Madeira Island is known not only for its magnificent and breathtaking nature, as well as landscapes that surround it. One of the many attractions that the island has to offer is the famous Levadas Madeira.
The Levadas Madeira back to the early colonization of the island
Are waterways around the mountain, built by man, with the aim of bringing water from the slopes turns north up the farmland of the south coast . Wood is proud to have an extensive network of trails and taken .
Currently the island has brought more than 200 , among which are the following : ” Green Cauldron ” , ” Cauldron of Hell ” , ” 25 Sources ” , ” Risk ” and ” branches “. In these pathways , it is possible to glimpse the rich and lush fauna and endemic flora of Madeira , as well as known and appreciated Laurel Forest .
The Levadas Madeira allow the traveler to have taken a direct contact with nature , while watching some species of endemic birds like the long-toed pigeon ( Columba trocaz ) , Bis -bis ( Regulus madeirensis ) and Zino’s Petrel ( Pterodroma madeira ) .
You can also observe some characteristics of Laurel Forest trees as Vinhático ( Persea indica) , the Til ( Ocotea ) , the Barbusano ( barbujana Apollonias ) and bay (Laurus azorica ) .
Existing routes have varying degrees of difficulty, which allows access to different audiences .
To make hiking is necessary to take suitable equipment for this activity , as well as taking a set of useful precautions.
The practice of these Levedas Madeira walks help the traveler to relax and enjoy the best of nature.
Levadas Do not miss the opportunity to stroll through the magnificent taken…
Madeira Island, known as the “Pearl of the Atlantic,” is famous for its breathtaking landscapes and stunning natural beauty. One of the most iconic features of the island is its intricate network of levadas. These man-made irrigation channels wind their way through the lush mountains, creating a unique and enchanting experience for visitors.
The levadas of Madeira have a fascinating history. They were originally constructed in the 16th century to distribute water from the wetter regions of the island to the drier agricultural areas. Today, these waterways serve not only their original purpose but also as popular hiking trails that allow visitors to explore the island’s captivating interior.
Hiking along the levadas offers an unparalleled opportunity to immerse yourself in Madeira’s pristine nature. The trails meander through ancient laurel forests, picturesque valleys, and dramatic cliffside landscapes. As you walk, you’ll be surrounded by an abundance of vibrant vegetation, including exotic flowers, ferns, and endemic plant species found nowhere else on Earth.
The levadas also provide access to some of Madeira’s most breathtaking natural wonders. Along the way, you’ll encounter magnificent waterfalls cascading down moss-covered cliffs, crystal-clear streams meandering through verdant valleys, and panoramic viewpoints that offer awe-inspiring vistas of the island’s rugged coastline.
Each levada trail has its own unique charm and level of difficulty, catering to all types of hikers. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced trekker, there is a levada trail suited to your abilities. Some routes are relatively flat and easy, making them perfect for a leisurely stroll, while others are more challenging, taking you through narrow paths and steep ascents, rewarding you with even more spectacular views.
Safety is paramount when hiking the levadas, as the trails can be narrow and exposed at times. It’s essential to wear appropriate footwear, carry plenty of water, and be mindful of your surroundings. If you’re new to hiking or unfamiliar with the area, it’s advisable to join a guided tour or hire a local guide who can provide valuable insights and ensure your safety along the way.
The levadas of Madeira offer an unforgettable experience for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike. Whether you’re drawn to the tranquility of the forests, the mesmerizing beauty of the waterfalls, or the exhilaration of conquering challenging trails, exploring the levadas will leave you with lasting memories of Madeira’s remarkable landscapes. So lace up your hiking boots, embrace the serenity of nature, and embark on an unforgettable journey through the enchanting levadas of Madeira Island.
All the Levadas
Vereda da Ponta de São Lourenço (PR8)
This trail, which is part of Madeira’s natural park, is located in the eastern part of the island, just off the tip of Caniçal.
Along the way, walkers can marvel at the fabulous landscapes of the north and south coast of the island. The feeling of appreciating the serenity of the southern sea in contrast to the aggressiveness of the northern sea is indescribable.
On the horizon, to the south we can see the Desertas Islands and to the north the “Golden Island” of Porto Santo.
