following the green levada

Ribeiro Frio Travel Blog

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Today is was going to submit myself to a Madeiran levada walk. The island is full of these waterways once  built by the Moors. They run on steep hillsides, in tunnels, between the rocks and transport the water to lower levels where it can be used for agriculture. These ingenious levada's give splendid hiking opportunities for nature freaks like me as well ! You can walk next to a the lavada on 'maintenance' paths that are used to fix the lavada because some rocks fell onto it for example. I decided to book transport to Ribeiro frio because I heard this walk would lead me through rainforest and reveal splendid nature.
 
The levada ran from Ribeiro Frio ( cold river) to Portela and my route was about to be 12 km long.

heather
I immediately noticed that the weather wasn't that great and as this point is located much higher there was a mist hanging over the mountains and forest and there was a little rain but that's the way to truely smell nature so I didn't mind at all.  At first the path was rather wide  but soon it got narrow.  It was quite slippery because of the weather so I was glad not to be mazy in the head, heh.

The nature was simply outstanding! I saw a lot of heather trees, eucalyptus trees, heard some birds and the sound of the water-running levada calmed down all the urban senses. Levada do Furado runs through the Laurasilva-forest that is protected by UNESCO.  A beautiful green environment. Along the way there was a place where the levada splits and there I had a picknick and went a bit up.

I discovered a beautiful paradise-kind-like-really spot with green marshes and formed by big stones.

At some point of the walk there was a big gash in the mountain and the path ran in between, really cool but quite small and you really gotta watch where you put your feet! After the tunnel  I could see the Atlantic and the village Porto Da Cruz. Hmm, where they kidding? I really couldn't believe at first it was the ocean but riiiight I was on a small island, lol. I realised as well I had been going constantly up but you almost don't notice it because it's really gradual.

After having enjoyed beautiful views I saw a first sign of human life next to the levada. It was a levadahouse, used to divide the waters. Soon the landscape started to change and at some point almost at the end I walked through a forest-like landscape. I reached an open spot and saw a big treatrunk growing completely diagonally, strange! Anyway the path went down for I think the first time and this was leading to some banana fields. Soon I arrived in Portela.  Bought myself a beer because for the rest of the day I didn't had to bother anymore if the ground was either slippery or not. Then a van picked me up and brought me back to Garajau. Anyway very glad I did this walk! Madeira is so small but so versatile, it's truely amazing.

 

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heather
heather
starting point of walk
starting point of walk
little tunnel
little tunnel
mist
mist
marshes
marshes
picknick spot
picknick spot
paradise!
paradise!
birds
birds
going up
going up
watch where to put yr feet!
watch where to put yr feet!
path between two mountains!
path between two mountains!
The path is this small
The path is this small
levada house
levada house
the Atlantic
the Atlantic
watch the tree!
watch the tree!
leaving the forests
leaving the forests
fast water and truely refreshing!
fast water and truely refreshing!
Ribeiro Frio
photo by: Ils1976