Walking in Madeira
60 routes on Madeira and Porto Santo
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A walking guide to Madeira and Porto Santo, the sunny volcanic islands of the mid Atlantic Ocean. The 60 day-walks explore the dramatic cliff coastline, wander along level levada paths, penetrate dense laurisilva forests and traverse stone-paved paths from peak to peak in the high mountains.
- all year round; hot and humid but not excessively so; slight risk of snow in winter
- Funchal, Monte, Porto Santo
- routes for all abilities; steep terrain in many cases but many routes linear and downhill; some exposure on steep slopes; routes can be linked for backpacking
- Must See
- laurisilva forests, Parque Natural da Madeira, Fanal, Ponta de São Lourenço
A walking guide to Madeira and Porto Santo, volcanic islands which bask in sunny solitude in the Atlantic Ocean, far removed from Europe and Africa. A popular holiday destination for decades, the islands now attract more adventurous travellers keen to walk and trek.
This guidebook contains 60 routes which explore the dramatic cliff coastline, wander along level levada paths, penetrate dense laurisilva forests and traverse stone-paved paths from peak to peak in the high mountains. Taking account of sweeping changes around modern-day Madeira, including the network of underground road tunnels, the guide includes full information about bus routes and accommodation, food and drink along the walks. As well as this, the guide includes other practical details on getting to Madeira, the perfect time to go, what to take, the history and culture of the island and the many fascinating sights to see along the way.
• a comprehensive introduction to Madeira and Porto Santo in 7 sections
• lavishly illustrated with photographs and contoured maps, showing options for linking routes for longer treks
• almost 800km (500 miles) of walking on a variety of terrains
Trees and Flowers
Parque Natural da Madeira
Funchal and Monte
Getting to Madeira
Getting around Madeira
Food and Drink
Maps of Madeira
Using this Guide
Making Multi-day Trips
1 Eastern Madeira
1 Levada dos Tornos: Monte to Camacha
2 Levada dos Tornos: Camacha to Quatro Estradas
3 Levada da Serra: Campo do Pomar to Camacha
4 Levada da Serra: Camacha to Santo da Serra
5 Levada Nova: Quatro Estradas to Santo da Serra
6 Baia d'Abra and Ponta de São Lourenço
7 Levada do Caniçal: Maroços to Caniçal
8 Levada da Portela: Santo da Serra to Portela
9 Vereda das Funduras: Portela to Maroços
10 North Coast: Porto da Cruz to Ribeira Seca
2 Funchal to Santana
11 Vereda da Penha d'Águia
12 Levada do Furado: Portela to Ribeiro Frio
13 Caminho Velha: Poiso to Porto da Cruz
14 Fajã da Nogueira and Levada da Serra
15 Caminho Velha: Poiso to Santana
16 Levada do Barreiro: Poço da Neve to Monte
17 Levada da Negra: Poço da Neve to Barreira
18 Levada do Curral: Curral das Freiras to Funchal
19 Levada dos Piornais: Lombada to Funchal
3 The High Mountains
20 Boca da Encumeada to Achada do Teixeira
21 Boca da Encumeada to Curral das Freiras
22 Pico do Cedro and Pico do Areeiro
23 Pico do Areeiro to Pico Ruivo
24 Pico Ruivo, Vale da Lapa and Ilha
25 Pico Ruivo, Queimadas and Santana
26 Levada do Caldeirão Verde from Pico das Pedras
27 Levada do Rei from Quebradas
28 Santana, Calhau and São Jorge
29 Boca da Encumeada and Pico Grande
30 Colmeal and Pico Grande
31 Curral das Freiras to Boaventura
32 Boca da Encumeada to Colmeal
4 Jardim da Serra
33 Boca da Encumeada to Marco e Fonte
34 Boca da Corrida and Curral das Freiras
35 Boca dos Namorados and Curral das Freiras
36 Marco e Fonte to Fontes
37 Terreiros from Boca da Corrida
38 Crista do Espigão from Fontes
39 Levada do Norte: Serra de Água to Boa Morte
40 Levada do Norte: Boa Morte to Estreito de Câmara de Lobos
5 Paúl da Serra
41 Pico Ruivo do Paúl da Serra from Pico da Urze
42 Rabaçal, Levada do Risco and 25 Fontes
43 Levada do Paúl: Rabaçal to Cristo Rei
44 Levada das Rabaças: Cristo Rei to Boca da Encumeada
45 Caminho do Pináculo e Folhadal
46 Levada dos Cedros: Fanal to Ribeira da Janela
47 Levada da Janela: Fonte do Bispo to Porto Moniz
6 Western Madeira
48 Ponta do Pargo to Fonte do Bispo
49 Levada do Moinho: Tornadouro to Ribeira da Cruz
50 Levada Calheta/Ponta do Pargo to Ponta do Pargo
51 Levada Calheta/Ponta do Pargo to Prazéres
52 Caminho Real: Prazéres to Paúl do Mar
53 Levada Calheta/Ponta do Pargo to Lombo dos Faias
54 Levada Calheta/Ponta do Pargo to Ponta do Sol
55 Levada Nova and Levada do Moinho from Ponta do Sol
56 Levada Nova: Jangão to Ribeira Brava
57 Lombo do Mouro to Ribeira Brava
7 Porto Santo
58 Pico do Castelo, Pico do Facho and Pico Branco
59 Campo de Baixo, Bárbara Gomes and Eiras
60 Ponta, Pico de Ana Ferreira, Espigão and Calheta
Cruise to the Ilhas Desertas
Appendix 1 Quick reference guide to routes
Appendix 2 Language Notes
Appendix 3 Useful Contacts
Maps of a quality similar to Ordnance Survey Landranger and Explorer maps of Britain are not available in Madeira. The Portuguese ‘Serviço Cartogràfico do Exército’ produces the 1:25,000 ‘Carta Militar’, or military maps of Madeira. These are grossly out-of-date, but remain a good reference for walkers. Nine sheets cover Madeira, but they aren’t sold on the island and so must be obtained before you go. The ‘Instituto Geogràfico e Cadastral’ produces the 1:50,000 ‘Ilha da Madeira’ on two sheets, but this is also grossly out-of-date. The 1:50,000 Kompass map of Madeira and the 1:40,000 Madeira Tour & Trail map have good detail, are fairly up-to-date and use a grid system. Free tourist maps tend to be bland and lacking in detail.
