Top 5 Best Hikes in Acadia National Park


Best Hikes in Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park has so many unique and picturesque hiking trails. We are so glad we had the opportunity to hike so many of the trails here to determine our best hikes in Acadia National Park list.  From easy flat wooded and coastline walks to more challenging cliff exposed summit climbs (that utilize metal rungs and ladders), there really is a hiking trail to suit everyone’s hiking abilities in Acadia. 

Further, many of the hiking trails in Acadia National Park intersect and there are many different ways to hike to the same spot.  We loved the ‘choose your own route’ hiking options in Acadia.  These allow you to optimize your time in the park and see many more trails through hiking loop routes rather than exclusive out and back trails.  These build your own options also allow you to opt in or out of more technically challenging paths (ladders, metal rungs, rock scrambling, etc) while still getting to the same summit. 

We spent a week hiking in Acadia National Park and after hiking many of the trails, here is our Top 5 Best Hikes in Acadia National Park list. 

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. That means that, at no cost to you, we may get a small commission if you purchase through these links. This helps us keep providing travel resources for you!


Note: This post is written off a trip taken late October when fall colors were near peak. Also, see our Top 5 What to do Acadia National Park and our Where to Stay Near Acadia National Park posts for more helpful information on visiting Acadia.


#1 Best Hikes in Acadia National Park: Jordan Cliffs, South Bubble & Jordan Pond Loop

This was our favorite hike in the park and wins the spot as #1 for the Top 5 Best Hikes in Acadia National Park.  The variety we saw on this loop trail made it stand out from the others.  We started this hike midmorning at the Jordan Pond House with stunning lighting and stillness over Jordan Pond at the beginning of the trail at this time (see picture above). 

We then headed clockwise to the Jordan Cliffs Trail (view shown in first picture in post) and hiked along the exposed cliffs overlooking the pond.  The Jordan Cliffs Trail was unique in that it not only had cliff exposure but also had metal rungs and challenging rock scrambles.  This route was a bit more challenging than we anticipated and we had to hike it very slowly but felt safe doing so. 

You then will turn and hike on the Bubbles Divide Trail to hike up to the South Bubble.  The views to the north (see picture below) and over Jordan Pond are really stunning, some of our favorites from the trip.  Then you head back to the Jordan Pond House on the flat Jordan Pond Path.  

Logistics: 4.8 Miles, 1200 feet of elevation gain, loop

All Trails Jordan Cliffs, South Bubble and Jordan Pond Loop Map

Hike Spring Trail from Jordan Pond House → Jordan Cliffs Trail → Bubbles Divide Trail → South Bubble Trail → Jordan Pond Path to Jordan Pond House

Best Hikes in Acadia National Park

Tip: Hike Jordan Cliffs, South Bubble and Jordan Pond Loop Clockwise 

The Jordan Cliffs Trail has some particularly challenging rock scrambles and metal rungs to hike.  These are much easier to conquer clockwise (up) than counterclockwise (down).  We were advised by park rangers and other hikers to not attempt the route counterclockwise (down) and are glad we listened. 

This trail was harder than we anticipated but we were able to safely hike it slowly.  However, if you are new to hiking, hesitant with baby wearing or afraid of heights, we would not recommend the Jordan Cliffs Trail to you.  Instead, you may prefer to hike the easier flat and not technically challenging Jordan Pond Trail to the Bubbles Divide Trail.  You will not get the stunning cliff views of the Jordan Cliffs Trail but will still get some really nice elevated views of Jordan Pond from the South Bubble.  This hike reminded us of hiking around Devil’s Lake with slightly more cliff exposure. 

Best Hikes in Acadia National Park

Tip: Eat Popovers at Jordan Pond House After Hiking 

The perfect treat after your hike! Popovers are a large fluffy bread that are in the shape of a large muffin but very airy and not sweet. Our best comparison is a creme puff without the creme.  They are served with butter and jam.  Afternoon tea and popovers were the perfect treat after a long hike on a chilly fall day.  The Jordan Pond House has been serving popovers and tea since the 1890s. 


#2 Best Hikes in Acadia: Beech Cliff Ladder, Beech Cliff Loop & Canada Cliff 

Best Hikes in Acadia National Park

This hike nearly ties with the first as our favorite hike in Acadia. It is a great bang for your buck hike as you get stunning lake and coastline views (that are especially colorful in fall) relatively quickly.  This hike has a little bit of everything when it comes to reaching the summit–exposed cliff walks, ladders, metal rungs and rock scrambles.  However, that being said, we did not find this hike technically challenging. 

Tip: Hike Beech Cliff Trail and Canada Cliffs Loop Counterclockwise

We highly recommend hiking this trail counterclockwise so that you climb up the ladders rather than down them.  Here you first hike up the Beech Cliff Trail to the Beech Cliff Summit.  This is the only part of the hike that involves any metal rungs or ladders. Then, after reaching the top of the Beech Cliff Trail, be sure to turn to the right and continue onto the short Beech Cliff Loop offshoot (easy to miss).  The views on the Beech Cliff Loop are truly the highlight of this trail.  After walking on the stunning Beech Cliff Loop, you will head along the exposed cliffs before making your descent slowly back through the woods on the Canada Cliffs Trail. 

Logistics: 2.2 Miles, 500 feet elevation gain, loop

All Trails Beech Cliff and Canada Cliff Loop Map, Add short Beech Cliff Loop at Summit not on map

Hike Beech Cliff Ladder Trail from Echo Lake Beach Entrance→ Beech Cliff Loop (be sure to add this as the views here are the highlight of the hike) → Canada Cliff Trail 

Tip: If looking to escape crowds, hike Beech Cliff and visit Echo Lake

We saw less than 5 cars in the parking lot here (Echo Lake) on our weekday fall hike.  We encountered less people here than on any of our other hikes.  This area of the park was so peaceful and serene.  Echo lake is so pretty too! However, it may be more busy during warm summer months with people swimming at the beach.


#3 Best Hikes in Acadia National Park: Beehive/Bowl/Gorham

The Beehive is probably the most well-known and popular trail in Acadia. It has many steep cliff exposures and ladders, making it a unique challenge. Also, it is only 1.5 miles round trip if hiked alone.  It further offers impressive views of the coastline and foliage, especially in the fall, at the summit. 

Note: Two Ways to Reach the Beehive Summit

You start this trail (as a loop like we did or as a stand alone hike) at the Sand Beach parking lot.  There are two ways to hike to the Beehive Summit. One on a shorter more technically challenging path and one on a longer but less technically demanding path. Since we were both baby/toddler wearing, we opted for the longer, less technically challenging route. This route is nicknamed the ‘back door to Beehive’ which is very fitting. On this route, you pass by a pretty lake, the Bowl. You do retrace your steps coming back on the Bowl Trail before meeting up with Gorham Mountain Trail (or getting back to the parking lot if hiking as stand alone trail)

Best Hikes in Acadia National Park

Gorham Mountain and Ocean Path to Finish Loop

Gorham Mountain (above view) also offers very pretty views over the coast as well as panoramic views further into the park at the summit. We only saw two other people at the summit of Gorham whereas we saw dozens at the summit of the Beehive, so this was a nice retreat from the people. After hiking to the Gorham Summit, you head back down to meet up with the Ocean Path. Once on the Ocean Path, you get pretty ocean views (parallel park loop road) before arriving back at the Sand Beach parking lot.  Be sure to spend some time at Sand Beach as it is one of the few areas in the park where you can walk directly along the ocean.  We visited two different times during our trip. 

Note: The Beehive Part of this Hike is Busy and Slippery When Wet! 

We rank this hike lower than most other hikers. The Beehive is very busy, maybe too busy, and we found it less peaceful than other trails.  We also hiked this route after recent rain and even without hiking the more technically challenging Beehive route, we had to be very careful with our footing as it was still quite slippery. We would not recommend hiking Beehive itself after any sort of rain given how slippery the easier and safer option was after recent rain. 

All Trails Beehive, Gorham Mountain and Ocean Path Loop

Note: This map shows hiking up the more technically challenging Beehive Trail to the Beehive Summit rather than up the Bowl as we did (and recommend if you are baby wearing).  

Logistics: 

  • Combination of Beehive, Gorham and part of Ocean Path—3.5 Miles, 750 feet of elevation gain hike, loop (hiking via the Bowl adds about a mile onto the route) 
  • Beehive alone—1.5 Miles, 500 feet of elevation gain, loop
  • Gorham Mountain alone—1.8 miles, 500 feet of elevation gain, loop

From the parking lot at Sand Beach, hike the Bowl Trail to summit Beehive → then back on Bowl Trail→  Gorham Mountain Trail → Gorham Mountain Summit → get to Gorham parking lot/Ocean Path by taking the Cadillac Cliffs Trail (more exposed) or Gorham Mountain Trail → meet up with the Ocean path (parallels Park Loop Road, cross street from Gorham Mountain parking lot) to get back to the Sand Beach parking lot.


