Rabacal is the start of some of Madeira’s most beautiful and popular walks. The most famous walk starting in Rabacal is of course the walk to 25 Fontes (25 waterfalls), but you’ll find lots of other walks worth exploring here. This walk following Levada do Alecrim is much more quiet than 25 Fontes and offers some spectacular views on the Paúl da Serra plateau.
This walk starts at the parking space above Rabacal. Just past the barrier over the descending road to Rabacal, a narrow dirt path is hidden in the vegetation (to the right of the road). Walk up this dirt path, the path will soon meet a levada. In the beginning of the walk, there is a lot of vegetation on both sides of the levada and the levada is very wide. After approximately 10 minutes the levada joins a large water reservoir and some small pools. In the water reservoir, you’ll see lots of trout swimming around. Trout are abundant in this levada, you’ll see them flashing by in the levada the entire walk.
From this point on you’ll follow the Levada do Alecrim upstream. The levada path is very accessible, without demanding descends or ascends, and the entire walk you’ll be able to enjoy the many beautiful panoramic views on the surrounding mountains and the valley below. Even on clouded days, this walk is still pretty impressive, because then you’re likely to walk above the clouds! Halfway through the walk, you’ll encounter a steep little stairway. When you reach the end of the stairs, take a short moment to take in the wide view in all directions. One of the reasons I really love this walk, is because of the abundance of green combined with the dazzling blue skyline. As you approach the end of this walk, you’ll pass many aquamarine pools in the valley below.
After about an hour of walking along the levada you arrive at the beginning of the levada and the end of this walk: Ribeira Grande. Here, a large and stunning waterfall drops down from the rocks into the pool below. The perfect place for a break! The rocks surrounding the pool are very comfortable and offer a nice view of the area. The waterfall and the pool look so attractive, you might be tempted to take a swim. We have done so regularly, but a short warning: since the pool is completely in the shadow, the water is freezing!
Don’t be surprised if all of a sudden, a bunch of people in wetsuits climb down the waterfall either. This waterfall is part of a very nice canyoning trail. We have once surprised some unsuspecting hikers during their relaxing moment, when we jumped down this waterfall during our canyoning trip. If this happens: please grab your camera, make some nice action photographs and exchange email addresses with the daredevils. They will be very grateful for some nice photographs of their adventure!
After your break, take the same path back to the start of the walk. Or, combine this walk with the Lagos da Madeira trail. These two trails join at the Ribeira Grande, so you could also return to your starting point by following the Lagos da Madeira trail.
This is a very easy trail. Because of the short duration and the absence of ascends and descends this walk can easily be combined with one, or more, other trails in this area. And there are plenty to choose from!
Length: 6km / Return trip / Duration: 2 hours.
#38 in Sunflower Walking Guide