for the fruits to ripen, so we brought them to our home, where they all went to the rubbish bin after tasting :p . I do not understand how anyone can eat it, it tasted like a banana without taste with glass wool together (well, of course I never tasted glass wool, but somehow like this it seemed).

Lighthouse
Monstera deliciosa - I really don´t like this fruit

Trail – 5,5 km (based on mapy.cz 2:55 hrs) – https://mapy.cz/s/2Vv0h

Our transportation

There

Back

  • Bus 103 – Sao Jorge 16:50, Funchal 19:00

Guide – Madeira: The Finest Valley and Mountain Walks (Czech edition)

  • route 25

Day 4

Pico Grande

The next day in the mountains there should have been beautiful weather again, so we decided to for the trail to the Pico Grande from the Nuns Valley (Curral de Freiras). We took the first morning bus, the only one going to Faja Escura where the trail to Pico Grande begins. The path begins with the stairs and continues through a nice forest with nice smell of eucalyptus trees. We were a little worried about the weather, because it was pretty cloudy, but as we went a little up, the clouds were already below us and we had a beautiful view of the mountains.

We met the first tourists in about two thirds of the trail because most of them came from Boca da Corrida but we chose the trail from the Curral de Freiras because of better accessibility by bus.

This trail was a bit more challenging for me because here it was only ascent and I must admit that the last kilometer was getting a bit more difficult on the rocks and because I am going uphill very slowly, I was afraid we won´t be able to catch the bus back, so I asked my sister to reach the peak without me. Meanwhile, I found a nice place with a beautiful view of the surrounding mountains. I have to say that I liked this trail even more than the one to Pico Ruivo, here the journey was more varied and new and beautiful views were opening up.

Fortunately the descent was quite fast and we were quite early in Faja Escura but we had to continue to the center of the Curral de Freiras because only some buses are going to Faja Escura. My sister saw a car leaving and decided to try to stop him and we were lucky, this couple from Netherlands were going to Funchal, so they took us and we had time to visit some more places in Funchal.

Trail – 8,6 km (based on mapy.cz – 6:01 hrs) – https://mapy.cz/s/1RiPD

  • Vereda da Faja Escura
  • Vereda do Pico Grande

Our transportation 

There

  • Horarios Funchal
  • Bus 81
  • From Funchal 7:35, Curral das Freiras 8:20; 3,35 EUR
  • Timetable – http://www.horariosdofunchal.pt/carreiras/81.pdf – a) Via Fajã Escura – only this morning bus goes to Faja Escura, later it would be needed to go on foot from center of Curral de Freiras)

Back

  • We used hitchhiking but buses goes quite well, just it is needed to go to center of Curral de Freiras

Duration

  • Journey to the peak 3:45 hours (with photos, filming)
  • Descent 2:15 hours
  • A total of 7 hours with a quite lunch break

 

Guide – Madeira: The Finest Valley and Mountain Walks (Czech edition)

  • part of walk 38 (only Vereda to Pico Grande – approx. from Relvinha to Pico Grande) and part of route 39 (Vereda da Faja Escura – Relvinha to Faja Escura)

 

Useful information

  • Refreshments – none along the way
  • the route is not crowded with tourists, the first one we met past the crossroad where the tourists were coming from Boca da Corrida, we met about 18 couples in total

Day 5

Sao Lourenco

This trip is for me one of the 3 most beautiful places we have visited in Madeira (along with Pico Grande and the coastal trail from Canical to Porto da Cruz).There are beautiful views of the coast and the entire peninsula.

It is one of the most visited places, so do not expect to be here alone, there is a lot of tourists, including larger groups organized by local travel agencies (well, I don´t understand this because this place is perfectly accessible by bus which goes even quite often).

Beach Baía d´Abra

We had plenty of time, so in the afternoon on the way back we stopped on Baía d´Abra beach and enjoyed swimming. The water was quite cold of course but as it was warm weather, it was nice. The beach is really nice with spectacular views of the peninsula and rocky coast. And it is definitely not overcrowded, there were only 6 other couples with us.

Trail –  7,5 km (based on mapy.cz – 3:24 hrs) – https://mapy.cz/s/2WiYJ

  • PR 8    Vereda da Ponta de São Lourenço

Our transportation

There

Back

  • Bus 113,
  • Baía D´Abra 18:15, Funchal 19:45 (change of bus in Machico)

 

Duration

  • It is only 7.5 km, so it can be done as a half-day trip but we liked it so much that we combined the trip with swimming and were here all day.

 

Guide – Madeira: The Finest Valley and Mountain Walks (Czech edition)

  • Walk 12

 

Useful information

  • Refreshments – none
  • Take swimsuit – Baía D´Abra beach

Day 6

Levada do Moinho & Levada Nova

On weekends the availability by bus is not so good, so on Saturday we decided to go to Levada do Moinho and Levada Nova. We got out before reaching the village of Ponto do Sol at the place recommended by the driver as the best start for Levada do Moinho.

Shortly after joining the levada, we saw a group of about 20 German tourists just ahead of us. Since the sister is taking a lot of photos, we were going quite slowly so we didn´t want to get ahead of them. However, we soon caught up with them and decided to overtake them. At that moment we understood why we were catching up with them at this place and why they were so slow – it was at a place where we had to walk a few meters on a very narrow path with size of kerb but one could cling to the rocks, so it was definitely nothing dangerous. But for this reason I would not recommend this levada to people having vertigo, as well as the Levada Nova, which is largely unsecured – no handrail (however, the pavement was wide enough for comfortable walking, so this recommendation is really only for people with vertigo).

As soon as we got ahead these tourists, we met only a few tourists in the opposite direction, it was apparent that more people went in the opposite direction from Levada Nova to Levada do Moinho. Both levadas are very nice with beautiful views of the valley, definitely worth a visit

Enjoying beach in Ponto do Sol

We managed both levades quite quickly and had enough time to the last bus at 18.25, so we decided to enjoy swimming on the beach in Ponto do Sol. On the beach I had a tuna at the Maré Alta restaurant  which was really delicious and the portion was so big that I almost had a problem to eat the whole portion.

Because I am very responsible, we decided to find the bus stop before going to the beach, and then we went to the stop with enough time in advance to be there 15 minutes earlier. However, when the bus did not arrive even 15 minutes after the expected departure time, I looked at the map from where the bus was supposed to come and I got scared a little bit because I started to suspect that the bus might not be coming to this bus stop at the beach (there was no bus number nor a timetable at bus stop, so we could not be sure…). So I asked a man standing close to us and he told me that the bus was not coming here and that the stop to Funchal was a few streets up. What to do now? We did not want to pay a taxi, so we decided to try hitchhiking. And I have to admit that my sister is a hitchhiking „expert“she stopped the first car which went straight to Funchal. It was a couple of very nice Madeirans who even didn´t want just drive quickly to Funchal, so they decided to not go through the tunnels but along the coast. They started stopping at different viewpoints so that we can take some photos and also they have done for us a quick tour of Camara do Lobos, a picturesque town which is definitely worth a visit.

Pictures on the doors - here from Nestea labels

When I asked if they knew a place where we can buy passion fruit cheaper than at Mercado dos Lavradores, they said we were going near a fruit and vegetable shop where they should be cheaper and they would stop me there so that I can buy some. And it was really the shop with the cheapest maracuja that I have seen (8 EUR / kg). Then they showed us that they live here in this part of Funchal (Sao Martinho). So we wanted to continue to the center of Funchal by bus but they did not want to let us go by bus saying it is still a long way and they took us to our accomodation. Great hitchhike that we will never forget 🙂 

Trail  – 10,9 km (based on mapy.cz 5:49 h) – https://mapy.cz/s/casebefoto

Our transportation

There

Back

Duration

  • Both levadas took us 4 hours including taking photos and lunch break, we spent the rest of the day on the beach

 

Guide – Madeira: The Finest Valley and Mountain Walks (Czech edition)

  • Walk 9

Day 7

Ribeira da Janela & Porto Moniz 

On Sundays it is even worse with buses, and buses do not go at all for many places on Sundays or they go but it is problem to get back to Funchal in the afternoon or evening. So we decided to go to Porto Moniz to visit natural pools.