#4 Best Hikes in Acadia: Dorr Mountain via Ladder Trail & Cannon Brook Trail

Best Hikes in Acadia National Park

Looking for a stair-master workout? Well this climb is for you! The hike to the top of Dorr Mountain is about a mile and very steep. However, we really liked this route as you got a lot of variety in scenery and it was so serene (we only saw one other person and one coyote). 

You hike the steep ladder trail to the summit of Dorr Mountain first.  This has 3 ladders to climb but we found them to be easy without any cliff exposure and with stable placement.  The trail is mostly steep rock steps. Note, there is one narrow rock passage to walk through that may be an issue if you have a really wide backpack carrier (ours fit).  Once at Dorr Mountain Summit, you take the Dorr Ridge South Trail down the mountain while enjoying stunning coastline views that are very pretty in fall.  You will then meet up with the Canon Brook Trail that is mainly flat and easy.  The fall colors on the Canon Brook Trail were very stunning.  We saw a coyote from a distance on this trail too. 

Best Hikes in Acadia National Park

Logistics: 3.4 Miles, 1200 feet of elevation gain, loop

Hike Ladder Trail→ summit of Dorr Mountain→ take Dorr Ridge South Trail to enjoy coastline views → then Canon Brook Trail (it is flat, easy and beautiful in the fall) → brings you back to beginning of Ladder Trail


#5 Best Hikes in Acadia National Park: Ocean Path

Best Hikes in Acadia National Park

The Ocean Path is an easy and beautiful coastline hike, landing it a spot in our Top 5 Best Hikes in Acadia National Park list.  We found the second half of this hike (after the Gorham Mountain parking lot on Park Loop Road) to be really serene and beautiful. It was also more of a trail and is tucked a bit away from the road in comparison to the first half. The first half of the hike has very pretty views too but is also directly next to Park Loop Road and very busy with hikers as it is easily accessible for large tour buses.  This is a great hike for anyone not looking for a steep or technical climb but stunning views nonetheless.

Logistics: 4 Miles, 375 feet of elevation gain, Out & Back

All Trails Ocean Path Map

We actually hiked the Ocean Path as two seperate hikes as we combined the first half of the trail with hiking to Beehive/Gorham Mountain (outlined above as #3) and then hiked the second half of the hike another day as a separate hike (parked at Gorham Mountain parking lot).  

Note: You can see the highlights of this trail driving/stopping on Park Loop Road but we found it to be nicer/more serene to hike it. You are taking a slower pace walking and can truly take in the scenery.


Looking for great hiking boots?  Here are links to the ones we’ve used for 8+ years and highly recommend: Men’s Keen Waterproof Hiking Boots & Women’s Keen Waterproof Hiking Boots


We hope this 5 best hikes in Acadia National Park guide helps you plan your hiking in Acadia.  Anything you’d add to our guide?  We’d love to hear your feedback and questions.  Please leave us a comment!

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Devil’s Lake State Park Guide


Devil’s Lake State Park Guide

Devil’s Lake is one of the most popular and scenic Wisconsin state parks.  The picturesque bluffs and rocks that line this lake make Devil’s Lake a great place for many activities.  Whether you want to go for a picturesque hike, have a beach day or rock climb, Devil’s Lake has a lot to offer.  Located in central southern Wisconsin, about 45 miles northwest from Madison, Devil’s Lake State Park is an easy day trip or overnight camping trip from not only Madison but Milwaukee, La Crosse and Wausau as well.  After visiting this park many times, here is our guide to visiting Devil’s Lake State Park. 

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. That means that, at no cost to you, we may get a small commission if you purchase through these links. This helps us keep providing travel resources for you!


Devils Lake State Park Guide: Hike Around the Lake 

Devil’s Lake State Park Guide

If visiting Devil’s Lake State Park, make sure to go for at least one hike. We recommend that if you’re only doing one hike, that you hike around the entire lake, connecting the East Bluff and West Bluff trails.  This loop hike is approximately 5 miles long with 1000 feet of elevation gain (highlighted in yellow on map below). 

Devil’s Lake State Park Guide

We recommend parking at the south shore parking lot at Devil’s Lake and then hiking counterclockwise starting on the East Bluff Trail. The beginning of the East Bluff trail from the south shore is the most difficult/technically challenging area of the hike. There are many steep and exposed rock ‘steps’ in this section whereas other up/down sections of this hike are a bit less steep and without such big rock drop offs. It is best to do this part of the hike going up as well with fresh legs. On this section of the East Bluff trail you will also go past the interesting balanced rock formation. We have hiked this loop around Devil’s Lake many times in different directions and think this is the best route to hike it.  It will likely take you 2-3 hours to hike depending on your pace and how many breaks you take. 


Looking to hike Devil’s Lake State Park with your baby? See our How to Hike with a Baby guide.


Other Recommended Devil’s Lake State Park Hikes

East Bluff Woods Trail

1.3 miles one way, flat but about 500 feet of elevation gain involved to reach the trail

Hike in the woods parallel to the East Bluff Trail. You will not get any bluff views on this trail. However, you will have this wooded trail mainly to yourself as this trail is much less busy than East Bluff Trail. You can make a loop out of the East Bluff Trail and the East Bluff Wooded Trail, starting and ending at the south shore parking lot or the north shore parking lot. We like this trail because there are very few people on it and it’s very peaceful. If you are visiting on a busy weekend, this might be a nice escape from the people. Additionally, if you are staying for more than one day, this loop serves as a great way to break up the elevation by doing the East and West Bluff trails on separate days.

Tumbled Rocks Trail

1 mile one way, flat

Hike along the lakeshore where you parallel yet remain below the West Bluff Trail. This is an easy flat hike and is a great option for anyone who does not want to hike very much elevation. This trail is almost completely in the sun though, so try to do it very early or make sure that you have good sun protection. You can also hike this trail in a loop with the West Bluff Trail or combine it with hiking around the lake on the East Bluff Trail or East Bluff Woods Trail. 

Devil’s Doorway

2 miles, loop, 500 feet of elevation gain

This hike will take you past the impressive Devil’s Doorway rock formation. You can easily add reaching this spot onto hiking the Devil’s Lake loop too (see map, just off the East Bluff Trail). This hike requires some scrambling though and we would NOT recommend hiking it if baby wearing (which of late has been the only way we are hiking) or if you are afraid of heights/a rock scramble.  This is a unique spot but can get very crowded on weekends.  Last time we hiked this (without kids), it was so crowded it felt unsafe with little room to move. Try to hike this trail on a weekday or early in the day if possible.  

Grottos Trail

0.7 miles, one way, 100 feet of elevation gain

This trail takes you through the woods and along some pretty rock formations. This is a bonus hike if you are looking for an easy walk through the woods. The other trails are more unique and we would recommend those over this one any day. 


Looking for great hiking boots?  Here are links to the ones we’ve used for 8+ years and highly recommend: Men’s Keen Waterproof Hiking Boots & Women’s Keen Waterproof Hiking Boots


Visiting Devils Lake Guide: Devils Lake Beach

Devils Lake not only offers great hiking but also has several nice sandy beaches. You can spend some time at either the south shore beach or the north shore beach. The north shore beach is a bit busier and with a bit more infrastructure (larger concessions and more beach rentals). The south shore does not have as much infrastructure but is also a bit less busy.  On the west side of the south shore beach, there is a beach area for dogs as well.  Otherwise, dogs are not allowed in the main beach areas.  Therefore, if you are bringing your dog, be sure to stick to the south shore on the west side where it is clearly marked that it is the pet beach.  A boardwalk parallels this area as well, making it easy to differentiate from the rest of the beach.  

Devil’s Lake State Park Guide

We prefer the south shore beach over the north shore beach as we usually have our dog with us but both are very pretty and family friendly.  If you are hiking around the whole lake, you will see both of these beaches.  If you hike in the lake loop path in the direction we recommend, you will end up at the Devil’s Lake south shore beach, making it a natural relaxation spot after your hike. However, you can drive to either beach, making it easy to check out both.


Visiting Devil’s Lake State Park Guide: Go Camping

Pitch a tent or bring your camper to spend some more time at this park camping.  There are plenty of camping spots. If you want to visit over particular dates, be sure to make your reservations early (can be made as early as 11 months in advance) to get the dates you want as this park is a very popular camping destination. Use this link to reserve a campsite.  

Another option for overnight accommodations would be to stay in the Wisconsin Dells as that area is less than 30 minutes from the park and with many accommodations options.  


Devil’s Lake State Park Guide: Go Rock Climbing

With all the pretty rock formations throughout Devils Lake State Park, there are plenty of places where you can go rock climbing. Natalie has gone rock climbing at Devil’s Lake with a friend who has a lot of experience rock climbing and all the gear. If you are new to rock climbing, or do not have any of the gear, you can hire someone to take you rock climbing. On our most recent trip, we saw several people rock climbing with guides they hired. 

Here is a list of several outfitters/guides: 


Devils Lake State Park Guide: Dog Friendly 

Devil’s Lake State Park Guide

As previously mentioned above, Devils Lake is dog friendly. There is a dog beach and dogs are allowed on the trails on a leash. They are also allowed at the campgrounds on a leash. 

