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Wildlife Holidays to Madeira
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Wildlife holidays to Madeira

Tell me about Madeira …

Madeira is part of Macaronesia, which also includes the Cape Verde islands, the Azores and Canaries. The Madeiran archipelago comprises five islands, of which Madeira is the largest – about the size of the Isle of Wight.

Madeira rises from the Atlantic Ocean over 300 miles from the African coast. Inland, its volcanic landscape rises to over 1,500 metres, while underwater its slopes plummet sharply to form underwater canyons.

Its separation from other landmasses, pleasant oceanic subtropical climate and topography – both underwater and above – make Madeira a special place for wildlife on and offshore.

Our Madeira specialist recommends...

"I recommend our ‘Madeira & Desertas Islands – A Seabird Extravaganza!’ which goes in search of the special breeding seabirds, cetaceans and endangered Monk Seals. We also take an exciting overnight excursion to the Desertas Islands."

Andy Tucker
Operations Manager

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Featured Tours


Sao Lourenco Peninsular (Martin Beaton)View from Pico ArieiroVaccinium padifolium - Madeira Bilberry (Paul Harmes)Pico Ruivo (Paul Marshall)Musschia aurea - Golden Musschia (Paul Harmes)Bottle-nosed dolphins (Tony Mainwood)Camp site on Desertas Grande (Tony Mainwood)Canary (Tony Mainwood)Striking Desertas rock patterns (Tony Mainwood)Desertas Islands (Tony Mainwood)Spotted Dolphin (Luis Diaz)Shearwaters and Spotted Dolphins (Luis Diaz)Bryde's Whale (Luis Diaz)Sperm Whale Tail (Luis Diaz)Common Dolphin (Luis Diaz)

What’s special about the wildlife?

Botany: Madeira’s plant life is superb; the island is often referred to as ‘the floating garden’. An incredible 1,163 species of plant have been recorded on the archipelago, of which 113 are endemic. Madeira is also home to some interesting butterflies and birds.

Seabirds: the Madeiran archipelago is arguably the ultimate destination for anyone with an interest in seabirds of the Western Palearctic.

Whales and dolphins: about 20 species of cetacean have been recorded around Madeira, among them deep-diving species such as beaked whales and Sperm Whale.

Naturetrek Tours to Madeira

We offer three wildlife tours to Madeira: an 8-day holiday in search of birds, plants and butterflies; a 5-day holiday focusing on breeding seabirds and including an exciting excursion to the Desertas Islands; a 5-day dedicated whale and dolphin watching short break.

Some highlights from our Madeira tours:

  • Visiting a wide range of habitats in search of Madeira’s rich botanical diversity, including swathes of pristine laurisilva forest & endemics
  • We’ll look for endemic land birds such as Trocaz Pigeon & Madeiran Firecrest, as well as regional endemic bird species & subspecies
  • A privately chartered boat trip to the Desertas Islands in search of Cory’s, Manx & Little Shearwaters, plus sought-after Pterodromas
  • An exciting night-time visit to the breeding site of Zino’s Petrel
  • A chance to see Bryde’s Whale, a variety of dolphins & Short-finned Pilot Whales

Anything else?

A lovely climate, a glass of Madeira wine and a stroll along Funchal harbour in the evening are among the other highlights of any holiday to this charming island.


Paul did a fantastic job.
The Sei Whales and Dolphins were excellent.
Roy (Taylor, tour leader) was a real star. His bird spotting abilities were first class. He was also very personable and did his absolute best to manage the situation regarding the weather.