A valley in the western part of Madeira, Rabaçal is one of the island’s most popular hiking spots known for nature-filled landscapes and small waterfalls. Levada das 25 Fontes, marked as PR6, is the name of the 3-mile trail that rises along one of Madeira’s many levada paths. Levadas are unique irrigation canals designed to carry water from the highest points of the island to lower altitude settlements, and they have built-in pedestrian paths that are some of Madeira’s most rewarding hiking trails.
Starting at the café Casa do Rabaçal, the PR6 trail leads to an impressive lagoon fed by 25 springs, passing through many volcanic rock formations and the UNESCO protected Laurel forest along the way. And the hike can be extended by taking the path to Levada do Risco, marked as PR6.1, which ends at the imposing Cascata do Risco, rising over 4000ft high. The name translates to Risk Waterfall and the power and height of this gorge match the nickname.
So, when traveling to Madeira, it is important not to forget to pack hiking shoes and gear, to explore this and many other levada trails that can’t be found anywhere else. Bringing a swimsuit or not is debatable, because although the waters of the lagoons and gorges look Caribbean blue, they are very cold.