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Levadas of Madeira: Walking a Hidden Gem Full of History

ByDave Stopher

Jul 7, 2024

Portugal is a dream destination for many travelers, yes but Madeira, a lush Portuguese archipelago is a hidden gem for most of us. It’s nestled in the Atlantic Ocean and is a haven for nature enthusiasts. One of the biggest draws and something ANYONE needs to do at least one-time in their lifetime is walking the Levada trails.

Madeira offers a rugged coastline, lush subtropical forests, and breathtaking landscapes that call out to adventurous travelers. But what really makes Madeira stand out are its ancient Levada trails.

What are the Levadas?

Yeah, I ended up wondering about it the first time I heard the word “levadas”. But you know, levadas are these old irrigation channels that were smartly designed to carry water from the mountains to the farming areas.

And nowadays they double as these beautiful hiking trails that wind through lush forests, past breathtaking waterfalls, and along these pretty steep cliffs.

Why Explore Madeira’s Levada Trails?

The levadas offer stunning views of Madeira’s lush greenery, with forests covered in mist and vibrant flora. You’ll be able to find hidden waterfalls, secret pools, and breathtaking scenery that only these trails can reveal.

When you walk along these paths, you not only get to enjoy the stunning views but also connect with Madeira’s past. You’ll be following in the footsteps of generations who maintained these channels.

I love how the levadas trails are perfect for everyone, no matter their level of experience. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or just starting out, these trails cater to all fitness levels and offer incredible adventures and breathtaking moments.

Top Levada Trails to Explore in Madeira

By now, you must be wondering which levadas trails are the best and to be honest, all of them are incredible, each one offers something unique. There are many people, both hikers and tourists that walk them all.

But in case you have limited time or will visit Greece for a walking holiday, here are the best levada trails to explore in Madeira:

1. Levada do Caldeirão Verde

By far my favorite and many other hikers too, is the Levada do Caldeirão Verde. It will take you through beautiful laurel forests, following the stream to the stunning Caldeirão Verde waterfall.

The path is decorated with moss-covered rocks, and the sound of the flowing water keeps you company along the way.

2. Levada das 25 Fontes

The Levada das 25 Fontes (Trail of the 25 Fountains) lives up to its name and is one of the most beautiful trails around. The biggest pro is the number of ponds you find, and many of them offer you a great place to swim.

Along the way, you’ll encounter numerous springs and fountains, each contributing to the flow of water. The climax? The 25 Fontes waterfall, where water spills over mossy cliffs.

3. Levada do Risco

This one is not for the faint of heart, the Levada do Risco is for the adventurous souls, but the views are well worthed.

It takes you along narrow ledges, high above the valley floor. The reward? A secluded waterfall surrounded by ferns, where you can pause and soak in the tranquility.

Conclusion

Walking the Levada trails of Madeira is an unforgettable experience. You get a unique chance to immerse yourself in nature, breathe in the fresh air, and let the magic of this island heal you. But make sure to visit it with a tour agency that specializes in walking holidays like Orbis Ways.

Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a first-timer, these trails promise adventure, beauty, and a connection with the heart of Madeira.