Before you go for levada walk make sure that the route you are heading is open to pedestrians. Many of the levadas were and still are closed to pedestrians because of the February 2010 floods. Few weeks ago there was also great forestfires and again many of the routes are closed.
You can have some information of the situation of levadas and walking paths on the internet by checking out these links:
Situation of the levadas and paths after the February 2010 floods
After recent forest fires and still due to the February floods
There is less rain in southern side of madeira island because of high central mountains.
That's why you need to get more water to boost the productiveness of southern agricultural areas.
The solution is to build waterchannels which carry water from more wet northern side to dryer south and that's why they
decided to build levadas. There is also the growing need of electricity, which can be solved with hydroelectric powerplants.
All together about 2500 kilometers of levadanetwork were built to make southern side grow bananas and other drops. Today the crops are many times bigger than before levadas. all this change was made perfectly ecologically and without harming nature. many brave madeiran lost their lives on this amazing building work which was made by hacks sometimes hanging from the rocks and trees on the upper mountainside.
the first of the levadas were made in 15th century and maintainance of the levadas is made regularly. The footpath along side of the levadas are originally made for levadeiros use. the profession itself must be very regarded among madeirans. Their job is to clean and maintain the condition of the levadas. Later on, walkers and hikers have found them useful to enjoy the beautiful landscapes of this mountainous island.
Different people enjoy different terrains. Some people enjoy easier paths along forrestpaths and fields. Others like to push themself to limits along mountainous and rough routes. there are also a group of people who seek vertical places and feeling of danger on the edge of the abyss. all of these passions of find escape from every day stress are precious. Madeira has it all and is also the island of contrasts in many ways.
When exploring madeira footpaths and levadas, there are some safety rules to remember. Madeira is very mountainous island and they say that
only completelly flat place in the whole island is funchal airport. That's why along many routes there is steep places and you should know your
tendency of vertigo when exploring the routes. Sometimes the
route goes along vertical places.
usually there is protective railings, but not always.
If you decide to go along vertigous routes number one rule to remember always is:
CONCENTRATE ON WALKING AND STOP FOR TAKING PICTURES AND ADMIRE THE SCENERY!!.
There has been accidents and even deaths when people haven't take the safety rules seriously. Most of the walks have safety railings but you shouldn't rely your life upon them. By using common sense is the way you can safely enjoy your walk. If you feel that you can not cope the route, turn back. Just remember to concentrate where you put your foot in the path. Anyway, some of the routes have real life threat, because of their bad condition or dangerous terrain. You shouldn't explore these paths without experienced guide or unless you don't have strong walking experience of mountainous routes.
Sometimes people want to see these dangerous places themselves, whatever it costs and that is the wrong attitude!!
If you decide to go walking on madeira. You shouldn't go with trainers but have yourself somekind of hikingboots as
the paths are not always so level but stony and muddy in places. Also pay attention to clothing especially when you go up to the
mountains and north side of the island. It's not unusual to have ten degrees
drop of temperature in north side of the island comparing the southern sunny slopes.
When in funchal it can be +22 celcius and at the same time in queimadas it can be +12 degrees.
You should also carry all the rubbish with you to to litter... after all we are walking in natures paradise.
These sites were created 1.7.2007 (W3C marked are validated and updated:26.1.2009)