Funchal
Birdwatching

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Our most recommended Funchal Birdwatching

Madeira Walks - Rabaçal and the 25 Fountains

1. Madeira Walks - Rabaçal and the 25 Fountains

Rabaçal is a nature reserve on the island of Madeira that was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999. It is an area of intense natural beauty, brimming with waterfalls and unique flora and plant life, all of which you can experience on this wonderful guided walk. The 25 Fountains Walk starts by heading down the biggest valley of Madeira towards the Rabaçal reserve. Along the way you will walk along two of the oldest Madeira levadas each boasting a remarkable evergreen landscape with beautiful waterfalls scattered throughout. The 25 fountains refer to the 25 natural springs you will discover on the walk. Each spring falls into a small crystal clear lake surrounded by dense vegetation. Once you arrive here you may never want to leave! In this paradise-like oasis you'll be immersed in beautiful surronds, listening to the murmuring sounds of the water and the quiet chanting of the birds. For nature lovers this walk is an invitation into a unique and awe-inspiring slice of heaven. Rabaçal is a paradise of waterfalls, lakes and enchanting fountains and there is no better way to experience it than on a guided walk.

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Funchal: Arieiro Peak, Nuns Valley 4x4 Tour & Dolphin Watch

2. Funchal: Arieiro Peak, Nuns Valley 4x4 Tour & Dolphin Watch

Visit Nun's Valley and learn about its interesting history and admire the spectacular panoramic views from Pico do Arieiro, at 1,818 meters above sea level. Later you’ll head out to sea on a catamaran and be on the lookout for whales and dolphins in their natural habitat. The 7-hour tour begins in Funchal, and the first stop will be at Pico dos Barcelos, where take in sweeping views of Funchal’s bay. Afterward you’ll visit the famous Nun’s Valley, known for its historical importance and its unique location, isolated from any population center. Head to the majestic Pico do Arieiro, where you’ll take in the magnificent landscapes and stunning views over the north and south coast of the island, Ponta de São Lourenço and Paul da Serra. The last stop of the land tour is Santo da Serra, surrounded by the Laurissilva Forest (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and other exotic plant species. You’ll then be dropped off at the Funchal harbor to begin the dolphin and whale watching a segment of the tour. Board the catamaran for a relaxing trip along the south coast of Madeira. The boat trip takes 3 hours and there’s a strong possibility that you’ll spot dolphins and whales in their natural habitat. During the summer months there’s also the possibility of swimming below the Cabo Girao cliff. During the trip the crew will provide detailed information about the species that you are likely to see. This trip ends in Funchal’s Harbor.

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Madeira: Private 1.5-Kilometer Levada dos Balcões Hike

3. Madeira: Private 1.5-Kilometer Levada dos Balcões Hike

Once having been collected from your Madeira accommodation, drive through the mountains before arriving to Ribeiro Frio. Following a short but grandeur walk through the beautiful Laurisilva Forest, arrive to the fabulous Balcões’ belvedere. From this belvedere it’s possible to contemplate the many peaks of Madeira Island, from which Pico Ruivo and Pico do Areeiro stand the highest. Pico do Gato, Pico das Torres, and the well-known Penhad’Águia also constitute part of this breathtaking scenery. This area is also ideal for bird watching, due to the fact that it is home to a huge variety of different species. These birgs include the firecrest, the chaffinch, grey wagtails, blackbirds, robins, buzzards, and the very rare Madeira's long-toed pigeon.

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Madeira: Whale and Dolphin Watching Tour

4. Madeira: Whale and Dolphin Watching Tour

Look for whales and dolphins and discover other marine life off the beautiful Ponta de São Lourenço coast in Madeira on a small-group boat tour with a crew of marine biologists. Climb aboard the 300 hp engine boat with a sleek design and listen to informative commentary about the sea life and places of interest of Madeira as you start the trip. Encounter different groups of dolphins, whales, and turtles in the water. Marvel as the animals breach and splash about in the water and learn amazing facts about them from your marine biologists guide. See endemic marine birds and get up-close to the unique rock formations on the coast as you speed across large distances in little time. If you are visiting in summer, get the chance to snorkel and swim in Ponta de São Lourenço.

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From Funchal: 25 Fountains Levada Walk and Jeep Safari

5. From Funchal: 25 Fountains Levada Walk and Jeep Safari

Depart Funchal and journey west to the Paul da Serra viewpoint in Calheta. Upon arrival, embark on a hike of the famous Levada das 25 Fontes e Risco walk and encounter the amazing waterfalls that give the nature trail its name. Then, go to Pico da Urze for lunch in a typical restaurant at your own expense. Continue off-road to the village of Ponta do Sol to see the stunning south coast of Madeira. Get bird's eye views from the coastal town of Ribeira Brava. Make your way to the highest cliff in Europe at Cabo Girão for stunning vistas 580 meters above sea level.

