Madeira - the island where the adventure begins
🏃 Experience Level 3: Experienced on trails
📅 Trip length: 8 days
📍 Location: Madeira, Portugal
📅 2 - 9 November 2024
💁🏼♂️ £1995 / $ 2200 Per person
💰 Book now pay later
Want to get a feel for what it would be like to run sections of the famous MIUT Madeira Island Ultra Trail? This itinerary provides a wonderfully varied 6 days of running on a lush island known as 'The Floating Garden'. This trip is led by a fully qualified International Mountain Leader, offering out-of-this-world trails and top notch hotel accommodation.
- Day one: Welcome to Madeira! Arrive at the island's airport, transfer to your hotel, put your feet up, or wander through the historic, vibrant capital town of Funchal. On the first evening you’ll meet up with your fellow runners and guides for the week. Our team will brief everyone on the routes, weather conditions, requirements for the following days, and answer any burning questions.
- Days two to seven: Running days follow a soon-to-be familar pattern. After breakfast and a final kit check, we will pick up lunch and head off to hit the trails. We'll transfer to and from the trail head together, so you just have to show up ready to run! The route chosen each day will vary based on the weather, conditions and needs of the group. Stunning waterfalls, dramatic mountains, ancient volcanos, UNESCO world heritage forests, tunnels through the rock and trails clinging to cliffs high above the ocean - this island really does have it all. We will cover sections of the Madeira Island Ultra Trail, as well as other hidden gems picked by our knowledgeable and experienced local guides. Madeira has so many great routes, it's impossible to list them all, but examples are:
- The Lost World - 25km, +1000m - starting on the white sandy beach of Machico, our ascent offers fantastic views of the bay and surrounding valleys. We follow a levada, one of the famous Madeiran waterways, towards Boca do Risco, deep inside the forest. The views to Vereda do Larano are breathtakingly hard to beat, with the ocean on one side and mountains to the other, you could convince yourself you're on the film set of Jurrasic Park. Looping back to the levada, you can choose to cool off with a quick dip in the ocean at the end.
- Encumeda waterfalls & tunnels - 17km, +600m - taking the Levada do Norte from Encumeada, this route passes through multiple, iconic, hand-carved Madeiran tunnels to traverse sections of mountains. Experience an immersion in the heart of the Laurissilva Forest, as we head up to a privaledged viewpoint with vast valley views. Passing lakes and waterfalls as we run, the final few have little room for manoevre, offering a welcome shower after many kms on the trails.
- Summits of Pico do Arieiro & Pico Ruivo - 12km, +1000m - do not be fooled by the 'short' distance of this route, as the demands of the terrain make it anything but easy! We start in Pico do Arieiro and head towards Pico Ruivo, the highest peak in Madeira and 3rd highest in Portugal. It's an unrelenting rollercoaster of ascents and descents, one of the most demanding sections of the MUIT, in the heart of the island, and surrounded by wonderful flora and fauna.
- Forests & Pools - 22km, +900m - we begin 1500m above sea level at Blandy's Levada, and cruise along a section of downhill singletrack with views down to Funchal. The route passes through lush, green forests, via picture-perfect waterfalls and natural pools. From Ribeiro Frio, we climb up to the sheep barns and cool, grassy plateau of Chao das Feiteiras.
- Nun's Valley - 23km, +1900m - starting deep inside the valley, we're straight up a vertical km towards Boca das Torrinhas. Single track takes us west along the central massif, with beautiful views. As we reach Encumeada we switch to a lower trail, heading to Relvinhas, where we meet the famous MUIT technical downhill section. Stunning views may (or may not!) take your mind off this quad-testing challenge.
- Green Mists of Fanal - 25km, +1000m - starting along the Fanal trail towards Estanquinhos, this single track trail crosses Madeira laurel and heather, both protected species of the Laurssilva Forest. This rolling route is filled with amazing views over Ribeira da Janela’s Valley, the longest on the island. A smooth descent towards Levada dos Cedros, through a stepped downhill section, we’ll reach a gorgeous green waterfall. We then ascend, finishing up in a pasture of laurels, populated with grazing cows.
- Expected time on trails: 4-8 hours daily. Breakfast and dinner included. Note that rest days are absolutely allowed at any time if you wish - it's your holiday afterall! We stay at a wonderful 4* hotel in the heart of Funchal, with all the comforts you would expected from a modern, international property, such as a swimming pool and spa (additional costs apply).
- Day eight: Depart Funchal on your airport transfer arranged for you.
What is included
- Transfers between Funchal airport and our hotel
- Welcome reception & introductory briefing
- 7 nights accommodation in a 4* hotel in Funchal, on a twin share basis
- Meals as specified in the itinerary
- 6 days guided trail-running in Madeira, with a qualified International Mountain leader and local guide
- Tips on running techniques and nutrition in the mountains
- Daily transfers to and from our hotel and the trail head
- New friends & amazing memories
What is not included
- Travel to Madeira
- Snacks and lunch during your running days
- Drinks with meals (table water is provided)
- Single room supplements
- Personal insurance (required)
Travel & Logistics
Arrival: Saturday in Funchal. Meet & greet will be in the hotel lobby bar at 6pm
Departure: Saturday, anytime
The main airport on Madeira is Funchal, Portugal. Flights are frequent and can be booked out of several UK and international airports with airlines that include EasyJet and Air Portugal.
Transfers to/from Funchal airport from/to our hotel in Funchal are included. We simply need to know when you are arriving and we'll organise the rest.
Kit Lists & Packing
If you’re scratching your head and wondering what kit you’ll need to bring, please download our Madeira Kit List below.
Feel free to get in touch if you need any advice or have any questions.