It is important to note though that some small dogs might not be able to climb up the rocks on parts of the trail very easily, particularly on the southside leading from the south shore parking lot up to the West Bluff Trail.  Our 30 lb cavapoo is able to get up most of these rocks but some parts are a bit steep.  We only had to carry him up one rock this last visit.  If you have a smaller dog than that, you may have to carry them more.  Be mindful of this, as it may be hard to keep your balance if you are carrying a dog. If this situation worries you, it might be best to leave your dog at home or avoid this trail. 


Devils Lake State Park Guide: Bring Food

There is a concession stand at both the south and north entrance of the park but both have very limited options.  We recommend you pack a picnic to enjoy at either the south or north shore beach where you have numerous picnic areas/tables to choose from.  There are also some restaurants in the surrounding area but options are very limited as well. 


Devils Lake State Park Guide: Use Wisconsin State Parks Pass

There is an entrance fee to every Wisconsin State Park ($8 per day). If you plan on visiting three or more state parks or one state park more than three times in the same calendar year, be sure to buy a Wisconsin State parks pass ahead of time. This pass is $28 (for WI resident, $35 non resident) and here is a link to buy the pass. We recommend buying this in advance. Depending on what time of day you arrive at any of the state parks, the entrance office may not be staffed and you will be left having to buy a day pass ($8, bring cash). 


Looking to explore other Wisconsin State Parks? See our Dog Friendly Door County, Wisconsin Guide that details hiking in 3 different state parks in Door County.  You may also enjoy reading our What to do Apostle Islands National Lakeshore for more information on Wisconsin travel. 


We hope this guide helps you plan your trip to Devils Lake.  Anything you’d add to our guide? We’d love to hear your feedback and questions.  Please leave us a comment!

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How to Hike Levada das 25 Fontes


The Levada das 25 Fontes Hike located in Madeira, Portugal is one of the most popular hikes on the island and for good reason.  With two impressive waterfalls to see along the way and sweeping rainforest views throughout, the 25 Fontes hike in Madeira, Portugal is not one to miss. Here is our guide on how to hike the 25 Fontes hike in Madeira, Portugal.  

Levadas are aqueducts that help with water flow throughout the island. There are many levada hikes throughout the island.  See our Top 3 Levada Hikes on Madeira, How to Hike Levada das 25 Fontes and How to Hike Levada do Caldeirão Verde guides for more information on other stunning levada hikes in Madeira. Also, see our Top Things to do Madeira guide for more on our Madeira trip.

FYI: We took this trip and hike when our daughter was 18 months old.  For more information on exploring with a baby, please see our Top 10 Baby Travel Tips, How to Hike with a Baby, 5 Top Baby & Toddler Flying Tips and Flying with a Baby posts. 

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. That means that, at no cost to you, we may get a small commission if you purchase through these links. This helps us keep providing travel resources for you!


How long is the 25 Fontes hike? How much elevation gain? 

Per our iWatch tracking, the 25 Fontes Levada Hike is 6.5 Miles with about 1,000 feet of elevation gain and is an out & back hike.  These stats include hiking to both the 25 Fontes Waterfall and Risco waterfall. This also includes hiking to the trailhead from the parking lot.  Note, the logistics of this hike on All Trails are not completely accurate, particularly elevation statistics which are dramatically higher than the actual elevation gain. 


How long does it take to hike the 25 Fontes hike?

The Levada das 25 Fontes hike took us 3 hours and 15 minutes to hike. This included hiking to the 25 Fontes Waterfall & Risco Waterfall.  This also was with 35+ lbs on one of our backs with baby and gear. Based on most reviews, this hike takes most people about 4 hours.  We hiked this trail on a rainy day but did not find it to be slippery or to need to hike slower because of the trail being wet. 


Can you take a shuttle to shorten the Levada das 25 Fontes hike?

You can take a shuttle from the parking lot to the start of the trailhead for the 25 Fontes hike and this will cut off about 0.8 miles (1.6 miles roundtrip) and about 500 feet of elevation.  This shuttle costs 5 Euros.  However, you can walk the path in less time than the shuttle goes back and forth most times as the schedule is inconsistent and variable.  Due to the shuttle being inconsistent and unreliable, we opted to walk to the trailhead from the parking lot and that was included in our hike statistics above.  We ended up hiking to/from the parking lot faster than the shuttle went back and forth to the trailhead. 


Is hiking the extra 1600m to the Risco waterfall worth it?  

Yes, hiking to the Risco waterfall on the 25 Fontes hike is completely worth it.  The hike to this bonus waterfall is a completely flat walk and the Risco waterfall is truly stunning, arguably more impressive than the 25 Fontes Waterfall as it is much bigger.  We both agree this short and flat detour to see this bonus waterfall is completely worth it! 

25 Fontes Hike

What are the logistics of the hike?

The 25 Fontes Levada waterfall hike starts from the parking lot.  For the first 0.8 miles, you are on a paved road and descending to the trailhead.  Once you reach the trailhead, you hike on a well maintained rocky trail.  You descend further into the valley intermittently from here on several staircases.  The elevation changes on this hike once you are off the paved trail do not feel overwhelming.  You will hike along the levada on a narrow trail. On the trail, you will get sweeping views of the rainforest along the way as well as many forested views along the levada. 

We hiked on a day that was not busy. However, with the narrow nature of the path, it can be hard (and frustrating) at times to pass people going the same way or the opposite way. In many narrow sections on busy days, you will have to wait for others to pass before proceeding on the trail.

You gain almost all your elevation on this hike on the way back to the trailhead and parking lot on this hike so be sure to save some energy.  


Where is the Levada das 25 Fontes hike located? 

This hike is located in Rabacal in the middle, west part of the island.  


What waterfalls do you see on this hike?

On the 25 Fontes Levada hike, you see several gorgeous waterfalls. The stunning 25 Fontes waterfall is the highlight of this hike.  However, you can also see the very impressive Risco waterfall for only an 800 meter detour.


Is the 25 Fontes hike busy? 

Yes, the 25 Fontes waterfall hike is very busy as it is one of the most popular hikes on the island.  Try to get to this hike early or go on a more overcast day.  We hiked on a on/off rainy day with overcast skies and saw few other people and only several groups.


Do you need rain gear on the hike?  

25 Fontes Hike

Yes, we would suggest great rain gear on this hike. It tends to be more rainy on this part of the island and the weather in the rainforest is not always predictable.  Here is the rain gear we use and love.  And Baby G looks pretty cute in her Baby Rain Suit.

Gear we recommend to have to explore: 


We hope this guide helps you plan how to hike the 25 Fontes hike.  Anything you’d add to our guide? We’d love to hear your feedback and questions.  Please leave us a comment!

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Top Things to do Madeira


Madeira AKA the “Hawaii of Europe” is a volcanic island off the coast of Morocco (but technically part of Portugal).  Madeira is an island paradise with lush rainforests, regular sunshine and stunning beaches.  The main differences between Madeira and Hawaii is that Madeira is much less well-known and consequently less expensive than Hawaii, truly making it a hidden gem.  Madeira also is not as consistently warm during the winter months and gets a bit cooler at night than Hawaii.  However, given its picturesque landscape and generally comfortable weather, Madeira is a great year round destination.  Here is our guide on the top things to do on Madeira.  

FYI: We visited Madeira in February for a week and found it to be a great winter getaway from the dreary and cold US midwest.  The temperature was mainly in the upper 60s/low 70s (Fahrenheit), and it was sunny all but one day when we had intermittent rain/clouds. On the rainy/cloudy day, it was in the upper 50s (Fahrenheit).  We stayed on the southern side of the island in Arco da Calheta where it is consistently warmer year round than the northern side of the island. 

We took this trip when our daughter was 18 months old.  For more information on traveling and exploring with a baby, please see our Top 10 Baby Travel Tips, How to Hike with a Baby, 5 Top Baby & Toddler Flying Tips and Flying with a Baby posts. 

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. That means that, at no cost to you, we may get a small commission if you purchase through these links. This helps us keep providing travel resources for you!   


Top Things to do Madeira: Hike 25 Fontes Levada Waterfall Hike

The 25 Fontes Levada Hike is one of the most popular levada hikes on Madeira and for good reason.  With two impressive waterfalls to see along the way and sweeping rainforest views throughout, the 25 Fontes hike is not one to miss while visiting Madeira. The 25 Fontes and Risco waterfalls you see on this hike are truly astounding.  

The 25 Fontes Levada Hike is 6.5 miles round trip with about 1,000 feet of elevation gain and is an out & back hike.  This hike is located near Rabacal (in the middle west part of the island).  For more information on this hike, please see our guide on How to Hike Levada das 25 Fontes on Madeira. 

