Levada walk from Rabaçal

We have another early morning start, and drive back to Paúl da Serra, this time with the intention of hiking. We are lucky to have the company of a relative of Nelson’s, local to Madeira who knows the valleys, the paths and how to get around. At Paúl da Serra, we need to park: the road that winds down to the walking paths is closed. We learn that this is because of traffic accidents down the very narrow road: instead one shuttle bus goes from the top to where the walks begin. This is, however, not well advertised, and we are the only ones on the shuttle bus, driving past a series of other island visitors who fancy a walk while looking for a suitable path.

From wind-swept Paúl da Serra, we are suddenly surrounded by green-ness. At the top, at Paúl da Serra, it feels cold and I question whether this will go well. I am not convinced while wearing two layers plus a raincoat. However, as we come down from the foggy mountain top, I get the warmth back into my body.

Natural bay leafs grow along the walk path, and there are branches and leaves pretty much at either side. The path follows the levada through tunnels, under branches with a backdrop of tall and steep mountain walls. Some of the more resistant plants decide against the walkway and start to grow through it. And, as we walk, Nelson’s cousin tells stories. He knows these trails well, and volunteering in the rescue and fire service in his spare time, he has a lot of stories to tell.

Surprisingly, this is the least steep walk we have done, even though we start so close to the top. It feels nice with a relatively flat break. I am able to take in the nature around me, and snap pictures, so many pictures, that selecting those worth keeping becomes a very difficult task.


Recommended? Yes. Make sure your shoes can handle slightly slippery surfaces. And off you go.

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