What is a Levada?
Walking along the levadas is one of the main tourist attractions of Madeira Island, offering a unique and unforgettable experience, with magnificent views and in direct contact with an extraordinarily pure nature. But do you know the origin of these paths?
The “levadas” are channels of water with a gentle slope originally created to transport the water of the north of the Island, with a humid climate and more precipitation, to the south where the climate is drier, with more population and plantations. Nowadays, the levadas are also a way to unleash our explorer spirit and discover the magnificent nature of Madeira Island, with landscapes and species of flora and fauna that are unique in the world.
The origin of the levadas dates back to the early days of the colonization of the Island in the 15th century, when the first levadas were created to provide water to irrigate the sugarcane plantations to allow the production of sugar, known at the time as the “white gold”. Besides the sugar cane, the levadas were also very important to irrigate the vineyard plantations that gave origin to the emblematic and well known Madeira Wine.
Currently, the network has about 1,400 kilometers length, spread throughout the island, from the heart of the Laurissilva forest to the most rocky slopes.
Walking along one of the levadas of the island of Madeira is a must for anyone visiting the island. The options are many and for every taste, from the most popular like the Levada das 25 Fontes or Caldeirão Verde, to the less known as the Lagoa do Vento or Levada da Rocha Vermelha. It is worth venturing into this amazing nature!
Quintal, R. (2010): Levadas and Footpaths of Madeira. 4ª Edição. Edições Francisco Ribeiro. Funchal.
Levadas, Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Levada)