Madeira Island Sports & Outdoors

  • A worker we saw during our levada hike.
    A worker we saw during our levada hike.
    by Jerelis
  • Madeira, by sky (I dont know who take her)
    Madeira, by sky (I dont know who take...
    by AnaMargarida
  • The three of us hiking!
    The three of us hiking!
    by Jerelis

Most Recent Sports & Outdoors in Madeira Island

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    Ponta de Sao Lourenco - Most eastern peninsula.

    by Jerelis Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Jeroen and Iris looking over a huge cliff.
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    They say that the Ponta de Sao Lorenco is one of the last nearly untouched places in Europe. For a fact it´s the most eastern peninsula of Madeira's island with a length of 9 kilometers and a width of 2 kilometers. This includes the two islands Ilheu da Cevada and Ilheu da Ponta de Sao Lourenco. It was declared a National Reserve in 1982 with the objective of preserving its fauna, flora and geological heritage. Nowadays it´s part of the Parque National da Madeira.

    The vegetation of Ponta de Sao Lourenco is very special and unique within Macronesia, not because it's unchanged, but for the presence of important groups that are virtually confined to this area. Apart from the rich vegetation, this reserve is home to many bird species and even sea lions that can be occasionally be seen. It´s trully a place where we found a fantastic combination of rocks, sea, animals and nature.

    Equipment: Have a look at Madeira Packing List.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Desert

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    Ponta de Sao Lourenco - Baia da Abra.

    by Jerelis Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Relinde overviewing the amazing landscape.
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    The access to the Nature Reserve is free. However, amenities are minimal. Gravel parking lots, if they exist at all, are small. But after parking the car at the parking space we started our hike in front of Baia da Abra on the south coast. We walked our way to the north coast. The trail follows the coastline the entire time, with great views at the rocky formations below, and the Atlantic Ocean beyond.

    We thought that this preserve was a bit eccentric, because it looks like a dessert or sometimes a steppe and it definately has no levades like the rest of the island! The paths were small and let us along some fascinating rocky ledges. After going for a while we came to a point where we could descend down to the rocky coast. We spended quite some time here, marvelling at the fascinating rocky formations. After enjoying the sights from different angels we returned to the main trail.

    Equipment: Have a look at Madeira Packing List.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Desert
    • Hiking and Walking

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    Ponta de Sao Lourenco - Numerous rocky islands.

    by Jerelis Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    A natural arch near the coast line.
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    The hike invited us to climb up the rocks and once up there we saw very little evidence of man´s changes to the island. There are excellent views over both the northern and southern sides of the island. When the weather conditions allow it, also on Porto Santo Island. Unfortunately we were not that lucky. Once we were at the north side of the island we saw that it was quite different compared with the south coast. The north coast is more dramatic and not easily accessibly by boat, because it is more exposed to the winds and rough see.

    Right here the waves swept against the rocks and numerous little rocky islands. The south coast has seen less erosion and there exists numerous possibilities to reach the shore by boat. A trully amazing hike and we agreed on the fact that this would be a great place to watch the sun set.

    Equipment: Have a look at Madeira Packing List.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Desert

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    Levadas - Old and new levadas.

    by Jerelis Updated Jan 7, 2007

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    A levada near a mountain rim.
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    So, it was time for us to introduce ourselves to Madeira's "signature" hiking experience - the levada paths. Before we left Paulo told us an interesting story aout the difference between old and new levadas. The older levadas, built centuries ago, are narrow and plummet steeply downhill from mountainside springs - really challenging walking.Their banks are covered with wild flowers and the water rushes and foams with energy. The newer levadas are wide "mini-canals" and their banks run horizontally along the island's contours - ideal for easy walks. Their flow is stately and serene and their banks are lovingly planted with Agapathus Lilies and Hydrangeas.

    We enjoyed several levada hikes that took us into narrow valleys walled-in by towering, flutted cliffs and into subtropical greenery! We witnessed that often the paths were overhung with flowers and other unusual sub-tropical plants and they nearly all gave us wonderful views down towards the valleys and the sea. One of our favourite hike was when we followed the course of the levada do Canical (the "Mimosa Levada") as it makes it way "through the backyards" of settlements at the upper edge of the town of Machico. It passed through some traditional settlements, some of which were quite poor. For although the island has obviously benefited from tourism since the advent of cruises and air flight, the wealth has not necessarily spread right down through the social structure.

