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.



A year-round destination: hot and humid in the summer, cooler and a little wetter in winter.


Funchal, Ribeira Brava, Santana, Porto Moniz, Porto Santo


Routes 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 See

Must See

Parque Natural da Madeira, Pico Ruivo, levadas, laurisilva forests, Ponta de São Lourenço
22 Aug 2018
17.2 x 11.6 x 1.7cm
  • Overview

    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.

  • Contents

    Trees and flowers
    Parque Natural da Madeira
    Funchal and Monte
    Getting to Madeira
    Getting around Madeira
    Porto Santo
    Food and drink
    Tourist information
    Health issues
    Maps of Madeira
    Making multi-day trips
    Using this guide
    1 Eastern Madeira
    Walk 1 Levada dos Tornos: Monte to Camacha
    Walk 2 Levada dos Tornos: Camacha to Quatro Estradas
    Walk 3 Levada da Serra: Campo do Pomar to Camacha
    Walk 4 Levada da Serra: Camacha to Santo da Serra
    Walk 5 Levada Nova from Santo da Serra
    Walk 6 Baia d’Abra and Ponta de São Lourenço
    Walk 7 Levada do Caniçal: Maroços to Caniçal
    Walk 8 Levada da Portela: Santo da Serra to Portela
    Walk 9 Vereda das Funduras: Portela to Maroços
    Walk 10 North Coast: Porto da Cruz to Ribeira Seca
    2 Funchal to Santana
    Walk 11 Vereda da Penha d’Águia
    Walk 12 Levada do Furado: Portela to Ribeiro Frio
    Walk 13 Caminho Velha: Poiso to Porto da Cruz
    Walk 14 Fajã da Nogueira and Levada da Serra
    Walk 15 Caminho Velha: Poiso to Santana
    Walk 16 Levada do Barreiro: Poço da Neve to Monte
    Walk 17 Levada da Negra: Poço da Neve to Barreira
    Walk 18 Levada do Curral: Curral das Freiras to Funchal
    Walk 19 Levada dos Piornais: Lombada to Funchal
    3 The high mountains
    Walk 20 Boca da Encumeada to Achada do Teixeira
    Walk 21 Boca da Encumeada to Curral das Freiras
    Walk 22 Pico do Cedro and Pico do Areeiro
    Walk 23 Pico do Areeiro to Pico Ruivo
    Walk 24 Pico Ruivo, Vale da Lapa and Ilha
    Walk 25 Pico Ruivo, Queimadas and Santana
    Walk 26 Levada do Caldeirão Verde from Pico das Pedras
    Walk 27 Levada do Rei from Quebradas
    Walk 28 Santana, Calhau and São Jorge
    Walk 29 Boca da Encumeada and Pico Grande
    Walk 30 Colmeal and Pico Grande
    Walk 31 Fajã dos Cardos to Fajã do Penedo
    Walk 32 Boca da Encumeada to Colmeal
    4 Jardim da Serra
    Walk 33 Boca da Encumeada to Marco e Fonte
    Walk 34 Boca da Corrida and Curral das Freiras
    Walk 35 Boca dos Namorados and Curral das Freiras
    Walk 36 Marco e Fonte to Fontes
    Walk 37 Terreiros from Boca da Corrida
    Walk 38 Crista do Espigão from Fontes
    Walk 39 Fajã da Ribeira, Levada Norte and Boa Morte
    Walk 40 Levada do Norte: Boa Morte to Estreito de Câmara de Lobos
    5 Paúl da Serra
    Walk 41 Pico Ruivo do Paúl da Serra from Estanquinhos
    Walk 42 Rabaçal, Levada do Risco and 25 Fontes
    Walk 43 Levada do Paúl: Rabaçal to Cristo Rei
    Walk 44 Levada das Rabaças and Cascalho
    Walk 45 Caminho do Pináculo e Folhadal
    Walk 46 Levada dos Cedros: Fanal to Ribeira da Janela
    Walk 47 Levada da Janela: Fonte do Bispo to Porto Moniz
    6 Western Madeira
    Walk 48 Ponta do Pargo to Fonte do Bispo
    Walk 49 Levada do Moinho: Tornadouro to Ribeira da Cruz
    Walk 50 Levada da Calheta – Ponta do Pargo to Ponta do Pargo
    Walk 51 Levada da Calheta – Ponta do Pargo to Prazéres
    Walk 52 Caminho Real: Prazéres to Paúl do Mar
    Walk 53 Levada da Calheta – Ponta do Pargo to Lombo dos Faias
    Walk 54 Levada da Calheta – Ponta do Sol to Ponta do Sol
    Walk 55 Levada Nova and Levada do Moinho from Ponta do Sol
    Walk 56 Levada Nova: Jangão to Ribeira Brava
    Walk 57 Lombo do Mouro to Ribeira Brava
    7 Porto Santo
    Walk 58 Pico do Castelo, Pico do Facho and Pico Branco
    Walk 59 Campo de Baixo, Bárbara Gomes and Eiras
    Walk 60 Ponta, Pico de Ana Ferreira, Pico do Espigão and Calheta
    Cruise to the Ilhas Desertas

    Appendix A Route summary table
    Appendix B Language notes
    Appendix C Useful contacts

  • Updates
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    Feb 2019

    Walk 1: After passing Nogueira, towards the the end of the walk, a concrete track and dirt road now lead to locked gates. It is best to leave the levada at Nogueira and follow the road into Camacha to finish.

    Nov 2018

    Walks 25 & 26: There is now a cafe available at the attractive houses at Queimadas.

    Walk 42 : The popular walk to 25 Fontes gets congested at times and a short-cut has been opened to alleviate the problem. Follow the route description to 25 Fontes, but when retracing steps afterwards, turn left along the new short-cut to avoid having to pass others who are still making their way into the area.

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Paddy Dillon

Paddy Dillon is a prolific walker and guidebook writer with over 90 guidebooks to his name, and contributions to 40 other titles. He has written extensively for several outdoor magazines and other publications and has appeared on radio and television. 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, Africa 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.

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