Backpacker in disguise

Dreamer. Traveller. Food Lover.

Ribeiro Frio to Portela walk

There are so many levada walks you can do in Madeira and fortunately our choices were made easier as we could only travel via public transport.

The journey to Ribeiro Frio super easy, you can get the bus 103 or 56 from Funchal for around €3.20 and takes about 40 minutes, you may even catch a glimpse of Pico de Ariro as you ascend up the mountain.

What you need

  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Picnic
  • Water
  • Sun cream but most of it is in the shade

Upon arriving you’ll notice several tour buses and coaches lined up on the street and the bus will drop you right by the start of the walk. There are a few souvenir shops, restaurants and trout farms which you can explore but beware there are only 2 public toilets so be prepared to queue.

Start of the walk to Portela

The walk starts at 860m above sea level and high enough to be in the clouds, I would class it as an easy walk as its flat or downhill. From the entrance of the sign post you simply follow the levada for 11km where the majority of it is well paved. It’s not until you reach around 8km mark that you see the first sign of how much you’ve walked and also relieved that you’re walking in the right direction. There is a decent rest area here with picnic tables and a nice place to sit and eat. I did see toilets but they were not open.

Spotted some birds

Reflecting on the reflection

What I liked about this walk is that it’s fun and feels a bit Indiana Jones like as you walk through the trees, climb onto steps and go through dark stone passageways, it’s nice to have a variety. There are also stunning vistas looking towards the sea and a town.

 

After the picnic area it’s a downhill walk along a gravel path following the levada then back onto the mud trail until you reach Portela. Here you’ll easily spot the bus stop and a restaurant where you can refuel whilst waiting for the bus back to Funchal.

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