Madeira is truly a hiker’s paradise with wonderful and very diverse nature. And levadas are virtually synonymous with hiking in Madeira. There are so many levada hikes in Madeira that you could hike for weeks without getting bored. Many of the levadas are suitable for all ages, as they are mostly completely flat and do not involve any strenuous inclines. However, besides the official levadas, there are still a lot of normal hiking trails in all levels of difficulty on Madeira.You see, as a hiking enthusiast you get your money’s worth on Madeira. But what are the best levada hikes on Madeira? Which ones should not be missed? We have compiled our top 5 levadas and hikes in Madeira with all the information you need.

Hi Guys!

We are Sabrina and Andreas, two adventurous travelers who never miss an opportunity to discover the world. Whether by plane to distant countries or with our campervan Bruno, we just love to travel. We hope to give you helpful tips for your next trip on our blog.

Sabrina & Andreas Globetrotters, Travelers, Adventurers

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What is a levada?

A levada on Madeira is actually a small water channel that brings water from the rainy north to the south of the island to the agricultural areas. Since it rains more in the north of Madeira than in the south, it is a great idea to supply the fields of the sunnier south with water. The levadas lead along valleys, through mountains and dense forests and always have a slight gradient, so that the water also flows.

Some of the levadas on Madeira were built as early as the 15th century – before there were the first roads on the island – and are still in use today. In total, there are said to be over 2,500 kilometers of levadas on Madeira, and you can still hike on most of them today. The 5 Most Beautiful Levada Walks On Madeira How does that work? Well, so that the levadas could be maintained, there had to be paths next to the levadas. On these paths, the levadas can be inspected and, if necessary, repaired. And these paths can be used as hiking trails today!

The hiking trails next to the levadas are sometimes only half a meter and sometimes 1-2 meters wide. Mostly well secured with a railing, but occasionally there is no boundary between you and the abyss. Then it is only: Hike carefully! Either way you will have a wonderful view, because the levadas cross Madeira completely and offer you views that are second to none.

The most beautiful levadas in Madeira

In our top list of the most beautiful levada hikes in Madeira, we have not only included real levadas, but also classic hiking trails that do not follow a levada. Since for most people the word levada is synonymous with a hike in Madeira anyway, we think this summary is intuitive.

#5 – Levada das 25 Fontes

The Levada das 25 Fontes is one of the most popular hikes in all of Madeira. The hike is called 25 Fontes because of the many springs or waterfalls that can be found along the way and also at the finish of the hike. The highlight and destination of the Levada is the 25 Fontes waterfall at the end of the trail. The 5 Most Beautiful Levada Walks On Madeira An additional highlight of this hike is the Risco waterfall, which you can admire directly on the official hiking trail only from one perspective. If you walk the way I did, you will see the Risco waterfall from a completely different and quite spectacular perspective and avoid most of the other tourists. The alternative route I took is a bit more strenuous, but the tranquility and unspoiled nature more than make up for the extra effort.

In total, you will walk 11 kilometers, climbing 350 meters of altitude. You will need about 4-5 hours for this hike, which consists of a combination of 2 levadas. Where exactly the hike starts and how to best combine the 2 levadas you can find out here Levada das 25 Fontes Hike | Untouristic Route

Hotel Recommendation on Madeira

Seasky Arco in CalhetaThe 5 Most Beautiful Levada Walks On Madeira

  • large apartments up to 1-2 floors
  • private bathroom
  • fully equipped kitchen
  • amazing view of the sea
  • pool and private terrace
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The apartment complex Seasky Arco* is located above the town of Calhete in the southwest of Madeira on a steep slope.

Thanks to the very steep access road, getting there is anything but easy, but you won't be bothered by any traffic and you'll have a direct view of the sunset on the Atlantic.

There are floor-to-ceiling windows, a private pool, a huge terrace and a huge bed from which you can watch the sun go down. Simply a wonderful place to come to rest and relax from the strenuous hikes. We felt mega comfortable here!

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#4 – Levada do Caldeirão Verde

The Levada do Caldeirão Verde is one of the most beautiful and popular hikes in Madeira. The special thing about this levada are the many waterfalls that pour next to and sometimes directly onto the hiking trail. Right at the start of this Madeira Levada hike you feel like you are in a fairy tale of the Brothers Grimm.
The 5 Most Beautiful Levada Walks On Madeira
Everything is green and blooming and the green cauldron – which is the literal translation for Caldeirão Verde – at the end will leave you speechless.
The Levada do Caldeirão Verde begins in the Queimadas Forest Park, where ducks, geese and beautiful half-timbered houses await you. The levada was built in the 18th century and runs through the extraordinary Laurissilva forest, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in December 1999.
There are a total of 4 tunnels, but hardly any inclines on this levada. The destination of this beautiful levada hike is the breathtaking Caldeirão Verde, the green cauldron.
This is a very narrow and high gorge into which, surrounded by lush vegetation, a narrow waterfall pours from over 110 meters. A real highlight of Madeira.
All important information about the hike you can read here: Levada do Caldeirão Verde I tips for your Madeira hike

#3 – Levada Do Moinho & Levada Nova

The Madeira Hike along the two hiking trails Levada do Moinho and Levada Nova (PR7) is a connection of 2 almost parallel running Levadas, which offer you unbelievable beautiful views of the coast and the mountains. The Levada do Moinho starts in the small village of Lombada da Ponta do Sol in the south of Madeira.

