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Day 4 - Alternative Levada Walk Caldeirão Verde

Randonnée · Portugal
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  • Ilha
    / Ilha
    Crédit photo : Suzel Gary
  • / On the way from Ilha to Caldeiro Verde
    Crédit photo : Suzel Gary
m 1000 800 600 400 12 10 8 6 4 2 km

This alternative walk is an option in case of wet weather, if the descent to Ilha is thought to be slippery.

Heavily eroded volcanic valley with steep sides. The surrounding ridge line traps the prevailing wind and moisture resulting in a humid tropical and sub-tropical forest. 

The climb to the levada is quite steep over steps and slippery clay paths. From the tunnels, gradient is almost level until the end of the walk. 

Distance 12,9 km
6:20 h.
538 m
133 m
1 106 m
480 m

From the little village of Ilha, the path goes steadily up to the Levada do Caldeirão Verde. On passing through a series of tunnels, you will arrive at Caldeirão Verde itself, a breath-taking 100m waterfall and one of the sources of the levada. On passing the head of the Ribeira dos Arcos, you are treated to a stunning display of ferns, flowers and foliage interspersed with waterfalls, through which can be seen amazing vistas of the valley below. The path widens near Parque das Queimadas traditional thatched cottages and the levada runs to Pico das Pedras.

Note de l'auteur

The levada and its tunnels provide a pleasant journey to enter deep in the heart of Madeira evergreen forest, making it an easy way to walk in a steep valley. Fresh water drips continually from the lush vegetation down to the water channel and majestic trees highlight this hiking experience.
Image de profil de Laura Paterson
Laura Paterson
Mise à jour: 19.01.2022
Niveau physique
Point le plus élevé
1 106 m
Point le plus bas
480 m

Consignes de sécurité

  • You must be sure-footed and have a head for heights.  
  • Some slippery sections. 
  • When path is narrow, walk carefully on the trail. 
  • In case of landslides, do not proceed if there is any hazard. 
  • Poor signal reception on part of the trail.  
  • Poor gps coverage also, data might diverge from given information. 

Conseils et recommandations supplémentaires

Points of Interest

  • The Levada do Caldeirão Verde is one of the most famous and striking levadas on the island.  
  • The Laurisilva of Madeira is the largest surviving example of laurel forest that once covered much of Southern Europe 15-40 million years ago. It is a unique environment shared by the western group of the Canaries, the Azores and Cape Verde Islands. Since 1999 it has enjoyed the status of a UNESCO World Heritage listing. Laurisilva of Madeira - UNESCO - The Laurissilva Forest of Madeira
  • The typical fauna and flora of the Laurisilva of Madeira can be found at Queimadas Forest Park. Queimadas Forest Park
  • Santana is a beautiful village on the north coast, famous for its small triangular houses built of natural stone and thatched with straw. Near Santana townhall, you can visit some of these colourful fairy tale houses hosting small shops. Santana traditional houses


Santana is well served with banks, supermarkets, numerous bars and restaurants, a pharmacy and a bus station. 

Food & Drink

  • Picnic and water required.
  • Bar at Queimadas. 


Ilha (479 m)
Coordonnées :
32.805878, -16.911352
32°48'21.2"N 16°54'40.9"W
28S 321045 3631384


Pico das Pedras


You will be picked up from your hotel at 9:00 am. START in front of the tourist information board that marks the start of the walk.

0.00 km – TURN LEFT and CLIMB the stairs following the PR1.1 sign. You will follow the trail PR1.1 until the levada.

Carry on UP the trail and along a minor levada.

NOTE: This path will be slippery when wet.

0.18 km – BEAR LEFT in the bend, along the fence.

0.21 km – AHEAD at the junction with the sign GRANEL, UP the wide way following the PR1.1 sign indicating PICO RUIVO 7,9 KM.

0.46 km – BEAR RIGHT uphill at the junction overlooking Santana, in the direction of PICO RUIVO 7,6 KM.

0.56 km – BEAR LEFT up the log stairs following PICO RUIVO 7,4 KM – be careful, the vegetation is hiding the entrance of the path. From now on, mind your head.

1.16 km – AHEAD across the road at the top of the path and join the narrow path opposite. Carry on uphill following PICO RUIVO 6,7 KM.

1.51 km – BEAR RIGHT up the rough road, usually very slippy. Continue until a junction with eucalyptus trees.

1.68 km – BEAR LEFT up the trail to PICO RUIVO 6 KM.

2.19 km – BEAR LEFT at the VALE DA LAPA clearing. The sign indicates PICO RUIVO 5,5 KM. The path is not so steep now but narrow on some sections.

3.33 km – BEAR LEFT at the junction, leaving now the PR1.1 track. A few meters ahead runs the levada.

3.36 km – TURN RIGHT on the levada, upstream and following the sign for “PR 9 CALDEIRÃO VERDE 2 KM” just before the first tunnel. You will return to this spot to pick up the path to Queimadas and Pico das Pedras later. You will pass through three tunnels until the waterfall. 

NOTE: Headlamps are essential, and the tunnel paths can be narrow with very limited headroom in sections.

5.06 km – TURN LEFT up the rock path for a further 100m where you will reach the Caldeirão Verde, and see its magnificent 100m waterfall. If the access to the cascade is restricted, it is possible to see the waterfall from the authorized area. 

When ready, retrace your steps back to the turn off for ILHA.

7.04 km – AHEAD along the levada, following the sign indicating PR 9 QUEIMADAS 4,5 KM. AHEAD through the last, short tunnel.

8.13 km – AHEAD across the bridge and past the waterfall

10.02 km – AHEAD and down the steps, and up again.

11.06 km – TURN LEFT over the bridge at the duck houses and on the flat cobbled path in front of the thatched cottages. 

NOTE: Pay toilets on the left-hand side, near the car park.

11.13 km – Second way on the RIGHT at the junction following the sign PICO DAS PEDRAS and the levada. Continue on the wide earthen way.

11.49 km – AHEAD over the bridge.

12.90 km – At the car park after the information board PR JOEL, you have reached your destination. Meet your taxi here at 4:00 pm


Toutes les notes sur les zones naturelles

S'y rendre

  • Transfer to Ilha in the morning.
  • Transfer from Pico das Pedras at the end of the day.


32.805878, -16.911352
32°48'21.2"N 16°54'40.9"W
28S 321045 3631384
Y aller en train, en voiture ou en vélo


  • A good head torch is essential for the tunnel sections.  
  • Raingear and warm clothing.  
  • Walking boots.

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Photos de la communauté

12,9 km
6:20 h.
Dénivelé positif
538 m
Dénivelé négatif
133 m
Point le plus élevé
1 106 m
Point le plus bas
480 m


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