An island looks to its laurels

There are two things that are exclusive to Madeira. Mike Gerrard is guided along the one and through the other
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The Independent Travel
This is the only laurel forest left in the world," Tony dos Santos Gomes tells me, "and it covers about 60 per cent of Madeira." This is not the conifer laurel but the bay laurel, provider of the bay leaf to cooks worldwide.



Mike Gerrard travelled as a guest of Cadogan Holidays (tel: 01703 828300). He stayed at the Savoy Hotel in Funchal. A week in November/December costs from pounds 549 per person and includes scheduled flights with British Airways from Gatwick. Thomson Direct (tel: 0990 502555) has seven-night return charters to Funchal from pounds 89.

Mike Gerrard booked his walks with Turivema, which does a different walk each day except Sunday. Each walk costs Es6,900 (about pounds 23) including hotel pick-ups, guide, insurance, refreshments and loan of any equipment needed. Contact Turivema (tel: 00351 291 766109; fax: 00351 291 766210; net: