In the summer of 2004 we went to Madeira for a week. A fun, short walking holiday along levadas and flowers.
Madeira is also called the flower island. The island is 740 square kilometers, 57 km long and 23 km wide. The island has about 240.000 inhabitants of which 100.000 live in Funchal, the capitol. The road network is undergoing heavy construction, especially along the north coast when we were there, there were plenty of construction sites. If you going there for a holiday it's well worth while to rent a car. If you do, turn of the air conditioning and open the windows, the smell of flowers will flow into you car. You'll be driving across the island for fun.
During the walks we literally were walking in the flowers. So beautiful and impressive that we'll certainly go back there again!
Our casita (holiday home) on Madeira, Casa da Capelinha, was in Ponta Delgada. A small village on the north coast of Madeira. When we were there the new swimming pool was opened. A big party for this village.
We can certainly recommend visiting Madeira. Some items you shouldn't forget during walking though: a flashlight with batteries, walking sticks, good hiking boots, food and water for along the way and your camera.
Walking on Madeira
Most walks are along the levadas. The levadas are the irrigation system for the island. The transport the water from the north side to the south side of Madeira. Every levada starts with a waterfall. The water in the levadas is clear and cold. This is because the water is filtered through the rocks. Walking along the levadas isn't always easy, this is because the track is narrow sometimes, but also because the levadas are occasionally on the mountain sides. Sometimes you have to look along way down before seeing the ground and the cliffs are very steep on occasion. To keep the distances short a lot of tunnels have been built to guide the water. In these tunnels it's dark and cool, but also slippery and very low sometimes!
In the menu on the left you'll find more information about the walks and the places on Madeira we've been to.