Strolling and Exploring the magnificent island of Madeira


As from 13/12/21 - we will quote all our 2022 holidays in two stages 

Stage one - the price for land only

Stage two - the flight cost from your selected airport to your chosen destination and return

The combination of the two will add up to the total price we are quoting you.

We arrange flights for you.



Madeira’s lovely climate entrances the visitor, and its levada paths are just right for excellent Strolling. This is the island of flowers, of greenery, but also of great historical beauty. It has been touched by several sea faring nations in its short history, and walking though it’s leafy and rich countryside simply captivates.

Funchal—the capital has many wonderful buildings, squares and tree lined avenue’s. The central part of the island is very mountainous, and we glimpse their magnificence  during our travels. We stay in the centre of Funchal at the Hotel Orquidea, . Costs shown here are for flight, hotel bed and breakfast, most lunches, transport and walking guides (not evening meals) Flights from most UK airports. Ask for  more comprehensive Madeira leaflet

We visit many gardens during our afternoon activities—Botanical, orchid, magnolia and tropical - such is the diversity of the islands flora.

Discover the walking paradise of the garden island of Madeira - in the company of walking friends who enjoy good walking, good food, good social chatter and who appreciate the beauty of simply wonderful scenery - with British tour managers, and superb local walking guides. Madeira is an island of fascinating natural beauty, rising steeply in splendid isolation from the Atlantic ocean, off the coast of Africa. It has a splendid climate, rarely getting above 28 degrees and below 15 degrees, and that means excellent walking conditions. It’s a haven for those who seek a relaxing walking holiday in close proximity to nature. The island is of volcanic origin, and has a network of levadas (water channels) that take water to irrigate the fertile soil in the south of the island.

The levada’s banks and the surrounding countryside are planted with hydrangeas, lilies and agapanthus. Its mountains are rugged and inspiring with generally good sea views. Gardens and parks are everywhere - planted with all manner of exotic trees shrubs and blooms.

Madeira is a modern island, having benefited from joining the European Union, and its infrastructure supports our walking holidays brilliantly.

Great reasons to join us

- meet new friends in a relaxed walking and social  atmosphere

- beautiful countryside to walk through and enjoy

- super value for money

- professional, friendly walk leaders who are passionate and knowledgeable about this area

 AND the people and culture of Madeira - simply magic




We use the Hotel Orquidea in the centre of Funchal  en suite rooms are spacious, twin bedded  with either baths or showers.. The hotel is an ideal place to host our strollers programme, having easy access to restaurants, shops, supermarkets etc.  It has a lovely roof terrace where you can laze after a walk.The hotels’ breakfasts are continental, with cheeses and ham, yogurt, fruit and fresh rolls and preserves, with plenty of tea or coffee. A hot buffet is also provided.

Single supplements

For sole occupancy of a twin room, there is an additional £19 per night charge.

Your meals

Madeira has great walking but we also enjoy outstanding food - we eat at seven different atmospheric restaurants, in several areas of Funchal, the old town, with its family  run businesses, the harbour, around the hotel zone, and in restaurants where locals eat. What can you expect?  Fish galore - the local espadas, sea bass , bream, sardines, tuna, and a whole bewildering array of other fish. Meat lovers are not left out as the local delicacy is beef on a bay leaf tree spit. The steaks are good, and pork features on most menus. Vegetarians are not left out either. As a complete contrast, we eat Italian on one evening. Local wine is inexpensive and surprisingly palatable. Normally you can expect to pay £16 a head for two courses.

Packed lunch

We provide a simple -  locally produced at the bakery opposite the hotel - a filled  roll and piece of fruit for packed lunch. You may need to supplement this with your own energy bars/chocolate etc. Because of the nature of our walks there is little opportunity to stop for lunch at a cafe or similar on the walks.


As from 13/12/21 - we will quote all our 2022 holidays in two stages 

Stage one - the price for land only

Stage two - the flight cost from your selected airport to your chosen destination and return

The combination of the two will add up to the total price we are quoting you.

We arrange flights for you.

