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Levada Do Caldeirão Verde Hike (PR9) On Madeira Island


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Cari Hough



Welcome to the enchanting Levada do Caldeirão Verde Hike, located on the breathtaking island of Madeira. This scenic trail is an adventure lover’s dream, offering a journey through lush landscapes, hidden waterfalls, and captivating vistas. If you’re seeking an unforgettable outdoor experience, look no further than this incredible hiking trail.


The Levada do Caldeirão Verde Hike, also known as trail PR9, takes you deep into the heart of Madeira’s natural beauty. Levadas, which are narrow irrigation channels, crisscross the island, and this specific route follows one of the most iconic and scenic levadas on the island. The hike will take you through verdant valleys, towering forests, and alongside gushing waterfalls, providing an immersive experience in the island’s captivating landscapes.


What sets this hike apart is the stunning destination at the end of the trail – the Caldeirão Verde, or “Green Cauldron.” This natural wonder is a hidden gem tucked away within the island’s remote Ribeira da Janela region. As you approach the final stretch of the hike, you’ll hear the powerful sound of water cascading from a height of over 100 meters into a crystal-clear pool below, creating a mesmerizing sight and a truly unforgettable experience.


Whether you’re an experienced hiker or a nature enthusiast looking for a moderate challenge, the Levada do Caldeirão Verde Hike offers something for everyone. It’s a perfect way to explore Madeira’s stunning landscapes, immerse yourself in its unique flora and fauna, and witness the island’s natural wonders up close.


In the following sections, we’ll delve deeper into the details of the hike, including the trail difficulty and duration, how to reach the trailhead, highlights along the way, safety tips, and the essential items you’ll need to pack for this incredible adventure. So, lace up your hiking boots, grab your backpack, and get ready for an unforgettable trek along the Levada do Caldeirão Verde.


Overview of Levada do Caldeirão Verde Hike

The Levada do Caldeirão Verde Hike is a spectacular trail that explores the natural wonders of Madeira Island. The trail follows the famous Levada do Caldeirão Verde, a man-made water channel that winds through the island’s verdant landscapes, offering hikers unparalleled views of lush valleys, towering cliffs, and picturesque waterfalls.


The hike starts at the Queimadas Forest Park, situated in Santana, on the northern side of Madeira Island. From here, you’ll embark on a scenic journey that spans approximately 13 kilometers (8 miles) round trip. Along the way, you’ll traverse narrow pathways carved into the mountainside, cross rustic bridges, and pass through enchanting tunnels that lead you deeper into the island’s natural beauty.


Throughout the hike, you’ll be surrounded by a rich diversity of flora and fauna, making it a paradise for nature enthusiasts and photographers. The trail boasts a stunning display of endemic plant species, including laurel trees, heather, and a variety of mosses and ferns that thrive in the moist, humid environment of this region.


One of the highlights of the Levada do Caldeirão Verde Hike is the chance to witness awe-inspiring waterfalls. As you walk along the levada, you’ll encounter several cascades, each more impressive than the last. These waterfalls, fed by the abundant rainfall the island receives, create a symphony of sound and beauty amidst the tranquil surroundings.


The climax of the hike is the arrival at the Caldeirão Verde, a natural amphitheater adorned with a majestic waterfall plunging into a pristine emerald green pool. The sight of the water gushing down the cliff face is nothing short of mesmerizing, and the awe-inspiring scenery makes it a perfect spot for a well-deserved rest and a picnic.


Overall, the Levada do Caldeirão Verde Hike offers a captivating journey through Madeira’s natural wonders. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or a beginner, this trail provides a moderate level of challenge and rewards you with breathtaking views and unforgettable encounters with nature. So, put on your hiking gear, prepare your camera, and get ready to embark on an adventure of a lifetime on the Levada do Caldeirão Verde.


Trail Difficulty and Duration

The Levada do Caldeirão Verde Hike is considered a moderately challenging trail, suitable for hikers of various fitness levels. The terrain is mostly flat and well-maintained, making it accessible to most people. However, there are some sections with narrow paths, uneven ground, and occasional steep drops, so caution is advised, especially for those with a fear of heights.


