Walking and Eating in Madeira


walk & eat MADEIRA

by John and Pat Underwood

If you like to walk and you like to eat … you are going to love this book — the best guide to Madeira that we have used in our two trips to the island. (PVB, Amazon)

Excellent guide to build your holiday around. (Gourmethiker, Amazon)

All the walks feature places where you can find a good meal. Overall this is the perfect walking guide for the visitor who may want to do a walk or two but is not visiting specifically for this purpose. More ambitious walkers may prefer Sunflower’s Landscapes guide to Madeira. (ASM, Amazon)

Click below to read walker’s reviews and use the ‘Look Inside’ feature on Amazon.co.uk (RRP £8.99)


Or, purchase the complete book as a downloadable PDF using the Add to Basket button below (£7).



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W&E Madeira

This pocket-sized full-colour guide to walking in Madeira is designed for visitors who would like to combine some enticing walks with the best local cooking. Many of the walks are along the ‘levada’ paths so beloved of visitors. Levadas are watercourses that carry rainfall from the mountains to irrigate the cultivated terraces. Click here to read about the history of Madeira’s levadas. But even ‘non-walkers’ will appreciate the recommendations for eating out in Madeira. For each suggested restaurant there is a photograph of the décor and one of their dishes, plus sample menu, price guide, opening times and a recipe for one of their specialities. Other sections include: planning your trip, logistics on arrival, local markets and specialities, glossary of local food terms, and a restaurant mini-vocabulary. A special feature is the emphasis on natural local foods suitable for those with food intolerances. All recipes have been made by the authors and are known to ‘work’.

Area covered: The walks are dotted all around the island. Note: There is some overlapping of walk routes between this book and Landscapes of Madeira. Do use the ‘Look Inside‘ facility to compare coverage in the two guide books.

The best months for walking in Madeira are July till May (June can be overcast).


Where to stay

Your choice of where to look for accommodation will be governed by several factors. For instance, if you intend to hire a car you will benefit from a much wider choice. On the other hand if you plan to rely on public transport, you will need to choose a centre offering good access to the walk routes or excursions you plan to do. There is also the factor of what type of accommodation you plan to use, for example whether you plan to stay in a hotel or in a self-catering apartment or villa. The author provides useful advice on the various options in the Where to Stay chapter which will be found in the introductory pages of the book.

For more information about Madeira and accommodation, see www.love-madeira.com,
www.madeiratourism.org, www.visitingmadeira.com or www.madeira-island.com or www.madeira-web.com or www.madeira-digital.com.

Edition/contents etc

13 walks and 2 excursions (one just a short ‘flight‘ by cable car, the other a fairly long bus ride, with walks from each)
144 pages; plan of Funchal; island map; large-scale (1:35,000) topo maps
4th ed, 2015; ISBN 978-1-85691-469-7; UK retail price £8.99 / USA retail price $14.99

Table of contents:

PLAN OF FUNCHAL inside front cover

the walks 5
the excursions 5
the restaurants 5
the recipes 6
madeiran food 7
portuguese wines 8
planning your visit 9
when to go 9
where to stay 9
what to take 10
planning your walks 11
on arrival 12
tourist information 12
city bus pass 12
shopping for self-catering 13
mercado dos lavradores 15

EXCURSION 1 · monte cable car 16
restaurant: quinta do monte 19

Walk 1 · ribeira de joão gomes 20
restaurant: londres and marina terrace in funchal 26
recipes: broad bean appetizer, cockles, espada with banana 28

Walk 2 · levada dos tornos 30
restaurants: hortensia tea house 35
recipes: rich fruit cake 36

Walk 3 · curral das freiras 38
restaurants: vale das freiras in curral, estalagem eira do serrado 42
recipes: chestnut soup, chestnut cake 44

Walk 4 · camacha and santo da serra 46
restaurants: o cesto (camacha), a nossa aldeia (santo da serra) 56
recipes: pork with wine and garlic, chicken in a pot 58

Walk 5 · around ribeiro frio 60
restaurant: restaurante ribeiro frio 66
recipes: trout soup, lamb cutlets 67

Walk 6 · caniçal circuit 68
restaurants: jardim in caniçal 74
restaurants: aquarium in caniçal 75

Walk 7 · serra das funduras 76
restaurant: miradouro da portela 81
recipes: tomato soup, bolo do caco, espetada, ‘oven’ chips 82

Walk 8 · santana and são jorge 84
restaurants: quinta do furão and o colmo in santana 90
recipes: country bread, grilled limpets, crayfish stew 92

