Experience the enchanting beauty of Madeira’s 25 Fontes & Risco Waterfall Levada Walk, a stunning hike full of nature and adventure!
Taking this journey will allow you to appreciate winding trails, captivating waterfalls, and an abundance of birdsong.
Ready for a trek that unites history with exciting exploration? Let us tell you all about it so your trip is one-of-a-kind.
Table of Contents
WHAT IS A LEVADA WALK
A Levada Walk is a unique hiking experience that takes place along the irrigation channels, known as “levadas,” on the island of Madeira, Portugal.
These levadas were originally constructed in the 16th century to distribute water from the wetter northern regions of the island to the drier southern parts.
Today, they serve as a network of walking paths that guide hikers through Madeira’s stunning landscapes, including lush forests, mountain terrains, and breathtaking waterfalls.
A Levada Walk is a must-do activity for nature lovers and adventurers visiting Madeira.
ABOUT 25 FONTES
Exploring the 25 Fontes Levada walk in Madeira is a true marvel!
Set amidst lush green vegetation, fruit orchards and vegetable gardens, the trail leads you to a breathtaking waterfall that gushes from 25 separate springs into an alluring lagoon.
It’s no wonder why this levada walk is one of the most popular on the island, it offers spectacular views both early morning and afternoon.
Risco Waterfall can be discovered nearby for even more enchantment along these magical trails!
WHEN WAS 25 FONTES LEVADA WALK CREATED?
Wandering the Levada das 25 Fontes is a remarkable way to see some of Madeira’s most stunning landscapes and discover its interesting history.
This intricate system of water channels was set up during the 18th century, providing irrigation for agricultural lands as well as power stations utilizing hydroelectric energy.
This magnificent walk has been kept alive since then, becoming an inspiring reminder of how much this island has achieved throughout time.
It makes one feel deeply connected with Madeira’s legacy while enjoying nature in all its beauty!
WHERE IS THE LEVADA WALK 25 FONTES?
The beautiful region of Rabaçal, located in Calheta on the western part of Madeira Island, presents an ideal trekking spot for nature enthusiasts.
Nestled in the mountains with elevations reaching over 1000 meters, this area offers breathtaking views and unique hiking experiences.
ABOUT RABAÇAL AND PAUL DA SERRA PLATEAU
The region of Rabaçal and the Paul da Serra plateau are renowned for their stunning natural beauty.
Rabaçal is a verdant paradise, home to a variety of unique flora and fauna, and popular among hikers for its picturesque landscapes.
The Paul da Serra Plateau, the largest plateau on Madeira Island, offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and sea, providing a breathtaking backdrop for any adventure.
The plateau itself is a high plain, located at an altitude of about 1500 meters, and is characterized by its flat or gently sloping landscape, which contrasts with the rugged terrain of much of Madeira.
It is a popular spot for hiking, with numerous trails and paths crisscrossing the plateau, offering walkers the chance to explore this unique natural environment.
LAURISSILVA FOREST IN 25 FONTES
Exploring the 25 Fontes Levada walk wouldn’t be complete without soaking in the wonders of Laurissilva Forest.
The region is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its impressive array of biodiversity, featuring an abundance of special flora and fauna species unique to Madeira.
As you stroll through this timeless forest lined with old trees blanketed in moss, it will feel like traveling back into history itself, such is the richness and preservation found within these ancient woodlands.
Madeira is home to a variety of unique species. You might catch sight of the Madeira Firecrest, a small bird that’s endemic to the island.
The forest is also home to the Madeiran Wall Lizard and the Madeira Large White butterfly, among others.
As for the flora, the island boasts over 120 endemic species. One of the most famous is the Pride of Madeira, a stunning plant with purple-blue flowers that bloom in early summer.
Other unique plants include the Madeira Orchid and the Madeira St. John’s Wort.
These are just a few examples of the unique flora and fauna you might encounter during your walk through the Laurissilva Forest.
HOW TO GET TO 25 FONTES? (WITH PROS AND CONS)
Setting out on the 25 Fontes Levada hike is now more attainable than ever thanks to a variety of transportation choices that can provide for all types of adventurers. If it’s:
the convenience offered by Pico Transfers;
exploring with a guided tour;
renting a car;
combining buses and taxis due to its cost savings potential – whichever fits your plan as well as pocketbook better you can take advantage from what’s accessible.
Every alternative comes with benefits and disadvantages, so weigh them before making up your mind about which one suits you best for touring Madeira’s beautiful levadas!