But because we did not want to spend the whole day bathing, we decided to take it through Ribeira da Janela, where there is a beautiful coastline and we decided to walk to Porto Moniz on foot.

Ribeira da Janela

I forgot a bit about the terrain on this trip and I was expecting a relaxing day with 5 km only. However, from Ribeira da Janela through Vereda da Faja do Barro it was quite big ascent, and it was quite hot, some 23 °C and no shadow, so for me this trip was almost more demanding than the climb to Pico Grande because of the hot weather.

But the views from above on Ribeira da Janela and then on Porto Moniz were really worth it, so I didn’t regret it.

View of Porto Moniz
Natural pools - price 1,5 EUR

In Porto Moniz, we decided to go first to the natural pools, which are for free and because we liked these more than the other pools, we decided to stay at these pools. In addition, there was a nice restaurant with great views of these pools (Restaurante Cachalote), so we decided to have lunch here and the food was again excellent and very cheap.

Natural pools - free entry

There was no time left for the second pools, where a symbolic entry fee of 1.50 EUR is paid, so we only took some pictures before we left.

I definitely recommend visiting Porto Moniz but if you have the option to rent a car, it is definitely a better option, because the bus from Funchal takes 3 hours (half an hour takes 3 ten-minute breaks in Cabo Girao, Ribeira Brava and Sao Vicente).

We were looking forward to see view point of Cabo Girao but in the end we saw nothing, as it was totally covered in clouds.

Cabo Girao - I heard it is beautiul view point but we have not seen anything as the weather was not good
Sao Vicente
10 minutes on Cabo Girao view point as this time there was nothing to enjoy
Sao Vicente

Trail – 5 km (based on mapy.cz 2:20 hrs) – https://mapy.cz/s/2Wklc

  • Vereda da Faja do Barro

Our transportation

There

Back

Useful information

  • Vereda da Faja do Barro is not too busy, we have not met a single tourist
  • Natural pools (Piscinas Naturais do Porto Moniz):

     Pools free of chargehttps://mapy.cz/s/hokuvaburo

     Paid natural pools – 1,50 EUR https://mapy.cz/s/kohofekebu

https://www.portugaltravel.org/natural-pools-of-porto-moniz

Duration

  • The journey from Ribeira da Janela to Porto Moniz via Vereda da Faja to Barro took us 1.5 hours.

Day 8

Levada do Rei 

On Monday we went to Sao Jorge to Levada do Rei. Here I recommend to ask the driver (or check the link below where I marked the stop) where to get off Sao Jorge, because this stop was not marked at all on www.mapy.cz, so we wanted to gett off sooner, but the driver warned us that soon there will be another stop where the start of the levade begins.

Maracuja - passion fruit
Passion fruit

It is a very nice levada, which is definitely not overcrowded with tourists. At the end there is one waterfall where the water falls on the road, so I recommend to take a raincoat on this trip.

Trail –  12,3 km (based on mapy.cz 5:55 hrs) https://mapy.cz/s/2WkJW

  • PR 18  Levada do Rei

Our transportation

There

Back

  • Bus 103
  • Sao Jorge 16:50, Funchal 19:00

Duration

  • The trip took 4,5 hours

Useful information

  • I recommend to take a raincoat on this levada because of a waterfall that cannot be passed without getting wet
  • Number of tourists – we went a large part alone, later we met a total of about 14 couples
  • Refreshments – none along the way, but there is refreshment at the beginning of the levada and a restaurant at the bus stop

Guide – Madeira: The Finest Valley and Mountain Walks (Czech edition)

  • Walk 30

Day 9

Balcoes

In Ribeiro Frio I recommend to go first to the beautiful view point Balcoes. There is a wonderful view of the surrounding mountains. It is an easy walk about 3 km long (back and forth).

