More than 1,350 miles of irrigation channels were originally constructed to carry water to crops in the dry southeast. But today, these levadas provide travelers to Madeira with an extensive network of walking paths and scenic trails. Visitors can wander along the relaxing countryside or tackle the crumbling ledges known for inducing instant vertigo.
Levada do Caldeirão Verde
This popular hike travels some 23 miles and begins in the Queimadas Forestry Park. Hikers climb 990 meters of elevations and wind through Santana. Levada do Caldeirão Verde tunnels through mountainsides, so flashlights are necessary to navigate darker passes. The path’s steep ascents are known for causing vertigo, which means visitors should precede with extreme caution.
Levada do Caniçal
An easier pass, Levada do Caniçal covers 7.1 miles from Marocos to the Caniçal Tunnel. A well-kept path loops through indigenous acacia, making it a peaceful, scenic route through the countryside.
Vereda do Pico Ruivo
Spend about 90 minutes climbing this trail to the island’s highest peak, where travelers are rewarded with spectacular views of Madeira mountains and the vast Atlantic coast. Vereda do Pico Ruivo also connects to three other trails that lead to the second highest peak, the central mountain range and the western side of the island, making it an ideal starting point for a longer Levada adventure.