Madeiran Walks

Madeiran Walks – Two Great Scenic Levada Walks

Maderian Walks are always great occasions on this Atlantic island, with stunning scenery and some of the best flora found anywhere in the world.

Two of the prettiest Madeiran Walks are found in the Eastern side of this lush island. Levada do Canical is in the South East and Levada do Castelejo is in the North East.

Levada do Canical

This walk starts high up at the village of Marocos and slowly winds it’s way over 7 miles through the many Ribeira’s (river valleys). The first is Ribeira das Cales, then 45 minutes later comes Ribeira Grande with it’s delightful landscape.

Madeiran Walks

At around 1 hour a bar can be sighted across the valley and although seeming in touching distance there is a sting in the tail. Many twists and turns into shorter valleys and 20 minutes later you arrive at Bar Jacare where a welcome cooling drink awaits you.

Next up is Ribeira da Noia, a peaceful place where the Mimosa trees are plentiful and colour is everywhere. Finally Ribeira Seca is reached from where the resort of Machico can be seen below and the Desertas Islands glimmer in the distance.

All too soon after around 2 hours 45 minutes the walk finishes at the Canical tunnel. Crossing the road and heading uphill Pico do Facho can be reached where fantastic views of the South East of the island are to be found.

Levada do Castelejo

Although this walk can be extended to reach the source of the levada at Ribeira Frio, on this occasion we take the shorter walk from Referta to the village of Cruz. This number 2 of the Madeiran Walks is a short one, only 3 miles but the valley is lush and peaceful.

Madeiran Walks

The walk starts down the road from the village of Referta at the Cruz da Guarda turn off. The lavada is picked up at the bend and soon a small tunnel is reached (no torch required). Soon the valley with the strange name of Temte Nao Caias (hold on watch you don’t fall) opens out to give some glorious scenery.

The amount of physical hard work it must have taken the locals to form these cultivated terraces can only be imagined as some of the terrain is 45 degrees or less.

Crops grow abundantly in this valley and with the flora it makes a delightful walk. There are some fantastic views of the coastal town of Porto da Cruz and the imposing height of Penha de Aguia 450 metres/1,475 ft in the distance.

The walk soon ends unfortunately and the tarmac road at Cruz is soon reached. From here it is a 10 minute walk downhill to the Cruz crossroads and my favourite bar on Madeira, the Adega de Cruz. Sitting in the sunshine gazing down at the bay at Porto da Cruz and the shining Atlantic finishes off one of the great Madeiran Walks.


Madeiran Walks — 18 Comments

  1. Bill, 50 miles in a week is wonderful!! Sir, does ice help after a walk/hike? I realise it is just palliative, though. Has the injection/cartilage repair treatment come to England yet?
    You still have many walks in you, I can tell by your desire to walk even when it hurts. Don’t be afraid of this total knee replacement thing if it’s your only option. My husband still thinks it’s the best thing he’s done. I’m just glad he hikes with the family. All the best to you, Bill.

    • Never tried ice Victoria Marie but whiskey works quite well! Still no sign of the cartilage injection yet, I guess that’s what I am really waiting for as I have heard so many tales of knee replacement making things worse.

  2. I always think it’s important to keep moving, Bill. Personally, I’m afraid of my joints freezing up on me. There is arthritis in my family. I’m praying for you, sir. All the best to you.

  3. No kidding, you can run, turn, and kick, but walking is painful. That’s so odd. So maybe the stability in the tendons and ligaments is still solid but there’s something else that’s not working properly. The injection, according to my husband, was because his cartilage was gone. It was bone on bone.

    My holiday was busy as usual and full of family. I hope you had time to visit with your family and friends during the holiday. And I also hope that 2017 will be a better year with your knees so that this New Year can be full of walks and adventure for you. All the best, sir!

    • Tried a country walk last week and found it hard work. I have been advised to try and walk, even short distances every day, so will see if that makes any difference. At the moment it seems the long distance footpaths are no longer an option.

  4. Yes, Bill. My husband had the injection before he had the knee replacement. It seems the insurance company wants the patient to try that to see if it works before resorting to knee replacement. Unfortunately for my husband, his knee was too bad off. The injection didn’t form/stay/or work properly, he tells me. I hope, sir, that this method will work for you as every patient or knee situation is different. All the best to you, Bill. Enjoy your holiday season!

    • Unfortunately the injection isn’t available here at the moment, so I am still waiting. It seems strange that I can play football but have pain when walking. Have a great holiday Victoria Maria and all the best to you and yours.

  5. Be strong, Bill. My husband has one knee replaced and now he’s hiking all over the place with the family. But it will take time, sir. Breathe and take the time necessary. Before you know it, you and your friends will be gallivanting all over the place. All the best, sir.

    • I have been recently reading about a new treatment in the states. They are injecting a cartilage replacement gel which apparently sets and avoids total knee replacement. So I am waiting to see if it comes to the UK. Here’s the link.

  6. No kidding? I didn’t know that. But wow! You do go to some places that I wouldn’t call tame in the least. These terraces are gorgeous and you needed to climb up to get that stunning view. I hope all is well and that the temperatures are cooling enough to make walks in your Tameside more comfortable. Happy Fall!

    • Unfortunately I am not walking anywhere at the moment due to the knees playing up again. It looks like knee replacements are the only answer.

  7. The idea, Bill, is to continue to take those walks, anywhere and everywhere…and leave the mountain climbing to the Billy goats or at the very least your grandson. You have some excellent companions who, I’m sure, would be glad for just a few “tame walks.” Autumn is coming and it won’t be so hot on the trail. All the best, Bill!

  8. I feel it’s okay to rely on the tourist industry for income, but to lose a way of life, a culture, to neglect seems a shame. Now I don’t know the situation, but couldn’t the government keep up the terraces because of the tourist industry? I hope you are enjoying a pleasant summer and that your knee isn’t giving you any trouble. All the best, sir!

  9. No kidding, Bill, this is a beautiful area. I googled the walk to find that the island is Portuguese. How long were you there? Locals know that land is precious and learn landscaping techniques to fill their needs. Any terracing reminds me of the ancient peoples who terraced areas in order to feed the population. Thanks so much for sharing this with your readers. Sounds like your knee is doing well. I hope this is the case. All the best!

    • We were there for just one week, although I do spend 2 to 3 weeks on the island at different times of the year. Madeira is definitely a walkers island with something for everyone, great mountain walks to easy levada walks. A lot of the terraces, once used for feeding families have become overgrown as more and more locals rely on the tourist industry for their income.