Hikes in Madeira
Madeira is one of the best places to hike in Portugal, but many people still take risks without knowing it. So today, I want to share with you some information on hiking in Madeira to help you make the most of it and help you stay safe during your trip. I will also share the best hikes, so you can start planning your trip.
Why should you walk in Madeira?
Madeira is a hiking paradise. Hikes on Madeira’s dirt trails and Levadas are among the best in the world and one of the top things to do in Madeira! These are a must if you want to explore the most beautiful places on the island: Impressive landscapes of mountains, valleys and hilltop villages, magnificent views of waterfalls and dense forests are all reasons to wake up early and start your adventure.
Over 200 hiking routes criss-cross the Portuguese island. You cannot complete all these hikes in one week, but you can do some impressive ones, which I want to share with you! Still, only 33 (3 of which are on Porto Santo Island) are recommended trekking routes (i.e., the Government keeps them in perfect condition).
Levels of Difficulty
The Government rates the walk trails based on length and difficulty.
Some hiking trails can be challenging, while others are not! You can go up and down the mountain or take a flat path; you can walk for 2 hours (5.5 kilometres) or 5, 6, 7 hours (10-15 kilometres).
The difficulty levels of the 33 recommended hikes are:
- Easy (12 walks)
- Moderate (20 walks)
- Difficult (1 walk)
- The thematic “A walk for all” provides people with physical disabilities an opportunity to have direct contact with nature, especially pedestrianism.
There are many walks to do and places to go! Choose only those that suit your fitness and experience standards, wear appropriate clothing and walking boots, and carry your mobile phone with you. Even better, join a group of walkers and go with a guide.
We offer various Madeira hikes on different days, and you can choose according to your fitness and interests.
Are you planning a hiking holiday to Madeira? Here are some ideas for your itinerary.
What are Levadas?
There are approximately 3000 kilometres of levadas (irrigation channels), including 40 kilometres of tunnels.
These narrow, hand-dug channels date back to the 15th century and carry water from the humid highlands to the drier south of the island to irrigate crops and farmland. Most maintenance paths along the levadas are ideal hiking trails, and Levada walks are very popular.
Who owns the levadas?
The Government owns it.
Did you know?
Levadeiro (Levada Keeper) is one of the oldest professions in Madeira. The Levadeiro takes care of the levadas and handles their maintenance. He opens and closes the Levada sluice to divert water to each farmer (who pays for the water by the hour). In addition, he also clears the fallen leaves from the trees.
When to go?
The island of Madeira is a place to go if you love hiking!
The weather is perfect for walking – mild and moderate, and hiking is open all year. However, the weather can be unpredictable, so prepare for rain in the northwest and mountainous areas of the island, especially in winter.
Fall is one of the best times to hike in Madeira for the weather and fewer crowds – the other is from spring to July for its wildflowers and weather.
Tips for Hiking in Madeira
The levadas network is not so obvious. If you are not familiar with the trail, you may get lost. For a safe and pleasant hike holiday in Madeira, please refer to the following tips issued by our Government:
- Don’t go alone, always have someone to go with you.
- Collect the latest information about the route in advance.
- Always tell someone the path you are going to take and the estimated time of arrival.
- Make sure you have enough time to walk and finish before night falls.
- Bring some food and reserve water.
- Wear suitable clothes and shoes.
- If possible, carry your mobile phone with you.
- Check the weather before starting.
- In case of heavy rain, strong wind, hail, or snow, please do not take the route and go back along the same path.
- Don’t take risks.
- Download APP — ProCiv Madeira (available for IOS and Android).
To which we add:
- If you don’t like heights, please ask before booking.
- Double-check which ones are open before travelling.
- Please follow local guidelines to ensure safety.
Planning a Levada walk in Madeira
Reasons you should go on one of our guided tours:
- We provide transportation — in addition, you can avoid the stress of driving on winding mountain roads or taking the same path back.
- We take you to beautiful places.
- You won’t get lost.
- You’ll get closer to nature.
- You’ll find peace to enjoy.
- The history of the Levadas construction is fascinating.
- A professional Mountain Guide who loves walking will accompany you, point out the many plants along the way, and deliver historical titbits!
- You wouldn’t be able to find some lovely walks yourself!
- We can make a private, tailor-made itinerary just for you.
Equipment you need:
- Decent hiking shoes.
- Although we provide it for free, you may prefer bringing your torch.
- Waterproof jacket and extra layers of clothing.
- Food and water.
Get your hiking boots 🥾 ready! Click here and book your place now!
Well… What are you waiting for? Come see for yourself!