Madeira is one of the top locations in Europe for active holidays because it has flat levada trails suited to all fitness and experience levels. On Madeira, you will find more than 3,000 km of irrigation channels, most with an accessible path next to the water channel. These paths guide you around the island where you will find incredible views, waterfalls, and the UNESCO Laurissilva Forest. In this guide, I will detail my 25 favorite levada walks on Madeira Island so you can choose a couple to add to your Madeira itinerary!
THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THIS ’25 BEST LEVADA WALKS ON MADEIRA’ BLOG POST
Before you dive into this epic list of the top levada walks on Madeira there are a couple of things to know about this blog post. Here are a few pieces of handy information you need to know before looking at the list of my favorite 25 levada walks on Madeira.
- INDIVIDUAL BLOG POSTS: Each one of the Madeira levada walks listed in this blog post has a description and a link to a more detailed individual post I have created with instructions, directions, lots of photos, and everything you need to know about that particular levada walk. So, if you see a levada walk you like, then go ahead and click on the link for all the details about that specific levada and read my full review/experience of the levada walk adventure.
- SAFETY NOTE: Some of the walks listed below are part levada part hiking trail but I will make a note on those that are not entirely a basic levada for your safety and in case you wanted to only walk on an official levada.
- APPS: The best apps for navigating on the Madeira walking trails is the WalkMe App, which works offline if you pay $4 for the pro version. It has about 50 of the main walks and hikes and is a very valuable tool that I used a lot. I also used AllTrails and Wikiloc to discover some other routes people had done in the past. I used both depending on their availability on a specific trail, along with Maps.me for offline directions while on the trail.
- WEBCAMS: There are lots of webcams around the island that can help you decide whether it’s a good moment for a certain hike regarding clouds, rain, etc. You can see all of the Madeira webcams here.
- 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]
- WHERE TO STAY: I’ve written an extensive guide about Where to Stay on Madeira for all budgets including top luxury picks, family/value, and budget backpackers. Regarding accommodation and best-hiking hubs, there will be tips at the bottom of the post but if you are looking at which region to base in and where to stay, check out this blog post.
- TOP HIKES: In addition to levada walks there are also some very adventurous hikes on the island. They are much tougher than a flat levada but if you are interested to see all of the hikes available, you can check out my massive Madeira hiking guide: 60 AWESOME HIKES ON MADEIRA
25 BEST LEVADA WALKS ON MADEIRA
Okay, let’s get into it. I dedicated a lot of time and effort to create this guide and to doing these walks over a 6-month period on Madeira. I hope you enjoy my Madeira Levada Walking Guide: 25 Best Levada Walks on Madeira.
As I mentioned earlier, each levada walk on this list has a short description and a link to a more detailed individual post, so if you see a levada you like then go ahead and click on the link for all the details about that walk and my full review/experience of that particular Madeira levada walking trail.
CALDEIRAO VERDE WATERFALL HIKE
The Levada do Caldeirão Verde hike is one of the best levada walks (not too steep) on Madeira island with lush jungles and several amazing waterfalls! This Madeira levada trail is one of the most popular hikes on the island due to its incredible waterfall, dense jungle surroundings, and most importantly, it’s relatively flat without too much incline. I really enjoyed this hike and would highly recommend it, especially for those who enjoy walking but don’t want a huge uphill trek. It really gives you so many great views and a huge waterfall without leading you upstairs or steep hills. It can get a bit busy in peak season, but it’s near the top of my list because it’s a real crowd pleaser and it’s popular for a reason!
Want more details and photos? View the full blog post here: CALDEIRAO VERDE WATERFALL HIKE
LEVADA FAJÃ DO RODRIGUES WATERFALL HIKE
The Levada Fajã do Rodrigues hike on Madeira Island takes you through some incredibly lush forest paths to many amazing waterfalls. The trail begins quietly beside the levada but quickly escalates with a number of tunnel passages. The final destination is an epic canyon, which hides multiple waterfalls. It’s one of my favorite levada walks on Madeira and although it is quite easy, you feel like it’s a big adventure because of the tunnels, and immersion into the depths of the forest. This would be a great hike for beginners or a family and because of the lush surroundings, it’s one of my favorite levada walks on Madeira Island.
Want more details and photos? View the full blog post here: LEVADA FAJÃ DO RODRIGUES WATERFALL HIKE
LEVADA DO MOINHO TO LEVADA NOVA WATERFALL HIKE
The Levada do Moinho to Levada Nova waterfall hike is a peaceful walking trail along the levadas where you will find an incredible waterfall you can actually walk behind! The walk only has 150m of elevation, which makes it quite a leisurely trail along the levada. You will no doubt enjoy walking along the path, which is carved behind the waterfall making it the main attraction of this hike. The path follows a levada for the majority of the trail but there are a lot of moments of exposure with big drop-offs so while it is a levada walk, it is not one of the ‘easiest’ levada walks on Madeira.
Want more details and photos? View the full blog post here: LEVADA DO MOINHO TO LEVADA NOVA WATERFALL HIKE
BICA DA CANA PINACULO HIKE ‘THE PINNACLE’
The Bica da Cana Pinaculo hike is one of the less popular levada walks on Madeira Island but it offers some incredible views. The trail begins with a downhill dirt track but quickly joins the levada. After enjoying the Bica da Cana viewpoint with scenes of the cloud-filled valley below and views out to Pico Ruivo and Pico do Arieiro, you can then head off on the 4.7km loop trail. The levada walk takes you to the base of the Pinnacle, a striking rock formation that most people admire from the ground but I decided to free-climb the pinnacle to the top.
This is a short hike but my number one tip for this trail is to first watch sunrise at the Bica da Cana viewpoint, which is just a couple of minutes from the trailhead. You won’t regret it.
Want more details and photos? View the full blog post here: BICA DA CANA PINACULO HIKE
CAMINHO DO PINÁCULO E FOLHADAL WATERFALL HIKE
The Caminho do Pináculo e Folhadal waterfall hike takes you along the Lombo do Mouro trail with epic ridges, several waterfalls, and incredible views! It’s a long one with 18-kilometers of trail and more than 700 meters of incline throughout the route. It’s a great trail for a sunrise start and if you are lucky you may enjoy some mystical cloud cover over the valley below! The path often carves its way through huge stone walls and narrow tunnels before delving into the Laurissilva Forest. It’s a very immersive trail and you get a bit of everything on this long journey.
Want more details and photos? View the full blog post here: CAMINHO DO PINÁCULO E FOLHADAL WATERFALL HIKE
LEVADA DAS 25 FONTES AND RISCO WATERFALL HIKE
The Levada das 25 Fontes is arguably the most popular ‘easy’ hike on the island of Madeira, attracting a variety of tourists from around the world. They come from far and wide to see enjoy the iconic levada trail that leads hikers to the 25 fountains, which are the source of the levada. The weeping wall of 25 streams pours down into a pool where hikers can take a very refreshing dip in the cool water. The giant Risco Waterfall can be viewed from a viewpoint along the route and further cements this hike as one of the best on Madeira.
This route takes you through some flat forest paths and then up and down some small sets of stairs to reach the pool and waterfall at the final destination. It’s worth the hike but it will be busy. I would suggest starting just after sunrise for this one as getting there early helps you avoid the crowds. This one can get busy by mid-morning so it’s best to get out and enjoy it early if you want a peaceful Madeira walk. It’s also a good idea to visit this one in the rainy months as it can be quite dry in the summer.
Want more details and photos? View the full blog post here: LEVADA DAS 25 FONTES AND RISCO WATERFALL HIKE
LEVADA PONTA DO PARGO HIKE ON MADEIRA ISLAND
Levada Ponta Do Pargo trail is a coastal hike on the western side of Madeira Island. It’s an epic route for sunset with incredible views of the sea cliffs and azure blue waters. As well as the coastal scenery, the trail leads you up into the forest as you follow the Levada through the rolling hills, all the time with ocean views. This hike is great for sunset and if you want a trail with some hills but not a crazy incline. The viewpoint at the end of the trail is quite a spectacular spot too.
Want more details and photos? View the full blog post here: LEVADA PONTA DO PARGO HIKE
LAGOA DO VENTO WATERFALL HIKE IN RABACAL
The Lagoa do Vento waterfall hike is a great adventure for those looking for a big waterfall without a monstrous hike. After just 3.3 kilometers on the trail, you will get to enjoy a swim in the massive lagoon at the base of Lagoa do Vento waterfall, which is a pretty magical spot for a lunch break. Although there are some stairs in the forest that are not easy to climb, this is a trail most hikers will feel comfortable with so it is great for families and older hikers.
It’s a good one to combine with the Lagos da Madeira and Levada do Alecrim. You can add all three hikes into one big route and it is still under 15-kilometers for the entire journey. This levada walk is partly a levada but in some sections you have a dirt trail and quite a few stairs so it’s not one for those looking for a purely flat levada.
Want more details and photos? View the full blog post here: LAGOA DO VENTO WATERFALL HIKE
CALDEIRÃO DO INFERNO WATERFALL HIKE
The Caldeirão do Inferno waterfall hike is one of the best levada walks on Madeira island with lush jungles and several amazing waterfalls! This adventurous levada trail is one of the most popular hikes on the island due to its incredible waterfalls, dense jungle surroundings, and most importantly, it’s a relatively flat trail without too much incline. The Caldeirão do Inferno hike is the same as the Caldeirão Verde hike but you continue on for another 2.4-kilometers to reach an incredible canyon and then one final, massive waterfall. I really enjoyed this levada walk on Madeira and would highly recommend it, especially for those who enjoy walking but don’t want a huge uphill trek with dangerous conditions.
About 20% of this hike is not a flat levada so be aware you will meet some stairs and dirt paths but no dangerous climbing.
Want more details and photos? View the full blog post here: CALDEIRÃO DO INFERNO WATERFALL HIKE
LEVADA DA RIBEIRA DA JANELA HIKE
The Levada da Ribeira da Janela walk runs from the coast to the mountains through an enormous canyon with scenic cliff-side levada paths throughout the journey. The 11.5-kilometer journey can be done as a point-to-point hike or doubled as a mighty 23-kilometer out and back trail. If it’s been raining recently, you can expect to meet quite a few waterfalls that will cascade onto the trail. Bring a raincoat and get ready for an adventure on this canyon hike that offers a relatively flat levada, for the majority of the route.
The route I took was a big descent down to the Ribeira da Janela levada but you can do it as an out and back from my end point and you’ll have no elevation for the whole route and be on a levada 100% of the time as the WalkMe app suggests. It depends on your style and adventure level.
Want more details and photos? View the full blog post here: LEVADA DA RIBEIRA DA JANELA HIKE
LEVADA DOS CEDROS WATERFALL HIKE
The Levada dos Cedros walks follows a levada through one of the most beautiful forest sections on Madeira until you finally reach an incredible waterfall! This shady, forest hike winds through lush greenery for 6-kilometers before you will discover a multi-tiered waterfall for a refreshing dip.
The trail is fairly straightforward with no moments of danger. You have a safety railing whenever there is a drop-off. The path is always following the levada so the route is clear but often the trail is rocky or muddy but nothing to worry about. If you take the return route via Fanal, you will have to endure 400m of an incline up the steep stairs unless you walk back along the levada the same way you came.
Want more details and photos? View the full blog post here: LEVADA DOS CEDROS WATERFALL HIKE
LEVADA DO REI WATERFALL HIKE
The Levada do Rei waterfall hike leads you on a peaceful trail into a jungle wonderland where you can find several stunning waterfalls! The trail follows the Ribeiro Bonito (Bonito River) through the jungle until you reach an atmospheric gorge featuring several small cascades and waterfalls. At the very end of the gorge, you will find a giant hidden waterfall that is accessible with some basic climbing, clambering, and a sense of adventure.
This trail is one of the easiest Levada walks on Madeira. There is only a little bit of incline, the trail is clearly marked and there are no moments of danger on this very popular tourist route. It’s one of the most popular levadas on Madeira Island.
Want more details and photos? View the full blog post here: LEVADA DO REI WATERFALL HIKE
LEVADA DO BRASILEIRO TO LEVADA DO MOINHO HIKE
The Levada do Brasileiro to Levada do Moinho hike is a circular route winding through the Laurisilva UNESCO Forest with incredible scenery! I really loved the first section of the trail as we had to adventure through the twisted vines and incredible trees from within the forest. It does have quite a few sections, which are not quite on a levada but that was the official route on the app (normally it’s my fault!)
The trail is moderate on the difficulty scale. It’s not dangerous by any means but there are a few components that make it a little interesting. There are uneven surfaces beside the levada with big drop-offs. There is a wide path but you have no railing or safety fence so you need to stay vigilant. You also have a few downhill sections on slippery dirt through the forest, which will test out your balance.
Want more details and photos? View the full blog post here: LEVADA DO BRASILEIRO TO LEVADA DO MOINHO HIKE
CHÃO DA RIBEIRA WATERFALL HIKE
Chão da Ribeira is an incredible plateau in the mountains above Seixal on the north coast of Madeira Island. It’s such an incredible valley of lush forest that it’s known to locals as ‘The Sanctuary’. As soon as I arrived after the winding drive up from the coast, I could sense it was a special place. We hiked on one of the common trails to a series of waterfalls and streams, often passing through small tunnels along the way. Although a good portion of the trail is a levada, you will need a guide for this route as it has dirt trails and lots of stairs and steep inclines that only guides will know the turns for.
This hike isn’t too dangerous but also not entirely easy. The hike isn’t very well signed at all, so you will need my map or to be with a local guide. There were almost 500 meters of elevation all at once up the initial climb, which was pretty steep. There are a few drop-offs but I never felt like I was in danger as the path was always wide enough or with railings. You will want a headlamp for the tunnels but they were quite safe and had good clearance overhead. The toughest part of the hike was the optional stream exploration at the halfway point. Here we had to scramble and boulder up the stream to explore and find the extra waterfalls.
Want more details and photos? View the full blog post here: CHÃO DA RIBEIRA WATERFALL HIKE
THE LEVADA DO PLAINO VELHO WATERFALL HIKE
The Levada do Plaino Velho hike on Madeira takes you from Estanquinhos to the stunning viewpoint of Pico Ruivo do Paul da Serra. After the viewpoint, you head down into the Laurissilva Forest along the levada to reach the incredible Riberia do Inferno waterfall and tunnel passageways. The hike loops back up the steep climb to Estanquinhos for a short but incredible hiking route in the center of Madeira Island. This is another hike that has a good amount of levada time but also some adventurous hiking so you will need a guide for this one or to be an experienced hiker.
This hike is quite short but it is very steep on the return section. There are some tunnels to pass through where you will need a light. There are a few moments of exposure along the levada where you will need to take care but overall no moments of danger. It’s a moderately difficult hike but most experienced hikers will find it mild. It’s definitely not a basic levada walk! The guys from Madeira Wonder Hikes know this route well and can lead you through it as there are no signs for much of the route.
Want more details and photos? View the full blog post here: THE LEVADA DO PLAINO VELHO WATERFALL HIKE
RIBEIRO FRIO TO CHÃO DAS FEITEIRAS LEVADA HIKE
The Ribeiro Frio to Chão das Feiteiras levada hike is a peaceful journey through the incredibly lush, UNESCO Heritage Laurissilva forest of central Madeira Island. There is no ‘epic viewpoint’ or incredible waterfall on this trail. However, what you will find is a quiet trail where you can become fully immersed in the forest. Hear the noises of the birds, notice the sound of the rain dropping from the leaves as you delve deep into the forest along this levada walk.
Overall this trail was not difficult. It was guided by the levada for most of the way with railings whenever there was a drop-off. The only hard part was staying on track in the second half of the route. Once you make the turn-off, when you begin up the hill for the incline, it is a little less well-defined and I needed to consult the online map a few times to stay on the right path. But in terms of the actual difficulty regarding the trail, there was nothing that should trouble you if 300m of incline is all good for your fitness. Kids, dogs, and families will enjoy this forest immersion.
Want more details and photos? View the full blog post here: RIBEIRO FRIO TO CHÃO DAS FEITEIRAS LEVADA HIKE
SANTO DA SERRA TO LEVADA DA SERRA DO FAIAL HIKE
Santo da Serra to Levada da Serra do Faial is a circular forest walk, which will take you away from busy hiking trails and provide you with a peaceful walk immersed in lush, green surroundings. This hike is far from the most epic or difficult trail on Madeira Island but it’s a fantastic stroll for a cloudy or gloomy day when the fog fills the forest to create a moody atmosphere. Part of this trail is with a levada and part is a dirt path but the entire route is quite flat and easy.
Overall this trail was not difficult. Three of the kilometers are on the paved road and the other seven lead you along a muddy but relatively flat path through the forest with minimal incline. Have the online map ready because there are a number of turns to choose from throughout the hike.
Want more details and photos? View the full blog post here: SANTO DA SERRA TO LEVADA DA SERRA DO FAIAL HIKE
CASCADA ÁGUA D’ALTO WATERFALL HIKE
The Cascada Água D’alto waterfall hike on Madeira Island is a short walk following a levada to an impressive waterfall. This used to be a popular spot but the trail is now pretty wild and not maintained but easy to follow. The waterfall at the halfway point of the out-and-back route is one of the most impressive waterfalls on Madeira. It’s just a short hike with 3 kilometers in total for the return trip to the waterfall with less than 100 meters of incline. This is quite an old levada so it is overgrown but it is still definitely there!
Want more details and photos? View the full blog post here: CASCADA ÁGUA D’ALTO WATERFALL HIKE
LAGOS DA MADEIRA WATERFALL HIKE
The Lagos da Madeira is a circular hiking route in Rabacal that takes you to Lagoa Dona Beja waterfall and several other falls in the region. After tracking up and down the Ribeira do Lajeado the final attraction on the loop is the massive man-made reservoir. It’s a good one to combine with the Lagoa do Vento and Levada do Alecrim. You can add all three hikes into one big route and it is still under 15-kilometers for the entire journey.