Along the way, with the typical wind of this area, you will see beautiful specimens of flora and fauna unique to the region. There are also some very curious rock formations, the result of the volcanic origin of the island.
Take the opportunity to appreciate their details.
After a few kilometres, go down to the seashore and enjoy the calm and freshness of the turquoise sea. Take the opportunity to go for a swim and return home refreshed and lighter.
Have a nice walk!
Calheta – Levada das 25 Fontes e Risco
The Levada das 25 Fontes is one of the most popular levadas on Madeira Island. Its name does justice to the number of fountains or small waterfalls that can be counted on arrival.
Leaving Calheta towards the 25 Fontes, the path contains a tunnel and reveals wonderful landscapes and sensations. Along the way you can appreciate a great variety of flora and fauna species endemic to the region. Enjoy the contact with nature and soak up all it has to offer.
When you reach the 25 springs, let yourself be enchanted by the landscape and the surroundings. The waterfalls gush into a magnificent lagoon. Take a break and open your mind. Some people dive into the icy waters.
After enjoying the 25 springs, continue to the risk, where you can admire a splendid waterfall. Finish the route with a visit to the Casa do Rabaçal, which seems tiny against the imposing mountains that surround it. Take the opportunity to recharge your batteries with a snack or just relax.
Rabaçal is a unique and magical place, full of waterfalls, springs, lakes and much more – come and discover it!
Levada do Caldeirão Verde (PR9)
A true fairytale in a green paradise starting at the Queimadas house, all the way to the majestic waterfall, the countryside is extraordinarily green. There are magnificent views over the village of São Jorge and the immense mountains.
Water is always present during the course. Gushing from the walls, running serenely down the levada, falling from the sky on rainy days. It is a fantastic and safe trail to be hiked at any time of the year.
You will find some tunnels along the way, so don’t forget to bring a torch and protect your head.
Once you reach the Caldeirão Verde waterfall, enjoy the breathtaking view of the huge waterfall plunging into the cool, crystal clear lagoon and relax to the sound of the falling water. You can have a picnic before heading back.
Vereda dos Balcões (PR11)
This trail starts in Ribeiro Frio and ends at the fabulous Miradouro dos Balcões, after a short but magnificent walk through the typical greenery of Madeira’s forests. From this viewpoint you can see the various peaks of Madeira Island, including the two highest on the island: Pico Ruivo (1861m) and Pico do Areeiro (1817m). Pico do Gato, Pico das Torres and the well-known Penha d’Águia rock are also part of this impressive landscape.
This place is also ideal for bird watching, as there is a great variety of birds that welcome visitors to this viewpoint. Among these small and friendly creatures are the goldcrest, chaffinch, wagtail, wagtail, blackbird, robin, buzzard and the very rare wood pigeon.
The return journey is by the same route, but if you think you have seen everything there is to see, you are mistaken. A special feature of Madeira’s levadas is that, no matter how many times you visit, there are always new discoveries, experiences and sensations that will make this activity unique.
Rabaçal – Levada das 25 Fontes e Risco (PR6)
The Levada das 25 Fontes is one of the most popular levadas on Madeira Island. Its name does justice to the number of fountains or small waterfalls that can be counted on arrival.
Leaving Rabaçal in the direction of the 25 Fontes, the path reveals wonderful landscapes and sensations. Along the way you can appreciate a great variety of flora and fauna species endemic to the region. Enjoy the contact with nature and absorb all it has to offer.
When you reach the 25 springs, be enchanted by the scenery and the surroundings, such as the waterfalls that gush into a magnificent lagoon. Take a break and open your mind. Some people dive into the icy waters.
After enjoying the 25 springs, continue to the risk, where you can admire a splendid waterfall. Finish the route with a visit to the Casa do Rabaçal, which seems tiny against the imposing mountains that surround it. Take the opportunity to recharge your batteries with a snack or simply relax.
Vereda do Areeiro – Pico Ruivo (PR1)
This trail runs through the immense and grandiose mountains of Madeira Island. Along the way you can appreciate the wonderful landscapes composed of formidable rock formations, sometimes covered by clouds, and here and there you can see a village in the distance. Stop from time to time and feel the great sensation of being closer and closer to the sky.
