Madeira's many levada walks are an amazing way to see the island, there are many to choose from all over the island and we can provide you with more information about the various hikes and levada walks available.
Below are some details about the "Levada dos Tornos" which is one of our favourite walks and the levada which is closest to the Palheiro Estate as well as a few short walks.
Levada dos Tornos
Distance – 4 km
Time – 3 to 4 hours including lunch
Destination – The village of Monte, top station for the Madeira cable car.
Tips – This is a relatively easy walk, but you should wear comfortable waterproof walking shoes, as the paths can be muddy and slippery, especially in winter and after rain, and there are shallow streams to cross along the latter part of the route.
Turn right out of the entrance to the Quinta do Palheiro Ferreiro gardens. Follow the Caminho do Palheiro Ferreiro road uphill for 250m and into the village of Palheiro Ferreiro. Turn left in the village and walk 100m up to a garage on the left, where you will see a sign pointing left up a track to the Levada dos Tornos and the Jasmin Tea House. Follow the track for 100m to reach the Levada, and turn left (signposted Monte).
From here are lovely views of the Quinta do Palheiro estate and golf course. After 100m cross a tarmac road and continue into woodland, with a view of Funchal harbour to your left. The levada path follows the contour into the valley, through woodland, past newly built flats and commercial vegetable gardens. After 20 minutes you will see a prominent sign pointing to the left that reads "Jasmin Tea House". Ten minutes more brings you to the other lunch option, the Hortensia Gardens Tea House, along the levada path, across a main road after 5 minutes and round a corner with views of Funchal across a slope where an orange grove has replaced the eucalyptus forest.
From here, follow the levada path through woods, a mass of mimosa from December to April, and bursting with blue agapanthus in summer. After approximately 15 minutes you will come to another road, cross it, and continue on the levada path until you come to a large collection tank from which spring water is fed into the levada.
Immediately beyond this, divert right, following a path that climbs to a woodshed and then descends again, skirting the fenced-off Quinta do Pomar, an aristocratic residence with beautiful formal gardens. Just beyond the Quinta chapel, the levada path comes to an iron door, beyond which lies the Caminho do Meio road.
Turn right on the road and walk uphill for about 30m, then turn left along an old cobbled track called the Travessa do Largo da Choupana. Follow this track for five minutes, skirting Quinta da Choupana, the estate that is now Choupana Hills Resort. After another five minutes the cobbled track brings you back to the levada path.
Follow the path through lovely, often damp woodland, with an abundance of Madeiran species of trees and a variety of mosses and lichens. You need to cross three shallow streams in the next 30 minutes´ walking (1.2 km). The levada then disappears into a concrete conduit, and you have to walk on top for 30m before descending a short flight of steps to a cobbled path.
You are now in the village of Romeiros, where several paths meet, so take care not to get lost. Follow the cobbled path (signposted Levada do Bom Sucesso/Monte), ignoring the path right (signposted Levada dosTornos). After 100m, the path divides: go right onto an old cobbled path (signposted Monte). Almost immediately this path descends into the Ribeira de João Gomes, a splendidly scenic valley with the Teleféricos daMadeira (Madeira Cable Car) station just visible on the opposite side, high above the sheer cliffs of the canyon-like valley. After 15 minutes of knee-testing descent, you can rest at a bridge with breathtaking views of rocky cliffs, tumbling streams, waterworn rocks and shallow pools. That leaves another strenuous 10 minute climb before the zigzagging path reaches Monte.
Option 1 – Walk from Quinta do Palheiro Ferreiro to the Jasmin Tea House (30 minutes/1.5 km) or continue to the Hortensia Gardens Tea House (40 minutes/1.8 km). To return to Funchal, catch bus 47 (which passes both tea houses).
Option 2 – Take bus 47 to the Jasmin Tea House or Hortensia Gardens Tea House and start the walk from there, cutting out the relatively urban first 30-40 minutes of the Levada.
Option 3 – Take bus 29 from Funchal to Romeiros village about 1.6 km east of Monte, and just follow the last 30 minutes (1.5 km) of the walk, which is the most difficult (but also the most scenic) stretch.