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Day 7 - Walk from Boa Morte to Cabo Girão & Câmara de Lobos

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  • On the levada
    / On the levada
    Photo: Suzel Gary
  • / Câmara de Lobos - Harbour - Cabo Girão
    Photo: Suzel Gary
m 700 600 500 400 300 200 100 -100 -200 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 km
Nest to the south facing flank of a volcanic mountain side, deeply eroded into penetrating valleys that run predominantly North/South. The trail strolls along the levada overlooking an alluvial plain that skirts the coastline. Urban expansion extends to the lower slopes of the high ground with typical agricultural terracing on a miniature scale.
moderate
Distance 15 km
5:00 h
60 m
610 m
599 m
13 m

Beginning with a taxi transfer to the edge of the village of Boa Morte, you join the Levada do Norte as it winds its way through eucalyptus, sweet chestnut and pine trees, above the cultivated fields of the alluvial plain. You will encounter private gardens bursting with flowers, look across rich red soils in furrowed terraces and see vegetables ripening on roof tiles. The sights and sounds of village life greet you from below as you pass high above the villages of Corujeira, Campanário and Quinta Grande. You can count the churches and listen to their bells as you pass by. 

Finally, after traversing a short tunnel, you work your way up to Cabo Girão with its spectacular cliffs and welcome refreshments. After taking in the views, you have the option of continuing down the steep valley sides to the quaint fishing village of Câmara do Lobos, where you can enjoy a drink in one of the many harbour side bars before catching a bus back to Funchal.

Author’s recommendation

Today’s walk brings you back to the extensive Levada do Norte. This levada trail on the woodland edge is useful for local population and clearly reveals the connection between the water channel and agriculture. After enjoying the stupendous views at Cabo Girão, consider the breathtaking descent to the fishers’ village.
Profile picture of Laura Paterson
Author
Laura Paterson
Update: January 19, 2022
Difficulty
moderate
Technique
Stamina
Experience
Landscape
Highest point
599 m
Lowest point
13 m

Tips and hints

Points of Interest

  • Cabo Girão is one of the highest sea cliffs in Europe. Although claimed to be first or second, it is more like the sixth, nevertheless to stand on its glass floored viewing platform over 580m above the shoreline is a thrilling experience. Cabo Girão viewpoint
  •  The roots of Madeira's wine industry date back to when the Island regularly supplied ships travelling to the New World and East Indies. Madeira Wine
  •  Câmara do Lobos - It was this traditional fishing village, situated five kilometres from Funchal, which inspired the late Sir Winston Churchill to paint its lovely surroundings, and a viewpoint next to a cliff top café overlooking the harbour bears his name as a permanent reminder.
  • Traditional drinks from Câmara do Lobos include: Madeira wine, the famous poncha, made with local rum, Nikita, a creamy cocktail (there is an alcohol-free version) and Pé de cabra, a stout-based drink.

Services 

  • Services in the nearby villages for the entire route. 
  • All services in Câmara de Lobos. 

Food & Drink 

  • Snack Bar 200m down the slope from the start (you can access going down the rough way below the water-house) 
  • Café at Cabo Girão. 
  • Bars and restaurants in Câmara de Lobos. 

Start

Boa Morte (558 m)
Coordinates:
DD
32.680118, -17.039883
DMS
32°40'48.4"N 17°02'23.6"W
UTM
28S 308740 3617664
w3w 
///juiciest.decant.poster

Destination

Câmara de lobos

Turn-by-turn directions

You will be picked up from your hotel at 9:00 am. START on the levada just below the roundabout near the entrance to the tunnel. 

0.00 km – AHEAD, along the levada do Norte towards “QUINTA GRANDE 11,5”, following the flow. After 100m or so, pass round the right of the water-house and pick up the path again on the other side. Here the levada is brand new. 

1.66 km – AHEAD over the road near the football pitch. 

2.18 km – AHEAD over the narrow road. 

Always following the levada and ignoring accesses to fields and houses. 

3.18 km – BEAR RIGHT across the dirt road. 

3.82 km – TURN RIGHT at the small car park / picnic area and pick up the levada path again - effectively turning a hairpin bend. Due to the works at the time of writing, the area might change.

After coming across 2 steep ways on this long section, a big wall borders the trail on the left. 

7.17 km – AHEAD across the road as the levada divides in several channels.  

7.34 km – AHEAD over the road and continue on the same path. After the house, the hill of Cabo Girão stands on the right-hand side, across the valley. 

Near a section between rocks, metal handrailing protects the way. After a sharp bend on the right, the levada narrows without protection and overlooks the road. Soon the levada is covered and runs under the road. 

8.83km – CROSS the road; you can see the flight of stairs you need to continue along the levada running on the other side of the road. BEAR LEFT UP the road – CAUTION: FAST TRAFFIC! 