Your flights

New Experience Holidays, our partners in Walking in Madeira, arrange all aspects of your flights. Flights to Madeira leave the UK on Mondays, and all the major regional airports have carriers going there. We will Endeavour to secure a flight from your nearest airport, there may be a  flight supplement on the prices we have quoted in this leaflet. Paul Sawyer will quote you what supplement costs there may be from the airport of your choice, and may offer you other cost effective options. Any additional supplement for your flight will be payable at the time of reserving your holiday. The flight is 3.5 hours. Funchal Airport is a modern one, recently built to take account of the increasing number of holiday makers to this all the year round destination.

You will be met at the airport and transferred  to your hotel - a twenty minute journey along the fast motorway linking the airport to Funchal, and indeed many parts of the island. At the end of your holiday you will be transferred back to the airport.

Note- we always try to advise that you fly from your local airport- this is one of the unique selling points for our holidays.

There may be a small flight supplements from your local airport- as we price our holidays well in advance and based upon typical London departures.

The advantages in cost and convenience however far outweigh any additional local airport supplement- and to support the environment - reducing the overall carbon footprint is good policy.

Escorted Guided walking programme- - and other activities


Our Strolling

We walk in three kinds of terrain, and this adds to the enjoyment of this holiday. Walks are 4 miles  long and graded easy. with little climbing.

Levada walking is the most popular form of exploring this island, and we take in three levada walks - though we do add to the levada walks by venturing off the main tracks to explore. They are a joy to walk along with the constant stream of water bubbling on one side, and ever changing views of deep valleys and hillsides usually to the sea, on the other. Other walks are on the St Laurences Point and a stretch of the Boca Da Carrido walk in the mountains.

Our Exploring the magnificent gardens of Madeira 

Join us on a journey to Madeira Island’s most delightful gardens… this visit will surely delight you!

We visit the glorious gardens - the Botanical, the Orchid gardens, and the beautiful town gardens in Funchal. We visit the Palheiro Gardens - the Blandy family home, and the magnificent tropical gardens at Monte.

The town of Funchal does have some remarkable old buildings - a fort, the cathedral, the English church, as well as fantastic municipal buildings. But the gem - the old town, where we walk around the streets paved with stones from the beach -  is visited both in the day and when we go to eat in the evenings. Funchal’s market is a well worth our visit - displaying the islands agricultural diversity and richness. We visit Machico, the first place settled on the island, and beautiful Porto do Cruz. Depending on our programme, we may also visit Santana or Camara dos Lobos. We take our minibus to all these places - and the journeys are very much part of the holiday - the richness of the land, it’s wonderful cultivation, the high cliffs, and the lofty, pinnacle shaped mountains - all make for a simply superb itinerary. Back to the hotel about 5.00pm, for  a rest, perhaps a swim, and prepare for dinner.

But the beauty about Madeira is that flowers abound everywhere, they simply grow in profusion alongside levadas, by the road side in the villages and simply everywhere- so you do not need to visit laid out gardens to gain a sense of the profusion of beauty.

Monte Palace Tropical Gardens

Open to the public since 1991 this masterpiece located in Monte was put together by José Berardo and includes one of the most important tile collections in Portugal. The tiles exhibited amidst the tropical vegetation represent several ages, coming from palaces, churches, chapels and private houses throughout the former Portuguese empire. Most of them describe social, cultural and religious events. From these we point out a door from the 18th century, framed by a chapel’s frontispiece, with two lateral figures holding the stones of the 10 Commandments and a sword; and 40 tile panels telling the Portuguese history, beginning with the kingdom of Dom Afonso Henriques and ending with a panel dedicated to the Third Republic.

Your Walk Leaders

Alan Garner is your holiday leader. They  arrange all aspects of the holiday from arrangements in the UK, to meeting you off your flight and settling  you into your hotel. They then manage your walk guiding. including all transport. We use local walking guides to show us the best of walking in this walking paradise - their knowledge of the history, plant life and geology is brilliant. We also arrange your evening meals as a group, though this is not obligatory. We have spent time selecting the best value for money restaurants in Funchal, We will also advise on where you can enjoy evening entertainment, the best places to change money and  the best places to buy those take home presents. On this holiday you have a free day - Friday - and we will advise on where to go and how to get there. Or simply just chill out .

