Funchal
Outdoor Activities

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Our most recommended Funchal Outdoor Activities

Funchal: Catamaran Dolphin and Whale Watching

1. Funchal: Catamaran Dolphin and Whale Watching

Take a scenic sail in a catamaran along the Madeira coast.  See dolphins, whales, and turtles playing in their natural habitat. Throughout the year Madeira has different aquatic mammals journeying through its blue waters. Whether you come in summer or winter, the chances are high you’ll see one these amazing creatures. Stop for a swim during the summer season, and make use of the complimentary snorkeling equipment. Bar service is also available.

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Funchal: Dolphin and Whale Watching by Luxury Catamaran

2. Funchal: Dolphin and Whale Watching by Luxury Catamaran

Make your way to Funchal Marina at least 20 minutes before your scheduled departure time to board a luxury catamaran. Once the group has gathered and all questions have been addressed, take a short walk to your boat for a safety briefing from the crew before boarding. Choose from the luxurious interior with comfortable seating and sun and wind protection, or the outdoor sun beds and trampoline nets. Then, sit back and relax as you sail out to sea and look back at the marina. Although sightings of the marine life cannot be guaranteed, dolphins and whales are often seen in the waters around Funchal. Keep a look out as you cruise across the water while the crew is on hand to answer any questions about the variety of species you may encounter. Then, head to the towering cliffs of Cabo Girão, looming 1,902 feet (580 meters) above the sea. Drop anchor at Cabo Girão and take a dip in the waters to explore the sea life below the surface with your complimentary goggles and snorkel mask. Then, cruise at a leisurely pace back to Funchal Marina, sailing along the coastline for fantastic views of Madeira’s landscapes. Arrive back at Funchal Marina for the speedy disembarking process so that you can continue with your day unimpeded.

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Hike Madeira: Pico Arieiro to Pico Ruivo

3. Hike Madeira: Pico Arieiro to Pico Ruivo

The sun rises over your hotel as you set out on your walking tour adventure. Leaving from the comforts of your room in Funchal on the Madeira Islands, we'll drive you up to the third highest peak in Madeira - the magnificent Pico Arieiro. You'll sip coffee or a drink on your way up to the base of the peak, looking out at all the stunning beauty this place has to offer. As we head from sea level up to the base at 5,964ft (1818m), you'll pass beautiful flora and fauna. Finally, we'll begin our mighty walk up the mighty Pico Arieiro up to the highest point on the island, the Pico Ruivo peak at 6107 ft (1862m). Finally, we'll walk down to Teixeira where you'll be comfortably transferred back to your hotel. And of course, no day of hiking is complete without a drink at a traditional bar, so we'll make sure to stop at one with a spectacular view to enjoy the closing of your day!

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All Inclusive Whale and Dolphin Watching Luxury Tour

4. All Inclusive Whale and Dolphin Watching Luxury Tour

Your 3-hour luxury catamaran tour begins at the docks of the new marina of Funchal. Board the catamaran and enjoy a glass of sparkling wine before setting off. Sail into the ocean to find dolphins, whales, and turtles. Spot these creatures in their natural habitat. After sailing around spotting dolphins, whales and turtles enjoy a 30 minute stop next to Cabo Girão, the 1920 foot (586m) seaside cliff. Here you have a change o go swimming in the crystal clear waters. After a quick swim, you will get back on the boat where you can relax and enjoy the views of the coast of Funchal as you head back to the marina.

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Madeira Island: Swimming with Dolphins

5. Madeira Island: Swimming with Dolphins

In the crystal clear waters of Madeira Island, swim with dolphins in their natural habitat. With assistance from an expert team of guides and divers, learn about the specific approach techniques needed to interact with these amazingly intelligent creatures. Madeira's regulations for swimming with wild dolphins are quite strict in order to preserve the subtle natural balance that these magnificent animals deserve. It may be possible to swim with 2 species of dolphins: Common Dolphins and Spotted Dolphins. As you enter the water, you remain safely connected to the boat at all times. Glide along the waters and swim with the dolphins in front, below and next to you as you admire these beautiful mammals in their natural habitat and make unforgettable memories. 

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Madeira Day Trip: Levada Walk in the Rabaçal Valley

6. Madeira Day Trip: Levada Walk in the Rabaçal Valley

Depart Funchal and journey to the start of your walk, where you will follow the routes of the "levada" irrigation system developed in the 16th century by Madeira's first settlers. Descend from the plateau of Paul da Serra to the Rabaçal guesthouse and walk to the waterfall of the Levada do Risco. Continue towards the Levada das 25 Fontes, dominated by moorland at its highest point. Walk until you reach a small lagoon at the bottom of an enormous cliff, and marvel at the sight of 25 natural springs cascading into the lake. Return along a different path, passing through a tunnel that carries water to the south of the island. Admire a wide variety of endemic flora and fauna along the way.