Look for a gap in the wall on the right, next to a pole. Take the steps down; at the bottom of the stairs, TURN LEFT to join the levada path again and continue ahead. 

After about 200m, the levada is covered again past the small row of houses. 

9.51 km – LEFT into the tunnel (230m). Headtorch essential. 

NOTE: There is an option to avoid the tunnel. See route notes for this option under “Option to Cabo Girão”.

9.74 km – RIGHT, immediately after exiting the tunnel and follow the path ahead. 

9.97 km – AHEAD across small concrete steps in the VEREDA DA LEVADA DO FACHO. 

10.45 km – RIGHT up the steps and onto the road. You will return to this point (we’ll call it Point A), after visiting the viewpoint. Follow the tarmac road up to the RIGHT and past the holiday village complex. 

10.84 km – LEFT at the top of the hill and into the CABO GIRÃO viewpoint. Use the Skywalk if you dare!  

NOTE: From here it is possible to take either a bus or a taxi to Câmara do Lobos in order to avoid walking as although the views are lovely, the walking is quite urban. Buses depart intermittently (Company Rodoeste - grey buses with a red and white stripe) so we recommend taking a taxi to the village which costs around €20. 

If you want to walk return the same way you came to the steps at Point A

11.41 km – Continue DOWN the steps and ignore a concrete path on the left. 

11.60 km – TURN LEFT onto the road at the bottom of the steps. Look out for the steps with metal railing on the right-hand side after about 150m as the road sweeps round to the left. 

11.75 km – RIGHT onto the steep steps looking down to the village below. 

12.26 km – RIGHT once you come off the steps and continue along the tarmac road with castellation barrier on the left. Here starts the CAMINHO VELHO DO RANCHO and you will basically follow this path straight down. Continue onto a steep path past some house with steps roughly cut into the concrete. 

Follow the steps to the right at the foot of the hidden sign VEREDA DA AREIA AO PICO DO RANCHO.  

12.72 km – BEAR LEFT on the zebra crossing, down the concrete ramp along the railing. 

12.90 km – AHEAD over the road at the bottom of the steps, down the path marked CAMINHO VELHO DO RANCHO. 

13.04 km – AHEAD across the road next to the zebra crossing. This stepped path merges into a tarmac road. Continue until the first option to the right, before reaching the road. 

13.22 km – TURN RIGHT into the CAMINHO DA LEVADA DO RANCHO. 

BEAR RIGHT up the road opposite the CAFÉ MERCADO DO RANCHO for 50m only. 

13.32 km – BEAR LEFT on the right-hand side of the gate, in the CAMINHO DA LEVADA DO RANCHO. Go round the entrance of the house and TURN LEFT down the stairs, past another gate and alongside the banana plantation. The minor levada runs on the left and then on the right next to the wall. 

13.53km – TURN LEFT in front of the house No.5 towards apartment buildings. UP a few steps to reach the tarmac and BEAR RIGHT to find the main road. 

13.62 km – TURN RIGHT down the road – CAUTION: FAST TRAFFIC! 

13.81 km – AHEAD in the left bend and BEAR LEFT near the apartment buildings, alongside the banana plantation on the left and past the TRAVESSA DO SERRADO DO MAR. 

13.95 km – TURN LEFT at the zebra crossing next to a car park, go near the low wall and DOWN the steps past the gas tank. DOWN the road at the bottom of the steps. 

14.20 km – AHEAD through the tunnel (it’s safe). AHEAD after exiting the tunnel, where you will pass the premises of Henriques & Henriques, the famous Madeira wine merchants (visit and wine tasting on the 1st floor). 

14.57 km – BEAR RIGHT at the roundabout. 

14.66 km – AHEAD passed the church, and DOWN along the semi pedestrian cobbled street. 

Follow the cobbled street round the right and you will reach the harbour and your destination. 

Enjoy a traditional drink or coffee before catching a taxi or the bus back to Funchal from the roads above the harbour. Take the red line bus from the bus stop on the main road, which is visible from the harbour. They arrive from the west every 30 mins and it costs approx. €3 for a ticket to Funchal. 

Note


all notes on protected areas

Getting there

  •  Transfer to Boa Morte and public transport or taxi back to Funchal.
  • Alternative Transport: Bus from Cabo Girão to Funchal, with the option of stopping off at Câmara de Lobos.

Coordinates

DD
32.680118, -17.039883
DMS
32°40'48.4"N 17°02'23.6"W
UTM
28S 308740 3617664
w3w 
///juiciest.decant.poster
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike

Equipment

  • Head torch for the tunnel sections. 
  • Walking boots. 

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Photos from others


Difficulty
moderate
Distance
15 km
Duration
5:00 h
Ascent
60 m
Descent
610 m
Highest point
599 m
Lowest point
13 m

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