Madeira’s reputation as a hikers’ paradise is well-earned. The island’s criss-crossed by an ingenious system of irrigation channels – known as levadas, they were constructed by the first settlers on the island to transport water from the high mountains, and to distributed it across the coastal settlements. The engineering of the tunnels and narrow paths which the levadas pass through is fascinating – and the happy by-product for hikers is an intricate network of beautiful and challenging walking trails.
All the trails are waymarked if you prefer to walk self-guided – or spending time with one of our resident guides will provide you with an invaluable insight into the geology, plantlife and history of the island. There’s an excellent range of trails: as a rough rule-of-thumb, the trails in the south and west tend to be more leisurely and a little easier on the legs. In the north and east, they’re more suited to experienced walkers: where the trails skirt around steep ravines and high cliffs, and a good head for heights is crucial. Whichever type of trail you prefer, we’ll help you plan the perfect walking holiday.