The PhotoPills Expedition to Madeira is Sold Out (Join the Waiting List)

By Rafael Pons

The PhotoPills Expedition to Madeira is SOLD OUT!


All 12 spots are already gone!

Thanks so much :D

Wish to join us?

Don't give up!

There are always cancellations...

Click here to join the Waiting List.

Be the first one to know when a cancellation occurs.

We’re going to the Island of Madeira (Portugal)...

Are you in?

Around the Waning Crescent Moon...

From June 29th to July 5th 2024, Felix Inden and Laura Oppelt (PhotoPills Masters) will be travelling across the remote Island of Madeira to photograph the Milky Way and the Golden Light along with the soul of this hidden Atlantic pearl...

The island above the Clouds!

Of course, we’ll be taking photos all day long!


Can you imagine it?

To photograph the Milky Way, the Sun and the Golden Light along with dramatic sea cliffs, lone lighthouses, picturesque A-framed houses, stunning rock formations, tall waterfalls, majestic volcanic peaks, the ancient laurel trees and the always fascinating sea of clouds...

We’re dreaming about it!

To achieve it, we’ll use the planning power of PhotoPills and the expert knowledge of Felix Inden and Laura Oppelt to always be at the right place at the right time.

Top secret: we have quite a few legendary photos planned already ;)

The Deal (only 2 spots left)

We're offering you a €500 discount on the regular price!

All you have to do is to book 1 of the 2 last spots available before Sunday May 26th.

Read carefully all the details of this unique adventure.

And when you’re ready, click here to book your spot.

Please, book as soon as possible. The seats are sold on a first come, first served basis.

The Adventure

12 PhotoPillers | 2 PhotoPills Masters | Madeira | Endless legendary photos

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Warning! This is not a honeymoon...

We’re recruiting 12 brave PhotoPillers (PhotoPills and photography nerds) to join us on a 7-day expedition to photograph the Milky Way, the Sun and the Golden Light along with some of the most precious treasures hidden in the beautiful island of Madeira.

This is a non-stop adventure to chase legendary photos and you are a key asset!

We have planned tons of photos, and we’ll travel many kilometers (and we will hike a few more) to capture them...

But we also want to maximize our flexibility in terms of itinerary and schedule in order to take advantage of all the opportunities that the changing weather will surely put in our way.

If we're fortunate enough to be out photographing the Milky Way at night and it takes us into the late hours, we'll take a little extra sleep the next morning, skip Sunrise and kick start our day a bit later.

On the other hand, if the conditions make us skip the nighttime photography session, we'll rise and shine early to catch the Sunrise.

Whichever path we take, you can count on us to seize every photo opportunity and be right where the magic happens!

You are about to embark on a PhotoPills’ style journey. And it’s not going to be a honeymoon precisely... :P

You’ll be a true photographer.

Are you in?

Day 1. Saturday, June 29th - Welcome to Madeira

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12:30 pm

It’s Saturday afternoon...

And you land at “Aeroporto da Madeira Internacional - Cristiano Ronaldo”...

Welcome to the Atlantic sea!

13:30 pm

After collecting your luggage, take the exit door to the main hall to meet Felix Inden and Laura Oppelt... And probably a few more PhotoPillers :)

When ready, we’ll jump onto our private transport towards our basecamp for the first two days, the Hotel Aqua Natura Madeira, located just above the famous natural pools in the picturesque and welcoming village of Porto Moniz on the north coast of Madeira.

Here we’ll enjoy a superb view of the Atlantic Ocean.

Bring your swimsuit!

3:00 pm

Check-in at Hotel Aqua Natura Madeira.

4:00 pm

Expedition briefing.

Felix Inden and Laura Oppelt will go over the itinerary for the adventure, explaining the logistics, the locations and some of the photo opportunities we’ve specially planned for you.

They’ll also cover the recommended gear, the shooting techniques and some important safety instructions.

4:30 pm

PhotoPills class!

Get ready to learn lots of tips that will help you master PhotoPills once and for all :)

6:00 pm

Dinner at the Hotel Aqua Natura Madeira.

