aka. The Mesmerizing Symphony of Beautiful Laurissilva’s Sounds…
Levadas Rabaçal- 25 Fontes (25 Falls) and Risco, usually visited during the same trip, are probably two most popular levadas among tourists visiting Madeira.
Although I usually choose less popular walks, I really wanted to experience what makes 25 Fontes and Risco so popular… How did I like these levadas compared to other Madeira levada walks? Here is our walk review, pictures, videos and everything you need to know about Levada das 25 Fontes and Levada do Risco in Madeira.
- 25 Fontes e Risco – review & is it worth it?
25 Fontes e Risco – review & is it worth it?
I was prepared for a disappointment, but just the opposite happened. Most things about the Levada das 25 Fontes and Risco surprised me positively. Most of all, I was afraid it would be too crowded, but it wasn’t at all. The fact that we did this walk after 2pm certainly helped. The route is diverse and interesting. I liked the fact that this is not a simple “there and back” walk, because it is partly a one-way levada.
The views were also beautiful. The Lagoa das 25 Fontes lagoon and its waterfalls at the end of the 25 Fontes walk are stunning, and the Risco waterfall is truly monumental. The viewpoint at the end of Risco and the bridge at its bottom are two of my favorite spots on this route. You can see the little bridge on my video below.
The little bridge at the bottom of the Risco waterfall held me totally amazed for a good couple of minutes. Different sounds of the forest and several different waterfalls dripping in different rhythms created one beautiful orchestra – I could actually enjoy it for hours…
In addition to these two places, on the 25 Fontes route, there is also an interesting observation deck with a view of the green hills. Not to mention the beautiful tunnels made of trees and shrubs and the dozens of little birds we encountered along the route.
In my case, the 25 Fontes e Risco walk was quite an effort, because on the morning of the same day, a bit spontaneously, I landed on a coasteering tour offered free of charge during the annual Nature Festival.
GO TO: How to get free tour tickets during the Madeira Nature Festival
And so, on this beautiful October day, I was jumping into the ocean, fighting the waves and climbing on lava rocks. My hands were so bruised and scratched that I was unable to give a high five to the instructor. After they drove us back to Funchal, I had 10 minutes to change my swimsuit and flip flops for trekking shoes and hiking pants, and soon after I was sitting in the car towards Levada das 25 Fontes. The sun was shining, I was quite tired before we even got to the levada, but I somehow I managed … It was a beautiful day.
Levada das 25 Fontes – Our GoPro video
Levada do Risco – Our GoPro video
25 Fontes e Risco – maps and info
The official Tourism Office brochure about the Levadas 25 Fontes & Risco is available [HERE], and a complete guide with recommended walks in English [HERE].
A good source of information about this and other walks in the area of Calheta is also Caheta Viva. [HERE] you will find not only the map of 25 Fontes e Risco, but all walks in the south-western part on Madeira. They also provide 3D maps and GPS files.
The official difficulty level of the Levada das 25 Fontes and Risco routes is medium. The distance is 2 x 4.6 km, and the estimated time needed to walk: about 3 hours. The highest point is at an altitude of 1290 m, and the lowest at 900 m. These levadas are not recommended for people with the fear of heights.
Levada das 25 Fontes is not the easiest one – be prepared to climb some stairs. Levada do Risco is short, wider and more comfortable. It is an excellent “dessert” at the end of the slightly more difficult 25 Fontes route. Levada das 25 Fontes is longer, largely consists of stairs and very narrow paths, on which it is difficult to pass other walkers. Perhaps that’s why part of the route was designated as one-way.
Another name for Levada das 25 Fontes is Levada Nova do Rabaçal. Its construction began in 1835 and was put into use on September 16, 1855. Levada 25 Fontes enabled Calheta farmers to use the land that until then lied fallow.
25 Fontes e Risco – how to get there & starting point
How to get to Levada 25 Fontes and Risco? Bad news for budget travellers: You can not reach Levada 25 Fontes and Risco by public transport. Most people get there by car or with organized tours, and there are sufficient tour operators offering this particular walk. The Levada 25 Fontes and Risco car parking is located by the ER 110 road and it will be hard to miss.
The silver lining is that two other beautiful walks start from the same parking lot:
Levada do Alecrim – PR 6.2
and Vereda da Lagoa do Vento – PR 6.3
Both routes overlap at the beginning and then diverge. So, by buying a private transfer to Rabaçal early in the morning, you will be able to walk more than one beautiful walk during one day.
If you are arriving by car from Funchal, you will find the (free) parking lot just after the exit to Arco da Calheta. In navigation we can use the address “ER110 15”. After arriving and leaving the car in the care of local cows, you still need to reach the levada. You can either walk or wait for a local bus.
The route between the parking lot and the beginning of the route is served by CMC Calheta and tickets cost 3 euros per person one way or 5 euros return. The bus runs between 09:30 and 18:30. Of course, you do not need to get this bus, but walk this extra distance, and it will take about 20-30 minutes. However, this is not such an exciting walk, so for those who are less fit or have little time, a minibus is a good option.
25 Fontes e Risco – what will we have a chance to see?
First of all, several beautiful waterfalls and the wonderful 25 Fontes lagoon. The hallmarks of the 25 Fontes levada are beautiful tree tunnels. Levadas 25 Fontes and Risco are a beautiful mix of green Laurissilva forests, brown trees, bushes and waterfall rocks with turquoise & blue lagoon water. See all of our 25 Fontes and Risco pictures in our Facebook album.
25 Fontes e Risco – my review
If you come by car, my tip would be to arrive early, before 9, as after around 10-11, when organized tours arrive, the route can be very crowded.
If I were to rate this levada, it would probably be 4.5 stars out of 5. The only thing I would change in our plan is to arrive early in the morning instead of after 2, and add at least the Lagoa do Vento, which according to many guidebooks is one of the most beautiful walks on Madeira.
Levada do Alecrim and Vereda da Lagoa do Vento will stay on my bucket list until the next holidays in Madeira.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE THOSE HIKE REVIEWS:
Levada do Caldeirão Verde (PR9)
Levada do Moinho – Levada Nova
Levada Fajã do Rodrigues (PR16)
Pico do Arieiro & Trail PR1 – Vereda do Areeiro
Spectacular Sunrise Hike to Pico Ruivo (PR1.2)
as well as: Rota Vicentina and Fishermen’s Trail (Portugal Mainland)
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