Discover the Magical Levadas of Madeira: A Journey Through the Island’s Stunning Landscapes
Madeira is a Portuguese island located in the Atlantic Ocean, about 600 miles southwest of Lisbon. It is known for its stunning natural beauty, mild year-round climate, and rich cultural heritage. The island is home to lush forests, dramatic mountain peaks, and rugged coastlines, making it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers and levadas.
- History of the levadas
- Popular for hikers and tourists
- Prepare for your walk
- Valley of the nuns, a terrifying walk of hights
- The levada of Funchal, a beautiful, easy and fun walk for the whole family
- Levadas with ease, Boa Vista is the one. Great views and cool nature
- Unique and stunning walk at the 25 waterfalls levada
In addition to its natural wonders, Madeira is also renowned for its wine, embroidery, and traditional folk music. The capital city of Funchal is a vibrant and charming town with a historic center that boasts narrow cobblestone streets, colonial buildings, and charming cafes and restaurants. Visitors to Madeira can enjoy a range of activities, from hiking and mountain biking to wine tasting and cultural tours, making it a diverse and fascinating destination.
History of the levadas
Levadas are one of the most iconic and unique features of the island of Madeira, which is a Portuguese archipelago located off the coast of Africa. These are narrow irrigation channels that run along the mountainsides of Madeira and are used to distribute water from the rainfall-heavy regions of the north to the drier regions of the south. Levadas are not only functional but are also used for leisure activities, such as hiking and walking.
Levadas were originally built in the 16th century to irrigate Madeira’s farmland, and they were constructed using traditional techniques and materials, such as stone walls and clay pipes. Today, there are over 2,500 kilometers of levadas on the island, many of which are still in use.
Popular for hikers and tourists
The levadas are also a popular destination for tourists, who come to explore the stunning natural beauty of Madeira’s rugged terrain. Many of the levadas have walking trails running alongside them, which offer hikers the chance to take in the island’s lush vegetation, cascading waterfalls, and dramatic vistas. Some of the most famous levadas on the island include the Levada do Caldeirão Verde, the Levada do Rei, and the Levada das 25 Fontes.
Visitors to Madeira can take guided tours or explore the levadas on their own. However, it’s important to note that some of the trails can be challenging, with steep drops and narrow paths, so it’s important to wear appropriate footwear and exercise caution. Nonetheless, exploring Madeira’s levadas is an unforgettable experience and a must-do activity for anyone visiting the island.
Prepare for your walk
If you’re planning to go on a Levada walk in Madeira, there are a few things you should consider bringing to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable experience. Here are some essential items to pack:
- Comfortable hiking shoes: Since you’ll be walking on uneven terrain, it’s important to wear comfortable and sturdy shoes with good grip.
- Weather-appropriate clothing: Madeira’s weather can be unpredictable, so it’s best to bring clothing that can be layered and adjusted depending on the conditions. A waterproof jacket or poncho is also a good idea in case of rain.
- Snacks and water: Bring plenty of water and snacks to keep you hydrated and energized throughout the walk. There are usually no shops or restaurants along the way, so it’s important to bring your own provisions.
- Sun protection: Even on overcast days, the sun in Madeira can be strong, so be sure to bring sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat.
- First-aid kit: It’s always a good idea to bring a basic first-aid kit with you on a hike, including items such as plasters, antiseptic wipes, and pain relief medication.
- A fully charged mobile phone: In case of emergency, it’s important to have a mobile phone with you, fully charged and with a good signal. It’s also a good idea to let someone know your hiking plans and expected return time.
Valley of the nuns, a terrifying walk of hights
The Levada to the Valley of the Nuns, or Curral das Freiras, is one of the most popular hiking trails in Madeira. The valley is located in the heart of the island, surrounded by towering mountains and steep cliffs, and is named after the nuns who sought refuge here during a pirate attack in the 16th century.
The Levada trail is relatively easy and accessible, making it a great option for hikers of all levels. The trail follows an irrigation channel that winds through stunning forests and across impressive aqueducts, offering breathtaking views of the valley and the surrounding peaks. The trail is also dotted with picnic areas and viewpoints, providing plenty of opportunities to stop and enjoy the scenery.