The hike is approximately 6.5 kilometers (4 miles) one way, totaling around 13 kilometers (8 miles) round trip. The estimated duration of the hike is between 3.5 to 4 hours each way, depending on your pace and the stops you make along the trail. It’s important to allocate sufficient time for rest breaks, photography, and enjoying the stunning scenery.


While the trail is not particularly strenuous, it does require a moderate level of fitness and proper footwear. Hikers should be prepared for extended periods of walking and be comfortable navigating narrow pathways and occasional obstacles. It’s recommended to wear sturdy hiking boots to provide ankle support and grip on the sometimes slippery surfaces.


For those with limited hiking experience or physical fitness, it’s advisable to take your time and hike at a comfortable pace. Rest stops are available along the trail, allowing hikers to catch their breath and soak in the beauty of the surroundings. It’s essential to listen to your body and take breaks whenever necessary to prevent fatigue and avoid any potential injuries.


While the Levada do Caldeirão Verde Hike is generally considered safe, it’s crucial to stay aware of your surroundings and adhere to safety guidelines. Be cautious near the edges of the levada, especially during rainy periods when the water flow might be stronger, and the ground can be slippery. It’s also advisable to bring along a hiking partner or inform someone about your hiking plans before setting off.


By being prepared, wearing appropriate gear, and maintaining awareness, hikers can fully enjoy the Levada do Caldeirão Verde Hike while staying safe and experiencing the breathtaking beauty that Madeira Island has to offer.


Getting to the Trailhead

Reaching the trailhead of the Levada do Caldeirão Verde Hike is relatively straightforward, and there are several transportation options available depending on your location on Madeira Island.


If you’re staying in Funchal, the capital city of Madeira, you can take a public bus or hire a taxi to reach the trailhead. Bus routes such as number 56 or 103 will take you from Funchal to Santana, where the Queimadas Forest Park, the starting point of the hike, is located. The journey takes approximately 1 hour, so it’s advisable to check the bus schedules in advance and plan accordingly.


For those with a rental car, driving to the trailhead is another convenient option. From Funchal, follow the regional road towards Santana, and there are signposts directing you to the Queimadas Forest Park. The journey takes around 35 minutes, and there is parking available near the starting point of the hike.


If you’re staying in a hotel or accommodation near Santana or the northern part of the island, you may be within walking distance of the trailhead. In this case, you can simply walk to the Queimadas Forest Park and begin the hike directly.


It’s worth mentioning that the Levada do Caldeirão Verde Hike is a popular attraction, especially during peak tourist seasons. To avoid overcrowding and ensure a more enjoyable experience, it’s recommended to start your hike early in the day, preferably before 9 a.m. Additionally, consider visiting on weekdays instead of weekends when the trail is generally less crowded.


It’s essential to check the weather conditions before embarking on the hike, as heavy rainfall can make the trail more challenging and less enjoyable. If there is a risk of unfavorable weather, it’s advisable to postpone your hike for another day or consult with local authorities or hiking guides for up-to-date information.


By planning your transportation method in advance and considering the best time to visit, you can easily reach the trailhead of the Levada do Caldeirão Verde Hike and begin your adventure in the captivating landscapes of Madeira Island.


Trail Itinerary

Here’s a suggested itinerary for the Levada do Caldeirão Verde Hike:

