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Madeira Island: Lost World of Europe

Hidden trails. Wild Canyoneering. Vibrant Culture.

DIFFICULTY: Moderate

MAX ALTITUDE: 1600 meters

TOUR DURATION: 7 days

LODGING: Local Quinta
(bed and breakfast)

GROUP SIZE: 12 people

Overview

Welcome to Madeira Island. This is not the Europe you thought you knew. 

Located nearly 1000 kilometers from the coast of West Africa, Madeira is a Portuguese island loaded with everything we look for when designing an Epic expedition. 

UNESCO Laurisilva  forests. Towering mountain peaks. Lush subtropical jungle. Vibrant local culture. Forgotten paths commissioned by old kings. This is where the landscapes of Hawaii meet the history and traditions of old Europe. 

We have spent years handcrafting a 100% unique itinerary that gets you off the beaten path in one of Europe’s most far-flung destinations.

This is the side of Madeira you won’t discover anywhere else. 

Discover the Magic of Madeira Island

best month to visit maderia

Who This Trip is For

  • BALANCE BETWEEN TREKKING AND COMFORT: For those who are looking for a more raw adventure vibe but still want to have a glass of red wine and a bed at the end of the day. Our motto for this trip: go hard during the day, chill in comfort at night.
  • VARIED LANDSCAPES: Madeira truly has a crazy variety of different landscapes considering its size. Mountains, coast, jungle, alpine – you will explore vastly different landscapes over the course of a single day.
  • A UNIQUE ITINERARY: Is it possible to visit Madeira on your own? Sure it is. We can just guarantee you that you won’t be able to go to the places we go or have the kind of unique experiences that we offer on this trip. 
  • FOOD FOCUSED: Food is a very important aspect of this trip. We have sought out some truly fantastic spots to sample local food and drink. Even most locals don’t know about all of the backyard cellars, Poncha bars, and hidden BBQ spots we have found. 
  • ADVENTURE PHOTOGRAPHY: Discover why traveling in Madeira is a true adventure photographer’s dream. Get professional photo tips from your guide and expand your portfolio as we take in the island. 

Gallery

Upcoming Dates

Dates

Places

Deposit

Full

June 2nd - 8th (2024)Available$500$2100
November 9th - 15th (2024)Available$500$2100
March 8th - 14th (2025)Available$500$2100 (early bird discount)
March 23rd-29th, (2025)Available$500$2100 (early bird discount)

Have a question or ready to book?

Whether you’re just curious about this trip or are ready to make a deposit, we’re here for you.

To submit an inquiry or make a trip deposit, please fill out and submit the form below.

Your Trip Leaders

Joao Frietas

João was born in the mountains of Madeira Island 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.

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.

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. 

Highlights of the Tour

  • Go on three off-the-beaten-path treks unique to this trip
  • Experience canyoneering down a 60-meter waterfall
  • Learn how to make the traditional drink of Madeira in one of the island’s oldest Poncha Bars
  • Discover local food traditions and practice your fire cooking skills yourself on a team BBQ day
  • Learn about the history and culture of Madeira
  • Sleep in comfortable accommodation
  • Travel with a group of fun adventurers from around the world
  • Experience Madeira with our expert staff

Itinerary

Today is the day all the fun begins. Arrival in Madeira (early morning). 

Make your way to the hotel in the morning for our first team meeting and briefing. 

Mid morning, we head out to the capital city of Madeira, Funchal for a look around the beautiful old town, traditional market and a few other surprise spots we love. 

For dinner, we are taking you guys somewhere really special in the mountains – here we will taste some delicious local food and wine while we go over the week and schedule. 

We will have an early night tonight; tomorrow is a busy day!

 

Hike distance= 10km
Altitude gain= 500m

We leave our accommodation in the dark, bound for a secret sunrise spot. 

After sunrise and a quick breakfast, we will head off on an awesome hike down in the valley. This hike is one that very few people n the island know about and involves some truly spectacular views, massive waterfalls, and a few epic surprises. 