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Funchal: Yacht Tour with Dolphin and Whale Watching

7. Funchal: Yacht Tour with Dolphin and Whale Watching

You tour will start from the marina in Funchal, where you will board the sailing yacht with a group of up to 20 people. On this relaxing sailing trip you will be seaching for dolphins, whales and sea turtles up to 3 miles form the coast. With some luck, you will see lots of native wildlife in its natural environment.  You will stop to go swimming and snorkeling at Cabo Girao, the highest sea cliff in Europe at 1,903 feet (580 meters) above the sea. If you don't want to swim, you can admire the beautiful coastal landscapes from the boat. You will be offered some drinks on board before heading back to the marina. 

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Madeira: Garajau Nature Reserve Kayak and Snorkel Tour

8. Madeira: Garajau Nature Reserve Kayak and Snorkel Tour

After getting picked up from your hotel, start the day at Funchal Harbour where you will learn everything you need to know about kayaking before heading to the nature reserve. Upon arrival at Garajau, enjoy a 40-minute paddle towards Lazareto. Stop for a break on the beautiful pebble beach and take in the views of the surrounding rock features from times gone by. Afterwards, discover Madeira's native marine life as you snorkel through crystal-clear waters. In the event of poor weather conditions, you will have the opportunity to explore the sea from the safety of your kayak instead. Finish the day with a spot of cliff diving before heading back to your hotel for the evening.

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From Funchal: Nuns Valley, Monte and Sleigh Ride Tour

9. From Funchal: Nuns Valley, Monte and Sleigh Ride Tour

Depart Funchal and journey to the Pico dos Barcelos to experience one of Madeira's unique viewpoints. Get a breathtaking view of all points of the island, before making your way up to Eira do Serrado. Admire the surrounding chestnut trees and eucalyptus plants of the natural wonderland. The ancient footpaths are still used by locals and tourists, and the narrow road and tunnels can still be seen. From an altitude of 1,094 meters above sea level, you will be able to see across to the Nuns Valley (weather permitting). Isolated from the rest of the island, the Nuns Valley (Curral das Freiras) is surrounded by lava rock and takes its name from the nuns that once inhabited the valley as they fled from pirate attacks during the 16th century. Try some traditional chestnut cake and pastries only found in the region, along with different traditional liquors. Then, go to Monte, one of Madeira´s old touristic stops, and visit the church where the tomb of the Emperor Charles I of Austria can be found. The last of the Habsburg rulers of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, he died in exile on April 1, 1922. Add a little adventure to the day and enjoy an unforgettable 2-kilometer toboggan ride down the old road of Livramento, where the bus will pick you up at the bottom.

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Madeira: Dolphin and Whale Watching Tour from Funchal

10. Madeira: Dolphin and Whale Watching Tour from Funchal

Climb aboard a comfortable catamaran for a relaxing trip along Madeira's south coast from the Marina do Funchal. Look for dolphins and whales (and even turtles) playing in the cold waters of the sea. During the summer months, stop to swim below the cliffs of Cabo Girão, one of the highest sea cliffs in the world. A qualified crew will provide detailed information in various languages about the species of cetaceans (dolphins and whales) you see. In the event you don’t spot any whales or dolphins you will be offered a 2nd trip. Get historical and technical information from your crew for a truly unique experience.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Funchal

Want to discover all there is to do in Funchal? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Funchal

We were delighted to be guided by Sara for the second time this week. The walk is less popular than the others, which is an advance as a smaller group and less other groups all trying to see the same thing at the same time. This walk took us to several lagoons and stunning waterfalls as we made our way around the valley. We would book more trips with Lido tours as they are located near our hotel so easy to access. A wider variety of walk options would definitely be a welcome addition for our next trip to Maderia.

A great and varied day, full of laughter, good food and insider information. Lucy never hurried us(we got back well after six) and always seemed to have another little surprise up her sleeve. The lunch in Santana (included) was excellent value and really tasty. Lucy was a mine of information and it is very clear she loves her island, and passes this love on to her guests. Thank you Lucy. Elizabeth

Well organised, and operated. We had perfect weather for our day with clear views above the clouds and not too hot or cold. Stunning views, not to be missed. The toilets at the cafés are 50c, but easily avoided at least for men. The path is well made up, lots of steps, but no scrambling involved. Although marked as hard it's not a struggle for generally fit people.

Great to see dolphins in the open sea and guide explanation of the different species

Very good tour with a professional tour guide. Highly recommended!