FAQ image


Q. Where is Madeira.
A. Madeira Island is situated 400 miles off the Moroccan coast line NW Africa.

Q. How large is Madeira.
A. Madeira is 36 miles long by 14 miles wide and the terrain covers 168 square miles. The central peaks rise to 6,000ft.

Q. What language is spoken and what country does it belong to.
A. The language is Portuguese. It is an autonomous Island belonging to Portugal.

Q. Will I have to learn to speak Portuguese.
A. No. 98% of people in Funchal understand English. Away from Funchal, in rural areas, a phrase book would help.

Q. How long is the flight duration to Madeira from the UK/Europe.
A. Approximately 3½ hours.

Q. Are there any cheap flights to Madeira
A. Yes. Easyjet fly from Gatwick, Bristol, Edinburgh, Manchester.

Q. What is the best day to arrive from the UK.
A. Any day from an airport in the UK including Gatwick, Heathrow, Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow, Edinburgh, East Midlands, Bristol, Exeter, Bournemouth, Newcastle-on-Tyne, Leeds/Bradford.

Q. What is the best day to arrive from Germany.
A. Thursday, as there are approx. 10 charter flights.

Q. When is the best time to come.
A. Anytime. Carnival Feb/March is the start to the festive year; April is for flowers; Summer is for high peak walking; Autumn is a good all round period; Winter is for illuminations and the firework display on New Years Eve and to get a break from a harsh winter. Madeira's average winter temperature is 16C/60.8F.

Q. What temperature variation does Madeira have.
A. Average temperatures are between 16C - 25C. Madeira is surrounded by a warm 18C - 22C Atlantic Ocean so is insulated from large temperature swings.

Q. What time difference is there in Madeira.
A. Madeira is the same time as London. For summer time savings we put the clocks forward one hour on the last Saturday/Sunday in March and one hour backward on the last Saturday/Sunday in October. An easy way to remember it is in the American way. Spring forward. Fall back.

Q. What is a typical cost of a meal in restaurants.
A. Average cost is between €14 - €20

Q. What is a local food dish that I must try.
A. Espada (scabbard) fish with banana.

Q. Is there a local drink that I must try.
A. Poncha! Made from sugar cane rum, bee's honey and lemon juice. Yum!

Q. What clothing should we bring to walk.
A. Walking boots - sport shoe/trainer if Levada walking only - shorts/trousers, fleece, lightweight water proofs, sun hat, rain hat or collapsible umbrella. For a fuller description see the 'Equipment' page.

Q. How do we get to the start of the walks.
A. By public bus service. For the more remote area's private coach/taxi.

Q. Is travelling by public bus expensive.
A. No.

Q. How do you pay on the City bus, picture right. City Bus
A. You can purchase a rechargeable Giro card from the green cabins on the sea front road (Avenida do Mar) or pay a single fare on the bus €1,95; the on board bus ticket purchase is not rechargeable

You can recharge your Giro card at the City cabins or a shop displaying a 'pay shop' sign or post offices (Correiros). Current prices to recharge your Giro card is 1-9 journeys €1,35 for each journey; 10+ journeys €1,25 for each journey.Giro CardGiro Machine Green Accept Giro Machine Red Fault To use the Giro card on the bus you hold it with the Giro logo towards you and in front of the Giro scanner machine on the bus. A green light indicates OK; a red light indicates a faulty scan or no more journeys left on the card.

Q. How do you pay for the country buses.
A. You pay on the bus. Go here for a list of bus fares

Q. What is the difference between bus No.139 Porto Moniz and No.80 Porto Moniz
A. The No.139 Porto Moniz leaves Funchal everyday at 09:00 via Camâra de Lobos, Estreito de Camâra de Lobos, Quinta Grande, Campanârio, Ribeira Brava, Encumeada, São Vicente then along the North coast to Porto Moniz. When it leaves Porto Moniz at 16.00, the same bus, changes its number to No.80 Funchal and returns via the South coast via Santa, Ponta do Pargo, Prazeres, Estreito da Calheta, Calheta, Arco da Calheta, Ponta do Sol, Ribeira Brava then Motorway to Funchal. Arrives Funchal 19:00
The No.80 Porto Moniz leaves Funchal at 10:00 Monday to Friday via Motorway to Ribeira Brava then along the South coast via Ponta do Sol, Madelena do Mar, Calheta, Estreito da Calheta, Jardim da Mar, Paul do Mar, Ponta do Pargo, Santa, Porto Moniz. When it leaves Porto Moniz at 16:45, the same bus, changes it number to No.139 and returns via the North Coast via São Vicente, Encumeada Tunnel, Ribeira Brava then Motorway back to Funchal. Arrives Funchal 18:30 ---- Basically any bus from Funchal travelling along the North coast has the Number 139; any bus travelling along the South coast back to Funchal from Porto Moniz has the Number 80.

Q. What are the yellow lines painted on the road at 90° to the kerb.
A. In the country-side this signifies a bus stop even though there is no bus stop sign visible.

Q. What is this red/white sign (photo right) you see in the countryside.No hunting sign
A. In the country-side it means no hunting or shooting allowed.

Q. Would hiring a car help us to do the walks.
A. Yes and no (see next question below).

Q. Or there many circular walks.
A. No, mostly linear (see next question below).

Q. What walks with a car would you recommend
A. Seven walks. São Lourenço Point (the Eastern tip of the island); 25 Fontes at Rabaçal; Pico Ruivo (highest peak) from Achada do Teixeira in Santana; Levada do Caldeirão Verde in Santana; Levada do Norte at Encumeada; Levada do Moinho/Nova at Lombada, Ponta do Sol; Levada do Rei at São Jorge -- Or purchase The Unofficial Madeira Walk Guide for Cars with the best eleven walks for cars.

