Madeira Levada Walks

Walking in madeira along the levadas

Madeira Levada walks are one of Madeira’s strong points. When you travel to Madeira, you should take the time to discover the Levadas. On Madeira, Levada walks gain popularity year over year. That is if you are not afraid of heights and in good condition.

Walking in madeira along the levadas
Sometimes the path will, without a rail, lead alongside a steep part of a mountain.

Madeira Levada Walks

Levadas were constructed between the 16th century and the 1940s. With a rather dry climate and terrain in the Southeast area of the Island, a system of canals was constructed in the volcanic mountain that is Madeira. Next to each of the irrigation canals, a small path was created. That path serves for canal maintenance and to access the hatches. The flow of the canal can be controlled by opening and closing hatches. These maintenance paths are used today to hike the beautiful island of Madeira. The paths are small, but never too steep. They follow the flow of the water. You can encounter goats and other stock on these paths.

Over the past years, I walked several of these levadas. The Levada 25 Fontes is one of the easiest accessible. Some others are pretty dangerous. We walked alongside vertical cliffs that went 100 meters (300 ft) down, and some that brought us from the top of a mountain to the valleys.

Walking in Madeira next to the Levada
Walking along the Levada Norte – Madeira

Madeira Levada Walks are fun. However, keep these precautions in mind:

  1. Stay on the paths, as the cliffs can be extremely dangerous – every year people die falling off them.
  2. You’re in nature, so respect for plants and animals is key. And please: take all you brought here, back with you.
  3. It’s recommended not to do these hikes by yourself. Always let someone know where you’re going to.
  4. Do take some extra food and (definitely) water with you!
  5. Watch the weather: not all paths are accessible or safe in heavy wind or rain.
The inside of a Levada in Madeira
The levada is sometimes conducted over a river or another levada with an ingenious system of bridges
Levada in Madeira
A goat blocking the path

(This article is based on a post that appeared first on the old blog – in Dutch – in 2007.)

3 replies

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] the visibility is OK, and you took the same precautions and preparations as for a regular Levada walk, you could try to walk across between the two mountain tops. The walk between the Pico do Arieiro […]

  2. […] your discovery of Madeira, and your search for Levada Walks, brings you to the west side of the island, you should take some time to discover the Lava Pools in […]

  3. […] hotel provides an outdoor pool. So on the days you’re not walking the Levada, or enjoying a round of golf, you ‘ll know where to find me. The place was in a pristine […]

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