Walking in Madeira: Santo da Serra to Portela / Levadas

Madeira Walks

1. Walk – Ilha to Santana / Where is Madeira?
2. Walk – Pico Ruivo and Pico Arieiro / Cristiano Ronaldo
3. Walk – Monte to Camatcha / Wicker Sledge Riding
4. Walk – Camatcha to Santo da Serra / Madeira, the Flower Island
5. Walk – Santo da Serra to Portela / Levadas
6. Walk – Marocos to Caniçal / Public Transport on Madeira
7. Walk – Baia d’Abra / Tourism
8. Walk – Canical to Machico / Summary Walking Holiday

Walking in Madeira - Santo da Serra to PortelaSanto da Serra to Portela along Levada da Portela

Distance: 7,7km (4.8 miles)
Up: 220m
Down: 830m
Navigation: Cicerone Walking in Madeira Walk 8, Madeira Tour & Trail Map (1:40000)
Stef’s review: 4 of 5 stars

Today is our 5th day on the track and we’ve done 66km (41miles), a total ascent of 2200m and a total decent of 2100m, all with our 12-kilo backpacks on. Doesn’t sounds so dramatic actually, but we still decided to shorten our planned route today, skip the 10km between Portela and Marocos and do a lazy walk.
Walking in Madeira - Santo da Serra to PortelaThe walk between Santo da Serra and Portela is really, really pretty. Once you’re up at the levada, it’s again a very easy walk, with the water canal flowing right beside you. What make this levada interesting are the slopes it falls down. The walk is very quiet, we barely met any people, no big tourist groups, just to my liking.
When we arrived in Portela we just missed our bus to Caniçal. How lucky that we weren’t in a hurry and I had my Kindle with me. So we spend the next 2 hours reading and observing the clouds crawling up from the coast to the mountains.

Levadas – Water network of Madeira

Walking in Madeira - Santo da Serra to PortelaLevadas are artificial water canals build in the 15th century to carry water from the rainy mountains in the North to the drier South island and water the sugar cane fields there. Initially privately owed, a system of water canals was put in place sometimes using slaves to even out the paths, removing scree material and using explosives to make tunnels. Today, Madeira has the largest irrigation system of the world, a total system of 2150 km (1350 miles). Often it’s said that these days levadas are only used for tourists. However, we’ve seen Madeirans using them to water the crops and vegetables in their backyards or store their water in massive tanks for drought season or drinking water treatment. Yet, it is true that they are often used by hikers like us who enjoy the level walk with the water gently flowing down-slope beside them.

More about walking in Madeira:

More photos of Santo da Serra to Portela
Itinerary Madeira Walking Holidays
Packing List Madeira Holidays

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7 Responses to Walking in Madeira: Santo da Serra to Portela / Levadas

  1. Pingback: Walking in Madeira: Camatcha to Santo da Serra / Madeira, the Flower Island | Hiking Madness – Hiking in UK and elsewhere

  2. Pingback: Walking in Madeira: Monte to Camatcha / Wicker Sledge Riding | Hiking Madness – Hiking in UK and elsewhere

  3. Pingback: Walking in Madeira: Pico Ruivo and Pico Arieiro / Cristiano Ronaldo | Hiking Madness – Hiking in UK and elsewhere

  4. Pingback: Walking in Madeira: Ilha to Santana / Where is Madeira? | Hiking Madness – Hiking in UK and elsewhere

  5. Pingback: Walking in Madeira: Canical to Machico / Summary Walking Holiday | Hiking Madness – Hiking in UK and elsewhere

  6. Pingback: Walking in Madeira: Baia d’Abra / Tourism | Hiking Madness – Hiking in UK and elsewhere

  7. Pingback: Walking in Madeira: Marocos to Caniçal / Public Transport on Madeira | Hiking Madness – Hiking in UK and elsewhere

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