Cost: Free


Top Things to do Madeira: Hike Levada do Caldeirão Verde

The next thing we recommend is another stunning Levada hike.  The Levada do Caldeirão Verde hike is one of the most magical and picturesque levada hikes on Madeira.  From sweeping mountainous rainforest views, to hiking through narrow caves to stunning waterfalls, this hike does not disappoint.  This hike was recommended to us by several as the ‘best hike on Madeira’ and we would agree. This overall flat hike is not overly strenuous or technical and with astounding views.  The Levada do Caldeirão Verde hike in Madeira is a must do hike while on the island. 

The Levada do Caldeirão Verde is an out & back hike that is 8.5 miles round-trip and is essentially flat the entire journey.  This hike is located near Santana (in the North Middle part of the island),  For more information on this hike, please see our guide on How to Hike Levada do Caldeirão Verde on Madeira.

Cost: Less than 5 Euro to Park


Top Things to do Madeira: Hike Ponta de Sao Lourenco Trail

Next thing we recommend doing on Madeira is hiking the Ponta de Sao Lourenco Tail.  The Ponta de Sao Lourenco hike takes you along the colorful and rugged easternmost tip of the island that extends into the ocean that is often referred to as “The Dragon’s Tail” of the island.  The scenery is more barren here with interesting rock and cliff formations.  It is unlike anything else you will see on the island.  Definitely be sure to do this hike while visiting Madeira.  

Ponta de Sao Lourenco Trail Logistics

The hike is 4.6 Miles round-trip with 1,351 feet of elevation gain and is out & back.  If you do not want to hike the whole trail there are some very pretty views of this rugged coastline about 0.5 miles into the hike.  This hike has a lot of up & down but only felt a bit strenuous on the last climb to the summit that is quite steep.  Otherwise, the hike goes by quickly as scenery changes often enough, and you have plenty to look at along the way.  

Note, do not expect to have this hike to yourself.  Although not the easiest hike on the island, it is relatively short and very unique so a lot of people hike at least part of it.  Ideally, arrive early to avoid issues parking and as many people as possible.  We had no trouble parking at the trailhead around 10am but when we finished the hike at 12:30 PM, cars were double parked and parked very far down the road with many circling waiting for a spot to park. It was bananas! 

No Shade

Also, note that this hike is completely out in the open meaning that there is zero shade on this trail.  Ideally, hike at sunrise to avoid the sun and heat.  However, this was unrealistic with our baby so we hiked it on a mainly overcast day to avoid the sun and heat. You do get an ocean breeze periodically during the hike.

Cost: Free


Top Things to do Madeira: Visit Camara de Lobos Fishing Village

This small fishing village is very picturesque. It is not surprising that Winston Churchill loved to come and find inspiration here. In Camara de Lobos, you can walk around the waterfront and city center, admiring the architecture and charming little town.  We highly recommend not eating on the waterfront though as you will get better food, prices and service a bit further away from the hustle and bustle.  We ate at Vila da Carne Carne Restaurante (a couple streets off the main waterfront) and had the best Espetada we have tasted.  Here, you can dine on a beautiful outdoor patio that overlooks the picture-perfect waterfront.  

Note that this is a great spot to stop for lunch or dinner after going to Cabo Giro (next to do).  However, do not expect to have this village to yourself.  This is the only spot (other than Cabo Girao) that had a lot of tourists during our time on Madeira. However, it’s popular for good reason due to its undeniable charm and we still think it is worth a visit.  Visit here early in the morning if you want to avoid a lot of other people.

Cost: Free


Top Things to do Madeira: Stop at the Highest Sea Cliff in Europe at Cabo Girao

Our next thing to do on Madeira is to stop at the highest sea Cliff in Europe at Cabo Girao. Here, a glass floor separates you and an almost 2000 foot (greater than 500 meter) drop into the ocean.  It is very neat to stand on this viewing platform and look down.  Our daughter loved that she could see the ocean and cliff from so high up.  Plan to spend 15 minutes here (unless it is a particularly busy time when you may have to wait longer to get on the platform).  

Cost: Free


Top Things to do Madeira: Drive under Waterfall at Cascata dos Anjos

The next thing to do on Madeira is a quick stop but a fun one! Cascata dos Anjos means Angels Waterfall and this waterfall pours over your car on the road.  The road is not well maintained or trafficked but rather easy to access near Ponta del Sol. Our daughter thought it was quite funny to drive under this waterfall so we did it several times.  It’s like a free car wash.  You also can walk under this waterfall but beware you will get completely soaked. 

Cost: Free


Top Things to do Madeira: Hike Levada do Moinho to Levada do Nova 

The Levada do Moinho to Levada do Nova hike is a peaceful loop trail along two different levadas that leads you to two different waterfalls.  One of the waterfalls you can even walk behind!  Although not a very popular hike, it was one of our favorite hikes on Madeira.  Beyond the waterfalls you see on this hike, the valley mountain views here are incredible. The Levada do Moinho to Levada do Nova hike is a hidden gem on Madeira. 

The Levada do Moinho to Levada do Nova is a 5.6 miles round trip hike with just under 500 feet of elevation gain and is a loop trail.  This hike is located near Ponta del Sol (middle south part of the island).  For more information on the hike, please see our guide on How to Hike Levada do Moinho on Madeira.

Cost: Free


Top Things to do Madeira: See Traditional Santana Houses

Early inhabitants of the island built these houses and the largest collection of them is in Santana.   These houses are charming and fun to walk through.  There are little shops in each house here where you can buy traditional sweets, drinks, clothing, flowers and other souvenirs.  We liked sampling different traditional cookies at the house with different sweets. Sam tried a traditional passionfruit poncha here too that was delicious though very potent. There is also a small local farmer’s market across the street. 

Tip: If stopping for lunch or dinner around here, do not eat right by the houses.  Drive 5 minutes either way for less tourists as well as better food and service. We ate at Santana in Nature about 5 minutes away near the Miradouro do Cortado viewpoint and had a nice relaxing meal that felt very local (staff did not speak English). 

Cost: Free


Top Things to do Madeira: Stop at the iconic Madeira panorama spot of Miradouro do Cortado 

After visiting stopping at the Santana houses, stop at the iconic Madeira panorama spot of Miradouro do Cortado.  This viewpoint is one of the best spots to see water and mountains (and sometimes purple flowers).   It is near the Santana Houses and definitely worth a stop if you are in the area. 

Tip: Miradouro means scenic viewpoint in Portuguese.  Anytime you see a sign indicating Miradouro, feel free to follow it to a viewpoint.  However, there are truly an endless number of these on Madeira and you will get just as scenic views hiking and driving throughout the island.  We would not advise stopping at every one of these because you could spend your entire trip just doing that.  

Cost: Free


Top Things to do Madeira: Monte Palace Botanical Gardens in Funchal 

Our final Madeira recommendation is to visit the Monte Palace Botanical Gardens.  We did not spend any time in the bustling Funchal (main city on Madeira where the airport is located) other than to visit the stunning Monte Palace Botanical Gardens.  These gardens are rated as one of the most beautiful botanical gardens in the world with a huge variety of pretty flora.  Due to the location of Madeira, plants from all over the world have been brought here.  These gardens are 5 acres and the paths here make for some leisurely strolling.  Our daughter really enjoyed walking around the gardens here and seeing all the different pretty flowers.

Cost: 5 Euros/Person.  The entrance fee was waived for us when we arrived 1.5 hours prior to closing but this was plenty of time to explore.  If interested, there is a cable car you can take into the stunning valley/mountainside here that is an additional cost.


Top Things to do Madeira: Other Things To Do

Although we did not have time for the below activities, here are some other things to do in Madeira if you have more time.  

  • Sunrise or Sunset at Pico de Arieiro (High mountainous viewpoint, 60 second walk from the parking lot, may be more windy and cold atop mountain, plan to go at sunset instead of sunrise to avoid potential total fog and be able to scope out the NetMadeira webcam) 
  • Miradouro de Véu da Noiva (Viewpoint, waterfall that leads straight into the ocean, short walk from parking lot to viewpoint, cannot access waterfall due to landslide)
  • Sexial Black Sand Beach (Black sand beach near Miradouro de Véu da Noiva, best to visit in summer months as it is located on theon colder north side of island)  
  • Walk to the waterfall at Garganta Funda Viewpoint (Viewpoint of tallest waterfall in Madeira at 459 feet (140 meters), 5 minute walk to see, better to see in winter because more flow, located very far on the west side of the island and may be a long drive to access due to lots of windy roads winding) 
  • Hike to the island’s highest point at Pico Ruivo (Highest point on Madeira at 1,862 meters above sea level, Achada do Teixeira trail is 3.4 miles round-trip with 1,571 feet elevation gain and an out & back trail to reach it, often snow cover during winter months and may not have panoramic sweeping views with cloud cover) 
  • Hike Verada de Balcoes (0.6 miles flat trail, mountains covered in thick forest and can see to the ocean on a clear day, the roads to this hike closed during our visit) 

General Madeira Tips

Must try Food/Drinks on Madeira

Food/drinks to be sure to eat/drink while on Madeira include: 

  • Bolo do Caco: Garlic bread that is served or offered as an appetizer at almost every restaurant in Madeira, we ordered this at most meals to eat before our main meal. 
  • Espatadas: Beef Skewers served on a spit that hangs over your table. We had the best Espatadas at Vila da Carne Restaurante in Câmara de Lobos. 
  • Poncha: A traditional, very sweet alcoholic drink that typically served in a small glass and made from sugar cane. It’s delicious but very potent.  It tastes like rum and orange juice mixed together. 

