A few days ago a group asked me for a suggestion of a levada. After finding out what they wanted (urban or rural, forest or city, long or short?), I suggested Levada da Serra do Faial, in the part comprised between Ribeiro frio and Portela, also known as the levada do Furado.
The route is some 10 km long, simple and comfortable while proceeding along the levada, but ending in a long descent, with many steps, on arriving at Portela. There’s the (very occasional) chance of vertigo, but these small stretches are invariably protected by railings.
The route starts in Ribeiro Frio (on the right, when going down, just after Victor’s Bar), and finished right next to the Portela viewpoint. The first part (some nine kilometer) is just a matter of keeping close to the levada, and from that point, after the big reservoir into which the water flows, it’s a matter of following arrows or the small water channel that keeps the water singing next to the trail all the way to the end.
Until the reservoir, there are mainly native laurisilva species, after that many exotics. In terms of flowers, the pride of Madeira (echium candicans) and hydrangea, with more fragile species along the levada. Consequence – or virtue – of the foliage, the track runs mainly in the shade, which is definitely a plus in this time of the year.