Walking on Madeira
60 mountain and levada routes on Madeira and Porto Santo
By Paddy Dillon
A walking guide to the islands of Madeira and Porto Santo. Selection of varied day walks exploring Madeira's network of levadas (water channels) as well as routes across steep and rugged mountains, with slopes of bare rock or laurisilva 'cloud' forest. The neighbouring island of Porto Santo offers easy walking and a sandy beach.
SeasonsA year-round destination: hot and humid in the summer, cooler and a little wetter in winter.
CentresFunchal, Ribeira Brava, Santana, Porto Moniz, Porto Santo
DifficultyRoutes for all abilities, from easy, level levada walks to very steep and rugged mountain paths. Some routes are mostly downhill. Adjacent routes can be linked to form longer walks.
Must SeeParque Natural da Madeira, Pico Ruivo, levadas, laurisilva forests, Ponta de São Lourenço
This guide describes a varied selection of 57 walks on the Portuguese island of Madeira, exploring the dramatic cliff coastline, scenic levadas (irrigation channels), dense laurisilva 'cloud' forests and high mountain peaks, plus three walks on neighbouring Porto Santo. There are routes to suit all abilities, from easy, level levada walks to steep and rugged mountain paths - some with exposed sections calling for a sure foot and good head for heights. Since the steep terrain of Madeira does not easily support circular walks, many of the routes are linear, however most can be accessed by public transport and there is the option to link routes to create longer outings and multi-day hikes.
With a favourable climate and striking scenery, Madeira is a fantastic walking destination. The routes in this guide are spread across the whole island, and visitors may choose to base themselves in the capital, Funchal, or in one of the many smaller towns and villages. Regular flights and ferries link Madeira with Porto Santo, which boasts an exceptional sandy beach and pleasant, easy walking. The guide also outlines a day-cruise to the nearby uninhabited Ilhas Desertas.
Comprehensive route description, overview statistics and sketch mapping are provided for each walk. There is practical advice on travel and transport, a basic map of central Funchal and fascinating notes of Madeira's geology, history, plants and wildlife. Useful contacts and a Portuguese-English glossary (including a menu decoder) can be found in the appendices.
Table of Contents
Paddy Dillon is a prolific walker and guidebook writer, with over 100 guidebooks to his name and contributions to 40 other titles. He has written for several outdoor magazines and other publications and has appeared on radio and television.Paddy uses a tablet computer to write as he walks. His descriptions are therefore precise, having been written at the very point at which the reader uses them.Paddy is an indefatigable long-distance walker who has walked all of Britain's National Trails and several European trails. He has also walked in Nepal, Tibet, Korea and the Rocky Mountains of Canada and the US. Paddy is a member of the Outdoor Writers and Photographers Guild and President of the Backpackers Club.View author profile
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