For those who prioritize affordability and convenience, we, Pico Transfers, offer an ideal way to make it to the 25 Fontes Levada trailhead.
The cost-efficient services promise a reliable timetable while saving you all the hassle of figuring out the way, helping conserve energy that can be used during your hike!
We ensure a relaxing experience en route so all you need to do is sit back and admire nature’s beauty as you travel towards the destination!
With pick-up and drop-off included at your door in Funchal or Caniço, it could not be easier.
Only for this service, we can also pick-up in Câmara de Lobos, Ribeira Brava, Ponta do Sol and Calheta. Either at your door or in a central location not far diverted from outr route.
Pros: The guide’s extensive knowledge about the area’s history, flora, and fauna. This means that you’ll be able to learn all about the unique ecosystem of Madeira, the history of the levadas and the various species of plants and animals you might encounter on your walk.
The guides can tell you interesting facts and stories that you wouldn’t find in a guidebook. They can also answer any questions you might have.
Cons: The potential drawback of being in a large group where you have to adjust to their pace.
This means that you might not be able to spend as much time as you would like at certain points along the trail or you might find the pace too slow or too fast for your liking.
If you’re someone who likes to take their time to take photos, or if you prefer a brisk walk, you might find this frustrating.
Additionally, in a large group, there can be a lack of personal attention from the guide and you might have to wait for others before you can move on.
Exploring Madeira is a breeze with the convenience of renting a car.
This flexibility means you can make your own schedule to visit attractions and take in its natural wonders, plus have access to 25 Fontes Levada’s trailhead, making it easy for walkers who want an outdoor adventure on the island!
However, it’s worth noting that since the Covid-19 pandemic, renting a car has become more expensive.
Additionally, the steep and narrow roads of Madeira can pose a challenge for those not accustomed to such driving conditions.
Therefore, it’s important to consider your comfort and skill level with these types of roads when deciding on this option.
BUS + TAXI
While it might initially seem like a cost-effective option, combining a bus and taxi ride to reach the 25 Fontes Levada walk might not be the most efficient or economical choice.
The long journey on public transportation to Calheta, followed by a taxi ride, can be time-consuming and the costs can add up.
When considering the time and cost involved, this option may not offer the best value for your trip to the beautiful “25 Fontes” levada.
The bus ride of around 1 hour and 30 minutes would sum up with the taxi ride of around 20 minutes and 40 €. This, for one way only.
If you want to have an effortless trip, then taking a taxi could be the ideal solution for your 25 Fontes Levada walk. However, it is the most expensive option.
With a price of around 80 € per way from Funchal, it will take you straight to the trailhead at the time you wish, but it will be expensive and with no extra useful information provided about the hike, timings, etc.
WHAT DOES “25 FONTES” MEANS?
Have you ever wondered the significance of “25 Fontes”? In Portuguese, it means “25 Springs” or “25 Sources”.
A common mistake is to think that there are 25 waterfalls in this walk. The “25 Fontes” name comes from the fact that the lagoon is formed by 25 water spring sources coming down from the mountains of “Paul da Serra”.
These 25 fountains merge to form an amazing cascade and lagoon, making it one captivating view that will stay with hikers forever. It’s sure to be a highlight along this popular trail.
HOW LONG IS 25 FONTES?
Embark on an unforgettable adventure and take a stroll along the breathtaking 10,5 km of trail known as 25 Fontes Levada.
The first part consists of a concrete walk down to the Rabaçal house, and from there are the paths to 25 Fontes and Risco waterfall.
To then return the same way to the starting point.
HIKE DIFFICULTY, DURATION AND ALTITUDE
The 25 Fontes Levada walk is an enjoyable excursion that can be completed by hikers of all levels.
The time required for the entire hike is 4-5 hours due to the large number of people in the hike and it will provide a moderate 300 meter ascent.
Preparation in terms of suitable footwear, as well as remaining vigilant on narrow or slick patches, are essential elements to ensure success!
AVERAGE TEMPERATURE AND WEATHER CONDITIONS
When you are arranging for your trek on the 25 Fontes Levada in Madeira, it is important to take into account what the temperatures will be like during that time.
The climate of this place offers gentle warmth with its temperature being between 14-24°C as an average.
But this can have a drop of around 10 degrees in the winter time.
Weather can vary depending on when you visit so make sure to bring along waterproof winter jacket or rain cover just in case there is rain, particularly during wetter months.
Make certain that you’re well equipped and prepared before starting out on your walk.
