Trail Name: Levada das 25 Fontes/Levada do Risco (PR6 and PR6.1)
Distance (roundtrip): About 9km for both PR6 and PR6.1
Time (roundtrip): About 3.5 hours
These two hikes are located in central Madeira, which is a Portuguese island just off the coast of Africa, not far from Spain’s Canary Islands. One of the wonderful activities available on Madeira are the numerous levada walks all around the island. A levada is an irrigation canal built by the Madeirans to distribute rainwater from the rainy north of the island to the dryer southern part of the island. The levada walks follow these centuries old irrigation canals through forests, past waterfalls and along cliff faces.
The drive to the trailhead was an adventure in itself due to the ridiculously steep and narrow mountain roads. The thick fog at the top of the mountain did not help the situation. We arrived at the parking area for the trail which was just off the ER110 regional road and walked down the dirt road to the trail head.
Each of these levada walks begins at about the same location and you can easily visit both in one trip. We started with the Levada das 25 Fontes which takes you to a lagoon formed by 25 springs. Legend states that anyone who dove into the lagoon would never return to the surface. Apparently an Englishman decided to test this and was never seen again.
We backtracked on this trail aways to return to the cross-roads for the Levada do Risco. This trail was not as busy as the other trail which was nice because it wasn’t necessary to pass large groups while hoping not to stumble into the water filled canal or, heaven forbid, off the side of the steep cliff. This trail ended at an impressive waterfall. Overall it was a great day exploring in central Madeira.
- 50 minute drive from Funchal. Once you get off the main highway, there are some steep roads leading up to ER110 where the parking lot for the trail is located.
- There are also full day hiking tours available with pickup available from your hotel or AirBnb.
Facilities: There is a decent sized dirt parking lot just off the ER110 regional road. You can either walk down the dirt road (2km or about 20 min) from the parking lot or take a van (for a small fee) to the Casa do Rabaçal where the hike begins. There is a small cafe and bathrooms at the beginning of the trail.