Levada do Castelejo and Levada do Furado are both great levada walks in their own right but when combined together on this adventurous route, you are in for a challenging and exciting hike on Madeira Island. The walk begins on the Levada do Castelejo with a cliffside path and views to Pico do Arieiro and the highest peaks on the island. Once at the river crossing, the trail diverts up the steep forest trail where things get interesting before joining up with the scenic Levada do Furado to circle back to the starting point.
LEVADA DO CASTELEJO TO LEVADA DO FURADO HIKE DETAILS
Hike Distance: The total distance of my hike was 17 kilometers for the loop trail.
Hike Duration: The hike duration was just under 5 hours and our total moving time was 4 hours, which was a pretty quick pace.
Hike Difficulty: This hike is one I would list as difficult for a number of reasons although it wasn’t anything over the top. The levadas are in quite bad condition although by the time you get there the landslide damage may have been fixed. There are lots of landslides in this area so the fencing and pathways are often missing or with big holes, you can simply step over the piles of rubble but for non-experienced hikers, it may seem a bit scary. The second part of this hike that could be classified as difficult is the ascent from Levada do Castelejo to Levada do Furado. To link the two together you need to climb up through the forest with an ascent of almost 500 meters. Rop Moderate scrambling up rocks and boulders, sometimes with the assistance of ropes, is par for the course here so it’s only for those in good physical condition.
Hike Incline: Total incline for the hike was 644 meters.
A GUIDE: did some of these walks by myself but often had my local guide (also a great friend) called João with me. He’s lived in Madeira his whole life and knows all of the unique trails (not just the popular ones). Many of these trails require some local knowledge for the directions so I recommend a guide. Want to contact João to be your guide for this hike or any of the hikes I’ve done on Madeira? You can contact him on Instagram here: João Let’s Hike or by email: [email protected]
My Strava Map Upload: Levada do Castelejo to Levada do Furado
HOW TO GET TO THE LEVADA DO CASTELEJO TO LEVADA DO FURADO HIKE
The trail begins at Katrepas Bar, which is a small cafe spot just above Porto da Cruz. There is parking on the street here and it’s a good place for a caffeine hit before the hike. It’s a loop route so you will finish right where you start. I’ve added the pin location on the map below so you know where to start and finish. You will find a sign at Katrepas Bar that says Levada do Castelejo and then a second sign pointing to both the left and right. This is where the loop begins. For this route take the right turn first. I’ve put pictures of both signs below as well.
MY EXPERIENCE LEVADA DO CASTELEJO TO LEVADA DO FURADO HIKE
There are plenty of great hikes around the town of Porto da Cruz on the eastern side of Madeira. My favorites are the Penha de Águia hike and Vereda do Larano. However, on this day we decided to combine two well-known levadas for an alternative route in the hills above Porto da Cruz. Our plan was to begin on Levada do Castelejo and then return via Levada do Furado. To link the two we would have an adventurous ascent through the forest. In this article, I took all the photos on my phone and just carried a small pack for our 4.5-hour adventure.
As you can see above, the hike begins with great views of Penha de Águia, which is the giant rock sitting between the towns of Porto da Cruz and Faial. We passed by some rural houses before the levada began to provide some scenic views. We did this trail just days after the snow in the mountains so we were treated to some snow-capped peaks in the distance, which made for a perfect backdrop to the waterfall and farming regions below.
At times the levada was a little dangerous with landslide damage and some big drop-offs. Accidents do happen on levadas like this but in general, unless you make a big fall there is little risk with wide paths. I quite enjoyed the everchanging views along this levada. Ever corner we turned around provided a slightly different scenery and kept us entertained along the flat portion of this route.
After four of five kilometers, Levada Castelejo continues across a bridge. However, we diverted up into the forest at this point to start our forest ascent. Below I have pictured the bridge we did not cross and the area in which it is found. I have also attached my GPX map above if you plan to follow my route.
The ascent through the forest was quite challenging but lush and very beautiful. You will have a mixture of steep dirt trails, rock scrambling, and a few sections of boulders where ropes are installed. It is about 500 meters of climbing in just a couple of kilometers so it is relentlessly steep and only for those who are fit, experienced hikers.
Once finishing the ascent, you will reach Levada do Furado. At this point you will turn left and follow the levada around the corner and essentially for most of the way back towards your starting point. The levada is quite pretty and has a couple of waterfall spots, which are a great place for a lunch stop.
There are a couple of turns which you will find on the map but basically in the end you will descend back down to Levada do Castelejo on some clear dirt tracks that are quite easy to navigate and not as difficult as the forest ascent. My favorite section of the descent was this beautiful section of lush levada.
After 17-kilometers you will emerge back to the town where you began. The sun was shining for us and we had great views of Penha de Águia as we strolled back down through the village to return to our starting point. Overall this was a great adventure and one for those looking for an alternative challenge. If you want something easier to follow or more basic you could do the regular route of just Levada do Castelejo or Levada do Furado.
I hope you enjoyed this hiking guide and have a great time on the hiking trails of Madeira Island.
HAVE YOU READ MY OTHER MADEIRA BLOGS?
I spent six months exploring Madeira and the nearby island of Porto Santo. These are some of my most popular guides about the region that you may be interested in.
All of my favorite hikes: MADEIRA HIKING GUIDE: 60 AWESOME HIKES ON MADEIRA
The best waterfalls on the island: 25 EPIC WATERFALLS ON MADEIRA
My favorite levada walks: 25 BEAUTIFUL LEVADA WALKS ON MADEIRA
Most epic adventure I had: HIKING THE MADEIRA ISLAND ULTRA TRAIL IN 4 DAYS (115KM)
Longest hike on Madeira: CAMINHO REAL 23: MADEIRA’S ROYAL PATH (180KM)
YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT ALL OF MY MADEIRA VIDEOS ON YOUTUBE
I created 20 adventure travel videos while on Madeira and some of them were from never-before filmed locations. From hiking in a snowstorm to running on coastal ridges, it’s a playlist of videos you will enjoy. I’ve linked the entire playlist of my Madeira videos below.
WONDERING ABOUT WHERE TO STAY ON MADEIRA?
Throughout my six months on Madeira, I stayed in multiple accommodations. My favorite regions to stay in were Funchal and Canico de Baixo. I’ve created several guides to help you find the right region for you and a great hotel or apartment.
The ultimate guide: WHERE TO STAY ON MADEIRA: WHICH REGION IS RIGHT FOR YOU?
If you want luxury: BEST 5-STAR LUXURY HOTELS ON MADEIRA ISLAND
To feel at home: TOP 10 BOUTIQUE HOTELS ON MADEIRA ISLAND
If you want to base in Funchal: WHERE TO STAY IN FUNCHAL: 15 TOP-RATED HOTELS