I am not sure what made us travel to Madeira. Maybe it was a travel advice from one of my hiking guests. Madeira is a Portuguese island off the coast of Marocco. It is much lesser known than the Canary Islands a bit further south. Those who travel there are mostly pensionists, staying at hotel/resorts, mostly in/around the capital of Funchal.
We cannot understand why this is the case. I would say this vulcanic island is in the diamant league of hiking destinations. The landscape is very rugged, but still lush. The climate is very pleasant for hiking. And the number, variety, facilitation and maintenance of the trails around the island are nothing less than world-class.
There are two main types of hiking trails on Madeira. The typical Madeiran ‘levadas‘ are narrow mountain water irrigation channels. The island has more than 2,100 km of them, and many levadas have hiking trails following these waterways. These trails are quite easy, even though they can be at high altitudes.
The other trails are those leading to mountain summits (the highest 1,861 meters above sea level), often following mountain ridges. Many trails are stone-paved and have leading fences, staircases, and even tunnels going from one mountainside to the next.
During our 5 full days on the island, we hiked Levada das 25 fonts, the Verado do Arieiro between Pico do Arieiro and Pico Ruivo, Levada do Rei, the hike to Pico do Encumeada and the coastal Verada da Ponta de São Lourenço. But there are so many more! Obrigado, Madeira, we hope to return one day.