- Small Group escorted tour to the Portuguese Island of Madeira, staying at the excellent 5* Vidamar Resort Hotel .
- Visit 16 exceptional gardens including a banana plantation.
- Seize the opportunity to go on an organized dolphin viewing (and possibly whale) tour (optional).
- Luxury Transportation by private coach accompanied by experienced local tour guide with botanical knowledge.
- Complimentary welcome drinks on arrival. All breakfasts and lunches included.
This 8 day tour of Madeira starts on 1 April 2023. On the first evening you’ll have an opportunity to meet your tour leader and fellow garden visitors during complimentary welcome drinks. The second day will be spent introducing you to what has become known as Madeiran Garden Style. With its superb mild all-year round climate (between 73°F (23°C) – 61°F (16°C)) Madeira has become an important destination for garden and plant lovers from all over the world. Over the next 5 days we will visit 16 exceptional gardens each of which has been hand picked by us to represent the best Madeira has to offer. Of course, we’ll visit the world famous Botanic Garden. But we’ll also explore the lesser known northern and eastern parts of the Island where we’ll encounter the varied landscapes and different gardens that support more than 2000 different native plants that grow there.
Day 1 – 1 April 2023: Arrival & Check-In – 5* Vidamar Resort Hotel Madeira
After arriving at Funchal Airport, transfer and check-in to the very comfortable Vidamar Resort Madeira (formerly CS Madeira), the 5 * Hotel where which will be our home for the duration of our stay. Meet your tour manager Alice Bernardes and fellow garden visitors over complimentary drinks between 1800-1900.
Make you own arrangements for dinner at one of our hotel’s 5 theme restaurants.
Day 2 – 2 April 2023: Gardens Visited: Funchal’s Public Garden, Quinta Vigia, Botanic Garden
After a leisurely breakfast Alice Bernardes will give you an introduction to Funchal and its surrounding area. Afterwards we visit the Funchal’s Public Garden and the gardens of Quinta Vigia. Located in the centre of Funchal, the Public Garden was designed in 1842 by Andre, the Parisian landscape architect, on the site of an important 16th Century Monastery – the Convento de Sao Francisco. The garden is historically significant as it introduced new aspects of garden design to the island. Over the years, plants more suited the local climate were introduced and the gardens now reflect what has become known as the Madeira garden style. With more than 168 different species here, some of the plants in this garden are found at its edges – a Bella Sombra, flowering Jacaranthas, Flame Trees and Grevilleas are all present. After our visit we’ll walk a short distance to Quinta Vigia, it’s garden being perhaps one of Funchal’s best kept secrets. Now the official residence of Madeira’s Govenor, Quinta Vigia dates from 1662. Although the gardens surrounding the house only date from between 1979-1982 they are in exemplary order. Maintained by staff from the Botanic Garden, there are bamboo orchids, beds displaying Madeira’s indigenous plants many of which are not commercially available in Europe. After our visit we walk back to the old town, visit the market and have lunch.
After lunch, we head off to Madeira’s famous Botanic Garden. Once home of hotelier William Reid, these 15 acres of gardens date from 1881. Although famous for its carpet garden (created from all kinds of plants with colourful leaves) the Botanic Garden has much more to offer the visitor. With more than 2000 different plant species and cultivars organised to reflect each of the different ecosystems of the Madeira Islands – coastal plain, mountain forest and upland plateau – there is a great deal to see. There are few places in the world where you can see plants from three continents and three habitats during one visit as you can here. The gardens reach up to 350 metres above sea level and offer a splendid view over the Bay of Funchal. After a couple of hours exploring, we head back to our hotel. Evening is spent at leisure. Make your own arrangements for Dinner either by choosing to eat in one of the Hotel’s 5 theme restaurants or nearby at one of the restaurants recommended by the Hotel’s concierge.
Day 3 – 3 April 2023: Gardens Visited: Ribeiro Frio, Quinta do Furão
After breakfast we leave our hotel by luxury coach and tour the eastern part of the island. During the day, we’ll experience Madeira’s different landscapes, from high mountain ranges to coastal plains. En route we’ll visit the Ribeiro Frio. Nestled in a ravine with its own microclimate, Ribeiro Frio was established around 50 years ago and intended to be a reserve of Madeira wild flowers. Here we’ll find Madeira’s yellow foxglove, spotted orchids, woodwardia ferns, Madeira daisies as well as a good selection of woody plants of the forest. If we have time we’ll take a short walk through in the nearby forest and experience it first-hand. From Ribeiro Frio, we travel to Santana and have lunch at the Quinta do Furão before we start our return trip back to Funchal via Machico passing through vineyards on the way.
En-route we’ll stop off for cocktails at Reid’s Palace Hotel, the most exclusive hotel on the island of Madeira. The garden surrounding the hotel is very nice and if we have time, we’ll walk around before we return to our hotel.
