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Levada Trails Of Madeira TM

Trip Duration 8 Days
 

Reviews for Levada Trails Of Madeira

Travellers were asked to provide a review of the trip, including highlights and tips.

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Levada Trails Of Madeira reviews verified by Reevoo

57 reviews

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Levada Trails Of MadeiraScores 8.8 out of 10 based on 57 reviews
(6 out of 10)

Liv

Newton St. Loe
Madeira is stunningly beautiful, and the walks were well planned to provide a great variety of terrains across different parts of the island. The group was great, although 15 is verging on too large. Generally, it was a good trip, marred by just one problem - although this put a serious dampener on the whole trip - which was the guide. He was a nice guy, and his knowledge of the local environment was extensive and genuinely enthusiastic, but he took the "let's exploit the customers" to extremes. While it's generally known that tour leaders will recommend restaurants where they can get a free meal and better, a small commission, a recommendation is one thing. When it turns into a situation where the trip is dominated by regular arrangements with friends in different towns, and group members are effectively press-ganged into coming by pushing the "antisocial" tag on them in front of the group, that's something else. In this case, we were asked verbally about arrangements for meals in front of the group every night, and on some occasions told we had to commit the night before because his friend needed to know how many pieces of fish or chicken to buy. Mostly the food was really good (not always), but meals averaged 25 euros without drinks. That's about 10 euros more than a decent restaurant in Funchal. It was also inevitably limited in choice, and usually took about an hour and a half to serve after the group arrived, so we'd end up not eating til 9:30pm. Since meals were also often in a different village to where we were staying, that meant dinner typically took three hours and we wouldn't get back to the hotel until after 11pm. If you didn't want to participate, no alternatives were ever offered, and ultimately it caused some quite major tensions in a group that otherwise got on brilliantly. I know it's hard to control, but Explore seriously needs to keep a check on this.

The other thing - what on earth was all the waiting about for? Why the constant constant extended coffee stops after leaving the hotel right after breakfast en route to a walk that starts fifteen minutes away? Or on the way back after a five hour walk in the sun where you really just want a shower or to jump in the pool?
Confirmed traveller: 11 June 2016
Published on: 18 June 2016

Thank you for your feedback, Liv. We're disappointed in your comments about the arrangements Benny made so we're looking into everything. We'll post a reply as soon as we have some more information.

(10 out of 10)

Gaynor

Shipley
Although the trip is promoted as moderate one walk in particular was very tuff. If you have bad knees or hips this is not for you, Madeira has a lot of steps. Our tour guide Benny was excellent, his passion and knowledge of the island shone through.
Confirmed traveller: 11 June 2016
Published on: 14 June 2016
(10 out of 10)

Joan

Wiltshire
Superb mountain walk on first day, which we would have had to miss if our brilliant leader Filipe had not swapped our itinerary round due to path maintenance. Very different scenery on the walks in different parts of the Island, and wonderful flowers.
Accomodations all excellent and in good positions. Leader Felipe had excellent local knowledge and knew how to avoid busy paths. Also knew great places to eat, one highlight a meal in a local village house watching the sunset from the terrace. He also was very enthusiastic and informative about Madeira.
Confirmed traveller: 21 May 2016
Published on: 11 June 2016
(10 out of 10)

Karen

Essex
This walking week in Madeira exceeded expectations. Filipe, our guide, was fantastic. He was so passionate about sharing his love of Madeira with the group, and is incredibly knowledgeable and excellent at sharing this knowledge with us. I feel like I really learned so much about Madeira. Our coach driver Victor, was equally friendly and helpful. I was genuinely impressed with every bit of the organisation for the trip, especially liked having dinner organised and eating together.

The walks were brilliant, loved every second of them, even when I found some walks difficult or challenging. The descents can be quite tricky and there is a section of levada walk with sheer drops. Unfortunately we did not have great visibility on the last walk up to Pico Ruivo, but the little bit we could see between the clouds was worth the challenging walk, just beautiful.
This was my first holiday with Explore, it definitely won't be my last. I have already started searching for my next trip!

Thank you Explore! Thank you Filipe!!!!

