Levada do Paul is an easy levada walk near Calheta on Madeira Island. You can expect stunning views of the valley, windmills, and a small waterfall. The hike is an out and back trail and is pretty flat compared to other hikes on Madeira, which makes it a top choice for those who are looking for an easy levada walk on Madeira.
LEVADO DO PAUL HIKE DETAILS
Hike Distance: The total distance of the hike is 11 kilometers and is an out and back trail.
Hike Duration: The hike can be easily done in under three hours. If you are with kids or take a long lunch break you could bargain for four hours. Because there is basically no incline, a fast walking pace is quite easy to maintain.
Hike Difficulty: The trail is quite easy with relatively new levada paths throughout the route. However, there are many parts of the levada trail where there are no safety railings. It isn’t a sharp drop off, more of a 45-degree angle to your side. The path is wide and you would need to make a big error to find yourself tumbling off the path. We found it very moderate and could cruise through quickly.
Hike Incline: Total incline for the hike is 150 meters.
HOW TO GET TO THE LEVADO DO PAUL HIKE TRAILHEAD
The Levada do Paul trailhead is quite easy to find as it is pinned accurately on Google Maps. However, when we arrived we noticed there was no parking for this hike. We ended up parking on the side of the road, which wasn’t the safest spot but with no parks nearby there was little option. The trail is perfect for those staying near Calheta as it is just a 20-minute drive. From Funchal, it will take closer to fifty minutes.
MY EXPERIENCE ON THE LEVADA DO PAUL HIKE
After parking our car precariously on the edge of the road, we shuffled across to the trailhead. With just over 100 meters of incline, we were expecting a leisurely stroll with a few nice views, which was exactly how the day panned out. As of 2020, the trail doesn’t have a big white sign or the regular yellow and red signage, which is classic throughout the trails on Madeira. It is a new levada walk so maybe the sign will be put in place shortly. We used the app to figure out it started through the bushes and then followed the levada around the corner. There were a few turns early on that you may get the wrong without the map, so I suggest preparing that in advance.
This region of the Island is quite unique because it is one of the most important zones when it comes to renewable energies. Throughout this hike, you will have a consistent backdrop of the gigantic wind turbines that purr as they spin around at breakneck speeds. Solar panels can also be seen set up along the hills. The early stages of the hike are quite simply a stroll along the freshly constructed levada.
The first highlight of the trail comes after about one kilometer of walking. It’s the first real photography spot on this walk and features a beautiful tree, which is right on the edge of the trail. Because it stands alone, it paints quite a minimalistic scene as it towers over the lone hiker beneath it. If you are lucky, you may be hiking above a sea of clouds! For me, this was actually the highlight of the trail and I really loved this spot.
This trail is renowned for being a route you need to share with others. Along the hike, you can expect to encounter lots of curious cows as they graze on the long grasses beside the levada. They seemed to be quite used to hikers and workers walking passed them as they paid little attention to us. Several of them blocked the trail on a few occasions and we just slowly edged around them without an issue.
After a couple of kilometers, you will find yourself walking along the rim of the valley. It’s quite a great route because you have constant views of the ocean and down into the valley. I loved watching the hawks circling and circling as they tried to spot a rabbit or their prey. The clouds were pouring over the cliffs, engulfing the wind turbines along the way as they created a remarkable scene.
The trail is relatively flat for the most part but has one section with stairs that lasts just a couple of minutes. If you fear the incline, don’t be afraid of this hike as it will slowly ease you along the rim of the valley, giving you all of the great views without making you climb up to a hefty viewpoint.
Just before the halfway mark is a small waterfall on the left-hand side of the trail. We visited at the end of summer so it was quite dry and not too picturesque but in the winter when the waterfall is in full flow and the pool is looking a bit fresher, this is quite a great little spot.
The map ended at a bit of an odd spot. It was a dry river bed that didn’t seem to lead to a waterfall. I’m a pretty curious hiker and figured there had to be something to see at the ‘end’ of this hike. After a good scramble up the river and up the hills I really couldn’t find anything notable. Leave me a comment at the bottom of the blog post if you find a viewpoint or a waterfall! We stopped on some rocks for lunch and enjoyed the view and just took it all in from our own makeshift viewpoint before returning the same way we had walked in.
Overall, this was a nice hiking experience but not as spectacular as many of the hikes on Madeira Island. I was on the island for three months doing all of the hikes so this was a nice day out for me. However, if you only have a week or a shorter time on Madeira, I would leave this one off of your itinerary in favor of some of the more impressive routes available. Having said that, we were the only ones on the trail so if you like some peace and quiet rather than the chaos of hundreds of hikers at the 25 Fontes Trail, this could be the quiet walk you are looking for.
I hope you enjoyed this guide about the Levada do Paul hike on Madeira Island.