The Levadas of Rabaçal

It runs along the three very different Levadas, all interconnected by sloping paths. The route covers a varied landscape, crossing over diverse vegetation, and with beautiful views of the waterfalls. A hike whose direction and length can be adjusted depending on wishes or circumstances.
N.B. The displayed altitude difference is higher than reality (and consequently so is the average time for completion). Expect more in the realm of 600 metres in altitude.

Technical sheet
No. 4098675
A Calheta (Madeira) walk posted on 05/05/15 by LB_Neil. Update : 17/09/20
Calculated time Calculated time: 7h10[?]
Distance Distance : 8.13mi
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 3924ft
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 3937ft
Highest point Highest point : 4186ft
Lowest point Lowest point : 2674ft
Moderate Difficulty : Moderate
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Location Location : Calheta (Madeira (Portugal))
Starting point Starting point : N 32.753967° / W 17.132967°
Download : -


Park in the car park of the Forest of Rabaçal, on the ER105/110 road that connects Bocca Encumeada and Fonte do Bispo.

There are occasional signs with Red and Yellow markings indicating direction and distance.

(S) At the car park, take the narrow PR6 road to "25 Fontes" and PR6.1 to "Risco" to the Rabaçal forestry house and the Levada do Risco. Down in the forest, head at first to the east and, after a hairpin bend on the left, head the north-west. After a further hairpin bend on the left you will reach Rabaçal forestry house.

(1) Turn right to reach the Levada do Risco and the junction of the two PR routes.

(2) Ignore the path down to the left and continue opposite, heading along the Levada and under vegetation that has grown into a sort of tunnel. This leads to a grid that bars access to the Levada.

(3) Retrace your steps to the fork in the route.

(2) Turn right on the trail with steps, leading down to the Levada das 25 Fontes.

(4) Turn right along Levada das 25 Fontes. At the bottom of a gorge, make a hairpin bend on the left and take a footbridge. Continue along the Levada to the north-west.

(5) Ignore the path down to the left and continue along the Levada to the site of the 25 Fontes.

(6) Retrace your steps to the previous fork.

(5) Turn right on the trail that winds down to the Levada da Rocha Vermelha.

(7) Turn right and walk along the Levada. Do not follow it to the end, because it would make a very long trip, continue for as long as you feel like and according to the time available. The point of return appearing on the route map is provided for guidance only.

(8) Retrace your steps to the junction with the path down to the Levada das 25 Fontes that we took earlier.

(7) Do not go on the trail but continue along the Levada.

(9) At a fork, take the path on the left and climbs up in loops as far as the Levada das 25 Fontes.

(10) Follow the Levada to the left.

(4) Turn right on the trail that goes back to the Levada do Risco (path that was taken downhill on the outbound leg).

(2) Turn right and soon come to the Rabaçal forestry house.

(1) Turn left and follow the road that goes back to the car park.

Waypoints :
D/A : mi 0 - alt. 4186ft
1 : mi 1.17 - alt. 3524ft - Forestry house of Rabaçal
2 : mi 1.42 - alt. 3488ft - Fork to Risco/25 Fontes
3 : mi 1.94 - alt. 3734ft - End of the accessible part of the Levada do Risco
4 : mi 2.61 - alt. 3264ft - Levada das 25 Fontes
5 : mi 3.38 - alt. 3166ft - Fork 25 Fontes/Vermelha
6 : mi 3.67 - alt. 3389ft - Site of the 25 Fontes
7 : mi 4.25 - alt. 2805ft - Levada da Rocha Vermelha
8 : mi 5.12 - alt. 2674ft - Point of return on Vermelha
9 : mi 6.22 - alt. 2822ft - Fork Vermelha/25 Fontes
10 : mi 6.42 - alt. 3150ft - Levada das 25 Fontes - Lavada des 25 Fontaines
D/A : mi 8.13 - alt. 4186ft

Useful Information

There is the possibility to take a shuttle bus for just a few euros between the car park (S) The Rabaçal forestry house (1). Inquire locally.

This hike begins with a descent and ends with a climb. It lends itself to many variations, depending on time or desires. For example, you can descend directly to the Levada da Rocha Vermelha, via points (4), (10), (9) and (7) and then wander through the Levadas in ascending altitude, that is to say the opposite order given in this description. You can also choose not to go through all 3 Levadas, and just one or two instead.

The course along the Levadas is usually easy, but with several narrow passages that require care. Do not attempt to pass the gate that around the Levada do Risco: the area beyond it is dangerous!

Hiking boots or at least good running shoes are required for this hike.

A map is useful: as a minimum bring a downloaded copy from the site and, if possible, a local map.

Bring extra water.

Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

During the walk or to do/see around

The Levada do Risco is shaded by a relatively dense vegetation. Beautiful view of the high waterfall of Risco.

Levada das 25 Fontes (the 25 springs) reaches the site of the same name: springs and small waterfalls.

The Levada da Rocha Vermelha is the largest of the three. It is also the least frequented.

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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.