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. 

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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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