Madeira – Hiking Tours & Levada Walks

Madeira – Hiking Tours & Levada Walks

Madeira is the perfect island for everybody who is obsessed with hiking tours. There are multiple hiking trails – from easy to moderate and difficult walks. The island tours‘ agency we booked is called „Pride of Madeira„, but there are many different agencies and almost all of them offer similar prices. Please notice that each travel agency offers each trip only on specific days of the week. So make a weekly holiday plan before you start booking.

Hiking Tours:

Highest Peaks:

Costs: about 28€

There are two main peaks on this trail: The highest one with 1862 m which is called Pico Ruivo and the third highest peak with 1818 m which is called Pico do Arieiro. We went up to 1810 m to Madeira’s weather forecast station, but we had to return and take a different tracking because it was super foggy and freezing cold up there, only 1 degree!! Even the leafs were frozen. I was surprised because on the coast it was about 20 degrees Celsius. Our guide Nestor Dias jumped out of the car and screamed: “Fast, fast! Take a picture here and there! Let’s go somewhere else! I’m not going! I’m not going the high peaks!! It is not possible to do them today! I am waiting for you in the car” and he ran back to the bus as fast as he could. 😀

On our way back a flock of sheep passed the street. We had to wait in the car a bit to continue driving down. So our guide taught me how to say “sheep “in Portuguese: Ovelha(s).

Machico

Machico

Our alternative route started in the fisher village Machico. We walked over Vereda da boca do Rico and Larano to Porto da Cruz. The trail was about 12 km long. In Larano the guide showed us the mountains where the famous marathon or „Top race miute of Madeira“ always takes place. You can see many videos on YouTube.

Larano

Larano

Our guide Nestor Dias in Larano

Larano

Larano – view to Porto da Cruz

Larano

From Lurano we could see Porta de Sao Lourenço on the East side of the island and as well a beautiful rock in the ocean with a window whole called „Ilheu do Furado“. When we arrived in Porto da Cruz I could smell the refreshing see breeze and there were very big waves crushing on to the shore. The guide told us that many surfers can be seen in this area, usually. They use the big waves to ride their surfboards. In the end of our hiking tour we visited a rum house. We saw the expensive machines where the rum is produced and we tried a traditional rum cocktail mixed with passion fruit and honey. Very good, but very strong!

Caldeirão Verde:

Another hiking tour: Indulge in the wonders of the Laurissilva forest with the Cauldron Waterfall in the back! The 11 km walk is a moderate trail.
Friday from 9:10 AM to 4:00 PM

Costs: about 28€

Island Tours:

West tour:

Encumeada mountain

The first guided tour I booked was the west tour. It went from 9:10 AM to 5:00 PM and cost about 19€. On this tour we saw many places: The first stop is in the fisher village Câmara de Lobos next to Funchal.

Câmara de Lobos

Câmara de Lobos

Câmara de Lobos

Câmara de Lobos

In the evening many pubs open in the tiny harbor. Several locals will sit outside, drink beer, and some roasted beans and other snacks and have a talk. It’s nice to visit one of the restaurants there because it is not as touristic as in Funchal.

Câmara de Lobos – view from Gabo Girão

Our next stop and in my opinion the most impressive stop of this tour was the skywalk Cabo Girão. Once, the cliffs were part of an ancient volcano. It is one of the highest cliffs in Europe with a vertical drop of over 500 meters to the raging seas at the base. Only the cliff “Preikestolen” in Norway is higher with 604 meters. Cabo Girão is an amazing and unique tourist attraction in Madeira because of its glass bottomed skywalk hanging out over the top of the cliff. Though it is not for everyone – only for the brave! Not everyone could do it and step on the floor of glass. But from the viewpoint you will have amazing views along the coast and down into the town of Camara de Lobos which we visited before. As well you can ride a cable car down the face of the cliff to terrace fields filled with vineyards from there. And the best thing about it: So far it is for free and it is always open! No entrance fees!

Skywalk Cabo Girão

Skywalk Cabo Girão

Skywalk Cabo Girão

Cabo Girão

Afterwards we went to a small village called “Ribeira Brava” where we had a small break with coffee and cakes. It’s a good spot to relax in a café near the ocean.

Ribeira Brava

Ribeira Brava

Then we headed to Caniço, and after that to “pico de cana” of the Encumeada mountain.
The area of Paul da Serra reminded me of the super long streets in the states.

Pico de Cana

Encumeada mountain

Encumeada mountain

Encumeada mountain

Encumeada mountain

Encumeada mountain

Encumeada mountain

On our way to Porto Moniz we also went through Santa by car. It’s the potato village of the island with three harvests a year. When we arrived in Porto Moniz we saw the natural pools. If it is warm enough you should definitely bring a bikini because you might want to swim in these unique pools! In total we spent there 1,5 hours during our lunch time.

The natural pools in Porto Moniz

Porto Moniz

Next to Porto Moniz

The “bridal veil” waterfall

On our trip we saw as well places like Ribeira da Janela, Fanal, and Seixal. In Seixal we stopped at a viewpoint in front of the waterfall called “bridal veil”.

Our last stop was in São Vicente – a very small village with a beautiful cemetery.