  1. Queimadas Forest Park to Caldeirão Verde: Start your hike at the Queimadas Forest Park, where you’ll find signposts marking the beginning of the trail. Follow the levada as it meanders through picturesque forested areas and tranquil landscapes. Along the way, you’ll pass through tunnels, cross charming stone bridges, and encounter several smaller waterfalls. After approximately 3.5 kilometers (2.2 miles) of hiking, you’ll reach the breathtaking destination of Caldeirão Verde, where the main waterfall plunges into a deep, emerald green pool.
  2. Exploring Caldeirão Verde: Take some time to relax and soak in the serene beauty of Caldeirão Verde. Find a comfortable spot to sit and enjoy a picnic, or simply observe the cascading water and lush surroundings. This area offers the perfect opportunity to capture stunning photographs and immerse yourself in the natural wonders of Madeira Island.
  3. Return Journey: After enjoying the wonders of Caldeirão Verde, retrace your steps back along the levada to return to the trailhead at Queimadas Forest Park. Take your time to appreciate the different angles and perspectives of the scenery as you make your way back. Remember to allocate enough time for breaks and rest stops, especially if you plan on taking more photographs or simply savoring the beauty of the surroundings.

The total hiking time for the round trip is approximately 7 to 8 hours, including breaks and time spent at Caldeirão Verde. It’s important to start the hike early in the day to allow for ample daylight and ensure a leisurely pace without feeling rushed.


While this is a suggested itinerary, it’s important to be flexible and adapt to your own preferences and physical capabilities. Some hikers might choose to extend their stay at Caldeirão Verde, while others may decide to continue their hike beyond the waterfall to explore more of the surrounding areas.


Remember to consider your personal fitness level, the weather conditions, and the amount of daylight available when planning your itinerary. It’s always better to allow for extra time and be prepared for unexpected delays or changes in circumstances.


By following this itinerary or adjusting it to suit your needs, you’ll have a memorable experience exploring the scenic wonders of the Levada do Caldeirão Verde Hike on Madeira Island.


Highlights of the Hike

The Levada do Caldeirão Verde Hike is an adventure that is filled with remarkable highlights along the way. Here are some of the most memorable moments you can expect to encounter:

  1. Scenic Levada Pathways: As you begin the hike, you’ll be captivated by the picturesque levada pathways that wind through the lush landscapes of Madeira. These narrow trails offer fantastic views of the surrounding valleys, mountains, and forests, making for an immersive nature experience.
  2. Waterfall Extravaganza: One of the most awe-inspiring aspects of the hike is the abundance of waterfalls that you’ll come across along the levada route. Each waterfall has its own charm and character, cascading down rocks and creating a symphony of water sounds that will leave you in awe.
  3. Tunnel Walks: Throughout the hike, you’ll venture through several tunnels that were carved into the mountainside to allow the levada to pass through. These tunnels add an adventurous element to the hike and provide a unique experience as you make your way through the darkness and emerge into the sunlight on the other side.
  4. Flora and Fauna Diversity: Madeira is known for its rich biodiversity, and the Levada do Caldeirão Verde Hike allows you to witness this firsthand. The trail is lined with a variety of plant species, including vibrant flowers, towering ferns, and endemic trees like laurel and heather. Keep an eye out for unique bird species, such as the Madeiran Firecrest, as you explore the trail.
  5. Caldeirão Verde Waterfall: The pinnacle of the hike is reaching the Caldeirão Verde, a majestic waterfall that plunges into a deep emerald green pool. The sight of the cascading water and the lush backdrop of the natural amphitheater is simply breathtaking. Take a moment to absorb the beauty of this hidden gem and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere surrounding it.
  6. Serenity of Nature: Throughout the hike, you’ll be immersed in the peaceful ambiance of nature. Far away from the hustle and bustle of city life, you’ll be enveloped by the serene sounds of flowing water, rustling leaves, and chirping birds. The tranquility of the surroundings allows for a sense of relaxation and rejuvenation.

These are just a few of the many highlights you can expect to encounter on the Levada do Caldeirão Verde Hike. Each step along the trail will unveil new wonders and create lasting memories of your journey through Madeira’s natural paradise. So, prepare to be amazed and let the beauty of this hike leave an indelible mark on your heart.


Flora and Fauna

The Levada do Caldeirão Verde Hike offers a captivating opportunity to explore the rich flora and fauna of Madeira Island. The island’s unique climate and topography have fostered a diverse ecosystem, making it a paradise for nature enthusiasts and wildlife lovers.


