Walking Indications and Safety Precautions

Madeira is well known for its Levadas and the facility it offers for you to use the paths next to these for leisure walking. Lately more and more visitors to Madeira are walking on these routes on their own. Majority of them are using various information they find in so called walking books that they have bought in their home country.

Levada Walking on Madeira Island

Levada Walking on Madeira Island

Unfortunately, these books are not regular updated with changes that occur on these paths (i.e. changes due to landslides and maintenance).  You must keep in mind that some of these paths are a few decades old, they are going along side ridges, through tunnels and mountains, in the middle of dense forest, under waterfalls … in other words: the path itself is part of the changing nature. Also, in the past, these paths were build to maintain the Levadas water channels and not to be used by tourists in those days. These paths differs with those you have in your home country. There are hardly signs indicating the way. No light posts, no houses, no roads crossing and the next village can still be hours away before you can reach it.

If you decide to walk these paths alone than you will be doing that at your own risk.

Locals here on Madeira they always walk these paths in a group (family, friends, colleagues) and they make it a fun happening of it. Reaching a certain destination where they can have a picnic and have some fun together. This means that in most cases locals do not need to go all the way from start till the finish-line of a certain route. But if they do, then it is also in a group.

There are some travelers that prefer to do a walk on their own and do not see the advantages of a guided walk. If you are one of these DIY (Do It Yourself) walkers, then please take notice of the following safety precautions and walking indications when you are planning to do a Levada walk here on Madeira:

  • If this will be the first time that you will doing a Levada walk, then we urge you do that in company of a qualified guide;
  • If you do not have enough walking skills or never done a walk for more than 1 hour, then we suggest you bot to do a long walk, but an easy walk of less than an hour duration;
  • Never walk a Levada or other isolated route outside the suburbs alone;
  • It is important that you prepare yourself and collect all the updated information about the route you are planning to do;
  • Keep in mind that the majority of the Levadas and other walking paths do not have a proper signs indicating the way;
  • Calculate the total time you will be spending on that route (so that estimate the right time to start and finish the walk before nightfall sets in);
  • Always inform the hotel where your staying or any other reliable person about the route that you planning to do and the expected time of arrival. Write it down on a piece of paper. This is a small effort, but valuable;
  • Do not change the course of your planned route;
  • Always take something to eat and drink (such as canned fruit juices, chocolate, dried fruits etc.);
  • Take extra plastic bags to put in the leftovers or rubbish when you do a stop to eat/drink;
  • Important that you always carry an electric torch with spare batteries;
  • Take your own mobile phone (fully charged), even if your operating network does not exist here. You can always call the emergency number 112 and it will search for an alternative net;
  • If your mobile phone works here on Madeira, then program the telephone number of the accommodation you are staying. Make sure that the number is working;
  • In case of a interruption during a course (falling rocks, heavy rain or strong winds) go back to the starting point following same route;
  • By all means do not take risks;
  • Take a whistle with you and wear suitable clothes and walking boots/shoes with good grip. Even if it is warm and dry, take something against getting wet (due to moist, damp or waterfalls);
  • In case of any accident call immediately 112 and if you cannot get through, walk on the same course and keep trying again until you get a connection;
  • Stay calm and inform what, when and where the accident has happened, also the number of people involved and the status of the victims;
  • The more information you can transmit, the better and more efficient help will be provided.

Important phone numbers (program these into your mobile phone):

Madeira Civil Protection – (+351) 291 700 112
Emergency Number – 112

The precautions mentioned above must be considered as a ‘must’ for both experienced and inexperienced walkers.

Always consider your options when you are walking here on Madeira Island.

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Pico Ruivo

The island’s volcanic origins are evident by the rocky shoreline and rugged mountainous interior. Its highest point, Pico Ruivo, looks out over a mass of peaks and a violently formed landscape.

Pico Ruivo is the highest peak on the Madeira Islands. It can be reached only by foot, usually either from Pico do Arieiro (3rd highest) after a strenuous hike, or from Achada do Teixeira with a shorter, easier trail. There is an additional trail leading west to Encumeada. Just below the summit is a hut offering simple accommodation and drinks.

Pico Ruivo is 1,861 meters (6,106 ft) high and provides some of the most incredible views of the island from coast to coast, but unpredictable weather conditions can make it quite dangerous.

Video by Aixperte

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For Sale!

The domain name SECRETMADEIRA.COM is for SALE!

The name ‘Secret Madeira’ is well positioned on the Google search results on the area of travel and Madeira Island. This is not only thanks to the blog (www.secretmadeira.com) but also its associated social media channels (Twitter, Facebook Page, G+ Page, Pinterest).

Acquiring the domain SECRETMADEIRA.COM includes also the following:


1 year FREE hosting  (1 account, basic hosting package) plus unlimited e-mail addresses based on the domain names mentioned above (all e-mail addresses can be forwarded to your personal e-mail address of choice).

– The Secret Madeira blog with administration using the latest version of WordPress CMS.

Administrator rights to the associated social media channels. These are:


Interested in taking this whole package (as is) over? Then please send your bid to bid@secretmadeira.com
We will only react to serious bid (or questions).

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Madeira Carnaval / Carnival

Carnival officially begins the Friday preceding and does not end until the following Tuesday and it infects the whole island with intense joy.

On Madeira Island the Carnival celebration is one of the most cheerful regional events of the year. On Friday the city wakes up to the sound of the philharmonic orchestras and carnival marches throughout down town. A start of the good mood for the upcoming evening. The festivities continues with shows at the Praça do Municipio and so it goes for five consecutive days .

On Saturday it’s time for the big allegorical parade. After it has done the route through the city of Funchal, everyone gathers at the Praca do Municipio square, which is then transformed into a cheerful gathering with music and fantasy .

Shrove Tuesday is a day that Funchal explodes of merriment. In the afternoon brutal merrymakers invades the streets and mingle with the crowd thus becomes infected with a caricatured atmosphere … the so called “Cortejo Trapalhão” (clumsy procession). During these days, the streets of Funchal are decorated with light decorations and carnival music everywhere you go.

Enjoy the contagious joy!

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The “Levadas”, waterways build in the 16th Century and later on, are one of the most important tourist attractions of Madeira Island. They slice through the mountains, taking water from North to South, with the objective of irrigating agricultural land in the more inaccessible locations.

Words cannot describe the sheer beauty of these exploration routes. The best known of these are the one that leads from Rabaçal towards the 25 Fountains, and the Levada that goes from Queimadas to Caldeirão Verde. Also worth to mention is the one from Ribeiro Frio to Portela. For people with mobility impairment, there are routes with less difficulty but equally wondrous scenery, which is the path from Pico das Pedras to the Queimadas.

Categories: Attractions, Levadas, Nature, Photos, Tips, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment