An action-packed adventure on the Atlantic island of Madeira! Explore this volcanic archepalego when orienteering, trekking, mountain biking and stand-up paddle-boarding, plus visit the underground lava caves, and look out for whales and dolphins at sea!
Day 1 London - Madeira
We fly from the UK to the spectacular archipelago of Madeira, tucked away in the in the Atlantic Ocean more than 500 kilometres from the African coast and 1,000 kilometres from Europe. The volcanic origins of Madeira have given rise to its jagged mountain topography, with intensely fertile green valleys lying between the soaring peaks. Tonight we will stay in the capital Funchal, nestled in a great natural amphitheatre, facing the blue Atlantic with a backdrop of dramatic mountains.
Day 2 Encumeada- Orienteering
This morning we head into the centre of the island, where we will have the opportunity to take a short trek in the local area and enjoy extraordinarily wide-ranging views. We will practice orienteering with expert guidance and stay right in the heart of the laurel forest, recognised by UNESCO as a World Natural Heritage site, such is its natural beauty and unique setting.
Day 3 – 4 Trekking
After breakfast we begin our 2-day trekking adventure, taking us through impressive volcanic geology and lush levada trails, allowing us to enjoy the ever-changing sea views.We’ll trek inside the Laurissilva Native Forest, the largest surviving area of laurel forest in the world, which contains an array of unique plants and animals, plus many rare endemic species.
We will experience stunning views at Paredao and camp for one night near Bica da Cana which offers a panoramic outlook of the impressive mountain range.Our second day of trekking will follow age-old routes used in the 16th century to connect the north and south of the island. Our journey will take us alongside parts of the amazing network of irrigation channels known as levadas- built by Moroccan slaves to carry water from the wet north side to the drier south side. We will negotiate levada tunnels and cross jagged green ridges, passing numerous waterfalls, most notably Lagoa D. Beja- a magical, natural rock pool with crystal-clear water.
The scenery throughout our two days of trekking is far more varied and majestic than you might imagine and the floral diversity is remarkable!
Day 5 Volcanic Centre and Caves of Sao Vicente
Madeira Island is actually the top of a massive shield volcano that rises about 6km from the floor of the Atlantic Ocean. The volcanic eruptions began over five million years ago and continued until about 700,000 years ago. We will be able to walk through the ‘volcanic tunnels’ where we can see volcanic stalactites and lava accumulations known as ‘lava cakes’. In the afternoon we will visit the village of Sao Vincente to get a taste for local life, before returning to Funchal.
Day 6 Mountain Biking
For today’s adventure we explore the local area on two wheels, mountain biking within the ecological park of Funchal. There are some superb cycling trails for us to tackle, and we will be supported by the local mountain bike team who know the tracks well. It will be a fantastic and fun way to experience the island’s rugged terrain and enjoy the breathtaking views.Day 7 Whale & Dolphin Watching, Stand up Paddle Boarding
This morning we have an amazing opportunity to head out into the Atlantic Ocean on boats to find whales and dolphins. Madeira is one of the best locations in the world for year-round dolphin and whale watching. There are about 80 species of cetaceans worldwide and 29 of these can be seen in Madeira. We hope to see at least 1-2 species of dolphins which will playfully swim around the boat and, if you are lucky, we may even come across a family of whales!
We finish off our expedition with an afternoon of SUP fun. We receive full instruction and safety briefings (theoretical and practical) before heading out on a SUP to tour in the glistening, mild waters. SUP is a worldwide booming sport and gives you the freedom to access local beauty and lush landscapes where other vessels can’t reach. Day 8 Return to UK
Today we transfer back to the airport for our flight home to the UK with a host of new outdoor skills and wonderful memories of our adventure on this magical island.
Nestled in the Atlantic Ocean, the tiny island of Madeira is perhaps one of our more unexpected destinations for adventure. However, the island’s dramatic scenery and impressive biodiversity make it the perfect destination for any expedition. Perched at the top of an extinct volcano, Madeira boasts incredible views across the Atlantic as well as spectacular volcanic landscapes, soaring peaks, and sprawling forests. All of this packed onto this small archipelago is the perfect recipe for a great expedition- Madeira can be opulently explored with minimal travelling, and when it’s just a short flight from mainland Europe, we can’t think of any reasons why you shouldn’t visit!
Budding explorers can indulge their adventurous side with a wealth of trekking opportunities, including ascents of the island’s two highest peaks, which reward climbers with outstanding outlooks across the whole island and beyond. There are opportunities for mountain biking, stand-up paddle boarding, and whale and dolphin watching, as Madeira plays host to some 30 species of cetacean. Madeira is home to the Encumeada forest which is an UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as a fascinating labyrinth of lava tubes and caves at the island’s core. Exploring the plethora of pretty coastal towns is the icing on the cake for an adventure in Madeira and an action-packed expedition here should be top of anyone’s list.
Day 1 Fly London – Funchal
Day 2 Orienteering
Day 3 - 4 Trekking
Day 7 Whale and Dolphin Watching
Day 8 Fly Home
Day 10 Whale and Dolphin watching
Day 11 Fly home to UK
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"We are different from other expedition companies - we are a family business with family values. We will always exceed expectations thanks to outstanding leadership, energy and dedication. This is the Far Frontiers way."
Christopher Short, Managing Director of Far Frontiers Expeditions
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Written on Monday, 13 February 2017
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