Prevailing weather conditions

Madeira has a mild climate year round.  May and June will have a mix of sunny, warm weather- but there could be cloudy conditions and some high level mist- and be prepared for a shower or two- it is not a green paradise for no reason. November is a similar climate.


Although our leaders are well trained  and experienced in dealing  with different capabilities of our walking clients, if they have any concerns about  any clients ability or suitability to undertake safely any walking activity we plan or they feel that participation of an individual may affect the groups safety and cohesion, then they have full permission to exclude that client from an activity.

They will try at all times to provide an alternative suggested activity, though this may involve the client in additional local cost.

We rarely have to enforce this above recommendation, but it is a sensible and necessary protection for the individual client, the group and the leaders.

Holiday Highlights

- An Island Paradise-

- lovely strolling along the coast and levada's

- Stay in a beautiful historic city

- Flowers everywhere, lots of formal and informal gardens

- in the mountains but not on the mountains

- warm evenings that entrance you

- the Madeiran cuisine to delight you

- our relaxed social approach

- UK tour guide as well as local guides

How do we get about the island to see everything

Simply - we use a minibus/or 8 seater taxis to go from place to place. So we can plan a programme where we can ensure that all of your day is packed with interest and that at night you will be able to compare your photo's/Ipads/Mobile photo's, as a way of enjoying your day again, and sometimes as a way of identifying some species.

Whats included

What you get on a Secret Hills break

  • Hotel bed and breakfast– en suite

  • Flights and flight organisation

  • Transfers to and from hotel and airport

  • Sole occupancy

  • Lunch

  • Personal service

  • Expert guiding- local guide

  • UK tour leader at all times

  • Transport to walks start if necessary

  • Our administration to organise your reservation and arrange the holiday

  • Not included

  • Evening dinners

  • Entrance fees to all gardens

Customer Reviews

Harry and Penny Smith Maderia November 2017


Hi Alan,

 Many thanks for organising a lovely holiday with great guides, good food and good company. Look forward to travelling with you again in the future.

Once again thank you for a wonderfully organised holiday. We had a brilliant time but it's  cold here. As I said to you the walk up to the highest peak was the most dramatic walk we have ever done and that includes Nepal. We hope you have a  Christmas.


Harry and Penny




 Margery Snider  Maderia November 2017


The Levada walking is a special experience, the country is so beautiful, and Funchal is a nice city to spend time in.


Dave & Ann Bambury  Maderia November 2017


Great guides. Honario and Roberto.

I would want to walk with them again.

They gave me a lot of confidence and I did walks that I would have thought would have been beyond me.



Elaine Porter Maderia November 2017

Very good organization without feeling bossed about, our holiday was brilliant. Our 4th holiday and already thinking about a 5th. Secret hills is brilliant



Ann Allman Maderia November 2017

The hotel was very nice..great location to shops, restaurants, town centre and the bay. Enjoyable breakfast with sufficient choices. Clean well presented bedrooms with comfortable bed however the lighting in the bedroom was poor. both guides were very friendly, congenial, knowledgeable and accommodation. They went out of their way to help and assist all the guests.

Transfers, flights, walks, restaurants .. All 5 star

You’re all doing a wonderful job and I appreciate all the hard work put in before and after the trip.

Thank you!!



Christine Ringer - Maderia April 2017

Our guide Honorio was attentive and informative, we felt in a safe pair hands of hands. I enjoyed the total experience and the wet added to the challenge and feeling of achievement. Alan Garner had his work cut-out keeping the group buoyant during the wet conditions. He looked after us well and was very understanding and accommodating 

Sheena Mackenzie - Madeira November 2016

The hotel was conveniently located for walking to local restaurants in the evening, buying water etc and exploring Funchal on the non-walking day.  I enjoyed sampling the menus in different local restaurants in the evening

Caroline Lumb Maderia - November 2016

The mountain walks were stunning, also the coastal views.  Sometimes the levada walking was a bit dull.  Honorio was full of useful information and Chris did an excellent job as rear marker - very supportive

Carole Bright Madeira- November 2016
Both Ian and Chris were excellent. Lots of patience, great organisers, everything ran very smoothly. There must be so much behind the scenes work! All evening meals good and it is nice to sample the various places we were taken to. Madeira and Funchal super. 

