Before ever setting foot in Madeira we knew we could expect to see stunning waterfalls, insane mountains, and a beautiful coastline. But we had never heard about the levada irrigation systems and the levada walks in Madeira!
One of the main reasons Madeira has so many trails to explore is thanks to the levada network that you can find all over the island.
We’ve yet to explore all of them though since there are about 200 levadas in Madeira stretching over 3000 km. But after spending 4 months on the island, we have done our fair share to be able to highlight some of the best levada walks on Madeira.
Levadas are the most peaceful trails where you can immerse yourself in nature and see the raw beauty of Madeira – often without having to work too hard for the rewarding views.
In this post, we share our favourite levada walks, what makes each one unique, and some practical information such as the length and difficulty of each trail.
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11 Beautiful Levada Walks in Madeira
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The majority of the levada walks mentioned in this post are quite easy…
The keyword here is “walks”. Levadas rarely ever exceed 2% in slope, so the trails have a very small incline if any and it’s very gradual.
Nevertheless, all of these levada walks in Madeira are absolutely stunning and worth checking out.
There are a also few walks in this post that start out as levadas but then end up going to a viewpoint or waterfall where it turns into a bit more of a hike.
If you want to get out in nature and explore the raw beautify of Madeira then levada walks are the way to go.
Also read: 12 of the Best Hikes to Do in Madeira
#1 PR6 – Levada das 25 Fontes hike
Practical information about the Levada das 25 Fontes trail:
Official trail name: PR6 – Levada das 25 Fontes
Distance: 10.1 km return / 6.27 miles return
Elevation: Roughly 755 m / 2477 ft. elevation gain
Type: Loop trail
Length: 3-3.5 hours return (depending on how long you admire the waterfalls)
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Levada das 25 Fontes is one of the most popular and iconic hikes in Madeira because of the stunning waterfalls you get to see along the way. This includes the tallest waterfall on the island, Risco Waterfall, as well as Cascata das 25 Fontes which is probably the most iconic waterfall (what you see in the images above).
This area where Levada das 25 Fontes is located is called Rabaçal by the Paul da Serra plateau. If you love the outdoors then this part of the island will quickly become one of your go-to areas for hiking and levada walks in Madeira.
From the second you get to Rabaçal, you’ll notice how lush and green everything is. Madeira is lush and green to begin with but this is on a whole other level.
The first section of this trail is on a road but eventually, you will make it into the forest where the levada trail starts. For most of the trail, you’ll walk parallel to a levada. Firstly, Levada do Risco and then later you will walk down some stairs and connect with Levada das 25 Fontes.
As you get further into the forest and further along the levada, the beautiful Risco Waterfall will appear out of nowhere and its size will blow you away!
You’ll take in the views of Risco before descending further into the forest to the most breathtaking part of the whole trail, the 25 cascading waterfalls known as La Cascata das 25 Fontes.
The 25 Fontes is the most beautiful part of the whole hike so spend some time here admiring the view, enjoying a good lunch, and maybe even swimming in the ice-cold water if you’re feeling brave!
When you’re done taking in the views, it’s time to head back. The Cascata das 25 Fontes is the turning point of the hike. To get back to the trailhead, all you do is head back the same way you came from up to your car.
This hike can also be done as a guided tour (which is what we did). If you prefer going on a guided tour as well, you can book a guided tour of Levada das 25 Fontes here.
Read the full guide: The Best Waterfall Hike in Madeira – Levada 25 Fontes
#2 PR9 – Levada do Caldeirão Verde hike
Practical information about the Levada do Caldeirão Verde trail:
Official trail name: PR 9 – Levada do Caldeirão Verde
Distance: 13.7 km return / 8.5 miles return
Elevation: Roughly 200 m / 650 ft. elevation gain
Type: In-and-out trail
Length: 4-6 hours total
The Levada do Caldeirão Verde is one of the most beautiful hikes on the northern side of the island. Even though most levadas we consider walks, this trail in specific should almost be classified as a hike.
While it’s still a flat levada walk, it definitely is a little more challenging because of the distance and the tunnels you have to go through.
This levada actually plays quite a big role in the way this hike is designed. The trail is quite narrow at times and when there are people hiking in both directions sometimes you actually have to stand on the levada and lean up against the mountain to let people pass!