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Madeira: Santo da Serra to Ribeiro Frio Private Walk

6. Madeira: Santo da Serra to Ribeiro Frio Private Walk

Journey from the center of Santo da Serra to Ribeiro Frio, two of the main points of interest on Madeira Island, visited not only by tourists but also by residents. Walk through a forest road passing by the Trout Fishing Park, where you can relax for a while, having a tea or simply enjoying the surroundings. Immerse yourself in the amazing nature at the Levada, enjoying every step while you appreciate the wide variety of endemic flora and fauna of Madeira Laurisilva. Discover open areas that offer magnificent views of the valley and peaks of the island. Continue walking along the levada, enjoying the energy of all this pure nature surround you.

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Madeira West Island Full-Day Tour with Levada Walk

7. Madeira West Island Full-Day Tour with Levada Walk

Start your West Island Tour with hotel pick-up between 8:00 and 9:00. Your first stop will be at the famous fishing village of Câmara de Lobos, where the famous Sir Winston Churchill spent his days painting when he visited the island of Madeira. Continue to Cabo Girão to view the highest sea cliff in Europe. The tour's next stop is at Ribeira Brava, where you will make a quick visit to the church there. You will then discover Ponta de Sol. This name literally means "point of the sun," an apt description for the most beautiful village on the island. Next enjoy a scenic drive through the Laurissilva Forest up to the plateau of Pául da Serra. Stop for a short, flat, easy walk along a levada (an irrigation channel unique to Madeira). The tour proceeds to the northwest side of the island where you can visit the Porto Moniz, famous for its volcanic rock pools. If it's not crowded, the tour will stop here for lunch and quick swim. You could also continue down the scenic coastal route to Seixal for lunch and a swim. After lunch you will travel the coastal road, taking in the famous waterfalls en route to São Vincente. Then discover Encumeada Pass. The views here are breathtaking. Enjoy a final stop at a famous bar where the proprietors make "Poncha," a traditional spirit drink mixed with honey and orange juice. Return to the hotel at around 17:00.

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Madeira: Private Levada Ribeiro Frio - Portela Walk

8. Madeira: Private Levada Ribeiro Frio - Portela Walk

This tour ranges in altitude from 641-886 meters. You'll begin at Ribeiro Frio and end at Portela, covering a distance of 11 kilometers. This trail is a real stunner even for the seasoned traveler, without a doubt one of the most beautiful in Madeira. Enjoy the natural heritage of the island and its endemic species of flora and fauna. The magnificent vegetation will envelop and recharge you in its oh-so-peaceful environs. Watch sunbeams peak cheekily between the laurels and other plants of the area, birds cooing gently all the while. On this softly quiet walk, you will progress parallel to the lovely levada that flows along the trail.

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Madeira: Levada do Paúl da Serra Private Walk

9. Madeira: Levada do Paúl da Serra Private Walk

Journey through Levada do Paul da Serra, 1400 meters above sea level. Take in the beautiful natural surroundings and stroll along the mountain trail. Begin your journey from Levada do to Paúl da Serra, starting in the plateau, 1400 meters above sea level. Experience one of the most spectacular hikes throughout the island. Continue towards Paúl da Serra, following the opposite direction, for about 5 kilometers. Arrive at the emblematic Rabaçal area, where a great variety of pedestrian routes begins, such as Levada do Alecrim, 25 fontes and more. Discover one of the most important zones of the island that generates renewable energy, as well as solar panels. Walk side by side with the Levada, following the flow of water. Make some breaks along the way and enjoy nature and its scenic surrounding. Keep caution, as you may come across a few cows along the way.

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Madeira: Private Vereda Penha d'Águia Walk

10. Madeira: Private Vereda Penha d'Águia Walk

More than just a walk, this tour includes a real challenge: climbing to the top of Penha d'Águia, one of the most important rocks in Madeira. The slippery and steep slope adds to the difficulty of the route, requiring extra attention from hikers.  After the steep climb, reach the top of the rock. Take some time to relax and explore the several viewpoints on offer, from which you can enjoy wonderful views over Porto da Cruz and Faial. The descent is as steep as the ascent, and is also quite slippery. Upon returning to the base of the rock, located in the area of Faial, look up and enjoy the wonderful feeling of having reached the top of the imposing and symbolic Penha d´Águia.

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What people are saying about Funchal

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 76 reviews

Very nice hike. To cross the Levada tunnel (800 m) you should definitely put in a flashlight, the light of the cell phone will do the same if necessary.

Beautiful and very interesting walk! I learnt a lot about Madeira's nature, the guide was very nice and helpful. Everything was well organised.

With Sergio to the 25 sources. Very nice, good German speaking mountain guide. Seen a lot, got a lot explained. It was a pleasure.

Great excursion, all impressive the verticality of the walls and the humidity that maintains the vegetation.

The guide was great and kept us away from the hiking groups that were also on the way.