7:30 pm

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It’s time to photograph the Enchanted Forest...

The Fanal Forest in Madeira, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is part of the larger Laurisilva forest, which is believed to be around 20 million years old.

This ancient forest type dates back to the Tertiary period. The specific age of the trees within Fanal Forest varies, but some of the oldest trees, particularly the laurel trees, are estimated to be up to 500 to 800 years old.

The twisted and gnarled trees create fascinating shapes and textures.

Fanal is famous for its frequent mist, which envelops the trees and creates a mysterious, otherworldly atmosphere. This natural fog acts as a softbox, diffusing light evenly and adding a magical quality to our photographs.

And as the Sun goes down in the west, here we are, right inside the forest, photographing the ancient Laurel Trees.

It will feel like walking on a Tolkien book and being immersed in a fantasy world.

Golden hour begins at 8:44 pm, Sunset is at 9:20 pm, golden hour ends at 9:38 pm, and blue hour ends at 9:49 pm.

Note: It is the end of June and I bet many tourists will be wandering around in the forest. But luckily they will be out of the forest for our Milky Way shots.

And before the Sun goes down, we’ll do our homework and plan our Milky Way shots for the night.

Open PhotoPills and check the position of the Milky Way. It’s time to plan our astro shots for the night.

11:00 pm

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If the sky is clear we’ll stay for the stars. Otherwise we’ll go back to the hotel and wake up early the following morning to shoot sunrise.

The Galactic Center becomes visible at 11:02 pm. And Moonrise (38%) is at 2:04 am. So we’ll have time to photograph the mystic trees with no Moon in the sky.

Get ready! Prepare your wide angle lenses. It’s time for some Milky Way action.

Later, when the Moon rises, we’ll take advantage of its light to capture detail on the trees and foreground.

Also, I recommend you to take your foreground shots during the blue hour, so you can blend them with the Milky way afterwards in post.

3:00 am

We finally get to our hotel, where our comfortable beds await.

Rest well my friends, sweet dreams.

Photographic pills:

  • Golden hour, Sunset and blue hour at the Fanal Forest.
  • Milky Way at the Fanal Forest (If the sky is clear).

Day 2. Sunday, June 30th - Sea Stacks, Waterfalls, Lighthouses and the Enchanted Forest

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6:00 am

If last night we didn’t get to photograph the Milky Way because of clouds, we’ll start our day early.

We’re heading to Ribeira da Janela for sunrise.

This beach is a treasure trove of photo opportunities: black rounded rocks, a gentle stream merging with the ocean, a cave and wildflowers.

Most strikingly, we'll capture the sun rising behind two majestic sea stacks (IIheus da Rib and IIheus da Janela), perfect for practising the sunburst effect.

We'll have the flexibility to explore different angles along the beach.

Blue hour begins at 6:34 am, golden hour begins at 6:45 am, Sunrise is at 7:03 am and golden hour ends at 7:39 am.

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8:00 am

After a fulfilling sunrise shoot, we head back to the hotel for breakfast and a short break.

1:00 pm

A well-deserved lunch awaits us before our afternoon adventure.

3:00 pm

Next, we drive to the captivating Garganta Funda Waterfall.

This stunning 140 m waterfall (460 ft), set against a lush backdrop, promises breathtaking views.

We'll also enjoy a distant view of the Atlantic and the historic Ponta do Pargo Lighthouse.

Hiking distance: 600 m (1968 ft) and -94 m (308 ft) elevation gain one way.

5:00 pm

After the Garganta Funda Waterfall, we stop at a nearby cafe for a quick snack and a toilet break.

5:30 pm

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Our evening is dedicated to the Ponta do Pargo Lighthouse (height: 14 m, 46ft).

Perched on the dramatic cliffs of Ponta do Pargo (290 m, 951 ft) , it offers stunning views of the ocean.

We take our time capturing shots of the lighthouse from different angles along the way.

Actually, the best shots are along the way, from far away!

Hiking distance: 800 m (2624 ft) and -80m (262 ft) elevation gain one way.