As you traverse the trail, you’ll encounter an impressive array of plant species. One of the highlights is the presence of laurel trees, also known as “laurissilva,” which are endemic to the Macaronesia region. These ancient trees, with their broad, glossy leaves, create a lush canopy that provides shade and adds a touch of magic to the hike. You’ll also come across other endemic plant species, including heather, fennel, and various mosses and ferns that thrive in the humid microclimate of the levada surroundings.


The Levada do Caldeirão Verde Hike is particularly renowned for its vibrant and fragrant flowers. Depending on the time of year, you may be lucky enough to spot colorful blooms such as the Madeiran orchid or the Pride of Madeira. These delicate flowers add pops of color along the trail, creating a visually captivating experience.


While exploring the levada, keep an eye out for the diverse bird species that call Madeira home. You might catch a glimpse of the endemic Madeiran Firecrest, with its distinct crest and melodic song, or the Grey Wagtail, a small bird known for its wagging tail and vibrant yellow plumage. Bring your binoculars and explore the branches of the trees to discover these feathered creatures in their natural habitat.


In addition to birds, other wildlife may cross your path along the Levada do Caldeirão Verde Hike. You might encounter lizards that scuttle across the path, busy bees pollinating the flowers, and, if you’re lucky, perhaps even a glimpse of a elusive rabbit or a Madeiran wall lizard. The hike provides an opportunity to appreciate the beauty and harmony of the island’s delicate ecosystem.


It’s important to remember that while exploring the flora and fauna, it’s essential to respect and preserve the natural environment. Refrain from picking or damaging plants, keep a respectful distance from wildlife, and avoid leaving any trace of your visit. By practicing responsible ecotourism, you can help maintain the delicate balance of the island’s diverse ecosystem for generations to come.


So, as you embark on the Levada do Caldeirão Verde Hike, take the time to immerse yourself in the wonder of nature. From the towering laurel trees to the delicate flowers and the fascinating wildlife, the flora and fauna of Madeira Island will undoubtedly leave an indelible impression on your journey.


Safety Tips for Hikers

While the Levada do Caldeirão Verde Hike is a fantastic adventure, it’s essential to prioritize safety during your exploration of Madeira’s natural wonders. Here are some important safety tips to keep in mind:

  1. Be Prepared: Before embarking on the hike, prepare yourself by checking the weather conditions and trail conditions. If there is a risk of heavy rain or adverse weather, it’s advisable to postpone your hike for another day. Additionally, make sure you have appropriate hiking gear, including sturdy footwear, sun protection, and sufficient water and snacks.
  2. Stay on the Trail: The levada pathways are well-marked, and it’s crucial to stay on the designated trail to avoid getting lost or encountering dangerous terrain. Deviating from the path can lead to unstable ground or cliffs, so always follow the path and heed any signage or warnings along the way.
  3. Watch Your Step: The levada trails may have uneven surfaces, loose rocks, or slippery sections, so watch your step and proceed with caution. Use the provided handrails when crossing bridges or navigating more challenging sections, and avoid getting too close to the edge of the levada, particularly during periods of heavy rainfall when water flow can be stronger.
  4. Stay Hydrated: While hiking, it’s important to stay hydrated, especially in the warm and humid climate of Madeira. Carry an adequate amount of water and drink regularly to prevent dehydration. It’s also advisable to bring snacks or energy bars to maintain your energy levels throughout the hike.
  5. Inform Others: Before starting the hike, inform someone, such as a friend or your accommodation provider, about your plans. Share details of your hiking route, estimated duration, and expected time of return. This way, someone will be aware of your whereabouts and can raise the alarm if necessary.
  6. Respect Nature: As you explore the levada, it’s important to respect and preserve the natural environment. Refrain from littering and ensure you carry out any waste with you. Do not disturb or pick plants along the trail, as this can disrupt the delicate ecosystem. Also, maintain a respectful distance from wildlife, avoiding any unnecessary interaction or feeding.