Jenny Oxyley- Madeira November 2016

The walks were a good length, some more challenging than others both the Leader and “Back marker” did a first rate job.  The guided walking experience was organised extremely well.  Having a packed lunch arranged was a bonus as finding time to shop each morning can be tedious!The icing on the cake was the selection of restaurants that were organised for each night.  All having great food and at fair prices.


Barry Gregory - Madeira November 2014

I enjoyed all aspects of the Madeira holiday (except for the cold that started up part–way through ). It is a beautiful island and the walking in the mountains is both dramatic and challenging. We were fortunate with the weather on every day apart from Sunday. 

All the evening food was excellent with generous portions and great flavors. Having found a recipe on the Internet, I plan to make a batch of fish soup in the next few days!! Most of all, the group got on very well together. 

Lin and John Chesshire - Madeira - November 2014

John and I loved every minute of Madeira November 2014

 A delightful island with varied, often challenging but always interesting walks. Once again thank you both so much for your care, attention to detail and obvious love of the outdoors. We will be joining you again. 

Eve and Garry Parmenter Madeira November 2014

Thank you for a super holiday, we both thoroughly enjoyed it.  Adventurous walks for me and manageable walks for Eve. Perfect! I have attached some photos that may be of interest.

All the best, Garry & Eve

Trudy Ann Wibberly Madeira November 2014

Well Allan and Chris you did it again, what a fabulous holiday in Madeira everything just perfect  as we have come to expect with Secret Hills good company, good food and great walks to suit all tastes. Talking of tastes, never has an ice cream tasted so good in the pouring rain..... Can't wait for my next holiday with you.

Ellie and Barry Hubbard Madeira - November 2014

Enjoyed the holiday very much and we look forward to seeing you both again. Any time you need help with the Peak District walks just let me know and I will join you if I can.

Jane Allard Madeira November 2014

Hi Alan and Chris

Thank you both for a lovely holiday. I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Insurances needed

Insurance - you need to be fully covered

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against travel,medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). Our partners New Experience holidays will ask for this information as a condition of reserving a place.

If you are a UK citizen and travelling in Europe you should obtain the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) from your Post Office. This gives you medical care at a reduced cost, and some cases for free, in many European countries, but should not be considered a substitute for adequate insurance

Madeira - the Pearl of the Atlantic

This is a holiday that is adventurous and romantic, that’s completely unique and different, and yet, one that’s totally unforgettable and exotic? Madeira’s just the place. With fuchsia Bougainvillea, scarlet Poinsettias and lilac Jacaranda trees blanketing the landscape in quilts of exotic blooms throughout the year. Located in the Atlantic Ocean, just north-west of the Canary islands and a little further away from Africa, it is famous for its’ balmy summers and warm winters making it the ideal holiday destination all year. Madeira has two sides, north and south, separated by a mountainous spine. The south warm and sunny, whilst the north a little cooler.
Its capital city,. Funchal has over the years retained a charm of its own with whitewashed colonial buildings, 15th century churches, picturesque squares and relaxing promenades.

The narrow back streets of the old part of the town are packed with tavernas, the contrasting Marina has a more cosmopolitan vibe, with its’ pavement café’s and excellent seafood restaurants specializing in freshly grilled lobster. The Madeira Botanical Gardens set high above Funchal is easy to reach by car, bus, or the preferred method of the Teleférico Cable Car. Connecting the Gardens with the old town of Funchal, the cable car floats over gorges and hillsides with stupendous views on offer. For the energetic and adventurous Madeira offers endless opportunities from mountain walking, hiking to para-gliding. Levadas were once used to bring water down from the mountains to the fields, now they are Madeira’s prime walking territory. Covering 2,000 kilometres, this natural network of routes encapsulates stunning countryside. The islands of the Madeira Archipelago not only have beautiful seascapes but have an abundance of marine wildlife.