Q. What is a Levada?
A. A Levada, meaning to carry, is a water irrigation channel that you can walk beside.

Q. How many walks are there to choose from in Madeira.
A. There are over 100 walks on the island.

Q. How many miles/kilometres of levada channels are there to walk.
A. There are 1,200 miles/2,000 Kilometres.

Q. Do you have to negotiate any tunnels on some levadas.
A. Yes. You will need a torch. Most are between 100/400m/yd long with the longest walkable tunnel being 1.5ml/2.5km long.

Q. Are tunnels straight and do they have high roofs.
A. Most tunnels are straight and you can see the exit. Roof height varies with the lowest being 4ft 6in/1.4m and the highest 8ft/2.43m with the average height being 5ft 10in/1.75m

Q. Can you Buy an inexpensive Walking Guide for first time visitors.
A. Yes we publish a Walking Guide with the best eleven selected walks for people who want to take their first steps into walking in Madeira. Includes the only four walks on the island with no vertigo.

Q. Can you Buy an inexpensive Walking Guide for experienced walkers.
A. Yes we publish a Walking Guide with eleven moderate/tough walks for people who want stronger walks who do not suffer from vertigo.

Q. What distance measurement does Madeira use.
A. Kilometres and Metres.

Q. How do you convert Kilometres to Miles.
A. Multiply Kilometres by 6, then move the decimal point left one place. e.g. 12 Kilometres x 6 = 72. = 7.2 Miles.

Q. How do you convert Yards to Metres.
A. Multiply Yards by 9, then move the decimal point left one place. e.g. 100 Yards x 9 = 900. = 90.0 Metres.

Q. How do you convert Metres to Yards.
A. A quick and dirty way is to add the first digit of two digits numbers if the last digit is a zero. If not, place a decimal point between the two digits then add to total. Or for three digit numbers add the first two digits. Or for four digit numbers add the first three digits.
e.g. 10 Metres (add the first digit (1)0) to Metre total = 11 Yards
e.g 15 Metres (place a decimal point between (1.5) then add to Metre total = 16.5 Yards
e.g. 150 Metres (add the first two digits (15)0) then add to Metre total = 165 Yards
e.g. 1500 Metres (add the first three digits (150)0) then add to Metre total = 1650 Yards

To get true conversions choose below

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Q. What is the highest point on the island.
A. Pico Ruivo 1861 metres (6,105 ft).

Q. How far away is the horizon, in miles.
A. To work out the horizon from any given altitude. Multiply your altitude in feet above sea level by 3, then divide by 2. The horizon is the square root of that total (the answer is in miles) e.g. Pico Ruivo altitude 6,105ft x 3 = 18,315ft divide by 2 = 9157.5 the square root of that number is 95.69. Rounded to the next highest whole number. The answer is 96 miles to the horizon. Try it out now. Input a number in feet you are above sea level then click on the 'Distance' button to found out how many miles it is to the horizon.

Q. If you get lost how do you find South without a compass during daylight hours.clock showing due north
A. Using an analog watch, point the hour hand of the watch at the sun. Halfway between the hour hand and 12 is due South e.g. If the hour hand is at 4.00 pm and you point it towards the sun. Due south will be halfway i.e. 2.00 pm

Q. If you don't have an analog watch try this method to find North/South East/West providing the sun is shining. Find North/South East/West with a stick
A. Place your walking stick in the ground as vertical as possible in a open flat space. Place a stone/twig at the end of the shadow. Wait a minimum of fifteen minutes (1 hour is better). Place a another stone/twig at the end of the second shadow. Remove your walking stick from the ground and place it between the two stones. Intersect this line half-way at ninety degrees. The points of the compass are as per illustration.

Q. What is vertigo.
A. A sensation of dizziness resulting in a disorder of the sense of balance.

Q. When can you get vertigo.
A. When there is exposure on the path such as a steep drop.

Q. Will I suffer from vertigo.
A. Yes/No. No two people are alike. If you don't like steep drops you are prone to it.

Q. What is the electricity voltage - Will I need an adaptor.European Two Pin Plug
A. Voltage is 230V. Yes, an adaptor three pin U.K. to two pin European.

Q. Is the water safe to drink from the tap.
A. Mostly yes. To be safe, drink bottled mineral water.

Q. Is there an English church in Funchal
A. Yes. Holy Trinity on Rua do Quebra Costas 18, 9000-034 Funchal (off Rua da Carreira) main service Sunday 11.00.

Q. Are there any Internet cafe's.
A. Yes.

Q. Is Wi-fi available.
A. Yes, at the house and in these locations. Airport, Largo de Sé, La Vie (ex Dolca Vita) shopping centre, Lido, Ponta Gorda, Praça Colombo, Theatre cafe, Santa Luzia Gardens, Club Naval Funchal, Tecnopólo, Fórum Madeira, Anadia shopping centre, Pousada da Juventude.

Q. What should we dial on a mobile telephone to reach the UK.
A. 0044 drop the zero off the STD e.g. (0)171 then dial the normal number.

Q. What should we dial on a mobile telephone when in Madeira to reach a Madeira land line number.
A. First dial the international number (e.g. 00) then 351 291 (Portugal, Madeira) then the normal six digit number or for an emergency dial 112.

Q. Where is the best bed and breakfast place to stay in Funchal for walk information. :-))
A. TJ Walking ;-)) Go to the reservation page

Q. Didn't find what you were looking for and think it would be of interest to others.
A. Just send an message with your suggestion and we will answer it and then list it. Thank you.

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