Caldeirão Verde Levada Walk (PR 9)

Hike, Historic Building and Waterfalls in Santana (Madeira)

Caldeirão Verde Levada Walk
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Froth82

The Levada do Caldeirão Verde hike stands out as one of the Vereda da Ponta de São Lourenco (PR8) Hike Guide is one of the best levada walks on Madeira island, characterized by its gentle incline, lush jungles, and a series of captivating waterfalls. Renowned for its incredible natural beauty, this levada trail has earned its popularity among hikers due to the presence of a stunning waterfall, the enveloping dense jungle scenery, and, notably, its relatively flat terrain with minimal incline.

This trail is a top choice for those who relish walking but prefer to avoid strenuous uphill treks. It provides a delightful experience with numerous scenic viewpoints and the spectacle of a magnificent waterfall, all without requiring ascent up steep stairs or hills. If you appreciate picturesque landscapes and the soothing ambiance of waterfalls but seek a more moderate hiking challenge, the Levada do Caldeirão Verde is highly recommended, ensuring a memorable and enjoyable excursion on Madeira island.

  • Distance: 8.7 km (17.4 km round trip)
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Duration: 6:30 hours
  • Start/End: Queimadas Forest Park / Caldeirão do Inferno
  • Max. Altitude / Min. Altitude: 1020 m / 872 m

How to get to Levada do Caldeirao Verde

Levada do Caldeirao Verde by Car: To reach the trailhead of the Levada do Caldeirão Verde hike, located in the north/central part of Madeira, start your journey in Funchal, the capital of the island. Drive north and navigate around the center of the island, as there is no direct route from Funchal to the hike. Please be aware that the travel time may be slightly longer compared to destinations on the other side of the valley. Utilize the provided pin location for the Levada do Caldeirão Verde hike trailhead to guide you. Expect the journey to take approximately 45 minutes from Funchal to the trailhead. Parking is available at the trailhead, and the fee is less than 1 Euro per hour, with a maximum charge of 3 Euros for your entire stay. Ensure you have some change for the parking fee.

If you have not rented a car in Madeira then you will need to take a guided tour to Levada das Queimadas – Caldeirão Verde.

Levada do Caldeirao Verde by public Transport & Taxi: You can catch the bus to Santana and catch a taxi to either to Queimadas Forestry Park or Pico das Pedras. It is slightly cheaper to taxi to Pico das Pedras and then walk up Caminho para todos” to Queimadas – I have shown this on the map.

Alternative Start Point: Um caminho para todos

The alternative Start Point commences at Pico das Pedras and adds a short length of 2.1km to the start of the walk. This easy and accessible path, Um caminho para todos, meaning a walk for all, is suitable for individuals of all ages, making it an excellent choice for family outings with children. Its brevity is complemented by a wide and well-protected trail, ensuring a safe and direct connection with the wonders of nature. Pico das Pedras is on the road from Santana to Achada do Teixeira, which is the start of the PR1.2 Vereda do Pico Ruivo walk.

The Caldeirão Verde Levada Walk

The trail spans a distance of 12 kilometres, offering a round trip adventure with a breath-taking waterfall as its centrepiece. The journey commences with a picturesque passage through scenic levada trails, enveloped entirely by the lush jungle. The dense greenery creates an immersive experience, limiting visibility to just a few meters of vibrant green surroundings. It’s undeniably one of the most beautiful levada walks on Madeira!

The trail starts in the Queimadas forest park in the municipality of Santana by the Casa de Abrigo das Queimadas, which is a house/museum, with a cafe and toilets. which maintains the original features of the typical Casas de Santana, triangular in shape and with the traditional thatched roof.

The primary waterfall awaits at the halfway point, but the trail treats you to an earlier waterfall a few kilometres in. Positioned alongside the trail, it resembles the older path, hinting at the norm of encountering water on a Madeira trail.

A distinctive feature of the Levada do Caldeirão Verde hike is the series of four tunnels that punctuate the trail. Varying in length and height, these tunnels necessitate the use of a phone light or headlamp. Caution is advised regarding head clearance, as some sections have low roofs. While tunnel experiences are always intriguing, these are relatively short, spanning only a few hundred meters, unlike some longer tunnels found elsewhere in Madeira.

As you approach the waterfall, the trail emerges from the dense forest, winding around the cliffside with a notable drop-off on your right. Despite the safeguarding railings, the views in this section are stunning, offering panoramic vistas of the valley and the peaks above.

The final steps guide you to the amphitheatre of the Caldeirão Verde Waterfall. However, a sign indicates that entering the arena and approaching the waterfall is prohibited due to a rockfall/landslide incident in 2019, resulting in injuries. Despite the closure, a well-worn path around the sign suggests that visitors still venture close to the waterfall at their own risk.

The waterfall itself is among the finest in Madeira, standing at an impressive height of around 100 meters, cascading into a circular lagoon below. While the freezing water may deter some, it provides a majestic backdrop for those willing to take a dip. Framing shots amidst the vibrant green ferns enhances the experience of this natural arena.

Continue on to Caldeirão do Inferno Waterfall?

Once you’ve taken in the awe-inspiring beauty of the waterfall, there’s an enticing option to extend your journey by an additional 3 kilometers, embarking on the Caldeirão do Inferno Levada walk. This extension seamlessly continues from the Caldeirão Verde Levada walk  to reach an incredible canyon and then one final, massive waterfall.

It’s important to note that the signpost may underestimate the actual distance, so be prepared for the total hike to reach approximately the 21-kilometer mark if you choose to proceed to Caldeirão do Inferno. This extension promises further exploration and additional scenic wonders for those eager to delve deeper into the captivating landscapes of Madeira.

Return Journey

The return journey retraces the initial path through the tunnels back to the parking lot, where a second round of coffee and cake awaits, free from judgment.

The Caldeirão Verde Levada Walk (PR 9) appears in our Complete Guide to Visiting Santana (Madeira)!

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Visiting Caldeirão Verde Levada Walk (PR 9)

Address: PR9 Levada do Caldeirão Verde, Santana, Portugal
Duration: 4 hours
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