Day 00 (2019-12-04)

  • daily stats: 350 km by bus, 3200 km by airliner, 75 km by ferry, 3 km walk
  • sleeping: Funchal, hostel
  • long flight (4 hours), due to gusts (35–40 kt, 20 m/s) the FNC airport was closed and we diverted to Porto Santo (PXO)
  • destination was reached after a ferry ride (2.5 hours) in the evening (21:00)
    • cell phone signal along the route
    • diesel engines shook all the vessel (the worst was the resonance when idling in the port)
  • (despite sleeping enough I got headache that troubled my short stay at Porto Santo)

Evening anchorage in Funchal

Day 01 (2019-12-05)

  • daily stats: ~12 km
  • sleeping: Funchal, hostel

The closest trace of Amundsen I found

  • reconnaissance day, no particular plan
  • easy morning (got up at 9:15)
  • looking for groceries’, bus stops/terminals
  • no quiet park for reading, eventually a bank near São Tiago fortress
    • disappointment from Funchal from pedestrian point of view
  • backing off to hostel due to cold wind in the afternoon (cable car to Monte was closed because of the wind)

Day 02 (2019-12-06)

  • daily stats: 14 km, +600 m, -1000 m
  • sleeping: Funchal, hostel
  • late morning, sufficient to catch Cabo Girão bus
    • reaching new areas thanks to the bus (no sidewalks in tunnels)
    • horizontal land is a precious asset
    • mostly bananas in the gardens, sometimes vine

Cabo Girão

  • walk back from Cabo Girão to Funchal
    • irrigation conduits in the gardens/fields
    • Lobo Camaro lunch break
    • hotel quarter west of Funchal
  • cemetery with Dr. Langerhans (closed) and Fortrezza do Pico
  • new guests in the hostel
    • the Portuguesse hiker discouraged me from Pico Ruivo (clouds, rain, no outlook)

Day 03 (2019-12-07)

  • daily stats: 24 km, +1000 m, -1000 m (smoothed estimate)
  • sleeping: Santana, hotel
  • early morning to catch bus to Santana departing at 7:30
  • the bus easily climbs from Funchal (sea level) to Monte (500 m) and eventually to Poiso (1400 m)
    • the weather is the worst there (fog, raining, cold)
  • buying basic groceries, refilling water from public tap in Santana
  • 10:00 started steep climb from Santana to Caldeirão Verde parking lot
  • 11:00 parking lot, start of the levada trail
    • narrow, lots of tourists despite rain (finally I utilized my raincoat)
  • 12:45 arrival at Caldeirão Verde, quick lunch
  • 14:00 reaching Caldeirão do Inferno (quickly turning back to finish trip before sunset)
    • return walk was better because of almost no rain and tourists (most of them went to Caldeirão Verde only)
  • 16:20 back at the parking lot
  • 18:00 check-in in Santana
    • the owner helped me to create program for the following (Santana) days
    • another discouragement of Pico Ruivo

One of the tunnels on the levada walk

Day 04 (2019-12-08)

  • daily stats: 20 km, +1200 m, -900 m (smoothed estimate)
  • sleeping: Santana, hotel
  • morning bus to Arco de São Jorge

Water falling into water + vegetation

  • climb through nice gardens
  • walk to join Levada do Rei
    • contour lines in my map were confusing
    • due to rain (and stereotypical looks) I didn’t walk to the end (Ribeiro Bonito)
  • visited Cabo Aéreo café (tasted poncha for the first time)
  • return to Santana via a panoramic way and checking the ruins of hotel Ritz
    • good for contemplations

Day 05 (2019-12-09)

  • daily stats: (5+8) km, +400 m, -400 m (rough estimate)
  • sleeping: Funchal, hostel
  • missed the bus (waited on wrong stop), rejected taxi driver’s offer and walked to Faial to catch another bus
  • changing bus in Machico (skipping this town)
  • Caniçal is an industrial port, looks poorer than the rest of the visited places
  • bus goes directly to Baía D’Abra
    • many tourists heading to São Lourenço
    • obviously the “city” tourists (Germans, Poles) who came there for a trip
    • observing planes both from/to FNC and PXO
  • evening return to Funchal and walk

Day 06 (2019-12-10)