Want more details and photos? View the full blog post here: LAGOS DA MADEIRA WATERFALL HIKE
LEVADA DOS TORNOS HIKE IN BOAVENTURA
The Levada dos Tornos hike in Boaventura has a great mix of waterfalls, viewpoints, and lush greenery within the UNESCO Laurissilva Forest. It’s a great hike that gives you a variety of scenery along the 13-kilometer point-to-point route through the valley in Boaventura. In this blog post, I will share with you the hiking details, directions, photos, and how to turn this point-to-point route into a circular hiking loop returning on a lower levada.
The trail is moderate on the difficulty scale. It’s not dangerous by any means but there are a few components that make it a little interesting. You have uneven surfaces beside the levada with big drop-offs at times where there is no railing. You need to take care during these sections. There is a wide path but you have no railing or safety fence so you need to stay vigilant. On the return section of the loop route, there are more exposed sections and a few narrow paths that take you under waterfalls.
Want more details and photos? View the full blog post here: LEVADA DOS TORNOS HIKE
LEVADA DO ALECRIM WATERFALL HIKE
Levada do Alecrim waterfall hike on Madeira is one of the best, easy hikes on the island with a beautiful waterfall and swimming pool at the end! This is a great short hike with just 7-kilometers of hiking required for the return trip. The trail takes you along the levada and visits several waterfalls and pools on the way to the main falls.
This trail is very safe and is clearly marked. There were no moments of danger on this popular route although slippery rocks near the pools and waterfall can be a hazard for some hikers. The trail is easy to navigate but not very smooth with a bumpy, rocky ride making it easy to make a false step. As always take care, hike slowly and you will be fine on this one!
Want more details and photos? View the full blog post here: LEVADA DO ALECRIM WATERFALL HIKE
LEVADA DA ROCHA VERMELHA WATERFALL HIKE
The Levada da Rocha Vermelha waterfall hike is a pretty adventurous journey, which leads you through one of the longest tunnels on Madeira before exploring the Rabacal Valley. Several waterfalls can be found throughout the route, but it is the constant views of the epic ridges within the valley that are the highlight of this hike.
The trail is moderate on the difficulty scale. It’s not dangerous by any means but there are a few components that make it a little interesting. First, you have a 1.6km-long tunnel that requires a headlamp and concentration. Then you have uneven surfaces beside the levada with big drop-offs. There is a wide path but you have no railing or safety fence so you need to stay vigilant.
Want more details and photos? View the full blog post here: LEVADA DA ROCHA VERMELHA WATERFALL HIKE
LEVADA DO PAUL HIKE
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. I wouldn’t choose this hike if I had just a couple of days on the island but if you are based in Calheta and want a simple walk with some nice views, this one is a suitable pick.
Want more details and photos? View the full blog post here: LEVADA DO PAUL HIKE
VEREDA DOS BALCÕES HIKE
Vereda Dos Balcões is the perfect trail for a small adventure with incredible views of the biggest peaks on Madeira. With a small 1.5-kilometer walk to and from the viewpoint, this is a hike great for families and those looking for an outstanding scenic spot without needing to trek for hours. The path leads you through a beautiful forest before finishing at the Balcoes (balcony) with views from the ocean to Pico Ruivo, which is the highest peak on Madeira at 1,862 meters.
This trail is one of the easiest hikes on Madeira. There is almost no incline at all, the trail is clearly marked and there are no moments of danger on this very popular tourist route.
Want more details and photos? View the full blog post here: VEREDA DOS BALCÕES HIKE
LEVADA DO CASTELEJO TO LEVADA DO FURADO HIKE
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.
Most people will do either Levada do Castelejo or Levada do Furado as an out and back or point to point, which means you are on the levada the entire time. That’s the best option but we combined them and had a very adventurous climb in the middle to link them together. That’s important to know so if you just want a levada pick either of those levadas don’t combine them like I did.
Want more details and photos? View the full blog post here: LEVADA DO CASTELEJO TO LEVADA DO FURADO HIKE
I hope you enjoyed this guide to the top levada walks on Madeira. It’s been incredible exploring this island, meeting the locals, and documenting all of the adventures you have seen in this guide. Leave me a comment below if you think there is a levada walk I missed that needs to be on this list and I will check it out next time I’m back on the 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