The start of the hike is located not too far from Santana and deep in the Parque Queimadas up in the mountains. This awesome levada walk in Madeira also takes you to another stunning waterfall on the island: Caldeirão Verde.
The hike starts out easy next to Levada Caldeirão Verde on a nice, wide path. As you continue, you’ll walk through a waterfall (which is so fun!), go through several tunnels, and you will eventually notice that the trail gets more and more narrow.
One of the most fascinating parts of this whole hike is how the local Madeiran had the courage to build a levada zig-zagging around a mountain like this.
Out of all the levada walks in Madeira this one is definitely one of the wildest ones! We’d still consider it a walk but it’s definitely one of the tougher ones.
If you aren’t up for the adventure, then maybe some of the other levadas on the list are a better option! However, this is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Madeira so you might want to think twice before passing this opportunity.
We did not go on a guided tour for this hike but if you want to you can book a guided tour for Caldeirão Verde here.
Read the full guide: Hiking and Chasing Waterfalls – Levada Do Caldeirão Verde Trail
#3 PR18 – Levada do Rei Trail
Practical information about the Levada do Rei trail:
Official trail name: PR18 – Levada do Rei
Distance: 9.2 km return / 5.71 miles return
Elevation: Roughly 504 m / 1653 ft. elevation gain
Type: In and out
Length: 2.5-3 hours total (includes time for pictures and a snack/lunch break)
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Levada do Rei is one of the most relaxing levada walks in Madeira. It’s one of those walks where you find yourself immersed between trees, plants, and lush greenery and you almost forget everything else.
We absolutely love some of the more coastal and challenging hikes in Madeira but sometimes it’s nice to just get out in nature and enjoy a relaxing walk like Levada do Rei.
The trail itself is really well maintained and this specific leveda is beautiful. From the moment you start the trail, you walk parallel to a levada as you go deeper and deeper into the forest.
It’s so beautiful and peaceful but it’s not completely without challenges…
There are a few sections where you’re more than likely to get wet as you have to walk through some smaller waterfalls that drop onto the trail. There’s no way around these waterfalls so all you can do is put on your rain jacket or open an umbrella and trek through them!
The combination of amazing nature, waterfalls, and an easy levada trail makes Levada do Rei a perfect walk when you’re looking for something easy and fun to do out in the outdoors.
For how easy this trail is and how rewarding the views are, this is one of the best levada hikes you can do in our opinion. The trail has almost no elevation and you get to go deep into the forest where you get the chance to see some of Madeira’s most beautiful nature.
We did not go on a guided tour for this hike but if you want to you can book a guided tour for Levada do Rei here.
Read the full guide: Hiking the Easy Yet Beautiful PR18 Levada do Rei
#4 Levada Ponta do Pargo loop trail
Practical information about the Levada da 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)
Levada Ponta do Pargo is located on the west coast of Madeira next to the famous Garganta Funda Waterfall.
This hike takes place along Levada do Nova (a very long levada) but you will only be walking on a section of it. This section is called the Levada da Ponta do Pargo, hence the name of the hike.
One of the best parts of this walk is that it’s actually a loop trail.
The beginning of the trail is in Ponta do Pargo where you quickly get to the levada which you walk along for a while. The trail eventually leads you through a village down to a beautiful church and viewpoint. Then you walk back above the coast and finish in Ponta do Pargo.
The nature, scenery, and views of the west coast are incredible.
The best part is that the levada trail will be quite empty as it’s a much less touristy part of Madeira compared to 25 Fontes, Levada do Rei, and some of the other popular and touristy levadas in Madeira.
Read the full guide: Levada da Ponta do Pargo Loop Trail (Full Guide)
#5 Levada dos Tornos to Monte walk
Practical information about the Levada dos Tornos to Monte trail:
Distance: 7.4 km total / 4.6 miles total
Elevation: Roughly 150 m / 492 ft. elevation gain
Type: One-way trail
Length: 2.5-3.5 hours total. Add an extra hour for a tea and coffee stop along the way though!
Difficulty: Easy to moderate (the hike is quite flat with a bit of elevation near the end)
We love the Levada dos Tornos to Monte walk for multiple reasons! Firstly, if you’re staying or living in Funchal then this is one of the most convenient hikes you can do if you’re looking for something close by.
The Levada dos Torno hike starts above Funchal in the suburbs where you walk on a section of Levada dos Tornos as you make your way towards Monte.
