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.
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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.
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).
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!
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