From there it goes completely flat further and further into the valley and you enjoy a wonderful panoramic view all the time. At the end of the Levada do Moinho you change to the Levada Nova, which leads back the same way. But a lot higher and with a view that is second to none. At the end of this wonderful hike you will arrive back at the place where you started. The 5 Most Beautiful Levada Walks On Madeira For us, this was one of the most beautiful levada hikes in Madeira. This levada hike in Madeira combines 2 almost parallel running levadas. So you do not have to walk the same way back, but still have a phenomenal view of the valley and the nearby sea from both ways. The Levada do Moinho is the lower of the two levadas and leads you to a picnic area where you have to cross a river twice to get to the somewhat higher Levada Nova.

There you will go back about 100 meters of altitude above the Levada do Moinho towards the start of the hike. The highlight on the Levada Nova, besides the great view, is the waterfall that awaits you behind a corner of the levada and that is really very special.

In total, you walk 9 kilometers for which we needed just under 4 hours. If you want to have all the necessary information to run this levada hike itself, then read our hiking report to the Levadas Do Moinho & Nova.

#2 – Ponta de São Lourenço

Ponta de São Lourenço in Madeira’s east really impressed and surprised us with its barrenness and desert-like landscape. After Madeira welcomed us as a lush green landscape, we realized how diverse this small island is. The hike at Ponta de São Lourenço is well developed and relatively easy to walk. Nevertheless, there are some inclines on the way and also the uneven nature of the path are a certain challenge. The 5 Most Beautiful Levada Walks On Madeira There are no trees growing on the whole peninsula (except for the oasis restaurant) and no bigger bushes. Therefore, it can be very hot with cloudless skies and no shade. During the hike you will always have different views of the clay-colored cliffs and the restless sea. Behind every corner it looks different, but always spectacular.

Since this hike is very popular, you will not be alone here, but always accompanied by many other tourists. Nevertheless, the hike is worth it because you won’t get such views anywhere else on Madeira.

Especially the view from the hill, which is located at the end of the hike, is incredibly beautiful and reaches to the lighthouse at the tip of the peninsula. If you want to know more about the hike then read our hiking report to the hike to Ponta de São Lourenço.

#1 – Pico do Arieiro to Pico Ruivo

The hike from Pico Arieiro to Pico Ruivo in Madeira (PR1) is one of the most spectacular hikes you can do in Madeira. The hike to Pico Ruivo takes you over and through mountains, along gorges and offers fantastic views of the surrounding valleys for almost 12 km.

The 5 Most Beautiful Levada Walks On Madeira
Pico do Arieiro at sunrise

The Pico Arieiro to Pico Ruivo hike is one of the most popular hikes in Madeira, while also being one of the most physically demanding. You start from Pico do Ariero, with 1818 meters one of the highest mountains of Madeira and hike almost 12 km to the really highest peak of Madeira, the Pico Ruivo.

You will need 4-6 hours for the route and probably be completely knocked out at the end. On the 12 kilometers you will overcome an incredible 1000 meters of altitude. It goes very steeply downhill and shortly before the finish again very steeply uphill. This makes the hike quite strenuous. Also, that it can be very slippery and slippery at times, does not make it easier.

Nevertheless, the landscapes you will have during the hike are incredibly beautiful and definitely worth the effort. If you want to have more information about the hike, please read our hiking report on the hike from Pico do Arieiro to Pico Ruivo .

Preparations for a Levada Hike

  • Wear good hiking clothes, preferably an onion jacket. The weather on Madeira can be unpredictable.
  • Take enough water and snacks with you. On the way there is usually nothing to buy and you should not drink the water from the levadas.
  • A flashlight can be very useful in the dark tunnels. In case of need, the light of your cell phone is also sufficient.
  • Check the status of the trail before you go ( visitmadeira.pt). Hiking trails can spontaneously become impassable due to rockfalls or heavy rains.
  • Calculate the time you will need for the trail (including breaks) with enough buffer to get back to the starting point before nightfall.
  • Do not leave the official path and do not leave any trash behind

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