The day I went chasing Rabaçal waterfalls – a Levada walk in Madeira
Last September, Hit the road Madeira launched a new walk to Rabaçal, in the west part of Madeira. Their goal was to show visitors the beautiful waterfalls of Rabaçal, away from the busy, best-known Levada of the 25 fountains.
Let me tell you more about Rabaçal Waterfalls Hike…
PICK UP was at 8:45. The meeting point was in Funchal old town, near the cable car. There were 4 of us plus the driver Vitor and mountain guide Lisa. First, we stopped at Ponta do Sol to buy lunch in a cosy bakery with affordable prices, but you can also bring a “picnic” lunch if you prefer.
The Levada hike was 14 km and lasted about 5 h 30 m. As we were walking in Levada trails, these are often irregular with roots, rocks and slippery puddles. You can also find tree branches right above your head. So, you need to be careful and pay attention to the security instructions. Luckily we had Lisa, who was always warning us in advance, so we could be more secure and enjoy the views. As for equipment, you also need mountain boots, waterproof jackets and trousers (in case it rains), backpack, gloves, beanie/hat and sun blocker. Mountain sticks can be helpful. There were some wood sticks available in the car that they lend us, which was an attentive detail. We were fortunate with the weather: a sunny day, blue skies and almost no wind.
Trekking begun in Levada do Alecrim towards the beautiful spot called Fonte do Lajeado (also known as Dona Beija Lagoon).
We then walked down to Lagoa Do Vento, where the path became a bit more challenging with steps and some slipping trails. But, OH so worth it, since we finally saw this huge, 100 meters waterfall and lagoon – Lagoa do Vento – what a marvellous sight. There were a few couples already there, enjoying the sunshine, the green peace and the blue skies, while listening to the powerful, yet calming sound of water. We found a nice corner to have a lunch picnic and had some extra time to relax.
After climbing back up, we kept walking towards a beautiful spot, that used to be the forest guards house of Rabaçal – Rabaçal Nature Spot Café. Besides being able to visit this unique location, we took a little break for tea and cake. Tip: Try the delicious Queijada cake, made from Madeiran cottage cheese.
The last part of the Rabaçal Waterfalls hike was towards the 800 meters Cavaleiro tunnel. Lisa gave us some flashlights to cross the tunnel, which is wide enough to be comfortably crossed, but, in some parts, you must be careful to lower your head, as Lisa pointed out. In the end, it opens in an unforgettable viewpoint. After a few more minutes walk, we could see Vitor’s car. We were back to Funchal around 17h15.
What was special about this walk?
It’s a beautiful, diverse and well-picked up route in Rabaçal. Although the trail is challenging in some parts, it was overall relaxing.
The path wasn’t crowded (we could actually hear the silence of the forest, endemic birds like the chaffinch, and the water running in the Levada channel).
Since it was a small group of people, we had plenty of opportunities to take photographs and chat away, while being looked after by Lisa. She is a caring, passionate mountain guide with a lot of knowledge in Botanics. We saw outstanding mountain views, waterfalls and lagoons, right in the heart of the Madeiran laurel forest.
Here are my photos from the Rabaçal Waterfalls hike:
If you’re interested in this tour, click here book the Rabaçal Waterfalls Hike.
You can use the code MARS to get a 10% discount.
This tour was courtesy of Hit the road Madeira but the views expressed are my own.