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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.