Overview

If you’re looking for the freedom to explore at your own pace, our Madeira fly drive holiday is the best way to discover this beautiful island in the Atlantic.

You’re independent and free to drive where you like, when you like. You could spend a day in the famous Curral das Freiras (the Nuns Valley), mingling with the locals over coffee and cake. Or perhaps you’d enjoy a drive along the dramatic north-coast road, via high cliffs and waterfalls of Porto Moniz – without a doubt one of the most spectacularly-scenic drives in Europe.

As this is a tailor-made Madeira fly drive holiday, we don’t tie you down to specific hotels – we’ll usually arrange a call for a chat, to give you a feel for the type of accommodation that’s available before we put together your personalised fly-drive holiday. We’ll also include your flights and your car, and we’re here to support you throughout your holiday – we’ll also suggest a few of our favourite things to see and do on the island: the rest is up to you !

Itinerary

You’ll begin your holiday by flying from the UK to Madeira. Our driver will collect you from your flight, for the twenty-minute transfer to your accommodation in Funchal. If you’re arriving in the evening, we’ll usually recommend including dinner at your hotel.
You could spend your first day exploring Funchal; the capital of Madeira. The city is easily explored on foot: the historic Sé Catedral and the famous Blandy’s wine lodge are all within easy walking distance of your hotel, or you could take the Teleferico cable car up to the beautiful Monte Palace Gardens, before returning to the city riding the famous Carro de Cesto wicker taboggans.
Your hire car will be delivered; you can begin exploring the island. You might like to head east to the forest park at Ribeiro Frio. Three of the island’s most important levadas pass through the park (the Levada do Furado, the Serra and the Juncal), making this the ideal area to preserve Madeira’s endemic plantlife. You could spend the afternoon in the town of Machico - the spot where Joao Goncalves Zarco and Trisao Vaz Texiera first landed when they discovered the island on 1st July 1419.
You could leave Funchal today, heading north for a two-night stay in the town of Santana. The town is home to the Parque Temático da Madeira which preserves the island’s traditional thatch and lavastone buildings and celebrates Madeiran handicrafts.
If you’re keen hikers, you might like to walk the Levada do Rei trail, following the ‘King’s Levada’ across the slopes of the Lombo do Meio. The trail takes you through an area lush with wild herbs and Laurisilva.
Leaving Santana, you could head west along the coast for a three night stay in the town of Sao Vicente.
Santana is home to Madeira’s Volcanism Centre, where you can explore the island’s 800,000-year-old lava caves and tunnels.
You could take drive into the island’s central mountains, via the summits of Pico do Cedro and Pico da Encumeada, onto the high Paul de Serra plain. At 1500m it's a beautifully-desolate part of the island – it’s also the start point for one of the island most popular way-marked walks: the 25 Fontes trail.
Leaving Sao Vicente, it's a short drive to the north coast and the magnificent sea cliffs that dominate the landscape on this side of Madeira. The road leads to Porto Moniz, where the coastline is dotted with natural rock pools; it's one of the best swimming spots on the island.
You could take a drive to the most westerly point on the island – to the lighthouse at Ponta do Pargo and the 140m high cascata da Garganta Funda waterfall; one of the highest waterfalls on the island. Achadas da Cruz is nearby – a cable car connects the village on the top of the sea cliffs with its seafront farmlands 500m below. It’s a steep ride compared to some of the other telefericos on the island – but worth it for the spectacular views.
Leaving Porto Moniz, you could head south for a three-night stay in the sunny south coast village of Ponta do Sol. An en-route lunch stop the fishing village of Paul do Mar is highly recommended. You’ll also pass through the town of Calheta – home to one of the island’s few surviving rum distilleries at Engenho da Calheta.
It's a short drive from Ponta do Sol to the Eira do Serrado – the famous miradouro (viewpoint) overlooking the Curral das Freiras, or Nuns Valley. The nuns of the Convent of Santa Clara famously took refuge here in the mid-16th Century, following attacks by French pirates on Funchal. Cherries and chestnuts are the main crops grown on the terraces that you’ll see lining the steep sides of the valley - the annual Chestnut festival on the 1st November is one of the island’s most popular celebrations.
Ponta do Sol’s neighbour is the coastal town of Camara de Lobos – home to some of the island’s largest banana plantations and vineyards. Winston Churchill famously visited the town during a stay on the island in 1950 – the ‘Miradouro de Winston Churchill’ was named in his honour. A more modern miradouro is close-by at Cabo Girao – a glass skywalk which extends out over the 580m high Cabo Girao seacliff.
You'll return to Funchal for your final evening on the island.
You'l be transferred to the airport for your flight home.

From £1700 per person

We can create a tailor-made holiday to suit your budget.

INCLUDED: direct return flights from the UK. Accommodation in twin/double en-suite rooms on a B&B basis, return airport transfers and car hire.

Accommodation

We have a great selection of hand-picked hotels and quintas across the whole island, allowing us to create the best personalised holidays.

Activities

You can pick and choose from any of the exciting activities we offer, and we’ll let you know the best time to include them in your trip (and the extra cost when they’re added).

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