SANTO DA SERRA TO LEVADA DA SERRA DO FAIAL HIKE ON MADEIRA

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.

SANTO DA SERRA TO LEVADA DA SERRA DO FAIAL HIKE DETAILS

Hike Distance: The total distance of the hike was 10 kilometers.

Hike Duration: The hike will take you about 3 hours. Three kilometers out of the ten are on the road so you will cruise through this section speeding up the hike.

Hike Difficulty: 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.

Hike Incline: Total incline for the hike was just less than 200 meters.

My hiking guide: I did this hike with a local guide (also a great friend) called João. He’s lived in Madeira his whole life and knows all of the unique trails (not just the popular ones). This trail requires 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: joaoletshike@gmail.com

My Strava Map Upload: Santo da Serra Hike

HOW TO GET TO THE SANTO DA SERRA TO LEVADA DA SERRA DO FAIAL HIKE

The hiking trailhead is in a bit of an interesting spot. Basically, to make this a circular route (to avoid the dreaded out-and-back), you start at a roundabout. There’s a nearby cafe to park and have a coffee before and/or after. You walk the first 2-kilometers on the road and then the last 1-kilometer on the road. You can do it in reverse but there’s not much difference either way. You can park at the coffee shop and I’ve added in the pin location of the trailhead below. I used the official Madeira hiking app for this route and despite the road sections, it was quite a nice trail.

MY EXPERIENCE ON THE SANTO DA SERRA TO LEVADA DA SERRA DO FAIAL HIKE

The weather can be a little bit temperamental and unpredictable on Madeira Island. In addition to the unpredictability of the conditions, it can often be sunny on one side of the island while a storm is hammering the opposite shore. With this in mind, I have a handful of hikes that I always save for a rainy, gloomy day and this trail is firmly on that list.

The Santo da Serra to Levada da Serra do Faial is a circular route of 10 kilometers with only a couple hundred meters of elevation. It’s used by trail runners, mountain bikers, and hikers all simultaneously. It’s not the most epic hike on the island but it’s one of the more lesser-known routes and you won’t find many if any, tourists on this track.

The hike begins at the O Barreto Cafe or atleast it did for us. We grabbed a coffee and a cake here while waiting for the rain to subside. Because it’s a circular route, you can choose to hike this one in either dfirection and it wouldn’t matter too much. We decided to take the road route first, which meant the initial 2.5 kilometers were on the road. However, it meant we basically finished straight out of the forest after a little walk on the gravel road. I prefer to get the road out of the way early.

I didn’t have high expectations in terms of viewpoints, waterfalls or scenery on this walk. I just wanted to be out in nature and enjoy a 10-kilometer walk. However, the forest scenery surprised me with some beautiful sections of trail featuring tall trees, vines and, tropical ferns draped on either side of the trail. On the day we visited, the low cloud and fog were creating a moody atmosphere within the forest.

Some hikes are great on sunny days or perfect with a good sunrise but this one is great when it’s cloudy. The fog inside the forest creates an incredible atmosphere, which I tried to capture on this short video.

With seven kilometers of the forest to enjoy, take your time looking for wildflowers, ferns, beautiful trees and even just watching the water drip from the plants. This is a trail best done slowly as there is a lot to see when there is rain creating movement and moisture throughout the lush foliage.

Just before the end of the forest, you will reach the ‘Casinha da Ãgua’, which is the Water House. Here, there is an old building next to a truly incredible tree. It rises from the ground like a giant hand, leaves sprouting from its fingertips. It’s slightly off the path by a few meters so make sure you don’t miss this!

ADVENTURE BAG FROM THE SANTO DA SERRA TO LEVADA DA SERRA DO FAIAL HIKE

This is an adventure bag. It is full of trash. Every time I go on an adventure I collect one adventure bag full of trash. It’s my small way of saying thanks to mother nature for allowing me to enjoy her beautiful creations. If we have time to go on an adventure we have time to collect an adventure bag on the way back out of the trail once we have enjoyed the waterfall, the hike, or the beach. Adventure hard!

Tag your Adventure Bag on Instagram and mention @adventurebagcrew in your Instagram stories and we will repost your Adventure Bag photo to help inspire your friends, family, and followers to join the movement!

I hope you enjoyed this guide about the Santo da Serra to Levada da Serra do Faial hike on Madeira Island. Happy hiking and stay safe!

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

If you are staying for a week or more, you should check out this list of the BEST Airbnb accommodations in Madeira by clicking here.

Blog Comments

  1. Hi Jackson,

    I just wanted to thank you for collecting bags of trash while hiking in Madeira.
    I feel ashamed for what we “madeirenses” do to our island. Such a small place, with loads of plastic bottles, cigar buts and tissues everywhere.
    I used to camp a lot, hike and I’ve done levada da serra several times by bike when I was younger. I always collected my trash and placed it in the bins, but not everyone does that.
    Anyway, enjoy Madeira while you’re here 😉

    Best regards.

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