6:30 pm

Dinner at the Hotel Aqua Natura Madeira.

8:00 pm

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Back to Fanal Forest!

As the evening approaches, we return to the enchanting Fanal Forest. The ancient laurel trees await us, ready to be captured in the evening light.

During golden and blue hours, we focus on capturing the trees, utilising the soft light to add a magical touch to our compositions.

Golden hour begins at 8:44 pm, Sunset is at 9:21 pm, golden hour ends at 9:38 pm, and blue hour ends at 9:49 pm.

10:00 pm

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As night falls, we turn our lenses to the sky.

The Moon (28%) is below the horizon.

The Milky Way becomes our canvas as we capture it moving across the forest's unique landscape.

We'll explore various compositions until the early hours, embracing the tranquil beauty of Fanal under the stars.

Galactic Center becomes visible at 11:01 pm, Moonrise (26%) is at 3:06 am and Galactic Center becomes not visible at 5:22 am

3:00 am

Again, if the sky is clear, we’ll go to bed very late. And wake up the following morning for breakfast.

So sleep well my friends, tomorrow will go over the clouds.

Photographic Pills:

  • Blue hour, golden hour and Sunrise with dramatic sea stacks at Ribeira da Janela (if no Milky Way shooting the night before).
  • Midday capturing the majestic Garganta Funda Waterfall and distant Ponta do Pargo Lighthouse.
  • Evening photography at Ponta do Pargo Lighthouse.
  • Sunset, golden and blue hour shots of the ancient trees in Fanal Forest.
  • Milky Way photography in the mystical Fanal Forest (If the sky is clear).

Day 3. Monday, July 1st - The Sea of Clouds

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6:00 am

We're off to São Cristóvão Beach.

This hidden gem offers stunning cliffs and mountain views.

Our idea is to capture the cliffs lit by the rising Sun. And maybe even including the sun in your frame.

So bring your widest lens!

Hiking distance: 300 m (984 ft) and -50 m (164 ft) elevation gain one way.

Blue hour begins at 6:34 am, golden hour begins at 6:46 am, Sunrise is at 7:03 am and golden hour ends at 7:40 am.

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8:00 am

After shooting, we hike back and return to the hotel for breakfast.

12:00 pm

We check out and drive to Miradouro do Véu da Noiva.

This spot features the stunning Véu da Noiva waterfall (86m, 282 ft), where the water cascades into the ocean against a rugged coastline backdrop.

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1:10 pm

Lunch time! We gather at a local restaurant for a hearty meal.

3:30 pm

Check in at our hotel in the south-east part of the island, Sentido Galomar, which enjoys a privileged location at the top of a cliff.

This will be our basecamp for the rest of the adventure.

7:00 pm

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Today, we’ll have dinner in the field...

After a well deserved Siesta (nap), our evening journey takes us to Pico do Areeiro.

Here, we'll be greeted by panoramic views of Madeira's peaks and valleys.

The wildflowers and hiking paths offer great photo subjects and compositions.

And if we’re lucky... we’ll be shooting above the clouds, we’ll be shooting the famous sea of clouds.

Golden hour begins at 8:43 pm, Sunset is at 9:19 pm, golden hour ends at 9:37 pm, and blue hour ends at 9:48 pm.

10:00 pm

We wrap up and drive back to our hotel, ready for a good night's sleep.

Tomorrow another spectacular Sunrise awaits!

Photographic Pills:

  • Blue hour, golden hour and Sunrise with dramatic sea stacks at São Cristóvão Beach (if no Milky Way shooting the night before).
  • Midday capturing the Véu da Noiva waterfall and exploring optional hiking paths.
  • Evening photography at Pico do Areeiro with panoramic views and cloud inversions.
  • Sunset, golden hour and blue hour shots capturing the mountainous landscape.

Day 4. Tuesday, July 2nd - The Cliffs

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5:30 am

We set off early for Ponta de São Lourenço, Madeira's easternmost point. Its dramatic cliffs and unique formations await us.

