Gaula, Madeira, Portugal

Walk the levadas

I admit, I didn't really know what I was up to when I signed up for the walk by the levadas. A levada is an irrigation system of the island of Madeira, and basically it is like a man-made river built by the side of the mountains. I am always up for a little hike. However, the first thing our guide said was "is either of you afraid of the heights," and I freaked out. It was about an hour drive to our starting point, and the entire time I was afraid this was going to be some kind of mountain climbing exercise. However, once we started our walk, and I saw retirees walking passing us, and the stunning views below us, and more importantly, enough of the pathway and not too steep sides, I was OK. I am sure there are levada walks for every skill level, and there are over 1400km/860 miles of the levadas, so your experience can be very different depending the exact location of your hike. We walked good 3 hours, and it was a good work-out, but perfectly doable even for lower fitness level. And I was not prepared for mountain walks when I was packing for my trip... so I walked the entire way in loafers, carrying my handbag. Hey, sometimes you need to look silly on the side of the mountain to make it to the top of it. The walk truly was one of the highlights of the trip, the scenes were absolutely amazing.

Walk the levadas