    Equipment: Have a look at Madeira Packing List.

    Related to:
    • Mountain Climbing
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Eco-Tourism

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    Levadas - Like hiking? Madeira is your paradise!

    by Jerelis Updated Jan 7, 2007

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    Amazing views during our hike!
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    If you like hiking, Madeira is your paradise! Walking the "levada" paths is one of the most popular activities with visitors. Levadas (Portuguese for "led") are irrigation canals and they transport the rainfall water from the north, which has almost 2 meters of rain a year, to the dry south.

    In the 16th century the Portuguese started building levadas to carry water to the agricultural regions. The most recent was made in the 1940s. Madeira is very mountainous and building the leveadas was often difficult. Such watercourses are not unique; what is unique is their accessibility and extent. The maintenance-paths along the levadas will take you to places you would have never reached any other way. The island's irrigation system now comprises an impressive 2150 km of channels, including 40 km of tunnelsand therefore provide a remarkable network of walking paths. For the hiker today, the levadas permit access to a wonderful variety of landscapes, which would otherwise be inaccessible. Some of them are not for the `faint-hearted` - as they have quite high vertical drops beside them, but will be able to choose routes which suits us.

    Equipment: Have a look at Madeira Packing List.

    Related to:
    • Eco-Tourism
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Mountain Climbing

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  • Jerelis's Profile Photo

    Levadas - Our hike was at the Poios Levadas.

    by Jerelis Updated Jan 6, 2007

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    Relinde hiking along a dried out levada.
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    Another hike was at the Poios Levadas. This particular hike took us along some new levadas which transported the water to the terraces (poios). Later during this walk we heared water streaming like it was a river. Yes, indeed, you guessed it right...we found an old levada. It was quite a contrast. Besides the fact that we appreciated Madeira's myriad aqueducts for their beauty and ingenuity of design, we also loved all those magnificent views we had at the mountain rims.

    Walking the levadas is just great, some of them do provide easy and relaxing walks through beautiful countrysides. But do keep in mind that others are narrow and crumbling ledges where a slip could result in a serious injury (or evend eath). Our tip is to prepare yourself and collect updated information about the route you are planning to follow. And make sure about the total time you will be spending on that route, so that you will finish the hike before dark.

    Equipment: Have a look at Madeira Packing List.

    Related to:
    • Eco-Tourism
    • Mountain Climbing
    • Hiking and Walking

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    Pico do Arieiro - Don't be afraid of heights!

    by Jerelis Written Oct 29, 2006
    The three of us hiking!
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    The excellent built path to Pico Ruivo, with an altitude of 1862 meters the highest peak of the island is a two to three hour walk. It's quite steep, because the high mountains in the center of the island only have a few kilometers to get down to sea level. But once there it has incredible views over the north, east, west and south.

    By the time we returned to Pico do Arieiro we really saw a lot of tourists! We started out at 9 o'clock in the morning with only a French couple at the parking lot. But now we saw over 15 coaches (tour busses). Most visitors won't stay too long. They only take some pictures of the beautiful views and buy something at the way too expensive souvenir shop. For us the hike was a morning well spent!

    Equipment: Have a look at Madeira Packing List.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Mountain Climbing

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  • Jerelis's Profile Photo

    Pico do Arieiro - Enjoying the overwhelming views.

    by Jerelis Updated Oct 29, 2006

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    Jeroen and Iris at the sign at the top.
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    Because of the good weather we had some spectacular views of the island. We could see all the way to Porto Santo which lies 45 nautical kilometers to the north. After enjoying the overwhelming views we decided to go for a hike towards Pico Ruivio. It must be noted that all major peaks are accessible from Pico do Arieiro.

    The path we took was excellently constructed. It's a wonderful hiking path with its ups and downs, from the beginning to the end. We learned that on a daily average only 1000 tourists do hike on it. It was quite a strenous walk, but we were justly rewarded with suburb views to all corners of the island. We passed the shoulder of Pico Moledo and this afforded an excellent view down the Ribeira Seca and the Penha de Aguia.

    Equipment: Have a look at Madeira Packing List.

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Mountain Climbing
    • National/State Park

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    Pico do Arieiro - The road towards it.

    by Jerelis Updated Oct 29, 2006

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    Just above the clouds.
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    The Pico do Arieiro is with its altitude of 1818 meters the third highest peak on the island of Madeira. It can be reached easily by car and from here you can walk 10 extremely spectacular kilometers to Madeira's highest mountain, the 1862 meters high Pico Ruivo, that is ... if you're not afraid of heights!

