Levadas in Madeira

Levadas in Madeira

Levadas are irrigation channels to funnel and transport water in Madeira. They are usually no more than a meter wide and 50-60 cm deep.

Levada in Madeira, Portugal.

The channels bring water mainly from the wetter west and northwest to the more populated but drier southwest of the island. The idea is believed to stem from the Moorish occupation of Iberia.

There is now a network of more than 2,170 km of levadas on Madeira. As well as irrigation for crops they also provide hydro-electric power. They sometimes pass through tunnels cut through the mountains.

Levadas are often now walking trails.
In days gone by the channels were also used for washing laundry

History & Hikes

Building began in the 16th century and continued until the 1940s. At first, they were built in wood and later stone, though many are just dug from the soil.

Paths often run alongside them and provide a system of pleasant walking trails in the countryside.

The 37-km long Levada do Caldeirão Verde which becomes the Levada Caldeirão do Inferno, the 5 km Levada do Rei and the 7 km-long Levada do Caniçal are popular hikes. The Levada do Alecrim has great views of the Paul da Serra plateau at around 1,200 meters. The Levada do Furado is a popular walk and descends to the village of Portelo. There are views of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed laurel forest (laurissilva) on this hike. The Levada do Risco is a path to the Risco waterfall and another walk from Rabaçal on the Levada das 25 Fontes leads to 25 Fontes ("25 Springs") a serene pool fed by several falls.

The walks often pass close to some of Madeira's spectacular waterfalls.

Walking the dog on a levada in Madeira
Walking the dog on a levada in Madeira

More on Madeira

Capela de Santa Catarina

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Ponte Romana Tavira

Ponte Romana, Tavira, Algarve

The Ponte Romana in Tavira on the Algarve is so called as it was built over the remains of an earlier 3rd-century Roman bridge on the old Roman road from Faro to Castro Marim.

Ponte Romana, Tavira, Algarve
Ponte Romana, Tavira, Algarve

The present bridge over the River Gilão dates from 1663. The bridge has seven arches and green, iron railings. It is now for use only for pedestrians and cyclists after flood damage in 1989.

Several cafes and bars line the river with fine views of the bridge.

Tavira Ponte Romana
Tavira Ponte Romana

Other Bridges in Tavira

Another nearby bridge in Tavira is the Ponte das Forças Armadas. This is in the process of being replaced. It was constructed for traffic by the military (hence the name) in 1993 after the Ponte Romana was damaged.

This new bridge will be 88 meters long with the option to open for vehicles but primarily for foot traffic and cyclists.

View of the Ponte das Forças Armadas
View of the Ponte das Forças Armadas in the background and beyond that the Ponte dos Descobrimentos

Cars can cross the river at another bridge to the west, the Ponte de Santiago. The N125 highway also crosses the river even further west of town. To the east is Ponte dos Descobrimentos also with vehicular access.

Bridge in Tavira
The bridge is now for pedestrian use only after flood damage

Access - Getting There

The bridge is in the centre of town off Praça da República and Rua dos Pelames to the south. The road on the north bank is Rua Borda d`Água da Asseca.

Churches in Tavira

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Castelo de Vide Synagogue & Garcia de Orta

Castelo de Vide Synagogue

The synagogue in Castelo de Vide in the Alentejo region is the oldest surviving synagogue in Portugal. It is one of only two preserved medieval synagogues in Portugal. The other one is the synagogue of Tomar.

Castelo de Vide Synagogue
Castelo de Vide Synagogue is the oldest still standing in Portugal

Jews settled here from the 12th century with more arriving from Spain in the 15th century after the Alhambra Decree of 1492 ordered their expulsion from Castile and Aragon.

The building is divided into two rooms for men and women and contains a wooden tabernacle. The interior is now a museum dedicated to the history of the Jewish community on the Iberian Peninsula.

Historically, the Jewish population of both Spain and Portugal (known as Sephardi Jews) suffered great hardships and prejudice, particularly after the Reconquest.

The Inquisition in Portugal was particularly oppressive against "New Christians" (aka conversos or the pejorative marranos)- Jews who had been forced to convert and were suspected of carrying on their old faith in secret. There was also a massacre of Jews in Lisbon during the reign of Manuel I when an estimated 2,000 people were killed by the mob.