Order your maps well in advance from British suppliers such as: Stanfords (12-14 Long Acre, London WC2E 9BR, tel 0207 836 1321, www.stanfords.co.uk), The Map Shop (15 High Street, Upton-upon-Severn WR8 0HJ, tel 01684 593146, www.themapshop.co.uk) or Cordee (3a De Montfort Street, Leicester LE1 7HD, tel 0116 254 3579, www.cordee.co.uk).
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Walk 5 - The concrete bridge on the Ribeira de Santa Cruz has gone, so the river has to be forded to reach the Levada Nova.
Walk 23 - Rockfalls have been reported on the paths linking the peaks, so if the paths are closed, do not proceed. However, this is a popular route that is regularly maintained.
Bus Timetables - Many timetables are now available only online, and rarely available in printed form from the bus stations. TJ Walking sells a booklet of selected timetables
Walk 1 - Fallen trees have been reported in some places.
Walk 5 - The concrete footbridge over the Ribeira de Santa Cruz has gone. Crossing would be a problem after significant rainfall.
Walk 10 - The short cable below Pico do Coroa is broken and following the narrow, damaged path at this point requires great care.
Walk 12 - The path is currently closed at both ends, having suffered landslides that have destroyed some of the fencing beside the levada, as well as there being a number of fallen trees. People are still walking the route, but it must be stressed that this requires great care and is inadvisable.
Walk 13 - The animal pens at Terreiros have gone. There are landslides in the middle of the route, but it remains passable.
Walk 18 - To clarify… ‘garage bearing a number 92’ is not a filling station, but just houses one vehicle. Readers are reminded that this levada suffers continual damage and is often in a very dangerous condition. Be prepared to turn back BEFORE getting into difficulties!
Walk 40 - Rodoeste Bus 3 also serves the end of this walk.
A landslide in the middle of this walk, at Cascalho, has completely destroyed a section of the Levada das Rabaças. There is no way past the landslide, and water in the levada is currently carried across the valley in pipes suspended by cables. It is still possible to walk from Encumeada to Cascalho, along the levada and through tunnels, but a return must be made the same way back to Encumeada. Starting from the other end, a shorter walk can be made from Cristo Rei to Cascalho, then steps must be retraced back to Cristo Rei.
Walk 29 and Walk 30
Both these routes follow a very rugged and overgrown path between Pico Grande and Pico do Jorge, described in some detail in the book, so that readers are aware of its difficulty. However, a reader has reported a significant deterioration in this route. A notice states 'Dead End' at the Pico do Jorge end of the path, but there is apparently no warning notice at the Pico Grande end. Although the path can be followed between the peaks, the increased risk makes this inadvisable, and the path is best avoided altogether.
The chapel by the cable car start to the Botanic Gardens (halfway down page 40 in the printed guide) is now a pile of large stones. A reader has also asked us to re-emphasise that the left-fork in the route described just after this is not suitable for vertigo sufferers, who should therefore take the right fork.
Levada do Barreiro. Following a forest fire and storm damage, parts of this route are in a poor state. A closure notice has been erected at the bottom, but not at the top, where this walk starts.
The bridge shown in the photo on pg 280 is no longer there. If you would like to complete this route, it now involves going through the waterfall.
Page 51 - Ribeiro de Abegoaria - The bridge has gone and the only way to follow this route at the moment is to walk along the levada parapet. This involves walking through a waterfall, which will result in a complete drenching unless full waterproofs are worn at that point. It is possible, coming in either direction, to leave the levada, descend using a track, link with the ER-102 road, then re-ascend along a track, to avoid the waterfall.
Walks 56 and 57, maps pages 281 and 286
The colours are the wrong way round on the legends for these maps. Walk 56 is actually depicted in yellow and walk 57 in orange.
Section 3, Walk 23
The old route shown as a dotted line and marked 'closed' on the map on page 136, has now been restored and reopened. It is a little shorter and involves less climbing.
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Paddy Dillon is a prolific outdoor writer with over 90 guidebooks to his name, and contributions to 40 other publications. He has written for a variety of outdoor magazines, as well as many booklets and brochures for tourism organisations. Paddy lives near the Lake District and has walked in every county in England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales; writing about walks in every one of them. He enjoys simple day walks, challenging long-distance walks, and is a dedicated island-hopper. He has led guided walks and walked extensively in Europe, as well as in Nepal, Tibet, Korea, Africa and the Rocky Mountains of Canada and the United States.View Articles and Books by Paddy Dillon
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