  • daily stats: 14 km, +1200 m, -700 m (smoothed estimate)
  • sleeping: Funchal, hostel
  • going by bus to Curral das Freiras
  • ascent back to Eira do Serado
    • full of tourists (big parking lot for buses)
  • continued ascent to Miradouro do Paredão
    • got sunstroke above the clouds
    • nice “wild” trail

Above Eira do Serado

Day 07 (2019-12-11)

  • daily stats: 3200 km by airliner, 350 km by bus
  • sleeping: night bus Berlin–Prague
  • despite unclear plans in the beginning, I wasn’t able to visit all places I intended to (Pico Ruivo, plateau,…)

Natural sights

  • bananas (finally saw orientation of banana fruits on the plant)
  • Madeira lizards
  • blooming aloes (long antenna that bends as an arch)
  • water cycle (rain, condensation, rivers)
  • sound of the ocean hitting rocks (even 500 m above the water, must have walked, not heart on a bus)
  • windows don’t dew, no algae on walls (in the moist north)

Manmade sights

  • Cabo Girão outlook (~500 m above the sea with glass floor)
  • Santana
    • village/town spread in the hills/valleys
  • concrete in Madeira often contains shell shards
  • cruise ships (and their high traffic) in Funchal port
  • cars parking very close to a wall (utilizing the narrow roads)


  • arrival to Berlin ZOB at 8:30, ready at Berlin Tegel gate at 9:45
  • Funchal (FNC) airport can be relatively often closed due to windy conditions (raw estimate 1/8 days, extrapolated estimate 5 days/year)
  • there is no siesta (no mañanas+tardes)
  • levada walks
    • account for tunnels (headlight), watch out both under feet and above head
    • account for tourists and narrow paths (your pace is limited)
  • night in the north are colder and there is almost 100% humidity – my clothes were wet in the morning as they sucked the moisture over night
  • travelling by bus
    • very dense network of bus stops
    • locals can use it efficiently (it’s not where bus always stops but places where it can stop)
    • but only few major stops known to tourists
    • relatively cheap: São Lourenço–Funchal ~4 EUR, the longest line on the island is ~7 EUR (Funchal–Porto Moníz), taxi from Santana–Faial was offered at 10 EUR (might be subject to bargain)
  • showers, beds, bus seats, bus stops are designed for shorter people
  • grocery chains: Continente, Pingo Doce


  • Czech girl – short (<1 week) vacation, guided tours, hinted me about poncha
    • she was the last person I spoke Czech to in one week, so it was an unusual experience when I spoke Czech again after returning to Czechia
  • French woman – long ad-hoc vacation over all of Macaronesia (continued to Porto Sante), gave me useful information on local buses
  • Portuguesse woman – rented car, circum-rode the island, could pick picturesque trails (only) because she could reach them by the car; discouraged me from Porto Moníz and Pico Ruivo
    • vacation concepts: a) short (quality) trails + car moves, b) always walk with tent, c) public transport + trips
  • couple walking dogs – woman was shouting angrily to call a dog back, when I passed them by the woman smiled at me (cf. Czech, where she would likely still be angry)
  • Spanish guy – came from Galicia to enjoy warmer winter, used to maritime life so had different impressions than me


  • restaurants use paper tablecloth
  • poncha
  • tuna fish steak (it’s huge)
  • scabbardfish (espada) battered with fried banana
  • cod steak, with sweet potato (and normal potato and rice)
  • salmon burger
  • tamarillo fruit


  • new phone served well
    • it wasn’t an obstacle but aid
    • neatly surprised by built-in features of camera app (time-lapse, HDR)
  • raincoat covered tightly and was comfortable
  • the (old) jacket was only useful against wind and light and short rain

Lessons learnt

  • be ready for headache after arrival
  • sunscreen must be in the backpack, not in the hostel
  • better ask locals where the bus departs from than miss it
  • it is hard to determine good time when to put raincoat on
  • reading Kindle on such (active) vacation doesn’t work
  • don’t move stones in natural parks (insects under the stone are sensitive to it)
  • pack less sleeping bags and more trousers (shorts)
  • OSM contour lines can be very imprecise (cannot capture jagged terrains)
  • clouds driven up by wind don’t dew, (stationary) clouds reached by walk dew
  • arrange Christmas presents before vacation


  • calculated personal carbon footprint is 850 kg of CO2
  • umbilical cable – charging all accessories until the very last moment before departure