TIP: I use Nordic poles, however the walks are not really suitable for proper Nordic walking, they are too narrow and the terrain changes too frequently. In the end, I used the Nordic poles only as walking poles instead.
Confirmed traveller: 28 May 2016
Published on: 09 June 2016
(10 out of 10)

Doe

Letchworth Garden City
Excellent tour and an excellent tour leader.

He was extremely knowledgeable about everything on the tour especially the flowers, plants and the walks. I knew that I was in safe hands and he held the group brilliantly.
Thank you for such a good holiday.
Confirmed traveller: 28 May 2016
Published on: 08 June 2016
(10 out of 10)

Helen

Manchester, UK
This was a very well-balanced tour in terms of pace and variety of walks, giving us an excellent overall introduction to Madeira. Hotels were located in beautiful quiet areas - even in Funchal where the hotel was handily centrally located. All were of a higher standard than we expected, rooms were spacious, clean and comfortable. The distances between stopovers were generally short, allowing plenty of time for coffee stops. The walks were generally easy apart from the last day in the high peaks and some ascents/descents could be hard on the knees (take your walking poles!). Please note the tour notes need to be updated - we did complete the route from Pico Arieriro to Pico Ruivo, as there is a path with secured ladders around the original closed route. We ate as a group in a variety of restaurants, sometimes in the hotels, all of a very high standard (try the fish dish scabbard with banana!) and a highlight in Paul do Mar was a meal in a local's home, prepared by him in his kitchen, felt like we were invited friends. The trip was full of little added extras - visits to Madeira wine cellars in a local village, sampling freshly made ponchas.
Top highlight has to be our tour leader, Filipe Gomes. We were so lucky to have such an excellent guide - he was such a pleasure to meet and was so passionate about sharing his knowledge of all the flora & fauna of Madeira. His organisational skills were faultless and yet he managed to organise the group without it seeming forced, his style was very relaxed. We felt perfectly safe in his competent hands. He made the holiday one of the most enjoyable we've had (so far!) with Explore. Please do continue to appreciate him as he has to be one of your top tour leaders, thank you!
Confirmed traveller: 28 May 2016
Published on: 04 June 2016
(9 out of 10)

Kathrin

Cambridge
This was a very enjoyable trip. Madeira is a beautiful island and our guide Felipe made the week very special by being so enthusiastic, knowledgeable and helpful. On one of the evenings, he arranged for us to have a lovely authentic dinner at a friend's place which made us feel more than just tourists. Also, he dropped everything on his morning off to help with a medical issue. And the two drivers Paul and Dinard were also exceptionally professional and helpful.
Confirmed traveller: 21 May 2016
Published on: 01 June 2016
(7 out of 10)

Jacqueline

Leeds
Highlight of the trip was the Balcony walk up to the highest peak on Madeira. Only disappointment was the absence of views at the top due to the cloud cover.
We went to the Tropical Gardens in Funchal on the free day, highly recommended. Take the bus and allow at least 3 hours to explore the beautiful flora and fauna.
Confirmed traveller: 16 May 2016
Published on: 26 May 2016
(10 out of 10)

Karen

Frimley, Camberley, surrey
Despite weather and colds, Ben was superb host ,cheerful and nothing too much trouble. Would go back in a heartbeat and hope I got dry weather next time!
Confirmed traveller: 23 April 2016
Published on: 04 May 2016
(9 out of 10)

Neale

Cambridge, UK
Benny the tour leader was excellent - hugely knowledgeable about Madeira's history and especially its flora. He knew exactly when to pause and when to push on, and made some adjustments to the itinerary (to avoid crowded levadas) that really improved the experience - in fact we would have liked him to have been given more freedom in choosing walks and hotels. Some of the mountain walks were quite tough - this isn't just easy strolling along gentle levadas, although there is some of that. It's difficult to pick walks as highlights since they were all great; food highlights were the ones organised by Benny - the Rasta Red Snapper supper, barbecue in the hills and supper in Jardim do Mar. I normally avoid anything that smacks of an organised factory tour, but the Rum distillery was an experience not to be missed. This was our first Explore! trip but I'm sure it won't be the last.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Confirmed traveller: 30 April 2016
Published on: 02 May 2016