Have Quality Rain Gear

It only rained one day during our visit. However, Madeira is a tropical island and it rains frequently. Even if it was not raining on many of our hikes, we needed rain gear to stay dry when we had to hike through different areas with large water runoff.  We highly recommend having good rain gear for your visit to Madeira.  Here is the gear we use, love and recommend. 

Narrow and Winding Roads

The roads in Madeira are narrow and winding almost everywhere on the island. Be mindful of this fact and be very careful driving.  Local drivers often take these narrow roads very quickly but be more cautious than them. Many parts of the roads become one lane due to cars parking directly on the road (legally) due to limited space for parking. The freeway also has very short entrance ramps and you often have to wait to get on the expressway (we have never seen this anywhere else in the world).  We highly recommend renting a compact car as there really is not room for bigger cars on most roads and this will make parking easier for you too. 

For some prone to motion sickness, including Natalie and Baby G, these roads were a bit nauseating at times. See our How to Prevent Motion Sickness While Traveling and Flying for some tips on dealing with this motion sickness. 

Where to Stay on Madeira

We recommend staying near the Ponta del Sol/ or the Calheta area or the Santana area.  Both are located near many of the activities we recommend.  However, both of these areas are on opposite sides of the island.  We opted to stay on the southern side of the island as the weather is warmer and more stable year round.  Arco da Calheta is where we stayed for the week and we found the location to be very nice/central.


We hope this guide helps you plan things to do on Madeira.  Anything you’d add to our guide? We’d love to hear your feedback and questions.  Please leave us a comment!

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Top 3 Levada Hikes on Madeira


There are many different levada hikes on the island of Madeira. Levadas are aqueducts that aid with water flow throughout the island and trails run adjacent to many of them.  The paths next to these levadas offer some of the most scenic hikes with lush flora on the islands given the ample water supply the levadas provide.  These levada hikes also often lead to some of the stunning waterfalls and magnificent flourishing mountain valley views.  With there being so many of these hikes on the island, we did our research to find the best ones to hike while on Madeira. We had limited time on the island rather than weeks to hike them all.  Here is our guide on what we consider the top 3 levada hikes on Madeira that you should be sure to hike during your visit.  


#1 Top Levada Hike: Levada do Caldeirão Verde

The Levada do Caldeirão Verde hike is one of the most magical and picturesque levada hikes on Madeira.  From sweeping mountainous rainforest views, to hiking through narrow caves to stunning waterfalls, this hike does not disappoint.  This hike was recommended to us by several as the ‘best hike on Madeira’ and we would agree. This overall flat hike is not overly strenuous or technical and with astounding views.  The Levada do Caldeirão Verde hike in Madeira is a must-do hike while on the island. If you are only going to do one levada hike on Madeira, do this one. 

The Levada do Caldeirão Verde is an out & back hike that is 8.5 miles round-trip and is essentially flat the entire journey.  This hike is located near Santana (in the North Middle part of the island),  For more information on this hike, please see our guide on How to Hike Levada do Caldeirão Verde on Madeira.


#2 Top Levada Hike: 25 Fontes Waterfall Hike

The 25 Fontes Levada Hike is one of the most popular levada hikes on Madeira and for good reason.  With two impressive waterfalls to see along the way and sweeping rainforest views throughout, the 25 Fontes hike is not one to miss while visiting Madeira. The 25 Fontes waterfall and Risco waterfall you see on this hike are truly astounding.  

The 25 Fontes Levada Hike is 6.5 miles round trip with about 1,000 feet of elevation gain and is an out & back hike.  This hike is located near Rabacal (in the middle west part of the island).  For more information on this hike, please see our guide on How to Hike Levada das 25 Fontes on Madeira. 


Looking for some further guidance on preparing for these hikes? See this Ultimate Hiking Checklist article.


#3 Top Levada Hike: Levada do Moinho to Levada do Nova 

The Levada do Moinho to Levada do Nova hike is a peaceful loop trail along two different levadas that leads you to two different waterfalls.  One of the waterfalls you can even walk behind!  Although not a very popular hike, it was one of our favorite hikes on Madeira.  Beyond the waterfalls you see on this hike, the valley mountain views here are incredible. The Levada do Moinho to Levada do Nova hike is a hidden gem on Madeira. 

The Levada do Moinho to Levada do Nova is a 5.6 miles round trip hike with just under 500 feet of elevation gain and is a loop trail.  This hike is located near Ponta del Sol (middle south part of the island).  For more information on the hike, please see our guide on How to Hike Levada do Moinho on Madeira.


General Levada Hike Tip: Hike with Rain Gear

It only rained one day during our visit. However, Madeira is a tropical island and it rains frequently. Even if it was not raining on many of our hikes, we needed rain gear to stay dry when we had to go hike through different areas due to water run off.  We highly recommend having good rain gear for your visit to Madeira, particularly hiking most levadas. Here is the gear we use, love and recommend. 


We hope this guide helps you plan what levada hikes you want to do while visiting Madeira.  Anything you’d add to our guide? We’d love to hear your feedback and questions.  Please leave us a comment! For more information on our Madeira trip see our Top Things to do Madeira post.

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How to Hike Levada do Moinho to Levada do Nova


The Levada do Moinho to Levada do Nova hike is a peaceful loop trail along two different levadas that leads you to two different waterfalls.  One of those waterfalls you can even walk behind!  Although not a very popular hike, it was one of our favorite hikes in Madeira.  Besides the waterfalls you see, the valley mountain views are incredible. The Levada do Moinho to Levada do Nova hike is not one to miss while visiting Madeira. Here is our guide on how to hike Levada do Moinho to Levada do Nova in Madeira.

Levadas are aqueducts that help with water flow throughout the island. There are many levada hikes throughout Madeira.  See our Top 3 Levada Hikes on Madeira, How to Hike Levada das 25 Fontes and How to Hike Levada do Caldeirão Verde guides for more information on other stunning levada hikes on Madeira. For more information on our Madeira trip see our Top Things to do Madeira post.

We took this trip and hike when our daughter was 18 months old. For more information on exploring with a baby, please see our Top 10 Baby Travel Tips, How to Hike with a Baby, 5 Top Baby & Toddler Flying Tips and Flying with a Baby posts. 

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. That means that, at no cost to you, we may get a small commission if you purchase through these links. This helps us keep providing travel resources for you!


What are the stats of the Levada do Moinho to Levada do Nova hike? 

The Levada do Moinho to Levada do Nova is a 5.6 miles round trip hike with just under 500 feet of elevation gain and is a loop trail.  


How would you rate the difficulty of the Levada do Moinho to Levada do Nova hike? 

The trail is rather easy with only one spot when hiking between the levadas where you have to hike up about 300 feet of elevation (several flights of stairs) at one time.  The trail is a well maintained concrete path along the levadas.


Is the Levada do Moinho to Levada do Nova hike doable for someone afraid of heights? 

If you are afraid of heights, the Levada do Moinho to Levada do Nova trail may not be for you. Unlike the other levada hikes we did in Madeira, there are significant areas of the path with large drop offs that do not have fencing along them.  However, we never once felt unsafe on the path as it was plenty wide and stable.


How do I find the Levada do Moinho to Levada do Nova hike? 

To start the Levada do Moinho to Levada do Nova Hike, park outside of Igreja da Lombada da Ponta do Sol. The easiest way to locate this trailhead is to locate this church using Google maps.  The Levada do Moinho to Levada do Nova trail then begins behind the church after walking down an alleyway. There is an orange/brown sign clearly pointing to the Levada do Moinho.  This directs you to a small alley behind the church that quickly leads to the Levada do Moinho to Levada do Nova trail.


Is the trail a loop? Do you hike on two levadas on the Levada do Moinho to Levada do Nova hike? 

This trail is a loop, created by combining the trail along the Levada do Moinho and Levada do Nova.  Levada do Moinho is older and located below the newer and higher Levada do Nova. These two levadas parallel one another at different heights.  


How do you get between Levada do Moinho and Levada do Nova? 

The way we hiked the trail, we first hiked on Levada do Moinho and then climbed up a staircase mid hike to join the Levada do Nova trail. 

When you first see this staircase at about 2.5ish miles into the hike, continue on about 300 meters down a small staircase and across the river to see another waterfall in the gorge for very little extra effort.  During the rainy season (when we were visiting), the river may flow more swiftly. However, we were able to cross the river rather easily and safely, though our feet did get wet.  Just be careful of your footing!  The gorge waterfall is pretty yet not the highlight of this hike, more just an added bonus waterfall!  At the waterfall in the gorge, there are some nice picnic areas, and this is the best spot to take a break for lunch or a snack along this hike. 

