Along the west coast of Madeira, you’ll find the town of Ponta do Pargo which is quite known for the stunning Garganta Funda Waterfall Viewpoint.
At the same starting point as the trail to the waterfall, you can also find the lesser-known Levada Ponta do Pargo trail.
This beautiful loop trail takes you through Madeira’s quiet countryside where you won’t see many other hikers or tourists.
It’s a perfect trail if you’re looking to explore a more off-the-beaten-path part of Madeira and want to do an easy hike with amazing views without a ton of people around you.
Levada Ponta do Pargo is an awesome loop trail to do on the west coast especially if you’re planning a full day out west!
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Hiking the Levada da Ponta do Pargo on Madeira’s West Coast
There aren’t any famous landmarks along the trail like you’d find on Levada 25 Fontes or Ponta de São Lourenço. Instead, you’ll be welcomed by a more remote, peaceful, and nature-filled walk on Madeira’s west coast.
We’ve done plenty of levada walks around Madeira and Levada Ponta do Pargo is one of the only loop trails we’ve done.
Out of all the different types of hikes, a loop trail is probably our favourite. The fact that throughout the whole trail, you see something new (and that you don’t have to come back the same way) is really nice.
On the Levada da Ponta do Pargo there’s a section where you’re hiking along a levada, a little section along the coast, and then the last part is through the countryside on the west coast. It’s a nice trail with lots of diverse scenery.
Get ready for an awesome day trip out west to Ponta do Pargo to explore some of Madeira’s most beautiful scenery!
Since you’re already driving “all the way” out west, we recommend you add Garganta Waterfall Viewpoint and also the cable car at Achadas da Cruz to your itinerary. Both are totally worth the visit.
Practical information about the Levada do Ponta do Pargo trail
Distance: 13.2 km total / 8.2 miles return
Elevation: 607 meters / 1991 feet
Type: Loop trail
Length: 4-5 hours (time for breaks at viewpoints)
Alltrails: Ponta do Pargo
Here’s a picture of the beginning of the Levada Ponta do Pargo hike:
Finding the trailhead for Levada Ponta do Pargo
The nice thing about the Ponta do Pargo hike is that you can leave your car at the Garganta Funda Viewpoint parking lot (as seen in the picture above) and then just make your way toward the levada after you check out the viewpoint.
You can decide for yourself if you want to stop at the viewpoint before or after the Levada Ponta do Pargo trail. Since it’s a loop trail, you’ll end up back at your parked car when you’re done with the hike.
Once you’re ready to head to the start of the levada, you’ll make your way back up the road that you drove down to park your car.
There’s a bit of elevation in the beginning, but trust us, once you get on the levada trail, the hike gets a lot easier. It’s mostly just on this first bit where you’ll feel the elevation.
Once you’ve made it up the steep bit of road, there’s one last steep section that gets you to the levada where the real fun begins.
Fun fact: The actual name of the levada is Levada Nova da Calheta but that levada is over 50 kilometres long. The stretch we hike on this trail is called Levada Ponta do Pargo!
Starting along the Levada Ponta do Pargo trail
Now the fun begins! It’s time to start the journey along the levada where you’ll zig-zag your way through the countryside above Ponta do Pargo. There is a bit of elevation (sorry, we know we said it would stop) but it’s not a whole lot.
Now you’re in between bushes and in nature so the elevation is a lot nicer to handle!
There’s something so enjoyable about levada trails. One thing we love about Madeira is all these peaceful trails you can find out in nature.
Most levada trails are really easy to follow since there’s only one trail that leads you to where you’re going. Ponta do Pargo is still quite easy to follow as well but there are quite a few side trails that can take you off the main Levada do Ponta do Pargo.
Make sure to follow the Levada Ponta do Pargo trail map to ensure you stay on course and don’t get lost.
Hiking Tip: Look up the trail on AllTrails before starting your hike 🗺️. You can find important trail information such as recent wildlife sights and trail closures. Check out the free version here or get a 7-day free trial of AllTrails Pro here.
Hiking along Levada Ponta do Pargo towards the church
The levada section of this hike is so nice because you’re quite high above the towns and roads. You get a really nice view of the west coast of Madeira.
The hike itself is really open as well so you’re not too much in the forest along this levada. You’re more on the edge walking around the forest. Because of that, you have a clear view of the coast for the majority of the levada section of Ponta do Pargo.
Near the end of the levada, you’ll finally get to a little town where you’ll have a small stretch of road to walk down. You may even run into a few locals hanging outside enjoying the sun.
