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Madeira Island Expedition FAQ

Fitness Level

Easy-Moderate: Madeira is a world-class hiking destination with hike difficulty ranging from flat/easy to extreme/very steep. Madeira Island is a very hilly place so expect to encounter up and down / elevation gain and loss on pretty much every hike we do. 

Our hikes for this expedition fall into the middle range in terms of difficulty, steepness, and duration. You need to be able to hike comfortably for 4-5 hours max with a light day pack. We won’t be gaining more than 1000 meters on any single hike – and some of our hikes are far less elevation gain. 

Good preparation for this trip is simply just to go out hiking. The stair master in the gym is also a good asset. 

Who should apply?

The perfect candidate:

  • You want to explore far off the beaten path than 99.9% of the average visitors to Madeira. 
  • You are comfortable both in the city and in the mountains.
  • You love being part of an adventure team.
  • You are a passionate hiker and maintain decent fitness.
  • You’re a team player and understand that plans sometimes change.
  • You are keen to head on a real adventure.
  • You are capable of trekking for 4-5 hours a day.
  • You want to have shared experiences with cool people from around the world. 
  • You have a positive attitude and want to gain new amazing life experiences.
  • You have an open mindset.

Why do I need to book a Tour? Can I visit Madeira on my own?

People can definitely visit Maderia on their own. 

You can get to Madeira from pretty much any major European capital in just a few hours. 

BUT… you simply will not be able to do the sort of adventures offered on this trip without us. By design, this expedition is focused on providing unique experiences you can’t get anywhere else – that is what makes an Epic Expedition EPIC. 

We have spent years discovering some of the places you will get to experience on this trip – you are getting what took us years of blood, sweat, and serious exploration in one week. That’s the goal and the objective. 

So why book a trip with EBT?

We handle logistics, provide you with unique connections, and allow you to see the best of the Island in a relatively short time frame. 

Our staff are the Madeira experts with years of experience discovering the most incredible trails, places to eat, and unique things to do. 

Read more here about Why you should choose Epic Expeditions Tours

Is Madeira safe?

Madeira Island is blessed in the sense that there are no wild animals that are going to kill you, and crime rates are among the lowest in all of Europe. 

The biggest danger on the island is its natural features. The ocean is notoriously powerful and every year a few people are swept out to sea. 

The mountains and rivers present their own inherent dangers as well – which is why we plan our hikes to places we know well and that are relatively safe for most hiking skill levels. 

What is the food like in Madeira?

If you are a foodie, you are absolutely going to love Madeira. 

Fresh fish and shellfish are standard classics. Fresh fruit and vegetables are also abundant given the sub tropical climate of Madeira. 

Other classic dishes include various regional meat dishes and local twists on classic Portuguese fare. 

What kind of guides will we have?

The lead guide for this trip is local legend, Joao Freitas. Joao was born and raised here on Madeira and is probably the most knowledgeable guide living in Madeira of his generation. 

With a degree in Cultural Studies in Portugal and a Master of Arts in Global Cultures and Creativity in the U.K. João found out what really matters in life can be found on the trails, and in the contact with people from different backgrounds and cultures.

When not guiding in Pakistan, João is guiding and exploring in the Madeira Islands trails – discovering some of the hidden treasures on his Portuguese Island.

Your second guide is Chris Lininger. 

For the last ten years, Chris has been seeking out every shade of adventure in various parts of the globe.

Since 2012, Chris has logged more than 6000 trail miles across five continents.

As the founder of Epic Expeditions, Chris is an experienced guide with a passion for facilitating the discovery of new cultures, mind-bending landscapes, and outdoor experiences.

Chris is based in Madeira for half the year when not leading expeditions to Pakistan. 

Check out our meet the team page here.

What is the accommodation like?

We will be staying at a locally owned hotel in a small village near the sea. The hotel has an in house restaurant, gym, and a pool among other comfortable amenities. Each room has a private bathroom, balcony, air conditioning, and wifi. 

Trip prices are based on twin sharing rooms. Single rooms are available upon request (with an extra charge of $500). 

Do I need a visa to visit Maderia?

Madeira Island is in Portugal and is also part of the European Union (EU). 

Free visas on arrival are standard for most western nationalities including the USA, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and every other country in the EU. 

What sort of equipment do I need to come on this trip?

There is no special equipment needed to join this trip. We are not camping or staying out overnight at any point on the trip, so we do not need tents, sleeping bags, etc. 

