Former irrigation channels in the southeast of Madeira now offer a network of scenic trails for walks and hikes. These paths are a gateway into the peaceful countryside and some are known to have steep ledges, drawing adventurous travelers. Here’s how to explore the levada walks.
Baía da Abra, Machico, Portugal
The majority of tours that explore the east of Madeira make a stop at Machico—where you usually have free time to relax on Praia de Machico, wander among whitewashed houses, and enjoy panoramic views from the town’s forts. These excursions allow you to skip the hassle of car hire and navigation, and typically also cover eastern highlights such as Portela Viewpoint (Miradouro da Portela); the village of Santan, famous for its triangular thatched houses; and Pico do Arieiro, the island’s third-highest peak.
Excellent Day Out
This is the second Viator tour we have taken this week and once again it lived up to all our expectations. Our driver/tour guide Marko was extremely knowledgeable and friendly and added to the whole experience. Would certainly recommend Viator.
David_W, Apr 2022
Things to know before you go
- Machico is the start point for several levada walks; if you’re planning on embarking on a hike, ensure that you’re wearing sturdy shoes and take a rain jacket.
- At Machico’s fishing harbor, you’ll find plenty of restaurants that offer freshly-caught seafood.
- There are several guesthouses in Machico that offer midrange accommodation—during the peak summer season, advance booking is essential.
How to get there
From the island capital of Funchal, Machico is a 30-minute drive via the VR1 road. You can also take the #56 or #103 bus from the cable car terminal in Funchal, which drops you right in the center of the town.
When to get there
In general, the weather in Madeira is sunny and dry throughout the year. However, the best time to visit the island is in May or June—before the European summer holidays see a surge in visitors—and when temperatures are still cool enough to enjoy hiking opportunities.
Exploring the Villages of East Madeira
The eastern side of Madeira is home to a handful of charming villages. Top picks include Camacha, a hilltop village that’s famous for its basket weaving and furniture—more than 1,000 articles are exhibited in the town museum. Another must-visit place is Santana, where brightly-colored houses have distinctive thatched roofs. The village is also famous for its parish church, which dates back to the 17th century.
Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What are the nearest attractions to Machico?
What else should I know about attractions in Madeira?
- Portela Viewpoint (Miradouro da Portela)
- Church of Our Lady of Monte (Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Monte)
- Monte Palace Tropical Gardens
- Madeira Botanical Gardens
- Armazém do Mercado
- Madeira Story Centre
- Sé Cathedral of Funchal
- Museum of Natural History (Municipal Museum of Funchal)
- Santa Maria de Colombo
- Pico dos Barcelos Viewpoint (Miradouro Pico dos Barcelos)
- Eira do Serrado
- Pico do Arieiro
- Valley of the Nuns (Curral das Freiras)
- Laurel Forest (Laurisilva)