After seeing the waterfall in the gorge, head back to the staircase and take the steps up to Levada do Nova to make your way to the waterfall you can walk behind.  When you reach the top of the stairs turn RIGHT.  A local we met on the trail helped us navigate this path and we are glad we had his assistance because there was no clear signage . You can also head up the staircase right away instead of heading into the gorge. However, it will make your hike only minimally shorter and you will see one less waterfall.  

Note, early on the Levada do Moinho trail, there is another small staircase that is spray painted saying it leads to Levada do Novo but do not go up that either, it won’t lead you to the right spot. 


What are the Levada do Moinho to Levada do Nova hike logistics? 

Vast Open Mountain Views to Start

On the first few miles of the hike, you hike along the cliff-edge.  You have stunning valley mountain views in front of you and sweeping valley views to the ocean behind you.  The drop-offs here are steep but we never felt the trail was unsafe or too narrow even when hand railings were not present. 

Walk-Behind Waterfall

Once you take the stairs from the Levada do Moinho trail to the Levada do Novo trail, you are very close to the main attraction of the trail, the waterfall you can walk behind.  Remember, turn RIGHT once you reach the top of the stairs. You turn the corner on this trail and suddenly BAM there is the waterfall you can walk behind.  It is very pretty sight with lots of greenery in the rainy season. The waterfall cascades over the trail that has been carved into the cliff side.  You will only get slightly wet walking under it (none of us wore raincoats so pretty minimal).

Dry Tunnel

After the waterfall, you head into a short 0.1 mile dark dry tunnel.  Unlike the tunnels on the Levada do Caldeirão Verde hike, this one was completely dry and not as low meaning you do not need to duck as much.  Like the Levada do Caldeirao hike, we do recommend using headlamps here.  

Open Mountainous Views Again

After hiking through the tunnel, you parallel your path you took the way in, only higher up now.  You again get sweeping views over the mountainous valley to the ocean in front of you and the vast mountainous green valley views behind you. Again, be mindful during this part of the hike as more sections of this levada do not have railing in comparison to the Levada do Moinhos below.

The Levada do Novo trail then ends about a half mile up from the church so you have to walk down the road back to the church to complete this loop hike.  It was fun to look at all the different houses up close along this road and made for an easy downhill end to our hike. 


Where is the Levada do Moinho to Levada do Nova hike located? 

The Levada do Moinho to Levada do Nova Hike is located in the middle southern part of the island near Ponta del Sol (less than 20 minutes from where we were staying in Arco da Calheta).  


Do you need rain gear on the Levada do Moinho to Levada do Nova hike?  

No, unless it is raining, you do not need rain gear for the Levada do Moinho to Levada do Nova hike. The cave is dry on the trail and there are no spots on the trail where you have to go directly under water run-off. 


Is the Levada do Moinho to Levada do Nova Hike busy? 

In comparison to the other levada hikes we did, this one was the least busy.  We saw approximately 10 other people on the trail, all very well spaced out.  It felt like we had this hike to ourselves at times, especially on the Levada do Moinho. 


We hope this guide helps you plan how to hike Levada do Moinho to Levada do Nova.  Anything you’d add to our guide? We’d love to hear your feedback and questions.  Please leave us a comment!

Did you find this post helpful? If so, please share it with a friend, like our Always Have a Trip Planned Facebook Page, follow our Always Have A Trip Planned Instagram and subscribe to our emails below.

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How to Hike Levada do Caldeirão Verde


The Levada do Caldeirão Verde hike in Madeira, Portugal is one of the most magical and picturesque levada hikes on the island.  From sweeping mountainous rainforest views, to hiking through narrow tunnels to stunning waterfalls, this hike offers constant views and action.  This hike was recommended to us by several as the ‘best hike on Madeira’ and we would agree. This overall flat hike is not overly strenuous or technical, providing astounding views with less effort.  The Levada do Caldeirão Verde hike in Madeira is a must do hike while on the island. Here is our guide on how to hike Levada do Caldeirão Verde in Madeira.

Levadas are aqueducts that help with water flow throughout the island. There are many levada hikes throughout the island.  See our Top 3 Levada Hikes on Madeira, How to Hike Levada das 25 Fontes and How to Hike Levada do Moinho guides for more information on other stunning levada hikes in Madeira. Also see our Top Things to do Madeira guide for more Madeira tips.

We took this trip and hike when our daughter was 18 months old. For more information on exploring with a baby, please see our Top 10 Baby Travel Tips, How to Hike with a Baby, 5 Top Baby & Toddler Flying Tips and Flying with a Baby posts. 

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. That means that, at no cost to you, we may get a small commission if you purchase through these links. This helps us keep providing travel resources for you!


How long is the Levada do Caldeirão Verde hike? How much elevation do you gain on the hike? 

Per our iWatch tracking, the Levada do Caldeirão Verde Hike is 8.5 miles round-trip and essentially flat the entire journey.  It is an out & back hike.  Note that the elevation of this hike is insanely inaccurate on All Trails (this seems to be a theme for levada hikes in Madeira as the elevation was also very off on the 25 Fontes Hike). 

There is an option to hike about 2 miles further round trip to the Inferno but we did not hike further onto this spot and this add-on is not factored into our hike logistics. 


How long does it take to hike the Levada do Caldeirão Verde hike?

The Levada do Caldeirão Verde hike took us 4 hours and 30 minutes to complete.  This was with one of us carrying 35+ pounds on our back the entire time (Baby G plus gear).  This hike takes most people about 5 or 6 hours to complete.  


What makes the Levada do Caldeirão Verde hike unique?

To reach the Levada do Caldeirão Verde, you must hike through 4 narrow, variable length tunnels. All of these tunnels are a bit different in length and height. To safely pass through them, you need a headlamp and to be able to duck down adequately (lowest passage estimated around 4 feet high).  

Tunnel Specifics

The first and last tunnel are rather short and tall whereas the other two are longer and more low, meaning you will need to duck down significantly and must have a source of light.  Being very mindful, we were able to avoid hitting ours or the baby’s head while navigating these with the baby on Sam’s back.  Natalie always walked behind Sam to make sure his and baby’s heads were both safe.  

These tunnels were also rather wet on the ground and dripping from above.  Be sure to have waterproof rain gear including solid hiking boots. 

As mentioned above, these caves are VERY wet and dripping so be sure to be wearing rain gear when you pass through them too. Beyond the tunnels being wet, at several spots along the levada, you have to pass under large areas of water runoff.  Here, if not wearing rain gear, you will get completely soaked.  We are so glad we had our baby’s rain suit and our rain gear with us.  Rain gear we recommend to have to explore: 

We saw some people complete this hike in tennis shoes and their feet must have been completely soaked by the end.  We highly advise against that. 

Other Unique Qualities

What also makes the Levada do Caldeirão Verde hike unique is the waterfall located within a rock clearing at the end of the hike that looks like a cauldron (first picture on post).   Caldeirão Verde translates to ‘Green Cauldron’ and this name is very fitting. 


Is the Levada do Caldeirão Verde Hike safe and/or scary? 

There are some large drop offs next to the levada trail at times but every section of this trail was very well-maintained with railings next to all these drop-offs.  We never felt unsafe hiking along the levadas here.  Even when passing other hikers (on the sometimes very narrow levada trail), you can lean into/over the levada without ever needing to lean out over the railing. 


What are the logistics of the Levada do Caldeirão Verde Hike?

The Levada do Caldeirão Verde hike starts off through the forest and you wind through the rainforest along the levada.  At times you are hiking along a narrow levada path next to steep drop offs (with a railing) and at other times you are hiking on a rather wide path.  The steep drop offs give you some sweeping mountainous rainforest views and the wider parts of the trail you will see variable ferns, flowers and flora.  As mentioned before, you will hike through 4 different tunnels that are variably narrow/low but all very wet.  Be sure to have headlamps for this and to be mindful of your head (and any children you are carrying).  This hike leads you to the Caldeirão Verde or the ‘Green Cauldron’ which is a waterfall flowing into a large cauldron like rock clearing.  This hike is essentially flat and not overly strenuous or technical.


Where is the Levada do Caldeirão Verde located? 

The Levada do Caldeirão Verde hike is located near Santana in the North, Middle of the island.   After this hike, you may consider visiting the traditional Santana houses of Madeira. 


Is the Levada do Caldeirão Verde hike busy? 

The Levada do Caldeirão Verde hike is well-trafficked but neither of us felt it was busy per se.  We certainly saw other people so do not expect to have it to yourself. However, we were always able to have our own space hiking and passed less than 20 people on the trail total.  We were visiting during low season though so this trail would likely be busier during high season.  


Do you need rain gear on the Levada do Caldeirão Verde Hike?  

Yes, we would suggest great rain gear on this hike even if it is not raining.  Not only are the tunnels you will pass through wet and dripping but also at several spots along the levada, you have to pass under large areas of water runoff.  Here, if not wearing a raincoat, you will get completely soaked (especially if it has rained recently and there is more runoff similar to the day we hiked).  We are so glad we had our baby’s rain suit and our rain gear with us. 