As the trail nears the valley, hikers are treated to a dramatic vista of the village below, nestled in a bowl-shaped valley surrounded by towering cliffs. The village is known for its traditional embroidery, as well as its sweet chestnuts, which are celebrated every year during the Festival of the Chestnut.
Overall, the Levada to the Valley of the Nuns is a must-do hike for anyone visiting Madeira. The combination of stunning natural beauty and cultural history make it a unique and unforgettable experience.
The levada of Funchal, a beautiful, easy and fun walk for the whole family
The Levada walk in Funchal is a scenic route that takes visitors through the heart of the city, along an ancient irrigation channel that winds its way through the urban landscape. The walk is a unique way to explore the city and experience its history and culture in a new way.
The Levada trail starts at the old town of Funchal, passing by historic buildings, museums, and gardens. The trail then leads visitors to the outskirts of the city, providing stunning views of the coastline and surrounding mountains. The walk is relatively easy, and is suitable for all ages and fitness levels. The trail is also well-marked, making it easy for visitors to navigate.
As visitors walk along the Levada, they can see the intricate system of channels that was used to irrigate the farmland surrounding the city. The trail is lined with lush vegetation and exotic flora, providing a refreshing and peaceful escape from the bustling city. Along the way, visitors can stop at various landmarks, including the picturesque São João Latrão Church and the charming Monte Palace Tropical Garden.
Overall, the Levada walk in Funchal is a fantastic way to explore the city’s rich history and culture, while also enjoying its stunning natural beauty. It’s a unique experience that shouldn’t be missed by anyone visiting Madeira.
Levadas with ease, Boa Vista is the one. Great views and cool nature
The Levada Boa Vista is a beautiful hiking trail that winds its way through the stunning countryside of Madeira. The trail is located in the municipality of Machico, on the eastern side of the island, and is known for its breathtaking views and scenic landscapes.
The Levada Boa Vista trail is a relatively easy hike, making it accessible to hikers of all levels. The trail follows an irrigation channel that meanders through lush forests and across impressive aqueducts, providing hikers with stunning views of the surrounding countryside. Along the way, visitors can stop to take in the beautiful scenery and wildlife, including a wide variety of bird species.
One of the highlights of the Levada Boa Vista trail is the Ponte dos Corvos bridge, a picturesque stone bridge that spans a deep ravine. The bridge provides a great photo opportunity and is a popular spot for visitors to stop and take in the stunning views.
The Levada Boa Vista trail is also home to several picnic areas, making it a great option for a leisurely day trip. The trail is approximately 6.5 kilometers long, and takes about 2-3 hours to complete. Visitors are advised to wear sturdy hiking shoes, and to bring plenty of water and snacks to stay hydrated and energized throughout the hike.
Overall, the Levada Boa Vista trail is a must-visit destination for anyone visiting Madeira. Its stunning scenery and unique landscapes make it an unforgettable experience for hikers and nature lovers alike.
Unique and stunning walk at the 25 waterfalls levada
The 25 Waterfalls Levada is one of the most popular and challenging Levada hikes in Madeira, known for its stunning scenery and picturesque waterfalls. The trail is located in Rabaçal, a small village in the heart of Madeira, and is a must-visit destination for any hiking enthusiast visiting the island.
The 25 Waterfalls Levada trail is a demanding hike that takes hikers through rugged terrain and steep inclines, but the effort is well worth it for the incredible views and natural beauty along the way. The trail is approximately 8 kilometers long and takes about 5-6 hours to complete, making it a full-day adventure.
As its name suggests, the 25 Waterfalls Levada trail is known for its numerous waterfalls, with cascades ranging from small trickles to impressive torrents of water. One of the highlights of the trail is the Risco Waterfall, a stunning 100-meter-high waterfall that plunges into a deep pool below.
The trail is surrounded by lush vegetation, including ferns, laurels, and heathers, and provides visitors with stunning panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Along the way, visitors can also spot a wide variety of flora and fauna, including endemic species unique to Madeira.
The 25 Waterfalls Levada trail is a challenging but unforgettable experience, and is recommended for experienced hikers and those with a good level of fitness. Visitors are advised to wear sturdy hiking shoes, bring plenty of water and snacks, and to be prepared for unpredictable weather conditions.
Overall, the 25 Waterfalls Levada trail is a breathtaking journey through some of Madeira’s most stunning natural landscapes and is a must-do for any avid hiker or nature lover visiting the island.