After the hike it is time to try some famous Madeira seafood at one of our all time favorite spots for lunch. 

After lunch, it is time to learn about one of the most important aspects of Madeiran culture: Poncha
There is a reason that Madeira used to be called the rum island. 

To get the real experience of what Poncha is about, we will head to a very local establishment on the North Coast to get a first hand lesson on the history and process of making Poncha. 

Folks are free for dinner on their own tonight.  We can provide a plethora of good recommendations depending on what you want to eat. 

Hike distance = 10km
Altitude gain = 450 m incline

Today you will experience a totally different side of Madeira. 

The south coast is the land of banana farms, passion fruit groves, and plenty of sun all year round. 

After a walk around one of the most picturesque villages on the whole island, we will take a break for lunch at a classic local spot. 

After a few shots of espresso, we will head to a different part of the south coast for an epic sunset hike. 

We will grab dinner together as a group nearby. 

Our final day of the trip is no time to relax (at least not until the evening). 

We will start early with the objective to climb one of Madeira’s largest and little known peaks before descending into one of the most beautiful valley’s in the Central Mountain range. 

Hike distance = 15 km
Altitude gain = 800 m incline

The afternoon is dedicated to feasting on epic traditional Madeiran meat cooked on fire called Espetada at a local taberna. The evening is free time with dinner on your own. 

 

Time to get wet! Into the canyons we go.

Canyoneering in Madeira is a special experience for many reasons. We will get to explore deep canyons and river systems while descending massive waterfalls few others get to see due to their inaccessibility without ropes and the proper equipment, etc.

You do not need to have experience canyoneering to take part in the activities. Our expert staff will give every member safety and best practices training before we start.

Because the water in the river and waterfalls is cold, we will don thick wetsuits, helmets, and gloves before heading off into this wild side of Madeira. All gear is provided including a helmet, booties, and the wetsuit.

 After our team has finished the roughly 5 hour excursion, we will head to one of the best spots on the island to try local seafood. 

Our last day in Madeira together is going to be a special one. 

Sunrise on the north coast, followed by a chill, but epic coastal hike (weather pending). 

After the morning hike, we will return to the hotel to grab a quick shower, rest. and change before our final dinner. 

In the evening, we have something truly special in store for our final feast. 

Think fine dining meets home cooking, mountain vistas, and local wine. Very few locals even know about this place; we are STOKED to bring you here to experience it. 

Following our final group dinner, the group heads back to our accommodation to get a good night’s sleep before the time comes to catch flights home the following day. 

Alas – our Epic week together has come to an end!

We say goodbye and arrange for transfers to the airport for those who are flying out today.

A final breakfast is included at our accommodation. 

Room check out is around 11 am on this day. You can choose to stay at the same hotel if you are not flying home right away or move to the city of Funchal, though any additional nights at the hotel are not covered by Epic.

What People Have to Say

FAQ

Madeira is a Portuguese Island Located nearly 1000 kilometers from the coast of West Africa. 

There are daily direct flights from Lisbon and other major capitals in Europe. 

Madeira is notorious for having interchangeable weather. It might be raining buckets on what part of the island, misty in the mountains, and totally sunny on the other coast. 

Generally temperatures are mild since Madeira is a subtropical island. They grow bananas here, but also the high mountains get the occasional dusting of snow in the winter. 

​​Part of what makes our trips so awesome is the kind of people attracted to our adventures. On average, our trips are made up of 5-8 different nationalities. Over the years, we have had a nearly equal amount of men and women travel with us. The average age of a trip participant is 35. The oldest person to join us was 70 and the youngest was 19.

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). 

Didn’t find the answer you were looking for? Try reading our trip FAQ Page first where we break down questions about the tour in more detail or feel free to get in touch with us using the contact page!

Additional Resources

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 expeditions 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 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 lead his 11th tour in Iran with Epic in spring 2020

When Pedro’s not traveling the world with Epic Expeditions, 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 Expeditions 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 Expeditions, 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 Expeditions 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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