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Parque Florestal das Queimadas

Levada do Calderão Verde; a stunning hike in Madeira with lush green surroundings

Hiking in Madeira is so wonderful! And if you love greenery and waterfalls, Levada do Calderão Verde is a perfect route! No need to train for this one as the walk is on relatively flat terrain and it's classified as easy! So get those hiking boots on, and let's discover this beautiful trail!

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Discover Levada do Calderão Verde

A quick overview

What to see? Lots of greenery, mountains, waterfalls, a traditional Madeira house, and a green ´cauldron´!

Costs? The hike is free; parking costs a few euros. 

Where? Northern Madeira (a Portuguese island in The Atlantic Ocean).

Distance? 17,4 kilometres return journey, about 4-5 hours of walking.

Levadas da Madeira

This particular levada, Levada do Calderão Verde, was built in the 18th century, and the levada starts from Madeira’s highest mountains. Water flows through the irrigation system all the way down to the town of Faial. The levadas on the island are now UNESCO World Heritage, and the total water transportation system contains around 2.200 kilometres of public and private waterways or aqueducts. They are usually no more than one meter wide and approximately 50 to 60 centimetres deep.

In total, you can find around 200 levadas in Madeira! On top, you’ll find about 40 kilometres of tunnels along the levadas. The earliest levadas were built in 1515. What a work of art they created! Nowadays, many levadas and their networks are used as hiking trails on the island. The perfect setting for spectacular walks!

The PR 9 Levada do Calderão Verde hike

Levada do Calderão Verde is known as route PR 9, and it’s a perfect hike in Madeira for beginners. The surface is pretty flat, but good walking shoes are definitely a recommendation. The trail is, however, pretty long. The length is 8,7 kilometres, plus 8,7 kilometres to return. It’s a point-to-point trail, but there is plenty to see along the way and returning the same route certainly isn’t dull. The walk will take, on average, between 4 to 5 hours, depending on your speed and the time you’ll spend at the trail’s end. The height difference is only 93 meters, and you’ll barely notice the difference.

The WalkMe Madeira App

For any hikes around Madeira Island, the WalkMe Madeira App is perfect. You will have access to all trails on the island for a small fee. The maps work offline, so you never get lost! Besides, you´ll find tips, more information and GPS points on the maps. It’s a trusted way to discover the green trails in Madeira! Check this app to ensure the tracks on the island are open and if you should take any precautions. Safety first!

What will you need to hike Levada do Calderão Verde?

Besides good hiking boots with a firm grip, you’ll need a few more things for this trail. During your walk, you’ll come across several tunnels. For that reason, you should bring a torch or a headlamp. Your phone flashlight might also do the trick, but keeping your hands free is recommended. Some of these tunnels are narrow and not very high. Accidents can quickly happen on these parts of the trail. Bring some plasters also, just in case.

Bring a picnic and plenty of water, as the hike is pretty long. Especially the endpoint is a popular spot to eat and drink something. Please remember not to leave any trash behind. There are no trashcans on this trail, but at the starting point, there are plenty of bins to dispose of any rubbish. A rain jacket always comes in handy in Madeira! And especially if it rained recently, the waterfalls along the trail might drench you! Prepare to get wet!

Layers are the best way to stay warm during your hikes on Madeira. On hot days it’s wise to bring sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat. Prepare for colder parts on the trail, also.

The starting point of Levada do Calderão Verde

You´ll start the hike at Queimadas Forest Park, a stunning place that’s already worth the journey! Here you’ll discover Casa de Abrigo das Queimadas, a typical Madeira house. The thatched roof makes this fairy tale scenery complete. Look inside as there is a museum where you can learn about these typical A-framed houses. And besides, there is a little house which offers delicious cakes, hot drinks, and refreshments! Now that’s something to look forward to when you return from your hike! There are plenty of picnic areas, and the birds and cats roam around freely. Queimadas Forest Park is also an excellent place for children as there is a little geese farm, a pond and a bird-watching spot.

What will you see along the trail of Levada do Calderão Verde?

The Levada do Calderão Verde trail will start just behind Queimadas Forest Park, and it’s super easy to follow. The track can be pretty wet all year round, and you’ll quickly notice water gushing from the rocks. Thanks to the water, this trail is sooooo green! You’ll often walk along an irrigation canal, the so-called Levadas (levar means to carry in Portuguese). Look closely, as you might spot some trout swimming in the canals! Follow the winding roads and discover all shades of green you can imagine!

You’ll be walking in the midst of the Laurissilva forest, and the trees often make space for some stunning views over the valley. You see plenty of waterfalls, and after going through a series of tunnels (watch your head!), you´ll reach what you came for, the Calderão Verde. Calderão Verde translates to Green Cauldron, and by looking at the shape, you can see where the name comes from. Look up and around you; it seems like you’re inside a cauldron! From the middle of the Calderão, you see a waterfall which drops from an altitude of about 100 meters! The water runs into a lake (ice cold), and it´s a paradise to enjoy your lunch.

Please note: previously, this area was closed off due to landslides and in 2019, people got injured. Always be aware of your surroundings and follow the path.