A. walking paradise -  Madeira will surprise you, enchant you. Join us and enjoy.

Our relationship with New Experience Holidays/ATOL protection

Our Partners in Europe Walking

Secret Hills Walking are pleased to be associated with New Experience Holidays, who organise flights, accommodation and transfers for these holidays and provide you with ATOL security.
All your joining instructions and individual flight arrangements will be made by Paul and Deborah Sawyer. Once you have committed to a holiday, and have accepted the individual quote we send, we will forward a New Experience reservation form, and you should pay all deposits and final payments to New Experience Holidays.
Secret Hills Walking is responsible for marketing and selling the holidays and for arranging your itinerary when you arrive at the airport in the country you are visiting. You will receive individual attention throughout your holiday from us.


ATOL Bonding - New Experience Holidays REGISTRATION

How to book a holiday

Do not book on line at this point. Read on and follow the instructions

In order to conform with ATOL bonding requirements, prior to you reserving a holiday with us, we need to provide you with an official quotation. This will contain all the details and costs of the holiday and your requested choice of flights and airports. You will find a GET QUOTE button at the top of the page, use this and fill in the form in order to start the quotation process. Once you have filled in the Quotation Request form, you will get an email confirmation from us.

We partner with New Experience Holidays who provide the ATOL bonding, so all quotations will be sent by them, and you will reserve and pay for your holiday with them.

The quotation process - ATOL BONDING requirement- the quotation is the first part of the contract between us and you.

The quotation will include

- the basic price of the holiday as advertised

- any flight supplement from the airport of your choice

- single supplement if this applies

- a choice of flights if this is applicable

- any specific requirement such as additional nights/ sea view rooms etc.

- final price and payment information

The Quotation stage - who sends you your quotation

In order to conform  to ATOL bonding protection rules, New Experience Holidays will send you your full quotation normally by email- please ask if you want to receive the quotation by post.

Your contacts at New Experience Holidays are Matthew Newcombe, Anna  Brown and Paul Sawyer.

We need to know your preferred departure airport. We can guide you about the right airport and options - simply read the web pages for the country you are wanting to visit, or email us for flight advice.

The Booking Process

Once you have accepted the quotation, fill in a New Experience booking form (this can be done online) or send in the completed form,  and pay both the deposit – normally £125 - plus any additional flight supplements to New Experience.Holidays  Final payment is also made to New Experience.Holidays.

Once you have booked, you will not be sent a reminder of when to pay the full amount, so please diarise this.

About three weeks prior to departure, New Experience Holidays will send you holiday joining details, including your flight details with instruction to print off your boarding cards.

Once you arrive at your holiday destination

Secret Hills Walking Holidays (Slovenia Walking Holidays) organise all aspects of your holiday– including guiding, transport to walks start and provide you with an experienced tour guide.You make your won arrangements to get to the airport in the UK, we meet you at the airport you are flying to, and help you with your transfer to the appointed hotel.

It is important to read New Experience Holidays' Terms and Conditions - click on the tab on their web site  - before you sign the booking form.

Add extra days or nights to your holiday

You can add extra days and nights to your holiday with us. 

There is much to explore in the island of Madeira - so ask us to quote you for the extra nights you need.

Of course you can add extra nights by organising these your self

 The beautiful city of Funchal itself is a joy to spend time in, and explore.Whilst the beautiful countryside with its magnificent flowers live up to the islands name - the Pearl of the Atlantic

 To learn about what you can do, see and explore in this beautiful region, look at the following web sites.

Changes in European travel rules in 2021

We have now left the European Union and from January 1 2021, new guidance from UK government is issued. These new rules are simple but you need to make sure you are complying with them.See the UK governments guidelines. See

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Our Promise To You
You matter to us & we promise to provide you with a superb walking & social holiday, tailored specifically to your needs. We provide walking holidays for walkers & as walkers ourselves, we appreciate & understand the requirements of a walking holiday.

What Others Said...

Thank you for arranging a most enjoyable short break in a delightful area. All the careful planning was appreciated by us all.

Jean Hynd