A good pair of hiking shoes, hiking clothing, a few warm layers, a small duffel bag, and a day bag is pretty much all you need to be happy on this trip. A full packing list will be provided. 

Is insurance included in the tour?

Personal travel insurance is not included.

To travel on this tour, you must have travel insurance.

We will provide recommendations and it is not too expensive either. If you don’t buy travel insurance, you will not be allowed to come on the trip.

WIll the trip run exactly as the itinerary is planned?

That’s the goal, and our team is already hard at work to ensure that the itinerary goes according to plan. Keep in mind that the above itinerary and activities are subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances like weather, road closures, natural disaster, etc.

Real expeditions always involve unexpected situations so things might need to be re-arranged at times. However, it is important to remember that travel is all about the journey, and so even the unexpected situations we may face should be treated as part of the overall experience. If we encounter issues we will get them sorted to the best of our ability – this is what we excel at. 

Where will I need to fly into to start the tour?

You need to fly into Funchal (FNC) airport and be at the guesthouse by mid-morning on day 1.

Ideally, you will arrive a day early to rest and gear up for the start of our adventure. You will be picked up from the airport by a member of our team providing you arrive on the first day of the trip. If you arrive during the period leading up to the start of the tour, you’ll need to pay for your own taxi (it is not expensive, on average 20 Euros). 

Will I be able to communicate with locals?

In most of the places we visit, the locals speak English.

Even if you think you know some Portuguese, the local dialects can be difficult to understand. People from Lisbon have a hard time understanding the Madeiran language!

Learning a few words of Portuguese will always be appreciated by local folks. 

Is it easy to find ATMS?

Yes, ATM machines are present all over the island.

Is pre-tour/post tour accommodation provided?

No it is not. You are not covered for accommodation for the days leading up to the start of the tour or the days after the tour has ended. Day 1 is the first day accommodation is included and day 6 is the last night accommodation is provided. If you need an affordable place to stay before or after the tour starts/ends, we can provide recommendations.

Do I need to sign a release waiver?

All tour participants will be required to sign an industry-standard waiver releasing Epic Expeditions from any liability related to any aspect of this expedition. 

Have a question about this Madeira Island Expedition?

Feel free to send us a message using our contact page!

Adventure Guide

Hailing from the Toronto region of Eastern Canada, with a background as a former standout athlete (hockey of course) and a  love of mountain adventure, Clark is a welcomed addition to the Epic team.

In addition to being a keen photographer and adventurer, Clark brings his brilliant sense of humor, leadership skills, and positive attitude to everything he puts his mind to. 

When he is not leading trips, he is working on taking over the hard apple cider game in Canada as a skilled craft brewer. 

Adventure Guide

Noemi grew up in the mountains of German-Speaking Switzerland where she naturally developed a deep love and respect for mountain environments.

She is a talented photographer, aspiring climber, and speaks at least 5 languages fluently including Arabic (and probably a few more that we don’t know about), which she taught herself in a matter of months by watching YouTube videos. 

Noemi has spent the last several years traveling, hiking, and photographing her way around many different countries in the Middle East, South and Central Asia, and Europe, and we could not be more stoked to welcome her to the Epic team! 

Adventure Guide

As our man on the ground in Mongolia, there is not much this legend can’t do. As a native the Bayan-Ölgii province of the Western Mongolia Altai, Syerik has been working as a guide and tourism entrepreneur…

for the past several years and is one of the rising stars in Mongolia adventure travel industry. 

He is currently building a beautiful Ger (Yurt) camp near his hometown where he will host Epic Mongolia team members on our trip as well as other travelers from around the world! 

He is the perfect guide for your trip to Mongolia. Serik did an amazing job giving us a well rounded experience in the Altai NP region and down in the Gobi…
The food was fantastic and Serik gave us many opportunities to learn about the Kazakh culture in that region including traditional meals. (I can’t recommend enjoying the milk tea enough!)

– Coastal

Head of canine operations

Choriza started off life as a care-free vagabond on the streets of Madeira Island without any place to call home. From the moment we met her, we knew this dog was just different, and it was pretty much love at first sight. 

She gave up the dog street life in favor of joining her new dad Chris to become a full-time member of the Epic family towards the end of 2022.