Levada do Furado

It is good to go for Levada do Furado when it is nice weather because of the beautiful views, so we have been watching the weather and there were cloudy or rain showers for a few days in a row. Finally on Tuesday it was supposed to be only partly cloudy, so the choice fell on this trip and the weather was perfect.

After a tour of the Balcoes, we were going from Ribeira Frio to Portela (Levada to Furado). All the levadas we went through were beautiful, each of them was different, but I rate this one as one of the most beautiful – beautiful views of the mountains, laurel forest, natural tunnels, rocks, lush vegetation, etc.

I was glad that we could see this levada, it was quite lucky, because it was closed about two months before our arrival and finally it was opened about 2 days before our arrival to Madeira. During our trip we understood why she was actually closed – several huge trees were dropped across the road, so it was needed to wait to pass through again without any problems.

Tunnels are short here, headlamp is not needed
Stream bed of this levada is quite deep

We extended our journey a bit and went through a piece of Levada do Poco do Bezerra, which is dry and leads uphill compared to other levadas.

At the end of the levada there is a very nice place to relax.

Levada do Furado ends in Portela, where we stopped at Portela a Vista, where I had Prego no bolo do caco, which is a sandwich made of local bread with garlic butter and herbs and there is a slice of beef inside, it was really delicious. (https://www.google.cz/maps/place/Restaurant+Portela+a+Vista/@32.7466033,-16.8259701,21z/data=!4m13!1m7!3m6!1s0xc606736af1a30ed:0x540896f67c50c5f8!2sRibeiro+Frio,+Portugalsko!3b1!8m2!3d32.733333!4d-16.883333!3m4!1s0xc6066a588c87627:0x25442fab4afa2b5d!8m2!3d32.746584!4d-16.8258499?hl=cs )

There is also a beautiful view of Penha de Águia in Portela.

There is a bus stop just opposite the restaurant and the buses are going quite often. While waiting at the bus stop, several taxis were trying to make a deal and they were offering to take a taxi instead of a bus. The last one was offering us a special price of 5 EUR per person, so for us and a French couple it would be only 20 EUR which was a very good price. So the taxi driver was trying to persuade us that it was cheaper, a lot faster and more comfortable than a bus. So I got more information from him and translated everything to my sister and to the French couple asking if they wanted to take a taxi. French couple did not care because the bus was supposed to come in 5 minutes, so they left the decision to us and my sister decided that it doesn´t make sense to take a taxi as the bus is coming in a few minutes. But you can see that if you are lucky you can take a taxi for a good price comparable to a bus ticket…

Trail – 14,4 km (based on mapy.cz 7 hrs) – https://mapy.cz/s/2Wl3N

  • PR 11  Vereda dos Balcões
  • PR 10  Levada do Furado

Our transportation

There

Back

  • SAM
  • Timetablehttps://www.sam.pt/53.html
  • Bus 53
  • From Portela 16:05 (bus stop just opposite the restaurant Portela a vista), Funchal 18.40; price 3,35 EUR

 

Duration

  • The trip took 7 hours including the breaks for lunch and taking photos.

 

Guide – Madeira: The Finest Valley and Mountain Walks (Czech edition)

  • Vereda dos Balcoes – walk 17
  • Levada do Furado – walk 18

Day 10

Coastal trail from Canical to Porto da Cruz

The whole Madeira is beautiful and it’s really hard to say which places are the most beautiful, but this hike is definitely for me one of the most beautiful. Tourists walk more often only the part of the route from Machico but I must say that it is really worth going from Canical, this part of the hike was the most beautiful with really beautiful views.