25 FONTES LAGOON AND RISCO WATERFALL
At the end of each part of the levada walk, you will be presented with two unique wonders: 25 Fontes Lagoon and Risco Waterfall.
These are 2 separated paths by an intersection and are at the end of each one respectively.
From nature lovers to experienced hikers, everyone is sure to find these sites mesmerizing as they reveal their breathtaking beauty and calming atmosphere.
CAN I SWIM IN THE END OF THE WALK?
Yes, you certainly can! After a long hike, there’s nothing quite like a refreshing dip in the lagoon at the end of the 25 Fontes Levada walk.
The water might be a bit chilly, but it’s a wonderful way to cool down and really immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the area.
However, do note that it might be too cold for a swim during the winter months and sometimes it might even be impossible due to weather conditions.
Just remember to be respectful of the environment and take care not to disturb.
HOW TALL IS THE RISCO WATERFALL?
Exploring the 25 Fontes Levada walk, the Risco Waterfall stands high at 100 meters and is an awe-inspiring sight to behold.
At the end of the Risco part of the trail, its imposing cascade serves as a remarkable backdrop that will entice you to explore in Madeira.
The magnitude of such beauty showcases the strength of nature making it an essential attraction when visiting Risco Waterfall during your journey across this beautiful island.
WHAT EQUIPMENT SHOULD I BRING TO 25 FONTES?
Taking the right gear is an essential part of a successful and enjoyable trek along 25 Fontes Levada.
You’ll need sturdy shoes that have good grip, a rain cover in case of unforeseen rain, a waterproof winter jacket for the coldest months, at least 1 liter of water per person to stay hydrated during your journey plus snacks for energy.
It’s also wise to carry extra clothing due to sudden changes in temperature while out on this Madeira trail.
TIPS FOR THE 25 FONTES LEVADA WALK
To ensure a pleasant hike on the 25 Fontes Levada, take these tips into account: plan ahead and book in advance the transportation that you want to use, wear supportive shoes with good grip, and be prepared for any unexpected weather changes.
Stay on the designated path and bring coins for the toilets at the Rabaçal house.
To delve deeper into these tips, planning ahead is key. The island of Madeira is a popular tourist destination and as such, transportation services can get booked up quickly, especially during peak seasons.
Therefore, it’s advisable to book your preferred mode of transportation well in advance to avoid any disappointment.
Following the advice from locals can be very beneficial. They know the area and can provide invaluable advice on the best times to go, what to look out for, and things to avoid. So, make sure you listen to their advice and follow their recommendations!
TUNNEL TO CALHETA
If you’re looking for a different entry or exit point for the 25 Fontes Levada walk, there’s an alternative route that takes you through a dark, 800-meter tunnel.
However, this path is less popular due to its lack of visibility and scenic views.
It’s rarely used and is not recommended if you’ve parked a rented car at the Rabaçal starting point, or if you’re expecting a pickup from a transfer, tour, or taxi at the same location.
TIPS FOR SAFE HIKING IN MADEIRA
Before embarking on a hiking excursion in Madeira, it is essential to prioritize safety.
Be sure to look at the weather forecast beforehand for the specific area and remain on paths that are clearly marked.
When traversing slippery or thin routes, be especially mindful of your footing and always stop walking when you are taking pictures.
Always carry a phone with data and take enough water and food with you.
By adhering to these simple measures you can experience all of nature’s splendor in this beautiful region.
Additionally, it’s worth noting that while Madeira’s trails are generally well-maintained and marked, some sections can be steep and challenging, particularly for those who are not accustomed to hiking.
Also, remember that the weather in Madeira can change quickly, so it’s important to bring layers and rain gear, even if the day starts out sunny.
HIKING WITH KIDS
The 25 Fontes Levada trail is a suitable path for families, however, not recommended.
If kids are brought, caution and constant supervision are especially important in more narrow sections.
It is not a hike to be a first, previous hiking experience is required for kids and good fitness level as well.
But with preparation and safety taking priority above all else, families can find hiking the 25 Fontes Levada walk pleasurable and enriching!
In addition, it’s important to note that the trail’s terrain and distance may pose a challenge for young children or those who aren’t used to hiking.
Therefore, it’s advisable to assess your child’s abilities and stamina before embarking on this adventure.
Moreover, it’s also a good idea to explain the importance of respecting nature to children, teaching them to observe without disturbing the flora and fauna.
Lastly, remember to take frequent breaks to rest, hydrate, and enjoy the stunning views.
Making the journey enjoyable for the kids will ensure a memorable experience for the whole family on the 25 Fontes Levada trail.