The Levada do Paul hike is one of the flat and easy levada walks on Madeira island that’s doable for everyone. The out and back trail is 11 kilometres an offers stunning views on the Rabaçal valley below on a clear day. We went on a sunny day and had a lovely encounter with the cows grazing there and could see all the view until the ocean. The Levada do Paul hike is a newly constructed levada and is an out and back hike along the rim of the valley. In this blog post you will find all you need to know about the Levada do Paul hike!

Levada do Paul hike key facts

Before setting off to the Levada do Paul hike below some key facts!

Hike distance and duration:  The total distance out and back of Levada do Paul is 11 kilometers and could be easily done in 3 hours walking or less. It depends on your pace and how long you will spend at the end point and several viewpoints.

Difficulty and incline: The Levada do Paul is mainly flat with just a little incline of 150 meters via stairs. Overall this levada walk is quite easy and it has pretty new levada paths throughout the route which is a bonus!

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How to get to Levada do Paul hike

Located on the Paul da Serra plateau on 1400 meters above sea level, the Levada do Paul walk offers spectacular views. The parking is easy to find on Google Maps but a bit odd because it’s right next to the road.

Best time to do the Levada do Paul hike

Because you’ll have the sunshine all afternoon directly into the valley, I would recommend to do this hike in the morning or late afternoon. And definitely on a clear day without wind. It is important in terms of safety to go on a day where it’s sure that clouds won’t surprise you can block the visibility because that would ruin the hike a bit.

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What to expect during the Levada do Paul hike

The levada walk starts immediately along the side of the road and leads you further along the rim and levada into the valley. On a clear day you can see all the way to the ocean and further. A beautiful view and highly recommend to do this levada walk on a clear day!

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After about the first kilometre you will encounter the first highlight on this hike. A lonely tree that stands on the side of the path. Looking out over the hikers beneath him and the ocean aside of him. This is definitely worth a stop and might even be the highlight of this whole hike! If you love photography as much as we do, then you can surely appreciate this minimalistic scene.

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There is a chance you have to pass cows during this hike. These sweet and curious cows are used to hikers so you can safely pass them. But as it always is with animals, make them aware that you’re there and always keep an eye out if you’re passing a cow or horse from behind. If they are scared, they can kick you.

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When you make your way further into the valley along the rim you will constantly have these amazing views. You can see the textures and structures in the mountains which are fascinating!

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The Levada do Paul hike is for everyone

The only incline you have to do is a little 150 meters on the stairs. Because it’s mainly a flat and well maintained levada path, this walk is suitable for every age. A perfect family activity. Right before you reach the end point of the hike, you will see a small waterfall on the left side of the trail. Because we hiked the Levada do Paul at the end of summer, the waterfall wasn’t powerful and underwhelming. But I can imagine that after a few rainy weeks, the waterfall has a powerful and beautiful look.

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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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What is a Levada?

If you’re coming to Madeira for the first time, you might question what the word ‘Levada’ actually means. This word specifies the different Madeira hiking trails. But what is the origin of these Levadas and what is their purpose? 

Levadas are little canals of water that wind through the mountains and translates as “carriageway”. These water canals are irrigation systems developed to distribute water from the wetter regions on the north of Madeira to the drier and sunnier areas of the south where lots of plantations are located. The levadas cover a total distance of about 2500 kilometer from the heart of the Laurissilva forest to the most rocky slopes.

The origin of the levadas dates back to the 15th century when the first levadas where created. Their purpose was to provide water to irrigate the sugarcane plantations. Back then sugar was also known as the “white gold” because it was considered as the main engine of Madeira’s economy in the 15th & 16th century. The narrow water canals have ever since the important task to deliver water along far distances. Mainly to banana plantations, vineyards, fruit orchards and vegetable gardens. But also to let the hydro-electric power stations on the island work.

But nowadays, the levadas are also a great way to discover Madeira’s stunning nature. You will see landscapes and different species of flora and fauna along the levadas that are unique in the world.

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