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Madeira – so much wonderful walking

High above the world on Madeira's peaks

High above the world on Madeira’s peaks

Walking researcher/residents Shirley & Mike Whitehead know the island intimately and have followed up their Volume One book of 40 ‘Leisure Trails’ with a new Volume Two, tackling challenging trails and high altitude routes.





Pico Areeiro

Pico Areeiro

If you’ve never visited this beautiful and dramatic island, you’re missing one of the world’s great walking destinations.

Mountains, levadas, tiny hamlets and towering cliffs; unique flora and ancient forests.



In around four hours by air from Europe you can escape the long cold tail of winter and revitalise yourself with strolls, walks and challenging hikes.

Levada Nova

Levada Nova


Click HERE for more information.

Madeira Walks Volume 2 cover

Discovery Walking Guides ENews


Breathtaking views on the island of Madeira.

Take a look at our latest ENews featuring Ibiza, Formentera, Corfu, Madeira and Dartmoor.

Dartmeet stepping stones

Dartmeet stepping stones

Click here to see the Enewsletter.

Madeira: The Garden Isle – a new walking guide

Levada das Rabaças Encumeada for FacebookEnduring popular as a walking destination, Madeira remains a beautiful and breathtaking island.

Resident authors and researchers, Shirley and Mike Whitehead know it like the backs of their hands and have come up with 41 routes and trails ideal for the ‘leisure’ walker in this new publication Madeira Walks: Volume One.

The Route to Ruivo for Facebook

Volume 2 of this series will follow later in 2015 which concentrates on more challenging and high altitude routes.

All the routes are carefully described and are beautifully illustrated with images taken along each route.

Every route has its own highly detailed ‘Tour and Trail’ map section showing the route and waypoints clearly marked; research is done while carrying GPS Madeira Walks Volume One Leisure Trails cover for Facebookequipment to ensure accurate walking information.

For more information about the new book and Madeira Tour & Trail Maps and Madeira Bus Maps, take a look from Pico Facho for Facebook



The Garden Isle of Madeira – escape from winter!

Winter has finally arrived in northern Europe and the days are short and dark. It’s the ideal time to enjoy Madeira. Lush vegetation, mountains and levadas await your discovery.

Aloe aborescens

Aloe aborescens

Madeira Tour & Trail Map

Madeira Tour & Trail Map

Discovery Walking Guides have released their 8th editions of their Tour & Trail Maps to the Garden Isle (a choice of map-paper or Super-Durable polymer). Walkers keep on buying these for their accuracy, clarity and wealth of up-to-date detail.

Ask for them in your favourite bookshop or get them online from your choice of stockists.

Here’s a link to amazon UK’s information page about the Super-Durable edition:

 – and here’s a detailed section of a small segment of the map:cover map section

Madeira: Good news – PR1 high altitude route re-opens

The route to Pico Ruivo

The route to Pico Ruivo

Madeira’s majestic high-level mountain route, the PR1 – Vereda do Areeiro to Pico Ruivo, has re-opened to walkers.

Landslides that had damaged the route have been cleared and fencing replaced.

This is the BIG one for high altitude afficionades!

(Image, thanks to Shirley Whitehead, walking researcher and author) – see


The Garden Isle of Madeira – Beautiful in Spring

Aloe aborescens

Aloe aborescens

Springtime! The northern hemisphere’s Spring is well under way now. For those interested in flora, there’s nowhere quite like Madeira in the Springtime.

Echium candicans - popular with bees

Echium candicans – popular with bees

Madeira is always green – now it bursts into colour and perfume. Many of the plants you’ll come across while walking its levadas and country paths are endemic and exclusive to the island.

Two of the many beauties to look out for are orchids and the rare Yellow Foxglove. If you enjoy seeing wonderful plants growing strong and free, Madeira is the place to visit.

For information about the Garden Island, including books and maps, see



(The plant images here were taken by Shirley & Mike Whitehead, authors and researchers resident on the island of Madeira.)


Yellow foxglove (Isoplexus sceptrum)

Yellow foxglove (Isoplexus sceptrum)

Orchis maderensis

Orchis maderensis




Madeira – updates – official PR walking routes

From 'Shirley Whitehead's Madeira Walks'

From ‘Shirley Whitehead’s Madeira Walks’

If you’re off to Madeira, take a look at the island government’s website to check which routes are currently closed or undergoing work. Walking conditions can change quickly due to weather, landslides or other factors.



The Madeiran authorities recognise the importance of walking visitors to their lovely island and are quick to restore paths and levadas to good order.


From 'Shirley Whitehead's Madeira Walks'.

From ‘Shirley Whitehead’s Madeira Walks’.

It’s a useful website and updated frequently.

Here’s the link to the English language version

Madeira – the Garden Isle

Walk Madeira Walk  20 Achada do Teixera Pico RuivoIf you were standing, right now, on the Pico do Ruivo, Madeira, and looked west, this is the view you’d be seeing. After one of the gloomiest, darkest northern European winters on record, wouldn’t this do your soul good, not to mention your fitness  🙂 ?

Madeira has long been an A-grade walking destination, offering levada walking along man-made water canals as well as trails for the most adventurous mountain hiker. Then there’s the wonderful endemic plant life too. The best thing is – simply go and see for yourself.

Walk Madeira Walk  20  mapHere’s the map that goes with the photo.

There’s more information here :-

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