Monthly Archives: May 2019

Levada walks, something you must do in Madeira

By: Elisa C. De Melo

What is a levada?

If you are not Portuguese, and have never been to Madeira, chances are you probably have never heard of a “levada walk”. Since you are probably wondering what is this “thing” that we are suggesting for you to do, please allow us to clarify first what is a “Levada”. “Levada” is a Portuguese word that comes from the word “levar” (which means to carry). To be more accurate, a levada is  a small canal that carries water.

Levada. Photo: Tour Azores

These mini canals were developed long time ago, they date back to the 16th century. Built as irrigation systems to distribute water from rainfall and wet regions to the drier regions of the Island. Still today, these narrow water canals continue to deliver water to vineyards, banana plantations, fruit and vegetable gardens and the hydro-electric power stations around Madeira. The irrigation system now comprises more than 200 levadas, with an impressive 1,864 miles of mini canals and 25 miles of tunnels.

Levada walks:

Now you can assume what a “levada walk” is. The famous “levada walks” are walking trails in narrow paths beside the Levadas. They are the perfect activity for the explorer and nature lover that wants to enjoy a peaceful and relaxing walk away from the city. Levadas are inaccessible by car. They allow you to disconnect and venture into the island, without being afraid of getting lost.

Levada dos Cedros

Levada dos Cedros. Photo Courtesy of: @franciscocorreiaphotos

If you want to learn more about the Islands fauna and flora, admire panoramic and breathtaking landscapes and reconnect with yourself, then levada walks are for you. They are definitely one of the most unique experiences that you can have while visiting the Island!

Bird in Madeira

Fauna in Madeira. Photo courtesy of @goroholicza

Keep in mind that Levada walks range in difficulty, so if you are not an experienced walker you can choose an easy one, and if you are experienced then you can venture in one that would be more challenging.

Levada do Rei

Levada do Rei. Photo: @thewanderlustwithin

What to bring?

We recommend to bring proper walking shoes, socks and clothes, camera or phone, binoculars, hat, a light rain jacket and a light backpack loaded with water, a mix trail, snacks and a sandwich. During your walk you will surely find a place to sit down, take a bite and relax. It could even be next to a waterfall!

Levada Fãja do Rodrigues

Levada Fãja do Rodrigues. Photo courtesy of: @josemata1818

As with any place that you visit, we would like to cordially ask to pick up your trash and carry it with you until you can dump it in a proper garbage can. We want to preserve the beauty and nature of these places so that they continue to be enjoyed by future generations.

Are you ready to discover the best of Madeira by foot? Then let’s go for a levada walk!

We have several tours to Madeira where you can add a levada walk tour:

Madeira and Azores Tour

Madeira and Lisbon Tour

New Years in Madeira 2019-2020

Levada 25 Fontes

Levada 25 Fontes. Photo courtesy of @philecureuil

 

 

 

Best “Tascas” in Lisbon

If you want to be authentic and eat like a local, you should definitely go to a “Tasca”. And what is this thing that all the Portuguese people love so much?

“Tascas” are known to be inexpensive, most of the times they are tiny spaces that serve home-style food in large portions at affordable prices. The only risk here is that you might feel so comfortable that it would seem like you’re at home. These traditional places are great to learn more about Portuguese culture because for us Portuguese, having a meal is an important part of our daily routine.

Here are some of the ones that I highly recommend:

 

This is the kind of place that feels like home, it is very typical and familiar. Even the paving (floor) is typical from Portugal, the Calçada Portuguesa, one of the oldest features of the city, it is one of Lisbon’s trademarks.

Contacts: Tv. do Sequeiro 38, 1200-259 Lisboa, Portugal. +351 21 347 9243.

 

This is the best place for “petiscos” (typical tasty delicacies similar to tapas) like moelas or pataniscas. This is the typical Tasca, where you have the traditional environment of a tavern, with the aluminum display case and the enormous jugs of wine.

Contacts: Rua dos Sapateiros, 230 Lisboa 1100-581.213425135. https://www.facebook.com/Merendinha-do-Arco-363697533735831/

 

This Tasca is very known for the Fado (popular Portuguese music genre), here you can eat traditional Portuguese food while enjoying traditional Fado music, normally accompanied by Portuguese guitar.

Contacts: R. do Diário de Notícias 39, 1200-141 Lisboa, Portugal. +351 961 339 696. http://www.tascadochico.com/

 

The best dish to eat here is the “bacalhau” (codfish), this restaurant, located in Mouraria has tasteful traditional Portuguese food.

Contacts: R. João do Outeiro 24, 1100-584 Lisboa, Portugal. +351 21 886 5436.

 

This place has all the traditional Portuguese food you can think of, the pleasant atmosphere allows you to taste some of the best wines of Portugal. It’s the perfect combination between a restaurant and a tavern.

Contacts: Rua dos Fanqueiros, 161, Lisboa. 218 870 290.

 

This is definitely an affordable place that you don’t want to skip. The barbecue, especially the entrecosto (pork ribs) is great and served in big portions so that you can share it.

Contacts: Beco dos Surradores, 3, Lisboa. +351 218 869 641.

 

  • Rui do Barrote

The “picanha”, “maminha” and “bitoque” steak are a must try, this restaurant has great beef and well-grilled strips that you should not miss. It is in Marvila, a neighborhood that is becoming a hot spot.

Contacts: Rua Zofimo Pedroso 33, Lisbon 1950-290, Portugal. +351 21 868 9300.

 

Tascas are very simple, cheap and typical but the pleasant flavor is appreciated by everyone. The food is well served, looks homemade and the dishes are typical Portuguese foods. It’s a great way to know more about Portuguese Culture without breaking the bank!

 

Written by Ines Andrade e Sousa, Master in Tourism and Communication.

 

References:

AFAR: The Experiential Travel Guide (2019). Retrieved from https://www.afar.com/

New in Town (2019). Retrieved from https://nit.pt/

Time Out Lisboa https://www.timeout.pt/lisboa/pt

A tasca do Chico http://www.tascadochico.com/

Taberna da baixa https://www.tabernadabaixa.pt/