Madeira 4 - Levada do Furado
Aktualisiert: März 14
Levada hike from Ribeiro Frio to Portela
Start: Ribeiro Frio 860m
End: Portela 605m
Length: 12 km
Approximate walking time: 2:46 hours - without breaks
Altitude meters: 60 up, 290 down
Requirement: Easy to medium
Tip: Like many hikes in Madeira, this tour is not a circular route. Those who have not organized a pick-up can walk up to Casa de Agua and turn around there, which increases the travel time to approx. 5 hours.
Map: I have saved the route in Komoot. You can view it after logging in.
Refreshments:There is a restaurant in Ribeiro Frio and two bars in Portela.
Hiking guide book: Rother hiking guide "Madeira - The most beautiful levada and mountain hikes" 2020
We did this walking tour with Madeira Adventure Kingdom.
You can find tips for accommodations in my blog Madeira 1 - What to do in Madeira?
Who can say they went on a hike with Romeo & Juliet?
I can! Well, almost …
Our super-friendly hiking guide from Madeira Adventure Kingdom is actually called Liliana Gomcalves. But somehow my language control isn’t working that well on our hike. Out of sheer enthusiasm about the dense ferns, ancient laurel trees, waterfalls, lichen hanging from trees, trusting chaffinches, moss-covered stones, rushing water, adventurous tunnels and viewpoints, I’m always saying “Oh Juliana, can you come back again for one more picture?“. Slightly annoyed and embarrassed, my friend two or three times whispers in my ear that her name is Liliana, not Juliana … but eventually they both give up and call themselves Romeo & Juliet! Perfect for me, no more concentration on names and my friend keeps grinning in the photos.
200km of water canals were built between 1436 and 1966 in Madeira.
How many people lost their lives in this breakneck undertaking is not documented, but the levadas still work today: they transport rainwater from the mountains and the north side of the island to the drier South. They also serve as a perfectly laid out network of paths for hikers. Some are extremely exposed, but the easily accessible ones have now been expanded to make them safe for walking.
Liliana tells us that only the Levadeiro has a key to open the respective locks, which are blocks to guide the water along the different channels. Private individuals also receive water this way once a week. "My grandmother was lucky - her water comes at 9 o'clock in the morning, but there are also people who get it at 5 in the afternoon, with all the ensuing preparation!". Kind of cool that this centuries-old system is still working.
“And how do you become a hiking guide in Madeira?” we ask her. Liliana laughs - and when she laughs, her whole face breaks into a radiant smile. "Oh, actually I studied psychology, but there weren't any jobs on the island and I didn't want to go to the mainland." The training lasts 9 months and besides knowledge of flora and fauna your physical fitness and endurance need to be excellent. There is a distance race in Madeira, last year Liliana ran the 85km in 23 hours. Just thinking about running through the night makes me tired. ...
But Liliana is not a sports animal devoured by ambition. Her solution to all problems is: Poncha!
Poncha is THE traditional alcoholic drink from Madeira, made with aguardente de cana (distilled alcohol made from sugar cane juice), honey, sugar, and either orange juice or lemon juice.
“Once on a multi-day hike, I had a couple who argued all the time. On the second evening I ordered a lot of Poncha and after that they were more relaxed! "
In Portela, the end of our hike, she orders us a poncha ... that gives us a moment to think about ...
Stay tuned: My next hike will be the wonderful coat path from Porto Cruz to Machico