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Encosta Cabo Girão

Cabo Girão, Madeira

Walking Madeira's Levadas - Discover the island's stunning landscape along these world-famous trails

Posted by Luci Ackers on Aug 06, 2015
Walking Madeira's Levadas - Discover the island's stunning landscape along these world-famous trails
  • Walking Madeira's Levadas - Discover the island's stunning landscape along these world-famous trails
  • Levada walks
  • Levada Walks
  • Levada Walks
  • Levada Walks


Madeira's levadas are famous worldwide and the walks they lead you on are regarded as being some of the best in the world. 'Levada' derives from the Portuguese word meaning 'to carry' and roughly translates as 'carriageway'. This is exactly what they are, they are carriageways used to distribute water from the rainfall in the wet regions of the north to the drier areas of the south. Usually stored in tanks or reservoirs, the water is captured from the mountainous parts of Madeira and channelled across the winding canals, delivering water to banana plantations, vineyards and hydro-electric stations across the island.

Image: Wikimedia Commons (

Roughly 1,350 miles of levadas wind around the island and provide fantastic walking routes for visitors. Daily walks and tours allow walkers to see the very best of the island and enjoy the spectacular views offered along the way.

It is important that for your first time walking the levadas you take a tour or a walking guide, as some of the paths are more challenging routes than others, and some can be dangerous if you are not aware of the area. Many of the paths take you through the island's famous Laurel Forest which has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999.

Pass through amazing landscapes, discover hidden waterfalls and lagoons; wander through the valleys and around the cliffs and see the beautiful views of the ocean from high above.

If walking is really your thing then winter in Madeira brings with it a couple of events that you may enjoy. Madeira's very own walking festival is a five-day walking event that consists of 20 of the most popular trails. There are 4 walks per day and a good range suitable for all ages and levels. As well as this there is the orienteering festival, a three day race in the mountains in January, where you'll be able to enjoy the scenery and explore the best bits of the island.

Whether you're a seasoned professional when it comes to hiking, or just fancy a change of pace and different scenery, the levada walks of Madeira will offer something for everyone at all times of the year.

You can find out about guided walks and tours from any of these websites:

Or find a place to stay on the island. Encosta Cabo Girão is a beautiful collection of apartments located at the top of a high sea cliff, close to the capital of Funchal. Guided walks and day-trips are provided for guests and depart from the property on certain days. Find out more by following the link below.

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Luci Ackers
Author: Luci Ackers

Luci loves getting out and about for a good cycle ride or easy-going walks in the countryside, and thoroughly enjoyed the time she previously spent working for the National Trust. Her love of writing started from a young age and on rainy days nothing beats curling up in a secret corner with a good book.

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