Walk 9 · caminho da entrosa 94
restaurants: solar de boaventura, bar/restaurante arco 97
recipes: pork escalopes, espada with pernod or with prawns 98

Walk 10 · folhadal 100
restaurants: restaurants at encumeada and vinháticos 105
recipe: braised ox tongue 107

Walk 11 · cabo girão 108
madeira wines 113
restaurant: coral in câmara de lobos 114
recipes: tuna with onions, fried cornmeal (milho frito) 115

Walk 12 · around ponta do pargo 116
restaurant: o fio in ponta do pargo 121
recipes: espada with wine and garlic, country style bacalhau 122

excursion 2 · ’round the island’ 124


Walk 13 · to porto moniz 130
restaurants: residencial orca in porto moniz 133
recipe: fish soup 134


EAT GF, DF 136
eating in restaurants 137
self-catering 137
gf, df shopping 138
gf, df cooking; conversion tables 140

GLOSSARY (menu items, shopping terms) 141
IN the restaurant (pocket vocabulary) inside back cover

Guidebook index

The following is the index of places; the book also contains an index of recipes (which is not shown here). Page numbers shown in bold are where photographs appear; those shown in italics are where maps appear.

Arco de São Jorge 95, 96, 96

Babosas 17, 19, 20, 21, 22, 31, 32
Balcões 61, 62, 64, 65
Boaventura 94, 95, 96, 97
Bom Sucesso 21, 22, 25

Cabo Girão 108, 109, 111, 112, cover
Camacha 46, 47, 48, 49, 51
Câmara de Lobos 108, 109, 111, 112, 125
Caniçal 68, 69, 70, 72, 73, 74
Curral das Freiras 38, 39, 41, 42, 44
Curral dos Romeiros 19, 20, 22, 32, 42

Eira do Serrado 38, 39, 40, 41, 43
Encumeada 101, 104, 125, 126

Folhadal 100, 101, 102, 104
Funchal 12-15, 17 town plan inside front cover

Calheta­Ponta do Pargo 118, 118-9
da Serra 46, 47, 49, 50, 51, 53
do Bezerro 60, 62, 63
do Bom Sucesso 22, 25, 32
do Curral e Caste-lejo 39, 41, 41
do Furado 60, 61, 62, 62, 64
do Norte 100, 101, 102, 103, 104, 108, 109, 110, 111, 113
dos Tornos 21, 22, 23, 30, 32, 33, 46, 47, 48, 49, 53

Madeira 126-127
Monte 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 32

Palheiro Ferriero 30, 31, 32, 33, 34
Ponta do Pargo 116, 117, 118-119, 120, 121, 122, 123, 125, 129
Portela 76, 77, 79, 80, 81
Porto Moniz 128, 130, 131, 132, 132, 133, 134

Ribeira (river, river valley)
de João Gomes 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 30, 31, 32
do Porto Novo 46, 49, 51, 53
Ribeiro Frio 60, 61, 62, 64, 66

Santa 129, 131, 132
Santana 84, 85, 86, 88, 90, 91, 92, 93
Santo da Serra 46, 47, 51, 53, 55, 56, 57
São Jorge 84, 85, 86, 89
Serra das Funduras 76, 77, 78, 79, 80

Current update

MADEIRA, 4th edition (2015); updated 12/08/2016

Updates for the walks, restaurants, shops and recipes on Madeira given below supplement those provided in the guidebook. It is vital that this Update is read in conjunction with the text of the book, but note that the Update applies only to the edition stated and not to any earlier editions. (If you have an older edition of this book you can “upgrade” to the latest edition at half price.)

Information has been forwarded to us by users of the book, and Sunflower Books offers the data in good faith but cannot be held responsible for any misleading or inaccurate content in the Update. Unless indicated otherwise, what appears here has not been verified by the author or publisher, so please allow due caution when new or amended routes are suggested. Each piece of information is dated; bear in mind that some of the older observations may have since been overtaken by events or further changes. If, during your holiday, you are using the current edition of the guide and are able to provide any additional updating to add to this page, we will be pleased to hear from you. Please send information, preferably by e-mail, to info@sunflowerbooks.co.uk.