    When we left by car towards Pico do Arieiro the weather was heavily clouded in Santo da Serra. With our car we drove through the clouds and later on we saw them below us, which gave a spectacular view! After a 40 minutes drive we reached the Pico do Arieiro car Posado with its car park, bar, restaurant and accomodation. It was about 9 o'clock in the morning and we only met a French couple.

    Equipment: Have a look at Madeira Packing List.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Mountain Climbing

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    Football (soccer)

    by ncfg Updated Mar 19, 2006

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    Well, everybody knows how much I like football, so I had to add this tip.
    Madeira has two major clubs, Maritimo and Nacional da Madeira.
    If you like this sport perhaps you will have a chance to watch a game. When I had been there unfortunately Maritimo was playing in the mainland.
    The Estádio dos Barreiros is the stadium where both teams play, I had been there but I didn’t take any photo.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel

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    Golf

    by AnaMargarida Written Jun 22, 2005

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    "The mild climate on the two islands is ideal for golf all year round. This, together with the exceptionally beautiful scenery, influenced the decision to build two golf courses in Madeira and one in Porto Santo."
    We have golf in 3 places:
    Santo da Serra Golf Club
    Palheiro Golf
    Porto Santo Golf

    Related to:
    • Luxury Travel
    • Golf

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    Running, jogging or just walking

    by bambino36 Written Sep 9, 2004
    Levada Vala Paraiso, Madeira Island

    In Funchal was difficult to find a good place to run. Usually I went to run along the "promenade" from Lido to Praia Formosa, however do it everyday on a hard pavement and under a hot sun wasn't my idea of enjoying the run.
    In the attempt of reverse this situation I've found a couple of "levadas" not far from the city (aprox. 15mins driving) that were much more comfortable to run. Soft ground under tree shadows and a slight wind was what I was looking for.
    This Levada Vala Paraiso was one of them and it has also great views over the ocean.

    Equipment: The same what normally uses to run, jogging or do long walks

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    Levada Hikes

    by sandysmith Updated Oct 30, 2003

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    levada course

    Mnay people enjoy the "Levada" water course walks in Madeira. Such irrigation channels were made by early settlers in Madeira to cultivate the land. The island's irrigation system now comprises an impressive 2150km (1350 miles) of channels, including 40km (25 miles) of tunnels, all waiting to be explored.

    We enjoyed (sort of in the pouring rain!!) a 12km levada walk from Ribeiro Frio (central Madeira) to Portela - one of Madeira's most well known levada walks, graded 2 (easy-moderate). It takes you through tropical and woodland vegetation a round the mountains, waterfalls are encountered that you go underneath and through at times.

    Equipment: Good walking boots, wet weather gear, just in cases, and torches for the tunnels!
    A mountain guide is sometimes necessary but at the very least get up to date info on the state of the levada and a good map. Some are not well maintained, some high ledges may not be protected from a sheer drop and can be dangerous. Not for those who may suffer from vertigo!

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    • Hiking and Walking

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    Levada walks

    by Travelchili Updated Sep 15, 2003

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    Levada

    Levadas are the most famous walking trails in Madeira. They are the irrigation canals that have been constructed ever since the Portuguese first colonized the island to channel water from the mountains to lower-lying agricultural land. There are over 2000km of levadas in Madeira, so there are many different levada trails to choose from.

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    • Hiking and Walking

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    Hiking

    by Travelchili Updated Sep 15, 2003

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    Starting at Pico do Arieiro

    If you enjoy hiking or taking long walks, Madeira will offer you some fantastic opportunities. In my opinion, one of the best hikes is the so-called 'peak hike'. You could start out at Pico do Arieiro, which is 1818m high and take a trail to the highest peak of Pico Ruivo, which is 1862 m. From there on, you can hike to Achada do Teixeira, where you will have a possibility to get a transport back to Pico do Arieiro or have your transpotation waiting for you. The hike will take you around 5-6 hours, depening on how fast you will go and how much time do you want to take for rest. This hike will offer you some of the most magnificient views of the island and the nature around.

    Equipment: Make sure to bring a warm sweater in case it gets rainy or windy. In addition, don't forget sun screen, a light lunch and extra water.

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Adventure Travel

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Madeira Island Sports & Outdoors

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