Encosta Cabo Girão

Cabo Girão, Madeira

Monte and the Hortensia Tea Garden walking and hiking route

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Walk Instructions

A fine out and back walk crossing the deep valley of Joao Gomes before joining the Levada dos Tornos for a delightful promenade as far as the celebrated Hortensia tea garden. The attractions of Monte and Babosas are considerable: tropical gardens (paid – there is a combined cable car and gardens ticket), municipal gardens (free), the church, a pleasant ‘square’ with cafe, shrine, cable car termini, cafes and the famous sledge run all add to the natural charm of Monte’s situation high above and behind Funchal. Should time or energy be short, a walk which uses the track from the square at Monte to the square at Babosas, returning by a higher route past the front of the church, is an attractive proposition, with or without a visit to one or other of the gardens and a refreshment break at one of the cafes.

To avoid the demanding two-way descent and ascent of the valley side between Babosa and Romeiros, it is possible to go further on the motorway and to find the minor road which serves the village of Curral dos Romeiros, starting and finishing an almost level walk at that village. Leave the motorway at Junction 13 following signposts to the ‘Jardim Botanico’, continue past the faous gardens, and follow the main road (and bus route) uphill and turning left well before Quinta do Pomar. Park near the bus stop with a shelter near some signs for the Levada dos Tornos. If you miss it and end up at the bus shelter marked “bus terminal”, go back two stops. Then pick up the directions from step 2.

Start if arriving by car. From the parking lot, continue along the roadside footpath, downhill to the ‘square’. Follow a cobbled roadway signposted to ‘Babosas’. To the right are the free gardens to the left tracks lead up to the pilgrimage church. Pass the top of the sledge run and a drinking fountain of 1777, commemorating a former English consul, then two entrances to the tropical gardens and the top terminus of the cable way to Funchal.

Start from Monte Cable Car Terminus. From the cable car terminus turn right and walk down the cobbled street to the pleasant ‘square’ at Babosas with its great views of the deep ravine of Joao Gomes.

Map Point 1. At signs saying ‘Curral dos Romeiros, Levada dos Tornos and Levada do Bom Successo’ continue quite steeply downhill, on a paved and lighted roadway, soon passing the top terminus of the lesser cable way, which connects with the Jardim Botanico. The cobbled track narrows turns sharply right and as it winds down to cross the stream at the valley bottom on a bridge before rising up the far side of the valley to Curral dos Romeiros. Rise steeply on tarmac through the village, with views over Funchal. Pass the bus terminus and bear left, quite steeply uphill on a concrete path, the property ‘Melim’ is to the right. Reach ‘Levada dos Tornos’ sign to both left and right. Folllow the ‘Levada do Tornos’ signs pointing eastwards and follow a cobble track between houses”, then the main road going down. If you go up the road, look out for ‘Levada dos Tornos signs to both left and right and take the path right. It is best to take the dead-end concrete path between houses. It turns to a cobbled track. Then go up a flight of steps on the left ‘Levada dos Tornos, Camacha’. Turn right part way up: it says ‘Levada’ on wall. Follow the Levada, initially covered, across the top of a flight of steps, below is a road with bus stop. Once on the Levada, just keep following it until you can see Curral dos Romeiros on the opposite side of the valley, and then some. This is a substantial part of the walk. After passing through groves of pine and mimosa you reach a gate. Cross a road and enter the grounds of the Choupana holiday resort. There are holiday homes on either side of the Levada. Leave the resort across an access track, soon reaching a minor road.

Map Point 2. When you leave the holiday resort and follow the Levada you will eventually see a sign saying ‘keep walking Hortensea Tea Gardens 40 min.’ By this time you should have walked 3.1 miles and estimated that the tea gardens are at least another mile.

Map Point 3. Go across the road and continue along the Levada. There is no sign, but the track is behind a low wall. Below this is Quinta do Pomar, with its little chapel almost concealed below the Levada. The waterway is squeezed beside a house. Pass a water house. After crossing a concrete roadway, continue through a well wooded section, with a log structure. Follow Levada for 1 mile. Go under a road, there is a sign ‘Hortensia Tea Gardens 200m’, Levada section just below impressive new houses with great sea views and Funchal. Turn left, steeply up a little road to the well signposted and attractive tea garden. The café serves excellent apple pie and the gardens feature endemic flower species.

Map Point 4. Return by the same route.

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Disclaimer: This route was correct at time of writing. However, alterations can happen if development or boundary changes occur, and there is no guarantee of permanent access. These walks have been published for use by site visitors on the understanding that neither HPB Management Limited nor any other person connected with Holiday Property Bond is responsible for the safety or wellbeing of those following the routes as described. It is walkers' own responsibility to be adequately prepared and equipped for the ‎level of walk and the weather conditions and to assess the safety and accessibility of the walk.

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