Soon enough, a small little white church will appear! It’s a short walk down to the church where you’re in for one of the most beautiful viewpoints you could ever imagine!
Take in the views by the church along the coast
Once you get to Nossa Senhora da Boa Morte (the white church) you’ll have a little trail to one of the most beautiful viewpoints in Madeira (Cabo Viewpoint).
If you walk down to the Cabo Viewpoint, you will be met by one of the most stunning views of the coastline!
It may be equally as beautiful as the views you get from Vereda do Larano or the Boca do Risco coastal trail. However, the contrast between the green grass and the blue water is unlike anything we’ve ever seen before!
Make sure to go down, stand on the platform, and check out the coastline out west here. The coastline is wild and extreme over on the west coast and on a sunny day it’s absolutely beautiful!
You may even get lucky and meet a cow or two relaxing in the grass next to you taking in the views as well.
This viewpoint is definitely one of the highlights of this hike so make sure to really take in and enjoy the views.
This is also a good sport for a lunch break! There’s a little water fountain where you can fill up your water as well before you leave.
Tip: After you complete the trail, make sure you check yourself for ticks!
We’ve *knock on wood* never had any tick encounters in Madeira but we do have friends who got a few tick bites on this trail.
Continue the Ponta do Pargo loop along Caminho da Cruz
We’ve got good and bad news!
The bad news is that the coolest view of this day trip is now behind you.
The good news is that the Levada Ponta do Pargo is a loop trail so you won’t be hiking back the same way you came from. And you will still have some cool views ahead of you!
This section is a lot closer to the coast and takes place along the Caminho da Cruz. This walking path also zig-zags its way through the countryside of Madeira’s west coast but with fewer views than on the levada part of the hike.
There are a few other coastal viewpoints you can stop at on your way back to Ponta do Pargo. The trails are quite obvious and you can just pick a few if you want to check out the coast. They do get quite similar but are still absolutely stunning.
This trail is beautiful and even though there’s no sound of running water from a levada, the walk is great.
You’re in one of the most peaceful parts of the island with almost no sound of cars, people, or anything.
The only thing you might hear is the odd cow, horse, or bird but besides that, it’s truly one of the most peaceful and remote areas of Madeira.
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Enjoy the last stretch back to Ponta do Pargo
The last stretch is actually mostly on the small country roads where you’ll pass some local Madeiran houses. You’ll notice it’s mostly the older generation and some small farmers that live out here.
There isn’t a whole lot of opportunity for young people in Madeira out west here so most of them move closer to Funchal or even mainland Portugal. (However, we could totally see how cool it would be to open a coliving space out here!)
That’s why it’s so peaceful and quiet as you walk back to Ponta do Pargo as there really aren’t many people out here.
This could honestly be a great place for nomads and people who work remotely to move to. Especially if they love being away from cities and just in a nature lover’s paradise.
As you keep walking, you’ll get closer and closer to Ponta do Pargo. There isn’t a whole lot of signage but if you follow the trail map for the hike and stay on the main trail you’ll make your way back to the starting point.
Once you’re back at the start of the Levada da Ponta do Pargo trail, you can go check out the Garganta Funda Waterfall if you haven’t yet.
If you’re back close to sunset (and it’s not super cloudy) it’s totally worth going down to the viewpoint for it. The viewpoint is definitely up there with Pico Ruivo as one of the best sunset spots in Madeira.
What to bring on the Ponta do Pargo loop trail
Doing the Levada Ponta do Pargo trail is a full-day trip and it is located in one of the more remote parts of Madeira. You’ll definitely want to come prepared with the right amount of food and water.
There are places to buy stuff close by if you need to but it’s good to be prepared for a full afternoon of hiking.
It’s not a hard hike by any means but proper gear like the right footwear and maybe even some hiking poles will go a long way.
Another good thing to do is check the weather near Ponta do Pargo. You can see the weather for the Ponta do Pargo area here to give you an idea of what to expect.
On a sunny day, Levada Ponta do Pargo and the Garganta Funda Viewpoint are awesome to visit. But on a rainy or even low visibility day, it’s better to explore a different side of the island.
Packing list for Levada Ponta do Pargo:
- Water! We always fill up our LifeStraw bottles before hikes. It’s best to fill up before you make your way out west for the day as there aren’t many spots to refill it.
- Sunscreen is highly recommended when hiking on Madeira. When we hiked the Levada da Ponta do Pargo it was probably one of the hottest days we had in Madeira so sunscreen is recommended!