The beginning of the hike was not well marked and we intuitively followed the wider path and it took a while to connect to the right path, so I recommend to look at the map from time to time. It is obvious that many people don´t go from Canical, we did not meet a single tourist till reaching Boca do Risco.

This road was not very well maintained, overgrown in some places, but not so much that it would not be possible to see the path. At times we were literally struggling through huge ferns which were sometimes even taller than us.

I would not recommend this part from Canical to Boca do Risco to anyone having vertigo, most of the trip was fine, but one short part of a few meters was going straight along the ridge, no path was there and we were walking on stones, nothing really dangerous, there were protrusions for the whole foot. But I think that a person with vertigo would probably not feel right here and with children I would definitely not go this part of the hike. I didn’t feel well at the moment and I don’t know if I would go this part of hike again but for someone who’s used to something like that, it is really ok. But even if I do not have vertigo, so this part was quite difficult for me and seeing the steep slope below me I didn´t feel very well (but not so big that one would kill himself, but something would be broken if the foot slipped). Well, at least we did not found any better path in this section…

So this is the part which was the most difficult for me but there were protrusions for the whole foot

Once we arrived to Boca do Risco, we met a few tourists who were starting the hike in Machico, but it was definitely not a crowded route. This second part of the road led along a nice wide well-kept path with beautiful views of the Penha de Aguia and looking back there was a spectacular view of the peninsula of Sao Lourenco. Here I really did not understand why this route is marked as black in the 60 Route Guide, it would be fine even for people with vertigo I think.

After arriving in Porto da Cruz we had enough time for the last bus and a the weather was great, we decided to go to the swimming pool. The entry fee was only 1.50 EUR and I have to say that we couldn’t really wish for a better view.

Right next to the pool we went to the restaurant for a dinner, where they had really delicious tuna steak with side dish and salad for only 8.50 EUR and as a starter a delicious Bolo do caco.

Approaching to the end of our trip - Porto da Cruz

Trail – 12,1 km (based on mapy.cz 6:20 hrs) – https://mapy.cz/s/2Wll1

  • Vereda Boca do Risco-Canical
  • Vereda do Larano

Our transportation

There

Back

  • SAM
  • Timetable – https://www.sam.pt/53.html
  • Bus 53
  • Porto da Cruz 18:30 (bus stop opposite pharmacy Farmacia Penha D´Aguia), price – 4 EUR

Duration

  • Vereda Boca do Risco-Canical – 4,5 hours
  • Vereda do Larano – 2,5 hours
  • In total 7 hours including the break for lunch and taking photos
  • I recommend to go only under good weather conditions, after rain it could be slippery
  • Take your swimmsuit with you – very nice swimming pool in Porto da Cruz

Useful information

  • Number of touristsVereda Boca do Risco-Canical – None, we have not met anybody Vereda do Larano – 8 couples
  • Swimming pool Porto da Cruz – 1,50 EUR (https://mapy.cz/s/2WltS )

Guide – Madeira: The Finest Valley and Mountain Walks (Czech edition)

  • Part of walk 14 (Vereda do Larano – from Boca do Risco to Porto da Cruz)

Vain waiting for a lunar eclipse

In the evening we went to Funchal on the seaside promenade to watch the lunar eclipse. What was our surprise when the moon looked more like a full moon than an eclipse…. We were waiting about half an hour, and because the eclipse still somehow did not take place, so we went home … The mystery of the eclipse was clarified to us only the next day when my sister was chatting with a friend on Facebook … He explained that we were there too soon: really toooooooo soon. One month earlier – the eclipse took place a month later on 27.7. and my sister somehow overlooked it on the web :p 

Day 11

From Portela to Machico

On the penultimate day we decided to go from Portela via Vereda das Funduras and then via Levada to Canical to Machico.

In Portela there is a beautiful view of the Eagle Rock (Penha da Águia).