In the past, we would have recommended the Levada do Bom Sucesso. Unfortunately, though, that trail has had a fair bit of erosion and isn’t currently safe to walk on.
So for now, the best and most convenient levada walk near Funchal is Levada dos Tornos. This hike also takes you all the way to Monte where you get an awesome view overlooking Funchal.
Along the Levada dos Tornos there are a few cool spots that we didn’t know about before we did this hike the first time!
Our favourite of these stops is a super cute café that’s run by an English Man called The Jasmin Tea House. It’s a great place to stop for a quick tea and scone before you start the hike along the levada!
The walk is so peaceful and you get to walk right along the levada through the countryside, next to homes, and through forests.
It’s a levada walk not too many people know about and it’s so close to Funchal so it is perfect if you’re looking to just opt out of the city and into nature for a few hours.
Levada dos Tornos to Monte can easily be done early in the morning before lunch or as a fun afternoon walk.
#6 Levada do Cortado to Ponta do Clérigo Viewpoint
Practical information about the Cortado to Ponta do Clérigo trail:
Distance: 6.8 km return / 4.22 miles return
Elevation: Roughly 1500 m / 4921 ft. elevation gain
Type: In and out
Length: 4.5-5.5 hours (Enough time to enjoy the views along the way)
Difficulty: hard (beginning seems easy but then gets quite challenging)
Out of all the levada walks in Madeira, this one has to be our favourite! Levada do Cortado to Ponta do Clérigo is one of the most recent levada walks we’ve done and it’s absolutely stunning.
Before we dive into Levada do Cortado we want to mention that you’re only on the levada for a section of the hike. The levada section of this hike is a nice beautiful walk above Madeira’s north coast.
The views are absolutely incredible and they only get better as you continue the hike. However, the levada section is only a short part of the trail before it turns into more of a proper hike as you continue on the trail towards Ponta do Clérigo Viewpoint.
We absolutely love hiking along Madeira’s coastline so that may be why we love this one so much.
As you get closer and closer to Clérigo Viewpoint you get an incredible view of Faial and you may even be able to see Quinta do Furão along Santana’s coastline.
If you’re ready for a mix of a levada walk and a bit of a hike down (and then back up again) to the viewpoint, this hike is awesome.
Levada do Cortado starts above Santana and then makes its way along the coast where you’ll drop off and make your way towards the Clérigo Viewpoint!
It’s one of the more challenging levada hikes on this list but it’s hands down one of the most beautiful!
Read the full guide: Hiking from Levada do Cortado to Ponta do Clérigo Viewpoint
#7 PR11 Vereda dos Balcões Viewpoint
Practical information about the Vereda dos Balcões trail:
Distance: 2.9 km return / 1.8 miles return
Elevation: Roughly 60 m / 197 ft. elevation gain
Type: In and out trail
Length: 1-1.5 hours (includes time at Balcões Viewpoint)
Vereda dos Balcōes Viewpoint is located along the Levada do Juncal in Ribeiro Frio (which is awesome place to hike and explore by the way).
This is a super pleasant and easy levada walk that takes you to one of the most beautiful viewpoints in Madeira.
Compared to Levada do Cortado this is a walk in the park. This is probably one of the easiest levada walks in Madeira but with one of the most scenic views.
From the “balcony” viewpoint at the Vereda dos Balcões, you get a 180-degree view of the peaks of Madeira on one side, beautiful lush mountain forest ahead of you, and the Atlantic ocean on the other side.
Because this is such a short and rewarding walk, it does tend to get quite busy.
Even if you were to meet no other people on the trail, you will almost never have the viewpoint to yourself because there are always firecrest birds hanging around and enjoying the view as well.
It’s become quite a thing that people always feed these firecrests (please don’t feed the birds bread!) at the viewpoint so now they’ve found the Balcões Viewpoint as a second home where they know they can always get a quick bite to eat.
This is a great levada to do if you’re in the Ribeiro Frio area and looking to stretch your legs and see another piece of Madeira’s incredible scenery!