These safety tips will help ensure a pleasant and secure hiking experience on the Levada do Caldeirão Verde. Always prioritize your safety and the preservation of the natural environment as you venture through the captivating landscapes of Madeira Island.


Essential Packing List

When preparing for the Levada do Caldeirão Verde Hike, it’s important to pack wisely to ensure you have everything you need for a comfortable and enjoyable experience. Here’s an essential packing list to consider for your adventure:

  1. Hiking Boots or Trail Shoes: Choose sturdy and comfortable footwear, ideally hiking boots or trail shoes, to provide ankle support and traction on the varied terrain of the levada trail.
  2. Backpack: A lightweight, waterproof backpack is essential for carrying your belongings. Make sure it has padded shoulder straps and a waist strap for comfort and stability.
  3. Water and Snacks: Stay hydrated throughout the hike by carrying an ample supply of water. Pack lightweight, high-energy snacks such as trail mix, energy bars, or fruits to keep you fueled along the hike.
  4. Sun Protection: Madeira’s sun can be strong even on cloudy days, so pack sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat to protect yourself from the sun’s rays.
  5. Weather-Appropriate Clothing: Dress in layers and pack clothing suitable for the day’s forecast. Include moisture-wicking and breathable fabrics to stay comfortable during the hike. A lightweight waterproof jacket or poncho is also advisable in case of rain.
  6. Insect Repellent: As there may be insects along the trail, especially during the warmer months, it’s a good idea to pack insect repellent to protect against bites.
  7. Camera or Smartphone: Capture the stunning landscapes and memorable moments by bringing a camera or smartphone, along with extra batteries or a portable charger.
  8. First Aid Kit: Carry a basic first aid kit with essentials such as adhesive bandages, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, and any necessary personal medications.
  9. Navigation Tools: While the trail is well-marked, it’s useful to have a map or a navigation app on your phone to ensure you stay on the right path.
  10. Cash and Identification: Carry some cash for emergencies or any unexpected expenses that may arise during the hike. Bring your identification documents or a copy of them for added safety.

Remember to pack your belongings in a waterproof bag or use waterproof covers to protect them in case of rain or water splashes along the levada. Additionally, wear comfortable clothing and break in your hiking shoes prior to the hike to avoid discomfort or blisters.


By packing these essential items, you’ll be well-prepared to take on the Levada do Caldeirão Verde Hike and fully immerse yourself in the beauty of Madeira’s natural landscapes.



The Levada do Caldeirão Verde Hike on Madeira Island offers an unforgettable adventure through breathtaking landscapes, enchanting waterfalls, and vibrant flora and fauna. This scenic trail provides a unique opportunity to explore the natural wonders of the island, immersing yourself in the tranquility and beauty of the surroundings.


From the moment you set foot on the levada pathway, you’ll be captivated by the serenity of nature and the awe-inspiring vistas that unfold before you. The lush greenery, cascading waterfalls, and diverse plant life create a truly magical atmosphere along the entire hike.


As you journey through the trail, take the time to appreciate the intricacies of the island’s ecosystem. Observe the unique plant species, listen to the melodic songs of the native birds, and witness the harmony of nature. The Levada do Caldeirão Verde Hike offers an opportunity to connect with the natural world and experience the incredible beauty that Madeira Island has to offer.


While the hike presents moderate challenges, proper preparation, adherence to safety guidelines, and a respect for the environment will ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Remember to check the weather conditions, wear suitable footwear, stay hydrated, and use caution when navigating the levada pathways.


Whether you’re an experienced hiker or a nature enthusiast seeking a memorable adventure, the Levada do Caldeirão Verde Hike is a must-visit destination on Madeira Island. The trail’s scenic beauty, diverse landscapes, and hidden gems, such as the Caldeirão Verde waterfall, make it an incredible journey that will leave a lasting impression.


So, lace up your hiking boots, pack your essentials, and get ready to embark on an extraordinary journey along the Levada do Caldeirão Verde. Let the wonders of Madeira’s natural landscapes envelop you as you immerse yourself in the tranquility and beauty of this captivating trail.