Levada Caldeirao Verde, Madeira is also known as the Levada of the Green Cauldron. This is because at the end of this hike, there is a waterfall in what looks like a cauldron. The waterfall is in a cylinder shape rock and so you have green rock surrounding you on almost each side. I’ll be telling you about what a levada is, and how to get here. I will tell you what you need to bring and what is best to wear on this hike. Then to finish off I’ll be showing you where I stayed, at the most beautiful boutique hotel in Funchal.
[Trip in collaboration with Visit Madeira]
What is a Levada?
A levada is a channel that is used as an aqueduct to transport water. These used to carry water all the way from the mountains down to the towns below. The water used to be used for all agriculture and farming. Madeira grows a lot of bananas and sugar cane and this was how al the water used to be transported through the mountains. They also used to carry water to houses that didn’t have their own water supply. These are usually built into the side of mountains, where the water can run easily. Therefore, these levadas are very popular trails as they lead you right along all of the mountains. It is also an easy way to stay on the right trail.
Nowadays, apart from being great walks, the levadas also provide hydroelectric power. There are more than 2,000 km of levadas. So if you are a keen walker or hiker then Madeira is the perfect place for you. Levada Caldeirao Verde is a longer walk; as I will be explain later. However, it is actually flat the whole way and requires not much climbing effort at all. The only part you have to walk uphill is right when you reach the incredible waterfall at the end. Even then the only trouble is really that it can be slippery so you have to be careful.
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How to get to Levada Caldeirao Verde?
The Levada Caldeirao Verde Madeira is located in Northern Madeira in the municipality of Santana. It is slightly northeast. If you are staying in Funchal, it will take around an hour to reach the start of this walk. The main roads in Madeira are quite good! There is basically a large ring road around the whole island that cuts through the mountains with massive tunnels going through them.
Our guide for this walk said that before these roads were built, a one hour journey would take 4 hours. The old roads that lead around the mountains are very bendy. If you get carsick you may need some tablets. I would also recommend driving if you are an experienced driver. Some roads are quite close to the edge of the mountains, but the main roads are very good. The quickest way to this levada walk looks like the longest way, as it uses on of the main roads which will take you around the edge of the island. I would definitely recommend this road over the ones that go straight through the island as they are much smaller and sometimes not even two way roads.
Is there parking?
There is a large car park here, and the best way to reach here is by car. When I looked up a bus route I couldn’t actually find one but I did see lots of buses during our trip to Madeira. We had a hire car with Madeira Rent. Apparently the number 56, 103 and 138 buses go here I read!
How long the does the walk take?
The walk is about 6.5 km each way. It is almost 13 km in total. The minimum altitude is 890m and the maximum is 980m. The walk will take at least 5 and a half hours with stopping for photos and some lunch. I would recommend getting here no later than 9am as it is a popular walk and gets busy. On the way, some parts are only wide enough for one person to walk through. In this case, you stand with your leg against the wall on the other side of the levada to make way for the people coming in front of you.
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What to wear?
It is gets quite cold on the mountains so I would recommend to wrap up. It was actually a sunny day but I was very cold walking along here in a t-shirt with jeans and a small rain jacket on. The raincoat is useful as some of the tunnels you walk through it can drip and it is also very humid. I would definitely say to wear good shoes, as it can be slippery as the whole trail is quite wet. Then some layers in case you get cold. When we stopped for lunch, we sat down on the rocks that then lead up to the waterfall eventually.
The rocks here are very cold and then by the time I walked up to the waterfall I was very cold. As the walk isn’t very strenuous, you won’t get very sweaty walking here. It is very flat, so make sure you have a backpack with some layers in, in case you need them.
What to bring to the walk at Levada Caldeirao Verde Madeira?
