Água-d'Alto-waterfall-madeira

Agua d’Alto is one of the beautiful waterfalls in Madeira that you have to see! Especially if you love waterfalls and jungle vibes as much as we do. The Água d’Alto waterfall is located in a canyon in Faial and is about 150 meters high! If you love a little walk ‘off the beaten path’ then the short 10 minute walk on a wild levada path is something for you! Read in this blog post everything you need to know about Agua d’Alto waterfall, how to get there, which path to follow and more pictures of our adventure to this beautiful Madeira waterfall! 

Best Madeira island tours

If you want to explore the best of Madeira with a guide then here some great tours I recommend. All of these tours include transport with hotel pick up and drop off, certified guides and sometimes the entrance fees if applicable. You can reserve now and pay later, with cancellation up to 24 hours in advance to receive a full refund.

  • Customized 6 hour Madeira tour. On this six-hour tour you can choose the different areas you want to visit on Madeira island. Pick the landmarks and iconic places to make your own itinerary with the help of your local guide/driver.
  • Private guided tour to Cabo Girao. Explore the highest cape of Europe and the fishing village Câmara de Lobos on the way back to Funchal.
  • Guided tour to Cabo Girao including Poncha tasting in a Classic VW. Start your tour from Funchal in a beautiful Classic VW and drive to Cabo Girao to enjoy the incredible views. On the way back you will taste the traditional Poncha in historic bars. 
  • West Madeira private tour. Starting in the fishing town of Câmara de Lobos you will drive via Cabo Girao, the highest cape in Europe, to the beautiful view of Serra d’Agua valley. From there you will head to São Vicente to explore the Laurisilva forest. Continuing north, you will visit Porto Moniz, known for its natural lava pools where you can swim. As last stop you will visit the famous rocks at Ribeira da Janela.
  • East Madeira tour. Visit Pico do Arieiro viewpoint, make pictures at the Santana houses and the beautiful viewpoints at Porto da Cruz to finish the day at the impressive volcanic landscape of Ponta de São Lourenço.
  • Canyoning adventure with transfer from Funchal. Get the thrill of canyoneering and explore Madeira’s untouched nature. follow a river as you walk, rappel, slide and jump through hidden waterfalls with streams that cross endemic forests. A super fun and adventurous day!
  • Funchal 48-hour hop-on hop off bus tour. Explore the lush landscape of Madeira and the sights of Funchal at your own pace with a 2 or 5 day ticket for the hop-on, hop-off bus.
  • Dolphin & Whale watching Luxury Catamaran Cruise from Funchal. Enjoy the views of Funchal from a luxury catamaran. Look out for whales and dolphins in their natural habitat as your relax on board and explore the underwater world with a snorkel.
  • Ponta de São Lourenço hike with pick up in Funchal. Explore the most eastern tail of Madeira island with its unique volcanic rock formations to understand how the island was created.
  • Scuba diving Madeira. Explore the underwater world of Madeira island. A theory lesson and practice in swimming pool is included before you will dive about 12 meters for 45 meters in the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Funchal Old Town walking tour. Learn about the history of Funchal and Madeira on a guided walk through the city’s medieval center. Visit the farmer’s market, the Campo Almirante Reis, the Fortress of St. James, and a number of other sites as your guide provides commentary.
  • Sunset tour from Funchal by Catamaran. Watch the sunset off the coast of Madeira on a 3-hour evening catamaran cruise from Funchal and spot dolphins (guaranteed, or you get a 2nd trip for free).
  • Tuk-Tuk tour to Monte Tropical Garden with Toboggan ride from Funchal. Explore Funchal Old Town with a Tuk Tuk before making your way to the mountains to the stunning Monte Tropical Garden. There you will explore over 70,000 square meters of exotic plants. At the end of the tour you will enjoy the thrilling ride down the hill with a Toboggan ride.

General travel must haves for Madeira

Before we dive into one of the best waterfalls in Madeira, let’s check a few things to make your travels in Madeira easy and safe.

Have you thought about how to get around in Madeira? A car is the easiest way to drive around the island. Read in our complete guide everything you need to know about Car hire in Madeira

  • Book your rental car here and compare the providers to get the best deal.
  • Book your scooter or motorbike here to get around in Madeira. Most of the scooters you can drive with driving license (A1/A2/A) from 18 years old, or from 25 years old with a car (B) license. The motorbikes have a minimum age of 20 or 21 with A (moto) license.

Do you prefer a private driver for the day and the freedom to create your own itinerary?

Did you already book your accommodation? 

Are you insured during your travels?