On this walk you can visit the three highest peaks of Madeira: Pico do Areeiro, Pico das Torres and Pico Ruivo.
Being a mountain hike, it requires a certain amount of physical preparation and endurance from the walkers, who face many ascents and descents. However, the effort required is compensated by the extraordinary views offered by the walk.
At Pico Ruivo, take the opportunity to rest, have a snack or visit the refuge. Finally, be sure to climb to the summit and let yourself be amazed by the scenery and the breathtaking views of the peaks and villages. On good weather days, you can have a 360º view of the island with its various highlights: Curral das Freiras, Porto Santo, Desertas, Ponta de São Lourenço and others.
Levada do Alecrim
At the beginning of the descent to the house of Rabaçal you will find the entrance to this magnificent trail on the right. It is a short trail, about 3 km long, accessible to anyone, where you can enjoy fantastic views over Rabaçal as you walk along the path.
Until reaching the base of the levada, the walker can appreciate the vast vegetation, composed mainly of heather and Madeira blueberry (Uveira da Serra), as well as various species of the regional fauna, in particular birds and cows.
Take advantage of the walk to enjoy the beautiful lagoons and waterfalls that appear along the way, among which the wonderful Dona Beja lagoon stands out, with a waterfall that feeds the Lagoa do Vento.
Take advantage of this breathtaking scenery to relax, have a snack or take a refreshing dip before returning along the same route.
Levada dos Cedros – Fanal (PR14)
A unique route in which the hiker constantly follows the levada, surrounded by lush and varied vegetation, although the cedar tree stands out in many areas.
There is a viewpoint, from where it is possible to admire the grandeur of the surrounding mountains and, in the background, the Ribeira da Janela. It is impressive how quickly the mist can appear and disappear, providing an excellent backdrop for unique photographs.
The Madre da Levada is the pinnacle of the beauty of this trail. The waterfalls form a lagoon of pure and crystalline water, in an area bathed by the sun on fine weather.
A truly unique place that has much more to offer than meets the eye. Relax, linger or unleash your adventurous spirit and set off to discover more hidden treasures.
Levada do Rei (PR18)
One of the levadas not to be missed, a magnificent walk through the Laurissilva of Madeira, where you can appreciate the unique vegetation of this UNESCO natural heritage site.
The first part of the trail is a mixture of endemic vegetation and vegetation introduced after the discovery of the island.
Here different perspectives of the village and the settlement emerge in the distance.
In the second part, the trail goes into the interior of the island, which is preserved as it was at the time of the discoveries more than five centuries ago. On this trail you will find the natural and native flora and fauna of Madeira, such as laurel trees, heather, finches and many others.
If you think you have reached the end of the levada, keep walking. Explore the forest and discover the breathtaking emerald green views that this hidden place still offers.
One of the most beautiful walks on Madeira Island.
Vereda do Pico Ruivo (PR1.2)
Starting from Achadas do Teixeira, this trail takes walkers up to Pico Ruivo, the highest peak on Madeira Island at 1861 metres.
Along the way you will find several shelters where you can stop for a rest, refreshment or shelter from the thick fog that sometimes covers this area.
As the walker progresses, he will find wonderful landscapes formed by the imposing mountains and peaks of the island, such as Pico das Torres and Pico do Areeiro.
Moreover, in this landscape full of mountains, sea and people, it is still possible to distinguish the rock of Penha dÁguia and the point of São Lourenço.
Near the refuge of Pico Ruivo, there are the accesses to 3 trails that lead to different points of the island: the PR1 Trail – Pico do Areeiro, the PR13 Trail – Encumeada and the PR1.1 Trail – Ilha.
Arriving at Pico Ruivo, the hiker can marvel at the magnificent scenery that surrounds it. Observe the grandeur of the peaks, the villages and their farmland, the sea and the clouds. Enjoy the feeling of grandeur that this place provides.
Ribeiro Frio – Portela – Levada do Furado (PR10)
Ribeiro Frio is famous for its many attractions. Here visitors will find a beautiful garden that can be visited, a famous trout hatchery and the starting point of two extraordinary walks.