Read the full guide: Best View in Ribeiro Frio: Hiking PR11 Vereda Dos Balcões
#8 PR6.2 – Levada do Alecrim Waterfall hike
Practical information about the Levada do Alecrim trail:
Official trail name: PR 6.2 – Levada do Alecrim – Vereda da Lagoa do Vento
Distance: 8 km return / 4.97 miles return
Elevation: Roughly 604 m / 1981 ft. elevation gain
Type: Loop trail
Length: 3.5-4.5 hours total (includes time for a swim and a lunch break)
Difficulty: Moderate (because of the distance)
The Levada do Alecrim is in the Rabaçal region of Madeira. The hike itself actually has the same starting point as the Levada 25 Fontes hike that we talked about earlier.
Rabaçal is home to many awesome hikes and great levada walks in Madeira. Alecrim is just another one of those examples. And the best part about this hike? There’s a beautiful waterfall at the end!
Levada do Alecrim can actually be done as a loop trail (or lollipop if you will) which is nice. If you do it this way, you get to see more of the forest and end up seeing the famous Risco Waterfall as well.
This is one of the classic levada walks and it’s a relatively easy walk where you’ll follow the levada for most of the hike.
On the Levada do Alecrim you actually have one section where you have to hike up around 50 stairs with the levada still parallel to you. At that incline, the water in the levada is flowing quite quickly and it looks pretty cool!
Other than that, there aren’t too many big inclines to conquer if you do this trail as an in-and-out hike as the trail is quite flat.
However, if you do it as a lollipop trail, you will have a few more challenges to overcome as there is a good decline down to Risco Falls. Then, eventually, you have to make your way back up to the car park.
We didn’t do a guided tour but you can book a guided tour for Levada do Alecrim here.
Read the full guide: Hiking the Beautiful Levada do Alecrim Waterfall Trail
#9 PR10 – Levada do Furado hike
Practical information about the Levada do Furado trail
Official name: PR10 – Levada do Furado
Distance: 11.1 km return / 6.9 miles return
Elevation: Roughly 565 m / 1853 ft. elevation gain
Type: One-way trail (can also be done as an out-and-back)
Length: 3-4 hours total (includes time for pictures and a lunch break)
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
The Levada do Furado hike starts on the other side of the street of Vereda dos Balcões, the other levada walk we recommend in Ribeiro Frio.
The main difference between the two is that the other levada is an in-and-out trail. On Levada do Furado on the other hand you start in Ribeiro Frio and end up near Portela.
Levada do Furado is also a lot longer and offers some different views than the Balcões hike.
One thing we truly love about some of the levada walks in Madeira is that they are point-to-point trails or one-way trails. That way you get to experience and see something different throughout the whole hike.
Levada do Furado offers a nice levada walk that zig zags through the Madeiran mountains.
There are lots of small ups and downs throughout the walk. You’ll pass small waterfalls and small openings where you can see the towns of Santana, Fail, and Porto da Cruz.
It is a very nice, easy, and relaxing walk up in the Madeiran mountains. It’s a great way to get out and about without pushing yourself up a crazy mountain and just enjoying the views along this walk.
Read the full guide: Hiking From Levada do Furado to Levada Portela Near Funchal
#10 Cascata Da Agua D’Alto Waterfall Trail
Practical information about the Cascata Da Agua D’Alto trail
Distance: 3.2 km return / 1.99 miles return
Elevation: Roughly 30 m / 98.5ft. elevation gain
Type: In-and-out trail
Length: Less than 1 hour
Difficulty: Easy to moderate (the trail gets narrow so be careful)
This is one of those trails that will blow you away with its beauty. We randomly stumbled across this waterfall on Google Maps and realized we had to find it.
It took a bit of time to find the trailhead but once we did, it was fairly easy to follow the trail.
The walk itself starts in the mountains above Santana. You basically park your car on the side of a street next to a few houses. From there you hike up a road until you reach Levada da Agua d’Alto!
The first few minutes are just up a local road until you connect with Levada da Agua d’Alto. From there, you walk along the levada all the way to the waterfall.
The waterfall you get to see at the end of the levada is absolutely stunning. Cascata Da Agua D’Alto has to be one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Madeira!
We do want to let you know that this isn’t an official PR trail in Madeira so it is not maintained at all.
Even though the hike is short and easy, the levada section of the trail definitely needs some love. There are a few sections of the trail where erosion has gotten the best of the levada.
All we’re saying is be careful and watch your footing as you make your way to Agua D’Alto waterfall.
Even though it’s not a long walk it’s worth checking out this trail if you’re in Santana or driving around this part of the island. It’s a great way to stretch your legs for an hour and see another stunning waterfall.
