The original plan for our last day before returning to Funchal was the mountain walk from Pico do Arieiro to the highest peak, Pico Ruivo (1862m). However, the weather was not looking good. It was decided not to make the final decision until we arrived at Pico Do Arieiro, where the cameras could be checked and locals consulted. En route we stopped off at the viewpoint at top of Europe’s highest cliff, Cabo Girao. It is 580m high (the highest cliff in the world is in Hawaii). Unfortunately we could see very little due to the cloud but in good weather, the glass skywalk would give fantastic views below.
After the drive up, past an old ice house, it was clear that the high winds, rain and minimal visibility meant that the mountain walk had to be cancelled. Instead we walked one of the oldest levadas which belongs to the state: the Levada do Furado. It was acquired through a contract signed in 1822 between the first Count of Carvalhal and the Board of the Royal Treasury, for irrigation of the farmlands of Porto da Cruz. Back in a well-preserved section of the island’s native forest, there were flowers like this violet:
and more waterfalls.
In places the path sneaks through narrow passages between the rocks.
However, we soon began to get views over the surrounding area.At Lamaceiros the Levada do Furado ends, near this building dated 1906
A forestry track took us down to the road in Portela.
There was a very conveniently situated bar which made a good resting place and a flower market taking place nearby.
Although we were disappointed not to be able to do the mountain walk we had a pleasant day at lower altitudes.