Our final levada hike! In the northern part of Madeira there is more rain, but we were lucky with the weather again. Not with the levada, though, because a boulder had fallen onto the ledge and we couldn’t pass. It took us a bit to find a way around. In the end, it was more than worth it. Watch the video for the amazing views!
Madeira 11: Encumeada
We had planned to hike along an old trading route, the Caminho Real, but unfortunately there were roadworks with heavy machinery happening there and the road was closed. But nowadays it’s easy to find another hike on the many hiking apps, so we soon set out for a 9 km circular walk near Encumeada.
This walk started along another levada, and this time we would have to face the tunnels as well. The tunnels are passable, but you need a torch and some surefootedness! We were rewarded with some stunning waterfalls, so it was well worth it.
As we turned our backs to the levada and headed down into the valley, we found out what happens to the water in those waterfalls: it becomes a wild stream. We managed to cross one, but eventually we came to a river that was impassable. At this point we were about 7 km into our hike, and we saw no other option than to turn back.
The clouds are never far away in the Madeira highlands, so as we climbed back up, it started getting misty. In the video you see the same waterfall as in the pictures, but now it looked very different! We fortunately made it back in time to our car. Lesson learned: do not try to cross rivers in the rainy season!
Madeira 4: Levada da Ribeira da Janela
Many hikes on Madeira are out-and-back style: you follow a levada till you are fed up with it and then you trace your steps back. Following the Levada da Ribeira da Janela, we came to a lush forest of indigenous trees and plants, with water dripping through ferns into the levada. The views into the valley were stunning!