These days she can be found listening in on the fringes of important Epic business meetings while half-asleep on the couch. She is a keen hiker, lover of mud, rare steak, and might just be the sweetest little dog we have ever seen. 

Adventure Guide

An experienced trek leader and
IFMGA aspirant ski guide, avid alpine climber, devoted adventure photographer.

Organized and guided trekking expeditions, climbs and ski tours in Tajikistan’s Pamirs, Patagonia, Peru, Morocco, Nepal, Kyrgyzstan, Georgian and Russian Caucasus and Kamchatka.

A full member and meets the organiser of the British Alpine Club. Visited over 40 countries, lived in the UK for four years. Certified first-aider.

We joined Andrew on a fantastic trip to the Fann Mountains in Tajikistan, pure nature and magnificent scenery! Andrey was super prepared and led us safely up and down numerous passes and through some rough and icy cold rivers. Thank you for a very memorable trip, your planning and prep was excellent!

– Monika Steinlechner

epic backpacker tours team

Adventure Guide

Our man in Nepal, Sandip is what we like to call a “Swiss Army Knife”. There is not much Sandip can’t do when it comes to helping Epic to run our expeditions smoothly in Nepal.

His tireless work ethic, passion for all things trekking in the Himalayas, and smart decision-making mean that Sandip is a truly invaluable member of our team.

Sandip is passionate about showing visitors to his country an amazing time, and he goes above and beyond to make sure that happens. 

His company Himalayan Masters is Epic’s trusted partner in Nepal and one of the country’s top new tour agencies.

We really enjoyed the entire journey, and I would like to say that Sandip is truly professional. He guided us and he is a hardworking person, providing us with the best service and taking care of each one of us. Plus, he is super funny! The kind of professionnal you always want to find on your path for your explorations! 

– Alexandra Ruth

Fairy Meadows

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Our Favorite Experiences

#1 Sunrise from Reflection Lake

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#2 Hiking to Nanga Parbat Base Camp

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#3 Playing cricket with the locals

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Trips Where We Visit Fairy Meadows

Our flagship Pakistani adventure tour.  Road trip with some  hiking and cultural immersion.

A trekking-style tour that features some very remote locations, inlcuding a K2 viewpoint.

Adventure Guide

João has born in the mountains of Madeira Islands in Portugal. Nature lover, writer, musician, guide, for him, a day without contact with outdoor vibes is a nightmare. 

With a degree in Cultural Studies in Portugal and a Master of Arts in Global Cultures and Creativity in the U.K.

João found out what really matters in life can be found on the trails, and in the contact with people from different backgrounds and cultures.

Guiding, crazy trekking missions, and sharing observations about the natural world, – these are some of João’s passions. 

After trekking to K2 Base Camp and exploring all over Northern Pakistan, he fell in love with the country and the local people. His experiences resulted in his desire to share these feelings with the world.

João is one of the most experienced guides at Epic and his skillset and positive mindset in the mountains is second to none

When not in Pakistan, João is  guiding and exploring in the Madeira Islands trails –  discovering some of the hidden treasures on his Portuguese Island.

João I can not thank you enough for the off the beaten paths and views you keep giving. Definitely one of the most challenging and amazing hikes we did 1200m meters all the way up to Fanal forest and circling back to the hidden village. Wow!

– Jeffery 

travel hunza valley

Adventure Guide

Sohail is the newest addition to the Epic Backpacker Tours team and we are beyond stoked to have him on board. As a veteran of the Karakoram and a native of Karimabad in Hunza, there is not much Sohail can’t do in the mountains. 

Besides having the ability to speak more languages than we can count, Sohail has explored every corner of Gilgit Baltistan and logs more trekking miles 

in a year than most people will do in a lifetime. As of the summer of 2022, Sohail has summited Gasherbrum 1, Gasherbrum 2, and K2 – three of Pakistan’s five 8000-meter peaks. Sohail guides several trips including our annual bespoke expeditions but specializes in Hunza Valley tours.

Chris and Sohail, and the team at Epic are FANTASTIC! Highly recommend anyone to do a tour with ‘Epic’. They have the perfect balance of fun, excitement and wild adventures, tied in with being super professional and ensuring your safety/health in a foreign environment. Don’t waste a moment and book a tour with these guys as the value for money is UNREAL!

– Borgan

iran travel tour

Adventure Guide

Pedro’s been traveling all around the globe since 2009. His keen interests in documentary photography, rural life, and local people from different ethnic groups have been the focus of many of his professional projects.

