Wildlife at Leisure

The green mantle that covers the spectacular landscapes of Madeira adorn many a travel brochure. This verdant landscape is a subtropical paradise for the plant lover; it seems everything grows here, a fact well noted by many Europeans who moved to the island in past centuries to make stunning gardens on the slopes surrounding Funchal, the island’s picturesque capital.

Monte Palace Gardens © Tom Chapman

We’ll visit the best of these lovely gardens and in equal measure we’ll explore Madeira’s natural areas. The island is sometimes referred to as the ‘Galapagos of the North Atlantic’, with similar volcanic origins, its isolation 560km off the Northwest African coast and the prevailing westerly winds making colonisation from the continent rare. The result is a fascinating natural vegetation dominated by the Laurosilva forests and with many endemic plants. There are still substantial tracts of forests along some of the island’s many scenic Levada walks.

Cleopatra, Speckled Wood and Grayling all have endemic Madeiran forms and there’s also Macaronesian Red Admiral and the regional endemic darter Sympetrum nigrifemur. We’ll visit one of the island’s finest gardens on the Palheiro Estate, formerly known as the Blandy Gardens where endemic Trocaz Pigeons feed on the lawns. Madeiran Firecrest are also found nowhere else and are tolerably common, as are Berthelot’s Pipit and Canary. The island is also famous for its seabirds – we’ll see some from the main island and anyone wanting to stay on and do optional pelagics can see much more as well as a range of cetaceans including Atlantic Spotted Dolphins and Short-finned Pilot Whales.

Madeira Firecrest © Alistair Rae

Madeira always impresses with its verdant landscapes and endemic plants but it also has plenty of unusual and sometimes unique fauna to offer. We’ll not forget to enjoy plenty of great food and wine too!

Dates and Prices

19th March - 26th March 2025 (8 days)

London - London £2,195
Funchal - Funchal £1,930
Single Supplement* £150
Deposit £200

* doesn't apply if you're willing to share and a room-mate can be arranged

or ask us a question.

Please note; dates and prices are provisional and will be confirmed by August 2024

Tour Summary

Day 1
Arrive Funchal
Day 2
Vereda de balcões & the Dragon Tree Sanctuary
Day 3
Ponta de Sao Louranco & the Monte Palace Gardens in Funchal
Day 4
Ribeiro Bonito
Day 5
The Palheiro Ferreiro estate
Day 6
Day 7
Paul do Mar
Day 8
The Jardim Botânico. Departure from Funchal

Tour information


Madeira’s Flora and its Gardens. Also Birds, Butterflies and Landscapes.


Paul Cardy , Fred Rumsey

Group Size

One leader for a group of up to 6, two leaders up to the maximum group size of 12.

Included in the Price

All flights. All transport, accommodation and meals in Madeira. Services of your leaders. Please note: items of a personal nature including travel insurance, drinks and tips, are not included.
Flower and bird checklists are available.


The Sentido Galosol, our hotel for the entire stay on the island, is located in Caniço-de-baixo just to east of Funchal. The location is fabulous, the hotel literally draped down a cliff overlooking the Atlantic. The hotel is set in botanically interesting cliffs with seabirds and sometimes cetaceans visible from the headland. There are swimming pools and you swim in the sea below the hotel. The rooms are lovely and bright, and the hotel serves excellent Madeiran and international cuisine. All rooms on this tour have en-suite facilities.


Relaxed and easy. Always at a slow pace, ideally suited to photographers. Much of the time will be spent in fields and terraces on limestone, where the ground may be a little rough underfoot.


UK return flights are direct from London Gatwick to Funchal. Add-ons are available from various UK airports*. Other indirect routes from regional UK Airports* are available.

*These routes may incur a supplement.


Rather variable. Mostly warm and sunny, but sometimes cooler with showers or even occasional rainy days.

How to Book

Contact us to check if there is availability for the number of places you require. Click on the ‘Book this Tour’ button on this page to be taken to the online booking form or contact us and we will send one to you which you can complete and send back to us. You will receive confirmation of your place, and then a detailed information pack will be dispatched to you about twelve weeks before departure. This will contain up-to-date health information.