IMPORTANT: Devastating fires on the island in the last two days (10-11 August) have affected the northern part of Funchal – the area around Monte, Choupana (where the Choupana Hills Resort has apparently been destroyed), Babosas, Levada dos Tornos – possibly Palheiro Ferreiro. Walks 1 and 2 will not be possible for some time. (Sunflower, 12/8/16)

Madeira wines (p113): Something has perhaps gone wrong with the editing of the section on Madeira wines (p113). You can buy Madeira made from tinta negra mole grapes under a range of labels – Rainwater, Duke of Cambridge/Sussex/Clarence, Alvada, etc. Or you can buy Sercial/Verdelho/Bual/Malmsey which must (since 1993) be made out of grapes of those specific varieties. But the latter wines are not, as p112 implies, made out of tinta negra mole (which is why they cost a lot more!). (User, 2/15)

Walk 1: NOT POSSIBLE AT PRESENT. SEE “IMPORTANT” ABOVE. (12/8/16) • The following is the kind of update we receive year after year about the section of path after the fork at the 7min-point, so beware: this route is always potentially dangerous or — at the very least — frightening! “Following the UPPER Route. There has been a very severe landslip at the point at which the Levada dos Tornos emerges from the levada Tunnel. The whole slope has been swept away into the valley leaving a very narrow earth path on the approach to the tunnel and just the concrete outer edge of the levada totally exposed by the landslide. A wooden pole has been placed across the levada to enable walkers to cross onto the non-exposed inner edge of the levada but after about 20 metres you must then JUMP BACK across the quite wide and deep levada to regain the main levada path. We passed a number of walkers who had obviously negotiated the obstacle in this fashion, as we did, but it would be terrifying for anyone with vertigo.” (User, 2014) + The path was still awaiting repair on the cobbled upper section after Curral dos Romeiros, but was easily walked. Many trees across descending path – need to be nimble to pass over or under. Poles definitely an advantage. Several broken/missing steps to negotiate and no railings on P. 25 pictured log descent. Final levada section may be awkward if vertigo sufferer. Can walk from bus shelter downhill and then down stepped Traverso on left – this brings you down easily to the dual carriageway from town. Easy walk to centre. (User, 1/15) + The path on the left at the 7 minute point now has no sign. It’s a bit overgrown, with some trees across it. Not difficult but a bit of a scramble and slippery in places. (User, 2/15)

Walk 2: NOT POSSIBLE AT PRESENT. SEE “IMPORTANT” ABOVE. (12/8/16) • When you get to Curral dos Romeiros there are actually 3 roads in front of you. The middle one is the one to take. (User, 7/15) [There must be a very new road here!]

Walk 3: The Nun’s Valley restaurant by the bus stop appears to have been totally rebuilt and renamed ‘Sabores do Curral’. (Sunflower)

Walk 5: is definitely longer than 8.5km. Part of levada railing is broken and hanging – so care needed. Uphill section is signed as a running trail. (User, 1/15)

Walk 6: Path overgrown with vegetation so be careful with where feet go. Need care approaching 4th pylon following red paint dots as a stone with a red arrow has been put at junction showing that one should take the path left towards the pylon (which is not the one you advocate). Met very confused other walkers here who had turned back. Ignore stone, carry on down right and then take upper of 2 paths at a small junction which is marked with blue tape tied on a bush. Aquarium is very good – all locals eating there – so cheap too! Above the cemetery, the levada is newly done with red-brown newly turned earth alongside for quite a distance – could be tacky when wet until re-vegetated. It was easy to drive via VR through new tunnel and then park at east end of the old tunnel. The walk through that is better as less traffic. (User, 1/15)

Walk 7: forest paths much churned up in places by bike riders. After rain, initial part of track has huge track-wide puddles of red-brown water. 2 levada workers were clearing the channel and dumping the soil, stones & vegetation onto the track making walking on it very difficult – all stuff would probably wash back into channel after next storm! All paths / tracks are well signed with path marked as another running trail. (User, 1/15)

Walk 10: 12 min. point has 2 picnic tables. Tunnel section is difficult at start as path is narrow and wall pushes in on you. How on earth do you pass anyone? (User, 1/15)

Walk 11: If you park at Estreito de C. de L, and need a taxi back you need to haggle – the taxi drivers esp. at Cabo Girao will quote an overcharged amount initially. (User, 1/15) + No snack bars now available at Cabo Girao. The whole complex seems to have been recently rebuilt and (as of Feb 15) provides only a “gift shop”. So, not much more than an ice cream to eat. Clean, new toilets available at 50c charge. (User, 2/15)

Walk 12: longer than 10.5km stated. Levada area is grazed and you will have to avoid cow pats! O Fio is good! (User, 1/15)