Upon arrival, we split the group due to limited space at Miraduouro de Abismo.

Group A hikes to Miradouro de Abismo, while Group B heads to Miradouro do Caniçal Canical & Ponta do Rosto.

This way both groups will have the chance to capture the rugged landscape and the rising sun.

Hiking distance: 1km (3280 ft), ascend +89 m (291 ft) and descent -17m (55 ft) one way

Blue hour begins at 6:35 am, golden hour begins at 6:46 am, Sunrise is at 7:04 am and golden hour ends at 7:40 am.

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8:30 am

After reuniting both groups, we return to the hotel for breakfast.

12:30 pm

Lunch time to refuel for the afternoon.

2:30 pm

A post-processing class.

Felix Inden and Laura Oppelt will share with you their editing workflows to help you bring your photos to the next level!

4:00 pm

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Our journey continues to “Casas tipicas de Santana”, a charming spot with traditional houses with an A-shape.

The triangular-shaped houses, with their thatched roofs, constitute a unique historical heritage and are one of the most emblematic sites of the archipelago.

5:00 pm

Next, we visit Parque Florestal das Queimadas, offering picturesque trails winding through lush forested landscapes.

Within this idyllic setting, a group of traditional houses adds a fairytale look to the natural beauty that surrounds them.

5:50 pm

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The third highest point in Portugal is located on the island of Madeira.

It is, of course, an emblematic place whose views enjoy a unique range. Situated at an altitude of 1862 m (6108 ft), Pico Ruivo will be our next destination.

The journey to the top will offer breathtaking views of Madeira's landscapes, showcasing the island's natural beauty and rugged terrain

Hiking distance 2.1 km (1.3 mi) and +400 m (1312 ft) elevation gain one way.

7:30 pm

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Arriving at Pico Ruivo, we use PhotoPills to plan our Milky Way shot: Dead trees against rugged peaks and the stars will be our subjects.

But before, we’ll photograph the views and the setting sun.

Also, if we’re super lucky, this will be our second chance to photograph the sea of clouds.

Plan & Pray!

Golden hour begins at 8:43 pm, Sunset is at 9:19 pm, golden hour ends at 9:37 pm, and blue hour ends at 9:48 pm.

11:00 pm

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If the Gods are on our side and give us a clear sky...

When the night falls, we’ll have dinner in the field, as we wait for the Milky Way to rise.

And when the planned shooting time arrives, we’ll be ready at our planned shooting spot to photograph the Milky Way core and the dead trees.

The Moon (8%) will be under the horizon.

Galactic Center visibility begins at 11:00 pm, Moonrise (8%) is at 4:26 and Galactic Center visibility ends at 5:23 am.

2:30 am

After our astro session, we pack and hike back to our bus.

4:10 am

Finally, we return to our hotel for a well-deserved rest.

What a day!

Photographic Pills:

  • Blue hour, golden hour and Sunrise at Ponta de São Lourenço with dramatic sea cliffs.
  • Afternoon at Casas tipicas de Santana and Parque Florestal das Queimadas.
  • Sunset, golden hour and blue hour photography at Pico Ruivo.
  • Milky Way and star trails above the stunning landscape of Pico Ruivo (If the sky is clear).

Day 5. Wednesday, July 3rd - The Four “Miradouro”

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6:00 am

Here we go again...

We embark early to Miradouro do Guindaste for sunrise.

On location, take your phone out and check where the Sun will rise with the Augmented Reality of PhotoPills (Sun Pill).

You’ll see that the sun will rise from the side, casting golden light over Madeira's rugged coastline.

So cool!

Also, Felix or Laura con go and pose in the distance, providing a sense of scale against the expansive landscape.


And make sure you don't shoot too wide as you might include the distractions in the right side of the bay.

Blue hour begins at 6:35 am, golden hour begins at 6:47 am, Sunrise is at 7:04 am and golden hour ends at 7:40 am.

8:30 am

Breakfast at our Hotel Sentido Galomar and down time.

1:00 pm

Lunch time to gather energy for the afternoon's shoot.

