A levada is an irrigation channel or aqueduct specific to the Portuguese island of Madeira. The levadas originated out of the necessity of bringing large amounts of water from the west and northwest of the island to the drier southeast, which is more conducive to habitation and agriculture, such as sugar cane production. They were used in the past also by women to wash clothes in areas where running water to homes was not available.
Today the levadas not only supply water to the southern parts of the island, they also provide hydro-electric power. There are more than 1,350 miles (2,170 km) of levadas and they provide a remarkable network of walking paths. Some provide easy and relaxing walks through beautiful countryside, but others are narrow, crumbling ledges where a slip could result in serious injury or death.
During your stay on Madeira you can book the best levada walks combined with private off road tour or private day tour with lunch or beach visit.
Here are some of the photos we took while walking Levada Nova:
The levada starts at the end of the town Ponta do Sol, right behind the yard of the church. Good thing is about this levada that you can park your car right in front of the church. Its marked as medium level of hardness in most of the levada guides and I would recommend you to dedicate 3-4 hours with couple of good breaks on the way.
One of the most famous location where you can access many levada walks is Rabaçal, but to get there you need to go to the top of the mountain near the town of Cahleta. The view is breathtaking and you have plenty of space to leave the car. From there you need to walk 3km to Rabaçal area. Two of the most visited levadas in Madeira start here: Verda das 25 fontes and Levada do Risco, you should do them both in one day, as they have total 9 km and they are marked as moderate difficulty in the guides.
When in Madeira you can book tour for levada walk with personal guide, as well as other adventures that includes levadas such as off road drive, nordic walking, and many more available now with the online booking platform When in X.