Portugal

Madeira Family Holiday Short-Break

Madeira’s warm temperatures and exciting outdoor activities will keep active families more than happy. From canyoning and kayaking to hiking and whale watching, there’s lots to do and see on a Madeira family holiday. After a day of adventure, tuck into some of the island’s excellent seafood and round off with a glass of Madeira’s famous fortified wine.

Highlights

  Whales & Dolphin boat trip
  Canyoning along coast
  Climbing scenic peaks
  Sea-kayaking & snorkelling
  Exploring Funchal

6 days from £1,150 pp

Plus international flights from £125

A short break in Madeira for a family of four usually costs from £4,600 plus flights, depending on type of accommodation.

View pricing guide

Madeira Family Holiday short-break day-by-day itinerary

Day 1, Madeira – Funchal
Arrive in Funchal where you will be met by a Stubborn Mule Travel representative and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is free for you to relax or start to explore the town.


Day 2, Canyoning & Whale / Dolphin watching
The jagged volcanic peaks of Madeira’s centre are bisected by many streams and rivers that have carved their way down through the rocks. This morning, explore one of these watercourses on an exciting canyoning adventure. The children will love water-sliding down natural grooves in the rocks, leaping into clear pools and rappelling down waterfalls. This is a wonderfully exciting adventure and we can suggest different routes depending on the ages of your children.

In the afternoon you will take a boat cruise off the coast in search of whales. The rich waters around Madeira are full of an incredible variety of different marine animals, making this one of the best places in the world for whale-spotting. There are permanent populations of both pilot whales and sperm whales and Madeira’s location on the trans-Atlantic migration route also means that many other whales pass by through the course of the year.

Frequently your boat will be accompanied along the way by pods of dolphins that leap and dip all around, providing a great show. Whale sightings can never be guaranteed but the chances are excellent, so keep your fingers crossed! This is sure to be a highlight of your Madeira family holiday.


Day 3, Climb Pico Ruivo & Pico Areerio
Madeira is a volcanic island, and its central spine is a wonderfully dramatic series of ridges and mountains, folded one behind the next. Lush vegetation covers the peaks and streams and waterfalls cascade down from the top. The views throughout are breath-taking.

Today you will be climbing two of the island’s peaks, Pico Ruivo (1,862m) and Pico Areerio (1,818). The hike takes around 4-5 hours, with an elevation gain of approximately 900m. You will be able to take it as slowly as you like (all the better to soak up the views) and will stop along the way for a delicious picnic lunch.

You will finish in the charming town of Santana, famous for its unusually shaped triangular houses, each painted in bright colours and topped with a thick thatched roof. There will be time to explore, before returning to Funchal.


Day 4, Sea Kayaking & Snorkelling
After breakfast, you will be taken to the east of Madeira, to Ponta de São Lourenço. This is a long peninsula stretching out into the Atlantic, with dramatic rocky cliffs, tiny coves and brilliantly clear turquoise water. You will spend the morning sea-kayaking, accompanied by a specialist guide. The views of the coast from the water are beautiful and you will be able to kayak into inaccessible caves and stop on a small secluded beach to snorkel.

In the afternoon there is time to relax back at your hotel or perhaps head out to explore Funchal. This is a very pretty town with many attractive shops and cafes where you can spend a pleasant few hours.

Also highly recommended is taking the cable car up above the town for superb views over the ocean. You can then return back down towards sea level on the Monte toboggan. This involves sitting in a small wicker cart that glides downhill on wooden runners, propelled along by two men, each wearing rubber-soled boots to use as brakes. The kids will love it!


Day 5, Mountain biking
Today you will explore the hills on mountain bikes. There are numerous different bike trails criss-crossing the island and we will select a route that will be suitable for your family. (Given the nature of the terrain, there will always be some uphill sections so this may not be ideal for younger children).

One of our favourite routes starts with a beautiful trail through Montado do Pereiro forest. After an initial uphill section, there’s a lovely 20km relaxing ride along the ‘levada’ (irrigation canal), surrounded on all sides by laurel and eucalyptus trees. Stop en route in a small village for lunch, before enjoying a wonderful descent down a long (and quiet) road towards the coast.

If you prefer something more adventurous, there are many more challenging trails that we can suggest. Return to Funchal in the early afternoon. The rest of the day is free to relax. Football-mad children may enjoy a visit to the Cristiano Ronaldo Museum. Ronaldo was born and raised in Madeira and the island are very proud of their most famous export; the museum houses many of his trophies.


Day 6, Fuchal
Transfer to the airport for your flight home.

Logo-icon

Call us and we will be happy to provide you with a free-of-charge no obligation itinerary and quotation designed for you.

01728 752751

Stubborn Mule cartoon