2:30 pm

Siesta time (nap time).

5:00 pm

We drive to Miradouro Eira do Serrado that offers a beautiful view of Curral das Freiras in the valley below.

Hiking distance: 400 m (1312 ft) distance and +40 m (131 ft) elevation gain one way.

This vantage point offers a stunning view of the surrounding valley and the village of Curral das Freiras.

We will be positioned on a high platform, aiming to capture the intricate play of light and shadow as well as the grandeur of the valley using the little buildings for a sense of scale against the mountains.

6:40 pm

Next, we visit Miradouros do Paredão for a different angle over Curral das Freiras.

This is another high platform with a different angle over the village and the surrounding mountains.

Hiking distance: 180 m (590 ft) distance and +14 m (45 ft) elevation gain one way.

7:30 pm

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Our final destination of the day is Pico Areeiro (1818 m, 5964 ft), known for its panoramic views.

From here we’ll hike 25 minutes to Miradouro Ninho da Manta, from where we'll capture the breathtaking view of the stunning peaks of Madeira.

Hiking distance: 750 m (2460 ft) and +197 m (645 ft) elevation gain one way.

The scene will offer a remarkable contrast between light and shadows, especially as sunrays pierce through behind the main subject, adding depth and drama to our compositions.

Golden hour begins at 8:43 pm, Sunset is at 9:19 pm, golden hour ends at 9:37 pm, and blue hour ends at 9:48 pm.

11:00 pm

We conclude our day and return to our hotel for a well deserved rest!

Photographic Pills:

  • Blue hour, golden hour and Sunrise at Miradouro do Guindaste.
  • Midday photography at Miradouro Eira do Serrado and Miradouros do Paredão, capturing the valley's magnificence.
  • Sunset, golden hour and blue hour at Pico Areeiro, capturing the breathtaking views and dramatic light play on the peaks.

Day 6. Thursday, July 4th - The Secret

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I’ve been giving you lots of details of this amazing expedition to the island of Madeira.

Maybe far too many...

But on July 4th we’ll do something really cool... :)

What will that be?

Well, you'll have to be there, with us, to figure it out :P

Day 7. Friday, July 5th - The Farewell

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5:50 am

Our final morning starts early as we head to our final Sunrise spot.

As always, we’ll be at the right place, at the right time...

Ready to press the shutter!

Blue hour begins at 6:36 am, golden hour begins at 6:48 am, Sunrise is at 7:05 am and golden hour ends at 7:41 am.

8:30 am

We return to the hotel for our final breakfast together, marking the end of our photographic journey.

09:30 am

As we pack our cameras and say our goodbyes, we reflect on the incredible experiences and the stunning imagery we've captured.

The memories of Madeira's landscapes, its dramatic coastline, and the friendships formed will stay with us long after we've left this beautiful island.

Farewell, Madeira. Until we meet again!

Book now and save €500 (only 2 spots left)

To book your spot to join the expedition to Madeira at a reduced price of €4,900 (the official price is €5,400), a €1,000 deposit is required by Sunday May 26th.

Payment in full is required by June 9th, 2024.

Please, finalise your booking as soon as possible. The seats are sold on a first come, first served basis.


What’s included in the price
  • The PhotoPills Welcome Pack.
  • A 7-day expedition photographing the island of Madeira with the Milky Way, the Sun and the Golden Light along with the soul of this hidden Atlantic pearl.
  • 7 days of learning, fun and adventure with Felix Inden, Laura Oppelt and the funniest geek community – the PhotoPillers.
  • Full immersion in the PhotoPills method (Imagine.Plan.Shoot.!).
  • 6 nights of lodging, sharing a double room with another PhotoPiller (optional €700 single room supplement upon availability).
  • The activities on the Secret Day.
  • Beakfast.
  • Ground transportation during the expedition.
  • Hiking passes.
What’s not included
  • Flights to/from Madeira.
  • Tourist visa (if necessary).
  • International medical and travel insurance coverage (strongly recommended).
  • Lunch & dinner.
  • Snacks, alcohol and beverages.
  • Anything not mentioned in the “included” list.