  • Buy your travel insurance here. Safetywing not only includes coverage for travel delay, lost checked luggage, emergency response, natural disasters and personal liability. But also covers all your medical expenses for hospitalisation.
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How to get to Agua d’Alto waterfall

The Agua d’Alto waterfall is located in Faial, in the north of Madeira and is about a 40 minute drive from Funchal. It can be hard at first to find the road where you have to get up although the waterfall is marked on Google Maps. The road you need to take up is opposite of the CAM do Lombo Galego 1A bus stop and can be found on the map below. You can choose to park you car somewhere closely to this road, or drive all the way up to the parking lot from where the levada starts. Make sure to drive carefully up and down this steep road! 

If you arrive at the concrete parking lot near the house, you’ll see an incredible view over Faial towards the ocean on a clear day. From this spot you have to take the stairs up along the house which leads you to the levada. From there you have to follow the levada until you see the waterfall in the beautiful green canyon. Read more about the trail at ‘ what to expect’. 

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Agua-d'Alto-waterfall-path

Best time to go to Agua d’Alto waterfall

The best time to see the waterfalls in Madeira in full glory is after rainy days. These are most common during and right after the winter season. We went to this waterfall in October and there was enough water to let it gently flow down the rocks. 

In terms of the best time during the day to visit the Agua d’Alto waterfall you don’t have to take into account the ‘crowds’ because this waterfall is not a much visited place. So in terms of the best light you have to take into account that the sun shines into the canyon until about 11 AM. After that time is disappears into the next valley. 

Água-d'Alto-waterfall-madeira

What to expect at Água d’Alto waterfall

When you’ve arrived at the parking lot with the incredible view over the valley, the levada walk starts. You can already see the waterfall from the house, so you know where to go. The path next the the house leads you up towards the levada which brings you to the waterfall. The trail is not great maintained with grass and vines growing over the levada path. You can see that this waterfall is not a popular tourist spot in Madeira which surprises us because of the beauty!

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Once you’ve reached the levada you have to stay left and follow the path. You will see that at some points the levada path is very narrow with pieces that have been broken off. So always walk with care, especially because the trail is a bit overgrown with weeds and wildflowers. It only takes about 10 – 15 minutes to reach the waterfall which is perfectly tucked away into a small canyon surrounded by lush greens.

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Agua-d'Alto-waterfall-levada-view

The Agua d’Alto waterfall is 150 meters high and falls perfectly as a thin veil into a shallow pool. The form of the waterfall reminds me of a bridal veil which is funnily enough the name of another waterfall in Madeira! The Veu da Noiva waterfall, also known as Bridal Veil in Seixal.

Agua-d'Alto-waterfall-closeup

There are a lot of nice angles to capture from the Agua d’Alto waterfall. You can also make use of some rocks to put a person on as perspective. We tried a few angles out and flew the drone, but be careful with the signal in the canyon, it can be weak which is why we flew the drone from the parking lot. Below some of our favourite shots from the beauty of a waterfall!

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We think the Agua d’Alto is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Madeira and highly underrated. Maybe this spot is not on every Madeira itinerary yet but we would highly recommend to add this stunning nature place to your must visit in Madeira list!

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Precautions for levada walks and hiking in Madeira

For a safe hiking experience in Madeira it is important to take the following safety precautions. There have been accidents in Madeira on levada walks and in the mountains in the past, which doesn’t directly make hiking in Madeira dangerous. But you do always have to keep in mind that the weather in Madeira can change suddenly. Or that landslides take place, branches can fall or paths can be slippery. In case of any emergency you can call 112.

Below some of our tips for a safe Madeira hiking experience

  • Wear suitable clothes, always bring an extra jacket and put your hiking boots / shoes on with good grip.
  • Take enough water and some snacks with you such as nuts, (dried) fruits etc.
  • Always bring a headlamp on your hikes in Madeira because some of them include walking through a tunnel.
  • Take a whistle with you in case you get lost or slip from the path.
  • Book a qualified guide when you want to be sure on your first levada walk. Most of the levada walks are flat and easy, especially the well known levada’s in Madeira. You can find a detailed description in our blog about the 20 best levada’s in Madeira. But if you prefer a qualified guide next to you when walking in Madeira, you will not only learn more about the nature but you will also be 100% safe and don’t have to worry about navigating your way through the forest.
  • When hiking alone on Madeira, prepare yourself and collect all the updated information about the trail you plan to follow. Are the trails open? No landslides? On the website of Visit Madeira you can find the up to date info of the walks which are open and closed.
  • Calculate the time you’ll need to finish the hike so you’ll be back before dark.
  • Inform the hotel or accommodation you are staying which walk you are going to do.
  • Do not go off the designated path.

Happy hiking!!

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