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Along Madeira's Levadas

Walking in Madeira - (c)Mark Skarratts

©Mark Skarratts

Along Madeira's Levadas

Madeira’s 1,350-mile network of watercourses (known locally as levadas) offer fantastic opportunities for walking holidays. Join us on an historical journey along Madeira’s levadas and learn more about the different routes.

 

Madeira Discovered

In the early 1400s, Madeira was discovered by three navigators from Portugal. They found several high peaks, stunning nature and a beautiful coastline on an island that was wet in the northwest, but dry in the southeast. Several years later, the process of building the so-called levadas (aqueducts or watercourses) that are unique to Madeira had started, so that water could be carried to the agricultural regions in the south of the island.

 

A Network of Levadas

Many of the levadas had to be cut into the sides of the mountains and even tunnels were necessary to complete the network. Today, most of the levadas – and tunnels – that were built between 1461 and 1966 still remain. What’s more, made out of stone or concrete, they still function, although not to distribute water, but to provide hydro-electric power to the island. 

Another advantage of the 1,350 miles-long network is the ability for hikers to follow them on foot. Via, at times, easy walks through the countryside and mountain ranges and at other points challenging narrow paths, you can discover the beautiful island of Madeira on a walking holiday.

 

Walking in Madeira - Sherpa Expeditions

 

Levada Walking in Madeira

Partly thanks to Madeira’s levadas, the island owes its nickname of ‘Ilha Jardim’ (Garden Island). On our walking holiday, you can explore several trails along the levadas in Madeira on foot:

 

Levada do Furado

Viewpoint on Levada do Furado in Madeira

©Sarang


The walk along this levada is the most dramatic and challenging of all on our 8-day walking holiday in Madeira. It follows narrow paths and uneven going underfoot. You will walk up into the wild, forested hills of the Madeira National Park and be rewarded with magnificent views at a number of points.

 

Levada dos Tornos

Explore Madeira levada dos Tornos

©gastromartini


Located around Monte, known for the Tropical Gardens and wickerwork sleds, are the trails of the Levada dos Tornos. Along the way you will be able to enjoy the colourful flora and fauna and views over Funchal Bay. On our day’s walk, we only cover a section of this levada in Madeira. 

 

Levada da Serra

Walking Madeira's Levada da Serra - (c)D Stanley

©D Stanley


This levada shows you a wonderful part of the island that is fit for walkers year-round. It contours – at a slightly higher level (750m) than the other routes on our walking trip – around the head of the impressive ‘Valley of Paradise’. It is a leisurely walk along a flower-lined levada.

 

Levada do Canical

Walking Madeira's Levadas with Sherpa Expeditions - (c)Leo Seta

©Mark Skarratts

 

Built in relatively recent times (developments finished in the 1960s), the Levada do Canical is easy to follow. The trail is about seven miles towards its source near Ribeira de Machico. We cover a section of this levada that goes through the Canical Tunnel. This Madeira levada is known as the ‘mimosa levada’ as there are many mimosa trees found along the course of the route.

 


On a short flight from Europe and about 4 hours from London, discover these levadas on our Madeira walking holidays.

For more information and booking details, please have a look at our 8-day self guided Madeira walking holiday, or get in touch with our team of travel experts

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