As for this particular trail, it is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful in Madeira, where you can appreciate the true natural heritage of this island, as the trail is full of endemic species of Madeira’s flora and fauna.
The magnificent green of all the vegetation fills the eyes and soul of the walkers, enveloping them in a calm and serene environment. The warm and luminous rays of the sun stubbornly infiltrate the laurels and other plants typical of this area.
On this peaceful walk, the walker follows the levada that gently carries the water along the route. Here and there we spot trout, which swim and try to hide when they sense our presence. Here and there a chaffinch appears, waiting for the generosity of those who pass by to share a bit of its snack.
Levada Fajã do Rodrigues (PR16)
This trail, also known as Levada Fajã da Ama, starts in Ginjas, São Vicente, and takes the hiker to the mother of the levada in Ribeira do Inferno.
Along the 3.9 km route, hikers can admire the indescribable beauty of Madeira’s endemic and exotic flora. The endemic fauna also makes its presence felt, especially the melodious song of finches and pipits.
There are some tunnels along the way, so don’t forget to bring a torch and protect your head with a hat or cap.
While walking, take the opportunity to appreciate and enjoy the beauty of the panoramic views over the valley of São Vicente.
Finally, when you reach the mother of the levada, the sensation is splendid.
The waterfalls and ponds that are formed offer freshness and serenity to the walkers, who can take advantage of the place to relax, have a snack and prepare for the return journey.
Caminho do Pináculo e Folhadal (PR17)
This route starts in Encumeada and takes walkers through a magnificent variety of landscapes and paths, until they reach Lombo do Mouro, passing first by the well-known Pináculo and crossing the Levada do Norte and the Levada da Serra.
Along its 17 km, the route has several tunnels and its altitude varies between 930 and 1530 metres, sometimes demanding a certain physical endurance. However, the beautiful scenery and the dense vegetation with endemic species of the Laurissilva of Madeira Island more than compensate for the effort required. Along the way you will pass a large lagoon as well as numerous waterfalls.
Arriving at the Pináculo area, the view is breathtaking on good weather days, with highlights including the Ribeira Brava Valley and the two highest peaks on Madeira Island (Pico Ruivo at 1861m and Pico do Areeiro at 1817m).
The variation of landscapes and environments that the trail presents as it develops, surprises and envelops walkers, providing a unique experience and a sense of well-being, in close contact with the purity of this wonderful nature.
Vereda do Fanal (PR13)
This beautiful trail starts on the plateau of Paul da Serra, and is especially recommended for regular walkers.
Amidst some ups and downs, there are some breathtaking views, where the lush vegetation that surrounds the whole area stands out.
Parts of the trail are open, giving hikers a chance to appreciate the grandeur and scale of the landscape. Other parts of the trail are closed, and covered by the magnificent green vegetation of the Laurissilva forest, which enchants the visitor with its freshness and abundance.
Along the trail there are several viewpoints that reveal a beautiful set of landscapes, especially the view over the valley of Ribeira da Janela and Chão da Ribeira.
The trail ends in Fanal, where there is a vast Tis forest. Take the opportunity to relax and enjoy this wonderful place to soak up positive energies.
Levada do Moinho (PR7)
The Levada do Moinho trail starts near the Santa forestry post in Porto Moniz, on the north coast of Madeira Island. Its name comes from the fact that in the past there were several watermills along the path, the ruins of which can still be seen today.
It is a pleasant walk, with some ups and downs that sometimes require some physical stamina. Along the way you will find some waterfalls and small streams that complete a splendid natural paradise.
Along the way, you will also find magnificent open areas painted in the green tones of living nature, offering breathtaking views of this area. You can take advantage of some of these spaces to take a break and relax a little.
It is worth going to the end of this trail to visit the Madre da Levada, a serene waterfall that forms small lagoons and refreshes the body and soul of walkers.
Vereda das Funduras (PR5)
This trail starts at the Portela viewpoint, where you can admire the beauty of the parishes of Porto da Cruz and Faial, next to the imposing rock of Penha d’Águia.
The walk continues along the forest road of Serra das Funduras, entering the path that enters the magnificent Laurissilva forest.
Along the route through this forest you will be able to admire the extraordinary beauty of the endemic flora and fauna of Madeira Island.