Read the full guide: Hiking to the Hidden Waterfall of Cascata Agua d’Alto near Santana
#11 Vereda do Larano coastal trail
Practical information about hiking the Vereda do Larano trail
Official name: Levada do Caniçal – Vereda do Larano
Distance: 12 km return / 7.45 miles return
Elevation: Roughly 967 m / 3173 ft. elevation gain
Type: One-way trail
Length: 3-4 hours total (includes time for pictures and a lunch break)
Difficulty: Moderate-Hard (Just because of the distance)
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Vereda do Larano is the last levada walk in Madeira we’re going to mention on this list. You always save the best for last, right?
This is one of our favourite hikes on the island for multiple reasons…
The nice and peaceful start to the trail above Machico along the Levada do Caniçal is beautiful! From the trail, you can look back and see the town and the houses up in the hills.
The Vereda do Larano really eases you into this long hike. The beginning is flat and peaceful along Levada do Caniçal but then, eventually, you will be met by a solid incline before being rewarded by the most incredible coastal view.
You make your way up through the mountains towards the northeast coast of Madeira.
If you love the levada section of this hike, you’re probably going to love the second part even more. The coastline and the second half of the hike is even more beautiful. We absolutely love the coastline on the northeast part of Madeira and you’ll soon see why.
Even though it’s not a levada walk the whole way there really is only one small section with some elevation. Besides that, it’s just a beautiful and long one-way hike (which is why it’s good doing this trail on a guided tour).
You’ll start above Machico and finish above Porto da Cruz and throughout the entire hike, you’ll have beautiful views. First of the town, then of the mountains, then of the coastline, and lastly of Porto da Cruz.
This is an exceptional hike if you’re looking to get a good glimpse of the ocean while getting a feel for Madeira’s incredible scenery.
Read the full guide: Hiking the Coastal Trail in Madeira – Vereda do Larano
Other related questions about levadas in Madeira
What are levadas in Madeira?
Levadas in simple terms are man-made irrigation systems. They were built in and around the mountains in Madeira to transport water around the island.
The purpose of the levadas is to carry water from the mountains to the farmers fields as well as the towns, villages, and cities in Madeira.
The levadas can be found all over the island and some are super long and range up to 40-50 km. Thanks to these levadas, there are many beautiful unique walks around the island.
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What is the easiest levada in Madeira?
It’s hard to say which levada or section is the easiest but many levada walks in Madeira are quite similar in difficulty.
If you combine popularity and easiness then Levada dos Balcões might be one of the easiest levada hikes in Madeira.
What is the most famous levada in Madeira?
One of the most famous levada walks in Madeira is the Levada 25 Fontes. This is one of the most popular and beautiful hikes thanks to the stunning waterfalls you get to see along the way.
What is the most beautiful walk in Madeira?
The whole island is stunning and there are plenty of beautiful walks in Madeira!
You can check out 12 of the best hikes in Madeira in this post.
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.
Remember to leave no trace
When you go hiking (and do other outdoor adventure activities), always remember to follow the 7 principles of leaving no trace.
- Plan ahead and prepare.
- Travel and camp on durable surfaces.
- Dispose of waste properly.
- Leave what you find.
- Minimize campfire impacts.
- Respect wildlife.
- Be considerate of others.
✈️ Want help planning your trip to Madeira? 📆
Whether you’re a hiker looking for the best trails, a foodie wanting to try local delicacies, or a beach bum looking for the perfect spot to relax, we’ll help you plan your trip.
You may also like…
- 12 of the Best Hikes to Do in Madeira
- How to Explore Madeira in a Sustainable Way
- Top 10 Most Beautiful Waterfalls in Madeira
- The Ultimate Madeira Packing List in 2023
- The Highest Sea Cliff in Europe – Cabo Girao Skywalk
Recap of 11 beautiful levada walks in Madeira
Now you a list of levada walks in Madeira to explore and hike!
We absolutely love the fact that Madeira has an abundance of levada walks and these are just scratching the surface of what there is to explore on this beautiful island.
If you love hiking and being outdoors, these levada walks in Madeira are perfect for you.
Feel free to reach out to us on Instagram @redwhiteadventures or leave a comment below if you have more questions about Madeira.
This island is one of our favourite places in the world and we love sharing information about this place.
Have the best time exploring the island by walking along all these different levadas!