Madeira is the island of dreams for waterfall chasers. There just seems to be an endless amount of waterfalls to discover and often you will even drive right to Madeira waterfalls on the highway! In this guide, I will share with you 25 of my favorite hikes that lead you to a waterfall. Remember that in the summer many of the waterfalls can be a little dry so the shoulder seasons and winter are the best time to head off in search of the best Madeira Waterfalls.
MY 3 FAVORITE TOURS IN MADEIRA
- Dolphin & Whale Watching: Take a cruise from Funchal to spot Dolphins, Whales and see amazing views of Madeira’s coastline!
- Hike Pico Arieiro to Pico Ruivo: Hike the most epic trail on the island with a qualified guide!
- Level 1 Canyoning Adventure: Rappel down waterfalls in this high-adrenaline experience.
25 BEST WATERFALLS ON MADEIRA
In this blog post, I’ll share all the details about my favorite Madeira Waterfalls. Click on any of the links to view a detailed blog post about that individual waterfall.
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 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 up stairs 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
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.
Want more details and photos? View the full blog post here: LAGOA DO VENTO WATERFALL HIKE
TOP 3 PLACES TO STAY IN MADEIRA
CANYONING IN MADEIRA WITH EPIC MADEIRA
Canyoning in Madeira was a truly epic experience. It was my first time abseiling and doing serious canyoning but by the end of the day, I had water crashing down onto me as I abseiled down an 80-meter waterfall with views of the ocean behind me. It’s a true adrenaline rush with different types of waterfalls and canyons for all different levels. There are many Madeira waterfalls you can visit on a canyoning trip like this but I did mine in a canyon in Sao Jorge and then at the Sao Vicente Waterfall next to the highway.
I did my canyoning with Epic Madeira. It’s a group of local guys who have been operating for almost a decade. They live and breathe canyoning and explore the islands discovering new canyons and adventures in their free time. It’s not a job for them, it’s a lifestyle.
Want more details and photos? View the full blog post here: CANYONING IN MADEIRA WITH EPIC MADEIRA
WATER’S KISS AND THE FOUR STREAMS HIKE IN RABAÇAL
The Water’s Kiss waterfall hike takes you on a wild journey through the region of Rabaçal as you cross the four main streams that run into the larger river, Ribeira da Janela. This 10-kilometer hike takes a number of common paths but often detours onto some wild, rarely touched routes across streams and up steep slopes with ropes. It’s an adventurous way to visit Rabaçal valley but if you’re up for it, it’s definitely worth it.
The unique aspect of this hike is the waterfall you find near the end of the trail. Two streams diverge together and at the final moment when they pour into the pool below they cross paths and kiss. It’s a fun highlight on the hike and something you don’t see too often. It is one that you will need a guide for because of the many unsigned turns but Madeira Wonder Hikes know this route well (and actually created it) and can lead you through it. This is probably my favorite secret waterfall on Madeira Island.
Want more details and photos? View the full blog post here: WATER’S KISS AND THE FOUR STREAMS HIKE
POÇO DAS PULGAS WATERFALL HIKE
The Poço das Pulgas waterfall hike is an off-the-beaten-path adventure through the jungle to explore several incredible waterfalls. If you choose, there is an extended route option to the Rocha dos Pombos viewpoint, which looks down over the town of Ponta Delgada. On my hike, I also combined the trek with a visit to Caldeira de São João, another massive waterfall. This is a truly wild setting and the lush forest that surrounds these waterfalls create a very magical atmosphere. I did this hike with Madeira Wonder Hikes for the extended route to the viewpoint but if you do the smaller route for just the waterfalls, it could be possible by yourself. These are some of the most tropical, lush Madeira Waterfalls.
Want more details and photos? View the full blog post here: POÇO DAS PULGAS 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 hike and would highly recommend it, especially for those who enjoy walking but don’t want a huge uphill trek with dangerous conditions.
Want more details and photos? View the full blog post here: CALDEIRÃO DO INFERNO WATERFALL HIKE
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VÉU DA NOIVA WATERFALL VIEWPOINT
It’s one of the most iconic waterfalls on Madeira Island and this one doesn’t require any strenuous hiking to enjoy. Simply drive to the viewpoint and walk a few steps to the viewing platform to enjoy this waterfall. It’s an incredibly scenic lookout on the north coast of Madeira Island, with views of a waterfall that pours into the ocean!
In 2008 there was a huge landslide that caused some serious damage near the waterfall. There used to be a cliff-side road that wound all the way around the coastal mountain You could walk all the way up to the waterfall, getting up close and personal with the majestic falls. However, since the landslide happened in 2008, the road has been closed and you can only view the waterfall from the platform and a small garden next to the platform.
Want more details and photos? View the full blog post here: VÉU DA NOIVA WATERFALL VIEWPOINT
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.
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 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
What are my favorite pieces of gear for waterfall adventures?
There are four pieces of gear that I simply never forget when I go on a waterfall adventure. These are four items that I using right now and this list gets updated every year! Here are my waterfall adventure essentials.
- Arcteryx BETA AR Rain Jacket: This is my go-to rain jacket. It’s super light, folds down into a tiny ball, and protects brilliantly in a storm. This one never leaves my backpack.
- Osprey Ultralight Dry Sack: Waterfalls get wet and wild so having this ultralight dry sack for cameras, phones and valuables means you don’t have to hold back!
- PackTowl Quick-Dry Towel: A quick-dry towel is a must for travelers. It hardly takes up any room and dries in seconds.
- GoPro Hero 10: The best and easiest way to capture your underwater and snorkeling adventures.
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 and 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 cement 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 DA RIBEIRA DA JANELA HIKE
The Levada da Ribeira da Janela hike 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.
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 hike 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.
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 incline, 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: LEVADA DO REI WATERFALL 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.
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
RIBEIRA DE SÃO JORGE TO ILHA UPSTREAM HIKE
Ribeira de São Jorge to Ilha is an upstream hike and one hell of an adventure on Madeira Island. The hike begins inside the canyon and you follow the Ribeira de São Jorge for almost 10 kilometers until you make the steep ascent out of the canyon and join up with the Ilha trail to wind your way back down the ridge to Ilha. It’s very adventurous, you will be submerged in water many times and need to scramble up steep and muddy ascents.
The difficulties on this trail are the terrain for the most part. While there are no drop-offs or moments to be afraid of heights, it’s the slippery nature of an upstream hike that will get most people. Slippery rocks, walking through water, and scrambling up and down boulders require some technical skills. The ascent was very steep and you should be comfortable scrambling on all fours while holding on to trees for stability. This hike is recommended for experienced hikers I would say although it was nothing super technical. Madeira Wonder Hikes know this route well and can lead you through it.
Want more details and photos? View the full blog post here: RIBEIRA DE SÃO JORGE TO ILHA UPSTREAM HIKE
HIKING TO ROCHA DO NAVIO COASTAL VILLAGE
Rocha do Navio is a Fajã in Santana, which is on the north coast of Madeira Island. A Fajã is a flat depression near the coast that is used for farming. There is a cable car that takes tourists up and down to the coastal village below but you can also take the more adventurous route on the steep but short hiking trail. The name Rocha do Navio comes from the Dutch shipwreck that occurred there in the 19th century.
This hike is quite short but it is very steep. There is some landslide damage and slippery sections on the trail so I would only recommend it to those with good footwear and comfortable with heights and stairs. There is a cable car that can take you up and down if you prefer not to hike but still want to visit the village/Fajã.
Want more details and photos? View the full blog post here: HIKING TO ROCHA DO NAVIO
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 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
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.
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 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 1.6 km-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 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 as 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 hiking guide to the best waterfalls 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 waterfall I missed that needs to be on this list and I will check it out next time I’m back on the island!
THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT EXPLORING MADEIRA WATERFALLS
- 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: I 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 the waterfall hikes, there are also some very adventurous hikes on the island. 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
WONDERING ABOUT WHERE TO STAY ON MADEIRA?
Throughout my six months on Madeira Island, 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
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.
- My favorite hikes: 65 AWESOME HIKES ON MADEIRA
- My favorite levada walks: 25 BEAUTIFUL LEVADA WALKS ON MADEIRA
- The best waterfalls on the island: 25 EPIC WATERFALLS ON MADEIRA
- Guide to the best Accommodation: WHERE TO STAY ON MADEIRA
- Hardest hike: THE MADEIRA ISLAND ULTRA TRAIL IN 4 DAYS (115KM)
- Longest hike: CAMINHO REAL 23: MADEIRA’S ROYAL PATH (180KM)