following the green levada
Ribeiro Frio Travel Blog› entry 4 of 17 › view all entries
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.
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.
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.