Here is the rain gear we use and love: 


We hope this guide helps you plan how to hike Levada do Caldeirão Verde.  Anything you’d add to our guide? We’d love to hear your feedback and questions.  Please leave us a comment!

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And remember, Always Have A Trip Planned!

How to Hike Galten (Mini Trolltunga)


Galten, aka mini Trolltunga, is a unique rock that juts out of the mountainside over Dalsfjord and is covered in greenery.  This picturesque spot is still relatively unknown.  When we hiked it, we truly had the trail to ourselves and the hike was nothing short of spectacular.  We highly recommend getting off the beaten path, stopping in Folkestad and hiking Galten when you are in Norway.  Here is our guide on how to hike Galten in Norway.   

Galten Hike

FYI: This post is written based on a hike taken in early September.  See our 2 Week Norway Road Trip guide for all the details on this trip. We took this trip with our 12 month old daughter.  For all our baby travels tips and tricks see our Top 10 Baby Travel Tips, 5 Top Baby & Toddler Flying Tips and our How to Hike with a Baby post. 

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. That means that, at no cost to you, we may get a small commission if you purchase through these links. This helps us keep providing travel resources for you!


How long is the Galten (Mini Trolltunga) Hike?  How much elevation gain is on the Galten Hike? 

Galten hike is an out & back hike that is 2.6 miles (4.2 km) with 1535 feet (471 meters) of elevation gain.  If you start prior to the toll road, as we recommend to save a little cash, that adds on about 0.5 miles and 100 feet of elevation gain. 


How do I hike to Galten?  What are the Galten (Mini Trolltunga) Hike Logistics? 

This hike first takes you through a pine forest before taking you above the treeline for about a mile until you reach Galten itself.  On your way to Galten, you’ll get views of both stunning Voldsfjord and Dalsfjord.  Once out of the pine forest, these views on this hike are truly postcard worthy.  And with it being a relatively short hike, we’d say it’s a great bang for buck hike.   

Galten Hike

Once you get to the Summit, there is a book contained in a waterproof container where you can sign saying you were there.  From there, you have to walk/climb down to Galten.  It is a bit of a scramble but Natalie was able to do it easily and without issue with our 12 month old on her back.  We had fun sitting as a family out at this spot.  


How long does the Galten (Mini Trolltunga) Hike take?

This hike will take about 3 hours to hike.   We hiked Galpen in about 3 hours including stopping at the summit for about 45 minutes.  


How much does it cost to park at Galten (Mini Trolltunga)? 

If you use the toll road, it costs 50 NOK (5 US dollars).  However, you can park before the toll road and forgo this charge easily and only add on less than 0.5 miles of hiking.  Here are the coordinates to Galten start and see the picture here. 

Galten Hike Parking

Is the Galten (Mini Trolltunga) hike busy?

No! We only saw two other people while hiking this trail.  One of the people was a local who hikes this trail several times a month to enjoy the tranquil environment this hike offers. The hike was so peaceful and felt untouched. It really seemed like we had the trail to ourselves.  It was one of our favorite hikes in Norway because of this.  This less popular spot is worth the trek to enjoy the stunning views alone.


Can you hike Galten (Mini Trolltunga) with kids? 

Yes!  We hiked this trail with our 12-month-old daughter in the backpack carrier.  This trail is not technically challenging so as long as you are in decent shape, you should be able to complete it baby wearing.  Most kids over 7, and younger depending on experience, should be able to complete this trail as well.   You may not want your child to go out onto the Galten rock at these younger ages though.  We felt comfortable holding our daughter on the rock but did not let her walk out on to it. 

Galten hike with kids

When to hike Galten (Mini Trolltunga)?  

Ideally, hike it June 1st-September 30th.  Outside of that window, it is more likely the road leading to the Galten trailhead will be covered in snow and the trail will be covered in snow as well.


How do you access the Galten (Mini Trolltunga) trailhead? 

You can either access it by driving on the toll road or hiking from parking just prior to the toll road.  Here are the coordinates to Galten start.  


Where to stay when hiking Galten (Mini Trolltunga)?  

We LOVED the Airbnb we stayed at in Folkestad.  We were actually able to walk to the Galten trailhead from here.  The views from this place were spectacular and the space was comfortable.  We really enjoyed talking with our host here who was very helpful suggesting many things to explore in the area.  We traveled all over Norway and this was our favorite Airbnb and town.  Stay here! 

Hiking Galten was one of the highlights of our 2 Week Norway Road Trip.   It was so peaceful, serene and scenic.  See our 2 Week Norway Road Trip guide for all the details on planning an epic fjord road trip of your own.  


We hope this guide helps you plan your hike at Galten.  Anything you’d add to our guide? We’d love to hear your feedback and questions.  Please leave us a comment!

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Where to Hike in Geirangerfjord?


Where to Hike in Geirangerfjord

Geiragngerfjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is said to be one of the most beautiful fjords in all of Norway.  This fjord is actually the inspiration for the beautiful Adendelle in Disney’s hit movie Frozen.  With Geirangerfjord being one of the most scenic fjords, we knew we wanted to go hiking here.  However, with only being in Geirangerfjord one full day, we knew we needed to find the best ‘one & done’ hike to do.  And we were so happy when we found the perfect, unique hike in Geirangerfjord from Skagehola to Geiranger.  Here is our guide on where to hike in Geirangerfjord. 

Where to Hike in Geirangerfjord

FYI: This post is written based on a hike taken in early September.  See our 2 Week Norway Road Trip guide for all the details on this trip. We took this trip with our 12 month old daughter.  For all our baby travels tips and tricks see our Top 10 Baby Travel Tips, 5 Top Baby & Toddler Flying Tips and our How to Hike with a Baby post. 

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. That means that, at no cost to you, we may get a small commission if you purchase through these links. This helps us keep providing travel resources for you!


Take a boat to Skagefla and then hike back to Gerianger

We highly, HIGHLY recommend taking a boat to the Skagefla drop off and then hiking back to Geiranger from there.  This unique hike affords stunning views of Geirangerfjord.   Map as below.

Book Geirangerfjord Cruise 

In order to do this one-way hike in Geirangerfjord, you first book a Cruise on Geirangerfjord to Skagfela (550 NOK).  Be sure to book this cruise in advance as it does have limited time spots, especially after September 1st.  You take this cruise down through the fjord, past several stunning waterfalls.  Once the boat turns around, you will get off the boat on the return route at the Skagehola stop (boat drop-off/pick-up below Skagefla farm).  

Where to Hike in Geirangerfjord: Skaagehola to Geiranger Hike Specifics 

We measured this one-way hike at just over 5 miles one-way with 1800 feet of elevation gain.  

Hike to Skagefla Farm

As mentioned above, the hike to Skagefla starts with a fjord cruise through Geirangerfjord to Skagehola (shore below Skagefla where the trail starts).  Here you get off the book and start the steep hike to Skagefla 

People had told us this hike was steep before we completed it but we truly did not appreciate how steep this hike was until we completed it.  In about 0.5 miles, you gain over 800 feet (250 meters) of elevation making it a stellar workout as well.  

Skagefla is one of ten old, abandoned mountain farms in Geirangerfjord.  This farm is 250 meters above the fjord and offers a fantastic view of several waterfalls in Geirangerfjord.  

Geirangerfjord Hike

The trail then continues onto the highest point of elevation at 1800 feet (550 meters). This is another steep, challenging climb to this spot. You will reach another abandoned farm before starting your descent toward Holmberg.  This highest point of elevation offers fantastic views back over Geirangerfjord.

The hike back to Holmberg is then a gradual descent.  Just before the final descent, you are afforded the most spectacular views over Geiranger (first picture in this post).  Once you arrive in Holmberg, you walk the main road back to Geiranger.  It is less than a mile back to Geiranger from this point. 

Bonus: On this hike, an unexpected, fun find was many fresh blueberries and raspberries along the path.  It was so neat to be able to eat these fresh on the trail.  Our daughter loved eating and trying these too! 

Note: Trail is slippery even without recent rain

Even without recent rain, due to how water drains into the fjord, the trail is likely to be slippery in spots due to wet/muddy terrain.  Especially on your descent into Holmberg.   Even though it had not rained in over two weeks when we visited, there were still some very slick spots on the trail.  Solid hiking shoes (and being on your A-game with careful steps) are a must for this trail.  

Where to hike Geriangerfjord

Looking for great hiking boots?  Here are links to the ones we’ve used for 8+ years and highly recommend: Men’s Keen Waterproof Hiking Boots & Women’s Keen Waterproof Hiking Boots

Where to Hike in Geirangerfjord: Can kids hike this trail?

Yes!  We hiked this trail with our 12-month-old daughter in the backpack carrier.  The ascent hike is very steep but the hike to Holmberg/Geiranger is more manageable. We felt comfortable with our daughter in the carrier. Beware that the trail skirts the edge of the fjord and is quite exposed at times.  This does pose a dangerous fall risk.  However, there are chains in these spots. If your child can handle the steep elevation and you can trust them to be aware of the exposed mountainside at different points, they should be able to complete this hike.  