- A power bank is always nice to bring. Between getting to Ponta do Pargo, navigating the trail, taking photos, and everything else there’s a good chance your phone battery will be low towards the end of the day. So it’s always good to bring a solid power bank.
- A rain jacket is always nice to have in case it starts raining during the day trip. Ponta do Pargo is quite a long loop trail and very exposed. You don’t want to get stuck in a rainstorm halfway through the hike without any way to keep you dry.
You can check out this great list of hiking gear to get some more inspiration!
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Before you hike Levada Ponta do Pargo loop trail
Check the weather near Ponta do Pargo
One thing everyone quickly figures out when visiting Madeira is that the weather is constantly changing. Madeira has 9 micro-climates so the weather can be completely different depending on where on the island you are.
The best thing we can recommend is to check out the weather for Ponta do Pargo before you go over to the west side of the island.
If it’s nice and sunny then the levada, the coastal section, and even the Garganta Funda Viewpoint are incredible. We always plan our day trips around what part of the island is sunny.
There’s a good chance that even if it’s raining in Ponta do Pargo it might still be sunny somewhere else or the other way around.
Definitely check the weather before coming to Ponta do Pargo and make sure to come on a nice sunny day.
Load the trail map
We usually load the trail map on our phone or take a screenshot of it before starting the hike so we have an idea of where to go in case we get lost.
The Levada Ponta do Pargo is quite easy to follow once you’re on the trail but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Especially since it is a loop trail you don’t want to head the wrong way or get on the wrong trail.
There are definitely a few sections where you just gotta double-check that you’re on the right trail or road in order to continue in the correct direction. Definitely check the trail map throughout the hike!
We always use either Alltrails or MapyCZ to help guide us during our hikes. You can find the Levada Ponta do Park trail on MapyCZ here. You can also find the Ponta do Pargo Loop trail on Alltrails here.
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How to get to Ponta do Pargo
This is one of the places you want to visit if you have a car or rental car. It’s about as far west as you can go in Madeira and it only makes sense to go there by car or private shuttle!
From Funchal, it’s actually a really nice drive out west to Ponta do Pargo. Driving in Madeira is pretty fun and safe for the most part.
There’s a great highway that loops around the island that gets you from Funchal to Ponta do Pargo in just under an hour.
So a car is definitely your best friend for this one. You can definitely still get to Ponta do Pargo without a car but we’d recommend visiting some other areas closer to Funchal such as Cabo Girão Skywalk if a car isn’t an option.
You can find the trip details from Funchal to Ponta do Pargo here.
Also read: 28 Best Things to Do in Funchal
Getting a rental car from Funchal to the west coast of Madeira
There are multiple car rentals in Funchal so the easiest way to get the best price is by checking DiscoverCars.
Since there are multiple car rental companies there are also many different pick-up locations in the city so it’s super convenient.
Just check what the pickup location is before hitting that booking button to ensure it’s close to your accommodation!
You can look at and compare the prices of different rental cars and providers on DiscoverCars.
If you can, it’s best to try to book the car in advance since prices usually rise closer to the day of booking.
When is the best time to visit Ponta do Pargo?
You can hike the Levada da Ponta do Pargo pretty much all year round as long as the weather is good. On a clear sunny day, you get awesome views of the beautiful coastline throughout the hike!
Especially since the trail is very open with no obstructions it’s nice to be out and about with the sun coming down on you. The west coast is always beautiful when it’s nice and sunny.
The nice thing is that even on a warm sunny day, the trail will rarely get busy since not many people know about it or even come this far west while exploring Madeira.
Hiking the loop trail and checking out the waterfall makes for the perfect day trip out west where you get a chance to see some of the highlights of this side of Madeira.
You may also like…
- Visiting the Beautiful Garganta Funda Waterfall
- Hiking the Beautiful Levada do Alecrim Waterfall Trail
- The Best Sunrise Spot in Madeira: Pico Ruivo
- 11 Beautiful Levada Walks in Madeira
- 12 of the Best Hikes to Do in Madeira
Recap of the Levada Ponta do Pargo loop trail
If you’re planning a trip out west then this levada loop trail around Ponta do Pargo and the coast is a must-do.
There are plenty of stunning levada trails in Madeira but not too many of them are loop trails. (We know the entire trail isn’t actually a levada but the hike itself is made into a loop trail.)
Ponta do Pargo is a great place to visit to see the stunning coast and also to get a chance to see one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Madeira, Garganta Funda!
If you have any questions about Ponta do Pargo, the levada trail, or the waterfall viewpoint then feel free to DM us on Instagram @redwhiteadventures or leave a comment below!
Have fun exploring the west coast!