Many Portuguese Jews were expelled or fled overseas to London, Amsterdam, Morocco, or even South America. Their departure was a great loss for the country.

One prominent Jew of this period is Garcia de Orta (1501-1568). A physician, naturalist, and herbalist he was mostly active in Goa and considered a father of Western tropical medicine. He was born in Castelo de Vide where he practiced medicine before moving to Lisbon and becoming royal physician to King John III.

Garcia de Orta
Garcia de Orta

He left for India in 1534, probably sensing how the wind was blowing at home. Settling in Goa, he again set up a medical practice and served as a physician for both Portuguese and Indians. He was also a friend of the poet Luís de Camões while in India.

After his death in 1568, his sister Catarina was burned at the stake for her Jewish beliefs and in 1580 his remains were also dug up and burned by the vengeful Inquisition in Goa.

He is most remembered for his classic work Colóquios dos simples e drogas he cousas medicinais da Índia, a treatise on medicinal herbs and plants in India.

The Jardim Garcia de Orta in the Parque das Nações district of Lisbon is named after him.

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Cies Islands Galicia Spain

Cíes Islands, Galicia, Spain

The Cíes consist of three islands, Monteagudo, do Faro (Isla do Medio) and San Martiño. They are located off the coast of Galicia in Spain.

The islands make for a lovely excursion from Viana do Castelo in Portugal to Vigo in Spain by direct train or bus.

Cíes Islands, Galicia, Spain
Cíes Islands, Galicia, Spain

Natural Environment

There are no cars or hotels on the islands to preserve the pristine natural environment. However, there are cafes and restaurants for both refreshments and food.

Now a National Park, the Cíes Islands are home to over 22,000 pairs of seagulls. In addition, there are petrels, pelicans, as well as birds of prey on the islands. There are, however, now only a few surviving Iberian guillemots.

The waters around the islands attract dolphins, sharks, and even whales.

Cíes Islands, Galicia, Spain
Beautiful sandy beach, but the water is cold!


Visitors numbers are limited. Would-be tourists have to obtain an online permit which is checked on your phone or on a print out before you get on the ferry to the islands. See below for further information.

The main beach is Praia das Rodas which links the two main islands. In addition, there are the pretty coves of Praia de Nosa Señora and Praia das Figueres.

Activities include walking up to the Montefaro lighthouse (one of three on the islands) and enjoying relaxing on the beaches or in the (cool) water.

There are four trails altogether including the recommended Monte Faro trail and Alto del Príncipe trail.

The views from Alto do Principe are indeed superb.

Cíes Islands, Galicia, Spain
The islands are part of a nature reserve - the National Land-Marine Park of the Atlantic Islands of Galicia


There is only a single place to stay on the islands which is Camping Islas Cíes - a rather basic and not cheap accommodation. If you prefer to stay in Vigo there is a wide selection of hotels.

Lighthouse on Montefaro

Cíes Islands, Galicia, Spain

The waters around the islands are super clean
The waters around the islands are crystal clear

Pristine beach on the Cies Islands
The local flora includes both scrub and woodland seen here on Praia das Rodas

The local flora includes both scrub and woodland
The islands are known as the Illas Cíes in Galician

The islands are reached by boat from Vigo
Find peace and tranquility

Access - Getting There

The uninhabited islands are reached by boat from Vigo. There are also boats to the islands from the ports of Baiona and Cangas on the Galician coast. The boat from Vigo takes about 40 minutes. Journey time from Viana do Castelo Station to Vigo is about 1 hour, 20 minutes.

For boat times from Vigo check crucerosriasbaixas.com on your phone. It doesn't seem to work very well on PC. 

The mardeons.es/en/cies-islands website also has good information on the islands.

There are strict rules in force to protect the environment: no littering (visitors must take their litter home), no fishing, and no campfires.

The permit is available from this website: autorizacionillasatlanticas.xunta.gal

The Cíes consist of three islands, Monteagudo, do Faro (Isla do Medio) and San Martiño
The Cíes consist of three islands, Monteagudo, do Faro (Isla do Medio) and San Martiño

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Sandeman Cellars Vila Nova de Gaia

Sandeman Cellars Vila Nova de Gaia

The Sandeman Port Wine Lodge in Vila Nova de Gaia across the River Douro from Porto is a distinctive sight.

