Rota da Banana, a short but fun walk
Rota da Banana consists of three short walks: RB1, RB2 and RB3. In total it is an exotic walk of 1.5 km, where you walk directly through the densely vegetated banana plantations. The walk is easy and fun and takes you in about half an hour along narrow paths, levadas and lots of banana plants.
Along the way you have beautiful views over kilometers of banana plants, the surrounding cliffs, the authentic village of Madalena do Mar and the ocean. If you like tropical places, you will love it here.
If you just want to walk one short hike, we recommend to walk RB1. This one was our favorite and has the most variety. It was the only route where you can follow a levada, which are the winding irrigation channels of Madeira.
The banana production of Madeira
The locals often work on the plantations. This gives you a unique insight into the entire process of the banana production. You see bunches with pistils, which are manually removed at the right time and when the bananas are ripe enough, they are cut manually.
Although the banana production seems huge, the production is only intended for Madeira and a small part goes to mainland Portugal and some parts of Spain. Madeira once exported bananas throughout Europe. Until the bananas were declined at auctions because, according to the European Union, they must meet a certain length and curvature. Such a pity! Because the bananas have a great soft and sweet taste.
🍌 Madeira’s annual banana production is equal to what Europe consumes in 1 day.
🍌 Up to 200 bananas can grow on one truss.
🍌 A banana plant only produces one bunch of bananas, then the plant is partially cut down so that a new bunch of bananas can grow.
🍌 A typical dish on Madeira is Espada com banana. This is a surprising combination of the Madeiran banana with black swordfish, which is fished from the depths of the Atlantic Ocean.
How to get to Madalena do Mar
You can get to Madalena do Mar in several ways.
There is an option to go from Funchal to Madalena do Mar by public transport. Take bus line 80 of the bus company Rodoeste towards Porto Moniz, the ride takes about an hour. Sometimes it can be a bit chaotic when traveling by public transport on Madeira. So keep the following things in mind and you will be fine:
🚌 You will be dropped off at a bus shelter in Madalena do Mar, right at the start of one of the trails of the Rota da Banana hike. If you are done hiking walk back to the bus shelter. There is no bus stop or bus shelter for the way back. Just wait on the other side of the road, opposite the bus shelter to be picked up.
🚌 Always give a signal or wave if you want to take that bus.
🚌 Pay attention to the departure times, because the bus only runs a limited number of times a day.