São Vicente

São Vicente

São Vicente

East tour:

This tour we didn’t book. Instead we rented a car for one day and drove to Santana in the morning along the coast and back to Funchal with many stops during the day. The cheapest rental car for 4 persons costs about 39€ per day, plus the tank refill.

Santana

Santana

Santana

Santana is known for the traditional, white-painted wall homes with, red doors and windows with blue trims, which were used by local farmers, during the settlement of the island. They are constructed with sloping triangular rooftops, and protected with straw. Though, most of the surviving buildings are tourist attractions.

Next to Santana

Next to Santana

Very close to the village we found a beautiful, steep valley on the coast with an old cable car. The cable car costs only 3€ one way and 5€ for a return ticket. Super cheap in comparison to the touristic cable car in Funchal! Maybe that’s because I almost couldn’t see any tourists in that place. We walked the whole way down to the ocean on a small path with tiny steps. It took us about half an hour. I think this was almost my favourite spot in Madeira. A secret place! When we arrived in the valley we decided to take the cable car back up. It was kind of scary because it looked so old and the distance to the bottom was incredibly high.

Though, if you prefer booking a guided tour, your day trip will look like this:

Time: 9:10 AM – 5:00 PM
Only on Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday
Costs: about 19€
You will visit Camacha, Pico Arieiro, Ribeirio Frio, Santana (during lunch time), Porto da Cruz, Machico, Caniçal, Ponta São Lourenço, and Funchal.

The very East side

The very East side

The very East side

Below you will find an overview of optional island tours:

Sudwest tour (9:10 AM – 5:00 PM):
Only on Wednesday
Costs: about 23€
In this tour the bus will take you to Fajã dos Padres, Ponta do Sol, Madalena do Mar, Loreto, Lombo da Guia, Calheta, Lombo da Marinheira, Achadas da Cruz (during lunch time), Ponta do Pargo (light house), Paul do Mar, and Funchal.

Nuns valley (9:10 – 12:30 AM Friday and Saturday, & 2:10 PM – 5:00 PM only on Fridays):
Only on Friday & Saturday
Costs: about 12€
You will see Pico dos Barcelos, Eira do Serrado, and Curral das Freiras.

Caves: It’s a half day tour starting in the village S.Vicente over the caves to Fajã dos Padres. It costs 23€ and the entrance is included.

Levada walks:

Rabaçal (Wednesday/ Saturday from 9:10 AM to 4:00 PM):
The levada of Rabaçal was built in 18th century. It’s a walk for nature lovers, and simply an awe-inspiring paradise with singing waterfalls. The difficulty is moderate and the distance is about 11 km.

Rabaçal

Rabaçal

Rabaçal

Rabaçal

Trout at Rabaçal

There is a super long tunnel where the levada goes through. The guide will give you a flashlight. Nevertheless I recommend you to bring your own flashlight because the ones the angency gives to you are not very bright. I even brought a head lamp. It might look retarted, but it is very helpful and you still have both of your hands available. The bus will take you to the starting point at 1300m height. Additionally I advise you to bring an anorak because it might rain a little in the tunnel and also outside.
Costs: about 28€

Tunnel at Rabaçal

Tunnel at Rabaçal

Tunnel at Rabaçal

Rabaçal

Below you will find an overview of optional levada walks:

Levada do Norte (Sunday half day from 9:10 AM to 1:00 PM):
Costs: about 19€
It’s an easy walk with a small distance to walk – only 6 km. You will walk though beautiful landscapes rich in cultivation starting in Quinta Grande through Campanário.

Paradise Valley (Monday half day from 9:10 AM to 1:00 PM):
Costs: about 19€
It’s a really superb and relaxing walk all year with luxuriant vegetation, wild flowers, eucalyptus and pine forest. This levada walk is about 6 km long and easy to walk.

Kings Levada (Tuesday from 9:10 AM to 4:00 PM):
Costs: about 28€
It’s a walk through Madeira’s rain forest and experience the profusion of herbs and medical plants that reside on these valleys. The distance is about 11km and moderate to walk.

Ribeiro Frio (Wednesday from 9:10 AM to 4:00 PM):
Costs: about 28€
This is an interesting walk through the natural vegetation with fantastic views over the gorges and valleys. It is about 11 km long and it is moderate to walk.

Mimosa Valley (Thursday half day from 9:10 AM to 1:00 PM):
Costs: about 19€
A 6 km walk through beautiful landscapes rich in vegetation with cultivation terraces to be seen – easy to walk.

Book island tours and levada walks of the „Pride of Madeira“ agency by phone here (24H):
Jorge: (+351) 927234328

Antonio (+351) 912176815
Office (9:00 – 19:00 H): (+351) 291636342

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See you soon, XOXO

By | 2017-09-19T12:38:05+00:00 April 6th, 2017|Blog, Travel Blog|0 Comments

About the Author:

My name is Alina Spiegel. People call me "Miss Mirror" because of my last name "Spiegel" which means mirror in English. I love to express myself through fashion every day in a new way depending on the mood I feel. I have always been fascinated by fashion and I have designed my own clothes since I was ten years old.

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