Make your own arrangements for Dinner either by choosing to eat in one of the Hotel’s 5 theme restaurants or nearby at one of the restaurants recommended by the Hotel’s concierge.
Day 4 – 4 April 2023: Gardens Visited: at leisure or optional visits to Porto Mare gardens, Pestana village gardens, Quinta Magnolia and/or the Madeira Magic Gardens
You can spend this day either on your own either relaxing in our resort hotel’s spa or by going on an organised dolphin tour (not included) where if you’re very lucky you might spot a whale! If you would like to spend the day exploring more gardens we suggest visiting Porto Mare gardens, Pestana Village gardens or Quinta Magnolia all of which are within short walking distance of our hotel. Your tour guide will lead a group to visit Madeira Magic Gardens, which is, in our view, a must-see. Please let her know if you would like to join. Make your own arrangements for dinner either by choosing to eat in one of the Hotel’s 5 theme restaurants or nearby at one of the restaurants recommended by the Hotel’s concierge.
Day 5 – 5 April 2023: Gardens Visited: Quinta do Palheiro Ferreiro, Quinta do Vale Paraiso, Quinta Splendida
After breakfast we travel to Quinta do Palheiro Ferreiro (Blandy Gardens) the first of three gardens that we will visit today. Blandy Gardens is considered as being one of the beautiful gardens on the island. With a history dating back more than 200 years it has one of the most celebrated botanical collections in the world. Large specimens of tulips trees, sequois, ginkgo and cedars feature next to South African and Australasian flora for which the gardens are justly famous. Don’t forget to take a look at one of the rarest trees in the garden – the Burmese Saurauia nepalensis and wonder at the collection of more than 10,000 camelia trees! After Blandy Gardens, we travel to Quinta do Vale Paraiso where we’ll have lunch. Afterwards, we’ll visit the gardens of Quinta Splendida which will be in full bloom during your visit. Make your own arrangements for Dinner either by choosing to eat in one of the Hotel’s 5 theme restaurants or nearby at one of the restaurants recommended by the Hotel’s concierge.
Day 6 – 6 April 2023: Gardens Visited: Madalena do Mar, Port Moniz, Banana Plantation
After breakfast, we’ll tour the west side of the island by luxury coach. En-route to Madalena do Mar our first port of call, we’ll experience some beautiful scenery and if possible we’ll stop to take some photos. Madalena do Mar is a traditional fishing village surrounded by banana plantations. We’ll take some time to walk around the village and admire some of the well tended gardens before we head off to visit a banana plantation. Before lunch at a traditional local restaurant, we’ll see the splendid waterfalls at Port Moniz. If we’re lucky one of the national dishes – spada fish with banana – with be on the menu. Delicious ! Depending on the weather, we’ll also have a short walk along one of the “levadas” for which Madeira is famous. Levadas are channels built in the 15th century that bring water from the north of the Island to the south where most of the population and plantations are located. They are popular with walkers and give us a glimpse of the past. Make your own arrangements for Dinner either by choosing to eat in one of the Hotel’s 5 theme restaurants or nearby at one of the restaurants recommended by the Hotel’s concierge.
Day 7 – 7 April 2023:
After breakfast we’ll travel by coach to the Pico dos Barcelos, one of the panoramic viewpoints over the city of Funchal. Afterwards we’ll visit the Quinta de Santo Antonio which is believed to be more than 500 years old and by far, one of the oldest houses in Funchal. The garden was established in 1871 and consists of 3 distinct parts. A working garden with flowers, fruit and vegetables, a fazenda consisting of agricultural land and woods (called a mata). Everywhere we’ll find a glorious mix of traditional Madeira garden plants and native island flora. After Quinta de Santo Antonio, we’ll visit the Quinta Jardins do Lago, one of the most beautiful quinta on the island and which is now used as a luxury “botanical” hotel. Dating from 1803, the garden retains many of its original trees: dragon trees, jacarandas and mangos amongst others. Recently the gardens have been enlarged by the addition of many new plants including bromeliads, cycads and palms. Afterwards we’ll take the cable car to Monte and visit the extraordinary gardens of the Monte Palace where we will spend the rest of the afternoon exploring all that this garden has to offer. Although the house dates from 1900, by the time that it was bought by its present owner in 1987 the garden had become overrun. Since its official opening in 1991, it has become one of Madeira’s most popular attractions and offers the visitor a bewildering array of very different garden experiences all of which seek to dazzle and amaze. Make your own arrangements for Dinner either by choosing to eat in one of the Hotel’s 5 theme restaurants or nearby at one of the restaurants recommended by the Hotel’s concierge.
Day 8 – 8 April 2023: Check-out
After breakfast, please check-out of the hotel before 12 am in time for your onward travel.
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