Walking along a levada is one of those things you should do when you are in Madeira. Connect to Nature through this activity, healthy for both body and soul, moreover easy and cheap. Catch a glimpse of the impressive landscape surrounded by waterfalls and ancient forests.

The Levadas are the former irrigation ditches created from the 16th century onwards, to take the water from the North to the South of the island, where plantations of bananas and sugar cane were concentrated. Since then, these old paths became popular family walks and a touristic attraction. They sum up about 3000 km of hiking, through tunnels, mountains, and groves, from the highest peaks to the sea level.

We selected 7 unmissable trails in Madeira’s Levadas.

1 – Caldeirão Verde

Levadas
©Francisco Correia
  • Distance: 6,5 Km (+ return)
  • Difficulty: Average
  • Length: 5:30 hours
  • Beginning/End: Parque Florestal das Queimadas
  • Max/Min. height: 980 m / 890 m
  • Points of interest: Caldeirão Verde lake, waterfall (100m high); tunnels, Achada do Marques, Santana’s traditional houses.

2 – Levada dos Cedros

Levadas
©Hugo Reis
  • Distance: 7,2 Km
  • Difficulty: Average
  • Length: 3 hours
  • Beginning/End: Fanal / Curral Falso (E.R 209)
  • Max/Min. height: 1130 m / 840 m
  • Points of interest: Ribeira da Janela, Lombo do Cedro, Laurissilva forest with native species.

3 – Levada do Rabaçal – 25 Fontes

Levadas
©Francisco Correia
  • Distance: 4,6 Km (+ return)
  • Difficulty: Average
  • Length: 3 hours
  • Beginning/End: Rabaçal shelter house / E.R.110 (Rabaçal, Paul da Serra)
  • Max/Min. height: 1290 m / 900 m
  • Points of interest: This path is composed of two parallel hiking trails of unique beauty. Do not miss 25 Fountain’s lagoon and Risco waterfall.

4 – Vereda da Ponta de São Lourenço

Levadas
@Francisco Correia
  • Distance: 4 Km (+ return)
  • Difficulty: Average
  • Length: 2:30 hours
  • Beginning/End: E.R. 109 (Baía d’Abra – Caniçal)
  • Max/Min. height: 110 m / 5 m
  • Points of interest: Seagull’s colony; other protected seabirds. Sardinha pier; Baía d´Abra viewpoint.

“We dream in our waking moments, and walk in our sleep.”

– Nathaniel Hawthorne

 5 – Levada do Rei

Levadas
©Hugo Reis
  • Distance: 5,3 Km (+ return)
  • Difficulty: Average
  • Length: 3 to 3:30 hours
  • Beginning/End: São Jorge WWTP
  • Max/Min. height: 710 m / 530 m
  • Points of interest: panoramic scenery and farmlands of São Jorge and Santana; tunnels; Ribeiro Bonito; Moinho De Água; Laurissilva forest.

6  – Levada do Alecrim

Levadas
©Hugo Reis
  • Distance: 3,5km (+ return)
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Length: 2:30 hours
  • Beginning/End: Rabaçal (ER105) / Spring of Levada do Alecrim, also known as Lagoa “Dona Beja”
  • Max height: 1300m
  • Points of interest: Rabaçal valley, Janela stream, Dona Beija lagoon and its waterfall to Vento lagoon.

7 – Vereda dos Balcões

levadas
@Francisco Correia
  • Distance: 1,5 Km
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Length: 1:30 hour
  • Beginning/End: E.R. 103 (Ribeiro Frio)
  • Max/Min. height: 630 m
  • Points of interest: Balcões viewpoint, views to the power station of Fajã and the Island’s central range, bird watching, Ribeiro Frio’s forest park, trout nursery.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

– Lao-Tsé

Also, take a look at the 7 most instagrammable places in Madeira.

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