Levada do FuradoLevadas Walks 

Levada do Furado

The Levada do Furado is one of Madeira’s most celebrated and scenic levada walks, offering hikers an unforgettable journey through the heart of the island’s lush landscape. This trail exemplifies the unique beauty of Madeira, taking you through verdant forests, alongside waterfalls, and offering breathtaking views that encapsulate the island’s natural splendor.

Trail Overview

  • Location: The Levada do Furado stretches between the parishes of Ribeiro Frio and Portela, linking the north and east of Madeira.
  • Distance: Approximately 11 km.
  • Duration: 4 to 5 hours, depending on walking pace and stops for rest and photos.
  • Difficulty: Moderate. The path is well-maintained but includes some narrow sections and tunnels for which a flashlight is recommended.

Key Features and Attractions

  • Verdant Laurisilva Forests: The trail winds through Madeira’s UNESCO World Heritage-listed Laurisilva forests, a prime example of an ancient type of laurel forest that once covered much of Europe.
  • Waterfalls and Watercourses: Along the way, hikers are treated to the sight and sound of cascading waterfalls and the levada itself, which is a marvel of early engineering, designed to transport water from the wetter regions to the drier southern parts of the island.
  • Panoramic Views: Spectacular views open up at various points along the trail, offering panoramic vistas of the island’s mountainous terrain and the deep blue Atlantic beyond.
  • Tunnels: The trail includes a few short tunnels carved through the rock. Hikers will need a flashlight or headlamp to navigate these sections safely.

Preparation and Safety Tips

  • Gear: Wear comfortable, sturdy footwear and bring a waterproof jacket, as weather conditions can change rapidly. A flashlight or headlamp is essential for the tunnels, and a hat and sunscreen are advisable for sunnier sections.
  • Water and Snacks: There are no facilities along the route, so bring sufficient water and snacks or a packed lunch.
  • Stay on the Path: The levada paths can be narrow with steep drops on one side. It’s important to stay on the path, pay attention to your footing, and be mindful of the environment.
Preparation and Safety Tips
Levada do Furado 3

Best Time to Visit Levada do Furado

The Levada do Furado can be enjoyed year-round, thanks to Madeira’s mild climate. However, the spring and early summer months are particularly magical when the flora is in bloom, and the weather is generally clear and pleasant.

This levada walk is a must-do for nature lovers, photographers, and anyone looking to experience the natural beauty of Madeira up close. It offers a unique insight into the island’s ecosystem, culture, and history, making it a highlight of any visit to Madeira.

The Levada do Furado is a captivating trail that guides you from Ribeiro Frio to the Portela viewpoint, showcasing the diverse landscapes of Northern Machico. This 10.7 km journey is of medium difficulty and takes approximately 4 to 4.5 hours to complete, making it a rewarding experience for those seeking to explore Madeira’s stunning natural environment.

Key Aspects of the Trail

  • Start/End Points: The trail begins in Porto da Cruz and concludes in Santo António da Serra, winding through Madeira’s emblematic Laurissilva forest.
  • Difficulty: Classified as medium, with medium vertigo risk, due to its irregular terrain but lack of significant altitude variation, making it a manageable challenge for most hikers.
  • Altitude: The walk oscillates between altitudes of 865m and 635m, offering a moderate hiking experience surrounded by lush vegetation and breathtaking views.
  • Unique Features: The trail is enriched by the dense Laurissilva forest, home to species like the Canary Bay Tree, Madeira Mahogany, and Fetid Laurel. These forests are crucial for water regulation and erosion prevention on the island.
  • Panoramic Views and Tunnels: Along the path, you’ll find stunning views of the central mountainous ridge and encounter several tunnels, adding to the uniqueness of the trail. These elements highlight the island’s geological origins and the ingenuity of its water management system.

GPS file: levada gps file || More info: CM Machico

Levada do Furado
Levada do Furado 4

Recommendations for Hikers

To make the most of this walk, it’s advised to go with a tour operator or arrange transportation back to your starting point. The trail’s beauty is matched by its complexity, with various streams and tributaries enhancing the levada’s flow and numerous tunnels underscoring the trail’s allure.

Levada do Furado Points of Interest

  • Penha de Águia: As you approach the trail’s end, this imposing geological formation becomes a striking feature of the landscape, marking the descent towards the trail’s conclusion.
  • Ranger Station and Lake: Key landmarks include a lake with a storage capacity of over 80,000m³, vital for water supply to Porto da Cruz and Santo António da Serra, encountered during the trail’s final segment.

Hiking the Levada do Furado offers an exceptional opportunity to immerse yourself in Madeira’s lush landscapes, from the dense, life-sustaining Laurissilva forests to the impressive feats of engineering that define the island’s levadas. It’s a journey that combines natural beauty, cultural insight, and the challenge of exploration, making it a must-do for any visitor to Madeira.

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