Alternative Routes

Hike from Geiranger/Holmberg to Skagefla Out & Back

You could alternatively hike from Geiranger out & back.  This would make it a very long day/hike (10 miles round-trip).  We also consider the steep rocky trail that we ascended to the farm from Skagehola dangerously steep.  We would have not felt comfortable descending this trail back to the boat drop off/pick up with our baby on our backs. We find ascending up steep elevation to be more manageable than descending down steep elevation.  

However, this alternative is a budget option (for someone not baby-wearing) because you do not have to pay for the pricey cruise to Skagefla/Skaghola.  However, we thought the cost of the cruise was worth it allows you  to see the fjord from the water. 

Hike from Boat Drop-Off/Pick Up to Skagefla Out & Back

Another alternative to hiking the full path is that you can hike to Skagefla farm (from the boat drop off spot below it) and then hike back to the boat drop off/pick up (Skagehola) for a boat ride back to Geiranger.  Getting picked up at the boat drop off/pick is included in your cruise ticket cost.  This shortens the hike to about 1 mile round trip.  However, do not let that 1 mile stat fool you.  The hike to Skagefla is an exceedingly steep route with 820 feet (250 feet) of elevation gain and round-trip it will take you at least an hour to 1.5 hours to complete.  

We highly advise you against this option though as our favorite views on this hike were all past Skagefla farm/past the highest elevation.  Our favorite view over Geiranger was near the end of this hike near Holmberg (above). 

Note: If you do choose this option, make sure to check when the next boat will be coming to pick you up.  Boats, especially after Sept 1st, are very limited and the boats will not wait for you (as they do not know you are coming) if you are not there when they arrive.  Make sure you are back to Skagehola before the boat comes to get you. We witnessed one group of hikers narrowly miss the boat as the frantically moved on the trail to jump onboard

Fun Facts about Geirangerfjord: 

  • Inspiration for Arendelle in Frozen 
  • Population less than 300 year round residents
  • Less than 20 kids are enrolled in the school here.  Once kids turn 16, they are sent to Alesund (2 hours away) for school and live in an apartment on their own at this time 
  • The town inevitably is going to be destroyed by a Tsunami at some point but it is heavily monitored so that the residents should have 72 hours to evacuate 

Where to Stay in Geirangerfjord?

We stayed at Grande Hytteutleige og Camping in cabin option #3 while visiting Geiranger/Geirangerfjord.  These simple one bedroom cabins (with a lofted space and bunk beds) can sleep up to 5 and also have a full kitchen.  The real draw to this spot though is the back window/patio views over Geirangerfjord.  The views are truly stellar.  We would stay at this spot again without hesitation.  The staff working here were also very kind and accommodating to us.  There are other larger and smaller cabin options here as well to meet your group needs.  This accommodation was the perfect space for us to base ourselves for two-nights to hike in Geirangerfjord. 


Hiking from Skagefla to Geirnagerfjord was one of the highlights of our 2 Week Norway Road Trip   It was so peaceful, serene and scenic.  See our 2 Week Norway Road Trip Trip guide for all the details on planning an epic fjord road trip of your own.  

We hope this guide helps you plan where to hike in Geirangerfjord.  Anything you’d add to our guide? We’d love to hear your feedback and questions.  Please leave us a comment!

Did you find this post helpful? If so, please share it with a friend, like our Always Have a Trip Planned Facebook Page, follow our Always Have A Trip Planned Instagram and subscribe to our emails below.

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Hiking in Runde, Norway


Hiking in Runde Norway

Runde is an island off the west coast of Norway with just over 100 residents. It is famous for bird viewing on its dramatic seaside cliffs throughout the summer (June-early August).  Although we visited Runde outside of bird watching season, we found it to be very neat to see the cliffs even without the birds. The island itself is very quaint and cute with being so small. There was a small town charm to it when you talk to locals.   Hiking to/around the seaside cliffs was a highlight of our time in Norway.  Here is our guide on hiking in Runde, Norway.  

Hiking in Runde Norway

FYI: This post is written based on a hike taken in early September.  See our 2 Week Norway Road Trip guide for all the details on this trip. We took this trip with our 12 month old daughter.  For all our baby travels tips and tricks see our Top 10 Baby Travel Tips, 5 Top Baby & Toddler Flying Tips and our How to Hike with a Baby post. 

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. That means that, at no cost to you, we may get a small commission if you purchase through these links. This helps us keep providing travel resources for you!

Hiking in Runde Norway Map

Hike the seaside cliffs in Runde

Runde is a relatively small island.  The map above, in Norwegian (given to us by a local), shows the whole island and hiking trails are marked with dashed lines.  We recommend starting on the Goksoyr side, where you can access the trail from the road, and then making a loop around the cliffs in a clockwise fashion as highlighted on the map.  This hike is in total about 4 miles and just under 1000 feet of elevation gain.   You can add on some mileage and elevation by hiking down to the lighthouse as well.  However, the best cliff views are from the higher elevations of the hike on the east and west side of the island.  

Trailhead on Runde located between two houses 

To access the hike, park at the public lot right off the main road, just slightly south of the start of the trailhead. There were public toilets at the parking lot as well to access. From here, walk up the road to the trailhead where you will start your steep climb.  The trailhead can be a bit tricky to find, as it is located between two houses but if you are looking for it, you shouldn’t miss it.  

First part of the hike on Runde is the steepest

The first part of this hike, if you complete this hike in a counterclockwise fashion as we suggest, is the steepest.  Once you get to the highest point on the north tip of the island, your hike will be mostly downhill (unless you hike down to the lighthouse too, then you have to climb back up to the main trail).

Hike through farmland, then along cliffs 

You will first hike through some farmland, previously used for peat moss harvesting, before reaching the dramatic sea cliffs.  The best views of the cliffs, in our opinion, are on the east side of the trail heading up it to the west.  Here, you can see down to the lighthouse where the cliffs slowly taper off in height.  

Hiking in Runde Norway

We hiked all the way up to the highest point along the cliffs on the northside.  Stopping here is a nice spot to have a picnic and gaze off into the Atlantic ocean.  Then we started our descent down on the west side of the island where we did actually see many krykkjer birds nesting along the cliffs (despite being outside of bird viewing season).  However, we did not see any puffins. 

Tip: If you want the best chance to see nesting birds, especially Puffins, be sure to visit in June-early August.  

Beware though that with the bird viewing season comes crowds.  Although we did not see many birds on our hike, we also did not see many people.  We enjoyed a very peaceful hike, where we only encountered 6 other people the whole time, while visiting during the off-season.  

Downhill second half of the hike

From the highest point on this hike, you can cut back across the farmland to make the loop or you can hike down the west side of the island more.  Note though that once you start heading down the west side of the trail, after the crossover path to make the loop, the trail becomes more rocky with more scrambling.  Be careful!  We did not venture too far on this trail due to the more difficult terrain. Instead we headed back across the farmland on the main trail. 

Hiking in Runde Norway

As noted above, this hike is 4 miles in total.  We found the first climb to be of moderate difficulty but the second half of the hike was a downhill/flat breeze.   The first part of this hike is the steepest, if you complete cthis hike in a counterclockwise fashion.  Once you get to the highest point on the north tip of the island, your hike will be mostly downhill (unless you hike down to the lighthouse, then you have to climb back up) 

Where to stay when hiking in Runde?

We stayed about an hour away from Runde, in Folkestad. We LOVED this Folkestad Airbnb.  The views of the farm and fjord from this Airbnb truly are unmatched.  This cozy place was the perfect spot to take a day trip to Runde as well as hike Galten ***. 10 out of 10 recommend this spot and town.  

Where to stay near Runde

You may also consider staying on the small quaint island.  Our friend, who lives in Norway and has visited Runde, recommends staying at the Christianborg hotel (nice restaurant on site) or camping near the lighthouse (must hike to) if you are staying on the island. 

Tip: Check the ferry schedule from Folkestad to Volda to avoid wait time 

If you are staying in Folkestad, check the times of the ferry to Volda.  We took the ferry on a Saturday and it was only running every 40 minutes unlike on weekdays where it runs more frequently.  We arrived 1 minute after the ferry left so we had to wait 39 minutes for the next one…  Had we known the ferry schedule, we likely would have stayed at our Airbnb longer or gotten out the door faster.  Capitalizing on some down time, our daughter enjoyed walking around the dock here and we wouldn’t have gotten to do that had we not had to wait.


Hiking in Runde was one of the highlights of our 2 Week Norway Road Trip.   See this guide for all the details on planning an epic fjord road trip of your own.  

We hope this guide helps you plan your visit to Runde and hiking along the seaside cliffs.  Anything you’d add to our guide? We’d love to hear your feedback and questions.  Please leave us a comment!

Did you find this post helpful? If so, please share it with a friend, like our Always Have a Trip Planned Facebook Page, follow our Always Have A Trip Planned Instagram and subscribe to our emails below.

And remember, Always Have A Trip Planned!

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