Since 2012, he has developed his passion for travel and awesome shared experiences into a full-time adventure photography tour leader position.

Pedro has found himself continuously going back to the Middle East, with his likely favorite destination being Iran. Pedro will be leading his 11th tour in Iran with EBT this coming spring 2020

When Pedro’s not traveling the world with Epic Backpacker Tours, you’ll find him based in the western south of Portugal planning he’s next adventure missions, logistics and working out his photos in local exhibitions.

 I loved the combination of hiking, camping around breathtaking scenery mixed with the cultural aspects. The guide (Pedro) is knowledgeable and work very hard to make the trip as memorable as possible. All in all an epic adventure with some extremely epic individuals! Go for it, you won’t regret it!

– Coastal

Diane Bouvet

Adventure Admin / Marketing

After fleeing from the corporate fashion world in Paris towards the start of 2020, Diane has been working as a web developer and graphic designer remotely from various bases across the globe

She brings all of her incredible design and organizational power to Epic Backpacker Tours and is responsible for many of the beautiful behind-the-scenes design elements. 

Diane has been to Iran and to Pakistan twice including all over Gilgit Baltistan and KPK.

k2 gondogoro la trek

Head of Operations | Guide

A veteran of Pakistan travel, Ralph is an experienced guide, photographer and writer who specializes in documenting remote locations. 

Not one to simply go where everyone else does, he insists on exploring new and lesser-known areas.

Together with Epic Backpacker Tours, he shows people parts of Pakistan that most other operators don’t even know about. He is particularly fond of the village of Barah, which he believes will become just as famous as Hunza one day.

Just got back from EBT’s Trekking Amongst Giants 15 day tour. The experience was first class. Ralph, our head guide, ensured that the entire trip ran smoothly and relatively on time (a bonus for anyone travelling in Pakistan). We had so many unforgettable days on the tour and the trekking was well-planned, safe but also a rewarding challenge. 

– Calvin


Traveling to a non-tourist destination can be a little intimidating but EBT takes all of the worry and trepidation away. From the pre-trip call to meeting the wonderful staff in person you can tell that you are dealing with a company that has a passion for what they do each and every day. Ralph, Zahid, and Khan were supportive, kind, and always willing to go the extra mile to make sure that everyone on the trip was getting what they wanted out of the experience.

– Katrina 

adventure tours pakistan

Founder | Adventure Guide | Director

Since he started exploring the world, Chris has been seeking out every shade of adventure in various parts of the globe and had visited more than 70 countries along the way. 

Over the last 10 years, Chris has logged more than 7000 trail miles across five continents and climbed multiple 6000 + 7000 meter peaks in Pakistan and Nepal.

A few years back, a distant dream and a deep passion for the mountains and the people of Pakistan led Chris to co-found Epic Backpacker Tours at a time when foreign adventure tourism in Pakistan was almost nonexistent. Since then, Chris has guided more than 20 expeditions to various parts of Northern Pakistan.

Chris believes in using photography and powerful adventure experiences to dismantle negative stereotypes regarding what mainstream media considers “dangerous” countries while facilitating unique and meaningful memories in the mountains for countless people from around the globe. 

For him, an ideal start to the day begins with a steaming cup of good coffee, the beam of a headlamp, alpine boots, and a camera in hand.

He lives in Madeira Island when not leading expeditions in far-flung lands. 

Chris also works as a writer and photographer on his blog Off the Atlas – an adventure travel blog all about Pakistan.  

Read this interview our staff did with Chris to learn more about him!

 

Chris believes in Pakistan and its people, and he believes in the value of journeys shared with others and family cultivated on the road. Honesty and integrity are at the heart of what he does, and this really shines through in his work as a guide. He also makes great coffee – whether at 5am in an empty guesthouse or half way up a Himalayan peak.”

– Will De Villers

Pakistan is a magical country! Had 3 of the best weeks of my life thanks to Epic Backpacking Tours with owner, and one of our awesome guides, Chris. From detailed itinerary, preparation with an equipment list, and visa assistance. To amazing food, great porters, helpful guides, and great accommodations. Epic really hit home run after home run. […]

Their desire for adventure and amazing trip is just as high as yours. Bring a good pound of coffee for the trip. French press coffee every morning and no average tin coffee, plus you’ll be in your guides good books.

– Clark Tyler

epic backpacker tours

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