The House of Sandeman was founded way back in 1790 by the Scottish businessman George Sandeman. He dealt in Spanish sherry through Cadiz and port wine from Portugal. He purchased his cellars and wine lodge in Vila Nova de Gaia in 1811. Nowadays, the company also trades in wine from Madeira.

Sandeman Cellars Vila Nova de Gaia
Sandeman's wine cellars

The traditional logo of "the Don" - a figure wearing a long Portuguese student's cape and a Spanish Cabellero hat is one of the world's first commercial logos. It was painted by the Scottish artist George Massiot Brown.

Nowadays visitors to Sandeman's cellars and museum on the history of the company and brand can enjoy a variety of tours. They are conducted by a guide dressed as "the Don" aka the Sandeman Man. The tours end with a Port wine tasting and an opportunity to buy the company's celebrated port wines and vintage ports.

The museum exhibits vintage bottles going back as far as the 17th century, paintings and pottery. 

Distinctive rooftops of the building
Distinctive rooftops of the building

Access - Getting There

Largo Miguel Bombarda, 47
4400-222 Vila Nova de Gaia


March to October; daily from 10 am to 8pm; November to February; daily from 10 am to 12:30 pm and from 2 pm to 6 pm.

Porto buses 900, 901 904, and 906 all stop outside the cellars.

The Sandeman logo is one of the world's first
The Sandeman logo is one of the world's first commercial logos

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Rua das Flores Porto

Rua das Flores, Porto

The Rua das Flores in Porto was laid out in the early 16th century on land owned by the Bishop of Porto. By the 19th century, the street had some of the city's most expensive shops including goldsmiths.

Rua das Flores, Porto
Rua das Flores, Porto

Nowadays the street is lined with chic cafes, restaurants, souvenir shops and hip boutiques running down to the Igreja da Misericórdia, the Museu da Misericórdia do Porto, and the Largo São Domingos from just across the road from São Bento Station.

The street is pedestrianized and is usually thronged with tourists in the summer season. This is turn attracts musicians and street artists to entertain the crowds.

Some of the elegant buildings on the street once belonged to the aristocracy and wealthy merchants and date from the 17th-19th centuries.

Shop on the pedestrianized Rua das Flores
Rua das Flores

Note the fine wrought-iron balconies and tile work on some of the buildings. If you wish to stay on or near to this trendy thoroughfare try the recommended Casa dos Lóios Boutique Guesthouse or Myo Design House. Both are within renovated, historic houses with modern facilities.

Flores Boutique Hotel & Spa is a four-star hotel on the street complete with a wellness center, roof terrace and indoor pool.

Shop on the pedestrianized Rua das Flores
Shop on the pedestrianized Rua das Flores

Museu da Misericórdia do Porto
Museu da Misericórdia do Porto

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Eco-Museu Marinha da Troncalhada

Eco-Museu Marinha da Troncalhada, Aveiro

The Eco-Museu Marinha da Troncalhada is a short walk outside the center of Aveiro. Moliceiro boat tours also normally pass by these impressive salt pans, if you don't feel like the walk.

Salt production has been an important industry in the area since Roman times. The free museum, with information in both Portuguese and English, charts the history of salt in Aveiro.

Visitors can observe restored salt pans and enter the historic processing center. Here you can see traditional tools of the trade and information on the salt workers.

Eco-Museu Marinha da Troncalhada
Mounds of sea salt and the salt pan glisten brilliant white against the azure sky

Salt pans
Salt pans in Aveiro

Eco-Museu Marinha da Troncalhada
Eco-Museu Marinha da Troncalhada

Eco-Museu Marinha da Troncalhada
A fascinating museum on salt in Aveiro

Eco-Museu Marinha da Troncalhada
Eco-Museu Marinha da Troncalhada

Access - Getting There

Canal das Pirâmides
3800 Aveiro

From downtown Aveiro, the museum is about 15 minutes on foot.

Places to stay in Aveiro include the Hotel Melia Ria with an indoor pool and spa close to the Aveiro Congress Center. Alternatively, try the three-star Veneza Hotel in the town center.

