Levada walk

Madeira Travel Blog

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Levada” is a Portuguese word that derives from “levar”, which means to carry and is very loosely interpreted as “carriageway.” A more correct translation would be mini-canal. The levadas were originally created in the 16th Centuary to bring water from the rainy northen aspect of the island to the sun soaked south where crops such as sugar, bananas and grapes grow. The original settlers chipped away at the cliffs and tunneled through solid rock to make channels and tunnels all with a very slight slope so that the water meandered down towards its destination. To this Day, the Levadeiro remains one of the oldest Jobs on the island. These men are in charge of opening and shutting the gates which control the flow of the levadas.

In total there are 2500 kms of levadas on the island and many were created even before the first roads!

Levada walks are very popular in Madeira as the way is cleared by maintence paths running along the water making it a calming experience with a scenic background of nature at its most lush.
It also allows access to many parts not available to those driving.  A truly iconic and enjoyable experience.

Ideally we wanted to have made the walk to the highest point of the island, but due to our week-long schedule this was unfortunately not possble. Alternatively we opted for the walk "waterfalls and lakes", which turned out to be a beautiful one as well.

This time we were picked up at the hotel by minivan to be bnrought to the starting point of the walk. Normally speaking we would be part of a small group of abot 10 walkers, but because some walking guide got ill, we ended up in a large group with nearly double that amount of participants.

Nevertheless, we didn't let it spoil the fun and off we went, well equipped with a wooden walking stick.

Even though it was hot all alround, the foresty area in which we walked, along the levadas was nice and cool.
At regular intervals our guide would stop to point out the vegetation or particular features in the landscape. Even though the walk was classified harder than intermediate, I consider it really easy and we make good progress at a reasonable pace.

After a few hours of walking we come to a pretty little waterfall where we can stop to eat rest and have a swim. The mountain water is ice cold, so I don't get further than just dipping in a foot!

After about an hour's rest, we continue the walk via another little waterfall and a bit of a steep climb. Yet that was not hard at all, not even in the summery temperatures.

Too bad that tomorrow is already our  last day, because I surely would have been into many more walks!
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photo by: sweettangerine