Caldeirão do Inferno

You can then choose to return to Queimadas Forest Park, or if you have enough energy, add another hike to your day! Caldeirão do Inferno is an extension of Levada do Calderão Verde. After just 2,4 kilometres, you’ll reach Caldeirão do Inferno. Enjoy the view of the canyon and the massive waterfall! If you add Caldeirão do Inferno to your hike, the total journey will be around 20 kilometres with approximately 300 meters of incline. See? That cake mentioned earlier is a well-deserved treat!

Please note at the time of writing, Caldeirão do Inferno is closed. Before heading out, please check if you can extend your hike or should return to Queimadas Forest Park. This path is often under construction due to landslides and rockfall. Although the trail is officially fenced off, many people decide to ignore this and finish the hike. Please be responsible during your trip and don’t put yourself in unsafe situations.

How to get to Levada do Calderão Verde by car?

From Funchal, there isn’t a direct route to Levada do Calderão Verde, but it’s easy to reach. The drive will take you around 45 minutes. Santana is the closest town; from here, you’ll get to the car park in about 15 minutes. The GPS location is 32°47’00.6″N 16°54’25.4″W.

Renting a car is the easiest way to discover Madeira. With a car, you can explore the island and visit places off the beaten track! Check out the below car rental offers and book your transportation during your trip! Need help with car rental in Portugal? Read the complete guide!

Levada do Calderão Verde parking

The Queimadas Parking Lot is next to where the trail starts. You can park your car here for only a few euros an hour.

How to get to Levada do Calderão Verde by bus?

If you rely on public transport, it will be harder to get to Calderão Verde. Not impossible, but harder. From Funchal, you can take a bus to Santana. So far, so good. But from there you’ll either have to walk or take a taxi. It would take around 1,5 hours to walk, and it’s only 8 minutes by car. As you’re already going to hike, a taxi might be your best bet.

Book a tour to hike Levada do Calderão Verde

Luckily, some guided tours are also available to hike Levada do Calderão Verde. Transport is included, and the tour will last around 8 to 9 hours. By booking a tour, you can relax and enjoy your day. Well, that is until you start hiking! But everything is taken care of, and a professional guide will join you on the walk. They can point to specific trees, birds, and other natural places in the valley.

What else can you see around Levada do Calderão Verde?

Levada do Calderão Verde is not far from Santana. This town is known for its a-framed traditional houses, and you can view them from the inside! It’s the perfect spot to try a poncha (an alcoholic Madeira speciality) and buy some souvenirs. Or visit Parque Temático da Madeira and learn more about the traditions in Madeira. Driving further inland, you’ll discover the highest peaks of Madeira. If you have energy left, you can take a short walk to the top of Pico Ruivo (around 5.4 kilometres return, or 1 to 2 hours of walking). But you can, of course, leave that for another day as well! You can extend this hike from Pico Ruivo all the way to Pico do Arieiro, and the PR 1 is a favourite hike for many. Click here for more easy hikes in Madeira.

Hotels in Madeira

Santana is a fabulous place to stay during your holiday in Madeira. It’s pretty close to many levadas, and the town is surrounded by nature. A beautiful luxury stay close to the trail is Villa Achada da Mouca, a stunning place in nature. Another great spot is the Flowers’ House in Santana. If you prefer to stay in Funchal, even more hotels and accommodations are available. Check out your favourite spot on the island and book your place in Madeira.


Levada do Calderão Verde is perfect for beginners, and the hike is not too tedious. The many tunnels might be the only downside to the trail, but the stunning views make up for that in seconds! The lush green surroundings, the waterfalls and the viewpoints make Levada do Calderão Verde one of the best hikes in Madeira. Have fun, and stay safe! Fancy a more challenging hike? Then the PR8 at Ponta de São Lourenço might be perfect for you. Read all about it in this article!

Written by Marga

Written by Marga

Content creator, travel writer and photographer

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I’m Marga, the blogger and photographer behind this site! I live in Lisbon, and I’m a cat-mum to 13-year-old Savage. I love coffee, cheese, a good book and exploring this beautiful country. I write about Lisbon and the rest of Portugal, and I hope this website will help as an inspiration for your holiday.

14 Responses

  1. We had one day in Madeira and we were moved from spot to spot by bus. But we saw so many spots for a return visit to hike. Great to know that Levada do Calderão Verde will be good for beginners – or those a bit out of shape! Some great sights along the route. A tour sounds like a good idea so you don’t have to get back to your car.

  2. I loved the Levada walks although I tried a different one. Madeira has a lot of beautiful hikes. Can’t wait to try them all during my next visit. I am saving this for my next trip. 🙂

  3. Great post and good to read that Levada do Calderao Verde is good for beginners. The scenery looks amazing, and the tunnels would add to the experience.

  4. Gooorgeous! I love hiking through lush greenery (that is why we love Canada so much) so it is great to see hiking in Madeira is similarly stunning! The WalkMe Madeira App sounds really helpful… Also did you notice that one of your first photos of the tunnels looks like a love heart? <3

  5. Wow, what a beautiful hike! I would definitely add on the extra 2km for the waterfall. Thanks for including info on how to get there and what to expect for parking!

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