Vereda das Funduras

Vereda das Funduras leads through a beautiful forest where we could admire huge tree ferns, some even up to 6 meters high. We haven’t met any tourist here.

Levada do Canical

Then we wanted to join Levada do Canical, but we almost missed it because it wasn’t marked at all and we almost didn’t notice the levada. The old lady in the garden saw us looking to the map and assured us that it was the levada we were looking for. I talked to the lady for a while, because I always like to take the opportunity to practice Portuguese, and when the lady saw we admire and take pictures of her tree heavy with avocado, she went to her house and gave us 4 ripe avocados.

On this levada, we found in two places a “fruit shop” where local farmers put a box of fruit, a price tag and a money box at the path and you can buy fruit directly from their garden. I love the fruit, so  I couldn’t resist, of course, and I bought some pepinos.

So, on this “urban” levada, we could see how the locals grow different kinds of fruits and vegetables and how they can literally use every meter of land. Also, this is not a crowded levada, we only met 1 couple and 2 pairs of locals.

Trail – 19,4 km (based on mapy.cz 8:10 hrs) – https://mapy.cz/s/2WlXB

  • PR 5 Vereda das Funduras
  • Levada do Canical

Our transportation

There

Back

Duration

  • The hike took 8,5 hours

Guide – Madeira: The Finest Valley and Mountain Walks (Czech edition)

  • Walk 16 (Vereda das Funduras)
  • Walk 13 (Levada do Canical)

Day 12

Levada do Castelejo 

On the last day we decided for Levada do Castelejo, which we had on the list of alternative trips, if something went wrong and because we originally planned another trip to the mountains but the mountains were cloudy, we decided for Levada do Castelejo and we didn’t regret it. It is not a very well-known levada, but its beauty does not lag behind the better known ones, we could enjoy a beautiful view of the Eagle Rock, mountains and beautiful views of the valley.

On the way there we did not meet any tourist, just at the end of the levada, where we stopped for a long while, we met 2 pairs of tourists. On the way back we did not met any tourist again.

Because we had enough time, we decided to walk on foot to Porto da Cruz to go again to the same restaurant as the day before. It wasn’t a long walk, but we thought we wouldn’t be angry if a car stopped to take us. And again we were lucky and after a while a nice couple of Frenchmen stopped and took us to Porto da Cruz.

Trail – 11,5 km (based on mapy.cz 6:56 hrs) – https://mapy.cz/s/2WmaB

Our transportation

There

Back

  • Bus 53
  • Porto Da Cruz 18:30, Funchal 20:10

 

Guide – Madeira: The Finest Valley and Mountain Walks (Czech edition)

  • Walk 22

Day 13

Departure

We went to the airport again by Aerobus, which goes from Avenida to Mar. There is no exact departure time, only the departure time from the starting bus stop and the estimated time when it will be at the appropriate stop, so it is better to keep some time reserve. We flew again with TAP Portugal via Lisbon and we made check-in online through their application and we did not print boarding passes but only showed on mobile.

At the airport we were surprises by a strict Madeira man at the security check. Again, I risked a slightly larger plastic bag than 1 liter for liquid which I have used already three times without any problems. The one liter bag seems to me very small and considering that I was carrying as a souvenir 5 small bottles of Madeira wine, so I thought that I probably would not put it into the smaller bag. When the man started put my liquids into the official bag, I did not say anything, knowing that mine was a little bigger, and I was wondering what to throw, because I thought everything couldn’t fit in there. Luckily, the bag from Madeira had a square shape with a wider aperture compared to the bag from Prague, so everything could be stacked better there. There wasn’t enough space just for mascara and antiperspirant but fortunately the gentleman didn’t deal with it. Although my sister had an official bag from the Prague airport, the man started to put everything to the Madeira plastic bag as well. When I said that she actually had an official bag from Prague airport, he just said that THIS is an official bag from Madeira airport and it needs to be put to this bag…

Shopping

The prices in Madeira surprised us, it is not too expensive there, many prices in supermarket seem to be comparable to the Czech Republic. We liked the Pingo Doce supermarket, which was close from our accommodation (Rua do Ribeirhinho de Baixo street – https://mapy.cz/s/2PAz1).