For eats don't miss Ovos Moles, a local sweet made of egg yolks and sugar.

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Capela de Santa Catarina Funchal

Capela de Santa Catarina Funchal, Madeira

The Capela de Santa Catarina in Funchal on Madeira is a small but beautiful church. It is located within the pleasant Santa Catarina Park (Parque de Santa Catarina), a large green space in the city.

Capela de Santa Catarina
The church was originally built in wood


The church dates from the 15th century and was originally constructed in wood. It is believed this was the first church built on the island, founded by Constança Rodrigues, the wife of João Gonçalves Zarco (1390-1471). 

Zarco was one of the first explorers to establish settlements on the island and the first captain of Funchal.

In the 16th century, the present stone church was built.

The stone font and bell both display elements of distinctive Manueline design.

The Santa Catarina Park contains several aviaries as well as a number of stone monuments such as the one below. This commemorates the arrival of refugees from Gibraltar during World War II.

Santa Catarina Park
Monument to the arrival of refugees from Gibraltar

Access - Getting There

Av. Calouste Gulbenkian 1629
9000-052 Funchal

Hotels in Funchal

If you wish to stay in Funchal try the recommended Quinta do Monte. Other recommended places to stay in the city include the Hotel Quinta Bela S.Tiago or the budget Pensao Residencial Mirasol.

More on Madeira


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Campo Pequeno Lisbon Metro

Campo Pequeno Station Lisbon Metro

Campo Pequeno is a station on the Lisbon Metro in Lisbon. Campo Pequeno is on the Yellow Line (Linha Amarela) of the capital's subway network. It was one of the first 11 stations of the system and opened in 1959. The station has interesting tile work and sculptures by the Portuguese artist Francisco Simões. These are striking life-size, marble figures of women (Women of Lisbon). The colors of the figures show the different shades of Portuguese marble.

Campo Pequeno Metro Station
Station platform

The Yellow Line runs from Rato to Odivelas.

Several Carris buses stop at the station: 207, 727, 736, 738, 744, 749, 754, 756, and 783. The AeroBus #2 from Lisbon Airport to Sete Rios also stops here.

Campo Pequeno Metro Station
Station Sign

Nearby Campo Pequeno Station

The station is just outside the Campo Pequeno bullring (Praça de Touros do Campo Pequeno) within Cinema City Campo Pequeno, a large shopping and dining complex which includes a cinema. Nearby is the superb Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Rosário de Fátima, Lisbon's first modernist church.

Ticket gates at the station
Ticket Gates
Entrance to the station

Hotels near Campo Pequeno Station

There are several hotels nearby including the VIP Grand Lisboa Hotel & Spa, the Jupiter Lisboa Hotel, and the VIP Inn Berna Hotel.

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Berlitz Phrase Book & Dictionary Portuguese

Berlitz Phrase Book & Dictionary Portuguese

ISBN-13: 978-1780044989
Berlitz, 2018
224 pages

Berlitz Phrase Book & Dictionary Portuguese

Travelling to Portugal? Brazil? Mozambique? Or anywhere the 250 million speakers of Portuguese live and work and play? Don’t speak Portuguese? Berlitz has you covered.

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It will fit in your coat pocket or backpack and is easy to use. It begins with Pronunciation and ends with a 3000-word bilingual dictionary.

Berlitz Phrase Book & Dictionary Portuguese
Typical Page

Its emphasis is on the motherland - Portugal - but can be used in other locales where the 9th most spoken language in the world is spoken.

The pronunciation system is simple and easy to employ. All words and sentences are rendered in a way familiar to a speaker of English. For example, in “Survival,” there is the following example:

English: I'm on vacation.
Portuguese: Estou de ferias
Pronunciation: ee-stawoo deh feh-ree-uhz

Every example follows this pattern.

Moreover, beautiful color photographs of Portugal are sprinkled throughout the book.

The book consists of many sections, among them: Survival, Food & Drink, People, Leisure Time, Special Requirements, and In an Emergency. Each of those is broken into sub-categories.

This is a wonderful and reasonably priced language guide.

Berlitz Phrase Book & Dictionary Portuguese
Information Page

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