The green of the trees, the melodious singing of the birds and the whole atmosphere is almost magical and fantastic. Enjoy the nature while walking and take advantage of the places to have a snack and relax for a while.
Further on you will find the “Casa das Funduras”, a beautiful country house that supports the forestry activities in the area. Next to the house is the descent to Maroços, which will take the walker to the centre of the population of this area.
Along this descent the walker passes through the traditional poios, which make up this fantastic agricultural landscape, characteristic of this area.
“Levada” is a Portuguese word derived from the word “levar” – which means to carry and is roughly translated as “carriageway”, but more correctly defined as mini-canal. The mini-canals are irrigation systems developed to distribute water from the rainfall heavy and wet regions on the north of Madeira island to the drier sun parched regions of the south. The water is usually stored in reservoirs or tanks, or captured directly from natural fountains to be redirected and channeled across a wide network of winding canals. These narrow water carriageways deliver precious water along far distances to banana plantations, vineyards, fruit orchards and vegetable gardens, as well as to hydro-electric power stations dotted around the island. The Levadas Walks Madeira criss cross the mountains and cover a total distance of 2500 km, and date back to as far as the early 16th century.
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They are the best way to know the interior of Madeira Island, its natural diversity and its indigenous Laurel Forest, which is classified since 1999 as World Natural Heritage Site by UNESCO.
By walking along the paths and Levadas Walks Madeira, you will have the oportunity to explore and discover the enchanted Laurel Forest, a fascinating natural world in its purest form, beautiful landscapes and breathtaking views, that will certainly last forever in your memory… superb waterfalls and lagoons, impressive cliffs and valleys, green and dense mountains contrasting with the deep blue sea, an amazing flora and fauna unique in the world, etc!
The rough Madeiran relief and its mountain environment means that there are routes for every taste and degrees of difficulty, where you can choose exclusively mountain, forest, seaside or mixed circuits.
We are a young and dynamic team that consists of more than 30 collaborators with extensive experience in the travel agency business and providing services.
MBtravel has a modern fleet of minibuses of 8, 15, 17 and 19 seats, in renting regime, which allows us every three years to replace them, maintaining high levels of operability, meeting the expectations of our partners and comfort of their / our clients.
Drivers have professional tourism portfolio with good bilingual fluency, allowing them to work with various nationalities at the same time as a driver / guide.
Every day we make walking tours and excursions of our regular programs, for a minimum of 2 clients, pick-up and return to the place of accommodation at no extra charge.
We developed walks Levada and hiking programs in Madeira with or without a guide, we also organize excursions and walking tours for groups, by minibus with drivers / guide, or bus tour, in the customer’s language.”
What are Levadas in Madeira?
Levadas are irrigation channels or aqueducts unique to Madeira, Portugal. They were originally constructed to carry water to agricultural areas. Today, they also serve as walking paths, offering scenic routes through Madeira's stunning landscapes.
Where can I find the best Levada walks in Madeira?
Some of the best Levada walks in Madeira include Levada do Caldeirão Verde, Levada do Rei, and Levada das 25 Fontes. Each offers unique views and varying levels of difficulty.
Are Levada walks safe?
While many Levada walks are safe and well-maintained, some can be challenging and require caution. It's advisable to wear proper footwear, carry a map, and be aware of weather conditions.
Do I need a guide for Levada walks?
While many Levada walks can be done independently, hiring a guide can enhance the experience, especially for less experienced hikers or those unfamiliar with the trails.
Can I access Levadas all year round?
Most Levadas are accessible year-round, but weather conditions can affect safety and accessibility. Checking local weather and trail conditions is recommended.
What should I bring on a Levada walk?
Essentials for a Levada walk include comfortable hiking shoes, water, snacks, a map or guidebook, sunscreen, and a camera to capture the beautiful scenery.
Are Levada walks suitable for children?
Some Levada walks are suitable for children, while others may be too challenging. Researching the specific trail and considering the child's hiking ability is essential.
How long are the Levada walks?
Levada walks vary in length, from short strolls of a couple of kilometers to more extended hikes that can take several hours. It's best to choose a route that fits your fitness level and time constraints.