Bring water for sure and drinks, although it’s not a sweaty hike, it’s quite a long one so you want to be prepared. Then we had some lunch to keep us going but definitely some snacks. Another must have is a head torch! There are four tunnels you will have to walk through here. You can use a phone torch but it is much better having a proper head torch on here. The ceilings can get quite low in the tunnels and you may have to bend over quite a bit if you are tall to make your way through. There are also some great little side holes in the tunnels which offer great views! Also bring a raincoat in case it rains. You never know up in the mountains.
If you want to be really prepared for the Levada Caldeirao Verde Madeira, then bring some tissues too as there are loads of birds to see here and Boyan got pooped on! Then of course a camera, the views are absolutely stunning through the valley and you won’t want to put your camera away. If you go here in summer, you might like to hop into the waterfall. It was far too cold for that when we went.
Do you need a guide?
You don’t need a guide here. As I said, you just walk along the one levada and you really can’t get lost. However, that is if you are going to the waterfall. Before one of the tunnels there is a right turn to get to the other part of this hike. Also, if you want to have head torches and pick up from your hotel, then I would recommend a guide. It is also a great way to learnt about the history and the animals you can see here. I learnt so much from our guide he was great!
How much does it cost?
It costs around 35 Euro to do a guided tour here. This includes pick up from the hotel and lunch, as well as head torches.
Where to stay in Madeira?
Sé Boutique Hotel is located in Funchal and is one of the prettiest hotels I’ve stayed at. This lovely boutique hotel is located in Funchal, just outside of the old town. It is also only a 5 minute walk away from the market here, which is full of amazing fruit and flowers. There is a car park just 5 minutes walk away too and you can buy discount tickets at the hotel for 6 Euro 50 cents per day. The double bed suite we had was very comfortable and had lovely big windows. The bed was absolutely huge and there was plenty of space for our big suitcases.
Why stay at Sé Boutique Hotel?
The best part of this hotel is the rooftop terrace. This is full of flamingos and has the best décor. They also hold film nights each Wednesday up here on a big screen. At sunrise and sunset, you get the best views over the whole of Funchal from up here too. It is a lovely place to relax in the afternoon and have a drink in the evening. In the morning, breakfast is included and there is a buffet on the ground floor of the hotel.
I would also recommend having dinner at the restaurant here one night too. I had the grilled salmon and Boyan had the octopus and both were delicious.
What else to do in Madeira?
Pico do Areiro
This is another great hike and Madeira’s highest peak; I would definitely recommend it at sunrise. This is the best spot to stand right above the clouds and watch the sunrise over the clouds. It takes about an hour to get to the car park here from Funchal. Be prepared for an early morning. However, it is well worth it for the views you get here. We came at sunrise and it wasn’t actually too busy. It is quite windy so wrap up warm. The days were very hot in September but the mornings were still chilly. You can either just come here to see the sunrise or you can do the full hike. The full hike take you from Pico do Areiro to Pico do Ruivo. The route is also called PR1. It takes around 5-6 hours and is 12km long.
Ponta de Sao Lourenço
This epic hike really is a must do while you are in Madeira. The hike starts at the car park and you follow a wooden walkway to start. Then as you get to the first viewpoint the path is clear but not a walkway. The first viewpoint overlooks some huge pointed rocks out in the sea. It is also a great sunset spot. Ideally you would want to be higher up the mountains. This is so that the huge rocks don’t block the sunset for as long as possible.
From the first viewpoint area, there are steps to climb up to get over the next hill. From then on the path is not that clear and we saw a few people get lost here so make sure you mark some pointers to remember the path by. On the other side of the mountain it is quite hard to tell from which direction you came over.
Top Tip: Check the island webcams before you go anywhere!
There are webcams all over the island that have a live stream on line. This was the easiest way to plan our days as the weather changed very fast. Then you can also see whether some of the hikes are too cloudy!
I hope you enjoyed my post on the Levada Caldeirao Verde Madeira. It really is one of the best walks here and the views along the way as well as the waterfall at the end make it well worth it. If you have any questions at all please let me know in the comments!
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