Do you want an example of how huge this will be?

This is a glimpse to what happened in the 2016 PhotoPills Expedition to Iceland. We had so many adventures and so much fun... We can’t wait for Madeira!

But you don’t have to take our word for granted. Here’s what some PhotoPillers say about the PhotoPills adventures:

“I went to Iceland expecting to have the opportunity to photograph the marvelous landscape and master nightscapes. What I encountered was so much more – 14 kindred souls from across the globe who share a passion for photography. Together we expanded our creative boundaries, learned from one another and had an insane amount of fun in the process. I am confident that everyone came away from the experience a better photographer.”

“From the very moment the guys from PhotoPills announced the expedition to Iceland... I didn’t think it twice! I was using PhotoPills but not at its full capacity, so I had no better chance to learn from the creators of this amazing app. The experience was even more amazing than anything I could have imagined. In Iceland, I discovered a bunch of folks as crazy about photography as I am. I had a blast!

Photography is a continuous learning process, you always find something new that motivates you to improve. And this adventure made me improve more than I could imagine.”

"The PhotoPills guys know how to create a fantastic experience. They bring an infectiously fun energy and are always willing to drop some handy photography knowledge on you that you will take with you. You take their trip and you'll for sure have a good time, get some amazing pics and leave a better photographer."

“During my experience in Iceland I lived wonderful moments and had surprises that were beyond the expected. It completely exceeded my initial expectations! Sharing knowledge, experiences and ways of working and living photography with such a great group has been one of the most enriching life experiences I have ever had.

Who he said that learning and knowledge sharing can not be wonderfully fun?”

“I can't say enough about what a fantastic time I had during the PhotoPills Iceland photo tour! The guys from PhotoPills and Donal Boyd were so knowledgeable, accommodating, and especially lots of fun. Never a dull moment – nonstop action and shooting of amazing landscapes for 10 days. I came away with enough images and memories to last a lifetime!”


What’s the temperature in Madeira in June and July?

In Madeira, June and July are part of the summer season, characterised by pleasant and warm weather. The average temperatures during these months are typically as follows:

  • June: Average temperatures in June range from about 18°C (64°F) at night to around 24°C (75°F) during the day. This makes June a comfortable and appealing time for outdoor activities and photography.
  • July: In July, temperatures are slightly warmer. Nighttime temperatures average around 19°C (66°F), while daytime temperatures can reach up to 25°C (77°F) or slightly higher.

These temperatures make for a comfortable climate, ideal for exploring and photographing the diverse landscapes of Madeira. However, it's always good to be prepared for occasional variations in weather, especially in coastal and mountainous areas where conditions can change quickly.

What do you recommend I bring along for the expedition?

Your sense of adventure and fun, your camera and of course your sense of humour.

Besides that? Once you book your spot, we’ll send you further details and suggestions about what to bring (gear, clothing, etc.).

Is travel insurance included in the price of the expedition?

No. Participants are suggested to purchase national or international medical and travel insurance coverage.

Also, we recommend you to choose a travel insurance that:

  • Covers trip cancellation costs.
  • Covers Covid-19 health, travel and cancellation costs.

What is the cancellation policy?

We hope you don’t need to cancel your spot, but if a situation arises where you don’t have a choice, our cancellation policy is the following.

If you cancel and the expedition is otherwise filled, we'll refund you the full booking fee you have paid, minus a €300 administrative fee, and the non-refundable costs that are withheld by our travel partners.

If you cancel and the expedition doesn’t fill, then you’ll be refunded according to the following schedule, based on the full fee of the expedition:

  • 91 days or more before the expedition: 100% refund, minus the deposit payment and the non-refundable costs that are withheld by our travel partners.
  • 90 days or less before the expedition: No refunds will be given.

Refunds will be paid using the same original method of payment.

Credits: Images by Marco Grassi, Albert Dros (Milky Way photos at Fanal Forest, Milky Way photo at Pico Ruivio, Misty Dead trees photo at Pico Ruivio) and iStockphoto.

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