Continente is a frequent supermarket chain as well, but we were there only once (https://mapy.cz/s/2PABS).

Restaurants

We didn’t go to the restaurant everyday for lunch because we knew that at lunchtime the restaurant would not always be available, especially in the mountains and on the levadas. We were in several restaurants outside Funchal, all of them were very good and the food was delicious.

The prices surprised us again, often up to 10 EUR. They had excellent tuna steak everywhere, of course I had to taste the local espetada (beef skewer on a stick) and the local espada fish with banana. As an starter they sometimes offer Bolo do caco, the local bread, which is toasted and covered with herb butter with garlic, it is really delicious.

We had Bolo do caco several times in Funchal as well, this time it was a kind of sandwich with the herb butter with garlic and salami, bacon or cheese. This one is great as well (price 2.50 EUR).

We were going for dinner to the Pingo Doce supermarket. There is a self-service restaurant (street Rua do Ribeirhinho de Baixo – https://mapy.cz/s/2PAz1 ) where you can choose whatever you want (large selection – e.g.  fish, chicken, pork, various types of side dishes – fried potatoes, fried polenta, rice, pasta, different salads etc.) and a kilo of food costs about 10.69 EUR if I remember well. We were coming back from the trips quite late, so we went out for dinner after 9 pm and then the cost was only 8,99 EUR/kg, so we often had dinner fo 3 euros and sometimes when we felt like we really had a big portion, so it cost us about 4.50 EUR.

For an idea below you will find where we ate and what was the price.

Sao Jorge – Cabo Aereo Café

From restaurant Cachalote is a beautiful view of natural pools
Tuna steak, frequent side dish is apart from potatoes also fried polenta
Espetada
Octopus
Tuna steak
Prego Bolo de caco

Costs

And how much did 13 days in Madeira cost us?

  • Total about 615 EUR per person (16 000 CZK per person)
  • Return flight ticket 207 EUR (5400 CZK)
  • 1 night accommodation in Prague near the airport (Hostel Modra) – 23 EUR (590 CZK)
  • Accommodation in Funchal (12 nights) – 129 EUR (3360 CZK)
  • Buses, food, restaurants, souvenirs – 243 EUR (6326 CZK)
  • 2x taxi –  12,50 EUR / person (324 CZK / person)

Links

  • Accomodation

https://www.airbnb.cz/rooms/25614961?location=Funchal%2C%20Portugalsko&s=cQoaf9UZ

 

http://www.horariosdofunchal.pt

https://www.sam.pt/en/network-map.html

Aerobus – https://www.sam.pt/en/aerobus-information.html

http://www.rodoeste.pt/Horários

https://www.eacl.pt/index.php/transportes/horarios-e-percursos/todas-as-carreiras

 

  • Information on closed trails and levadas

http://www.visitmadeira.pt/en-gb/useful-info/walks/notice-to-walkers-and-listof-walks

  • Taxi – phone numbers

http://www.visitmadeira.pt/pt-pt/como-se-deslocar/pesquisa/madeira/transportes/taxis

 

  • Mobile applications

Weather– Madeira Weather

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ciimarmadeira.madeiraweather&hl=en_US

Buses

SAM – https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.dobsware.sam

Horarios do Funchal – https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=onemploy.group.hftransit

Moovit – https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tranzmate&hl=cs

 

Maps – applications that might be useful not only in Madeira – after downloading the map it can be used even offline

Mapy.cz – https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=cz.seznam.mapy

Maps.me – https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.mapswithme.maps.pro

Google offline maps – https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.apps.maps

 

TAP Portugal – online check-in

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.megasis.android 

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