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Levada das 25 fontes

Surround yourself with waterfalls as you walk the Levada das 25 Fontes

Levada das 25 Fontes is one of the most popular levada walks in Madeira! An ancient Laurisilva forest surrounds you, and you´ll find two impressive waterfalls! Ready to discover 25 springs along the hike? Prepare to get wet!

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Do go chasing waterfalls! At Levada das 25 Fontes

A quick overview

What to see? Waterfalls, mountains, many shades of green, more waterfalls, tunnels.

Costs? Free by yourself or paid with a guided tour.

Where? Madeira, Portugal.

Worth it? If you like nature, then YES!

What is Levada das 25 Fontes?

Levada das 25 Fontes is one of the most popular levada walks located in the beautiful Laurisilva forest of Madeira, Portugal. A levada is an irrigation channel that was constructed to carry water from the mountains to the fields and villages below. The Levada das 25 Fontes gets its name from the 25 springs that can be found along its route. The building on this levada started in 1835. In September 1855, water started flowing through the levada.

It’s important to note that the Levada das 25 Fontes can be pretty popular, especially during the peak tourist season. Therefore, starting early in the morning is a good idea to avoid the crowds.

PR 6 Levada das 25 Fontes

The trailhead for Levada das 25 Fontes is located in the Rabaçal area of Madeira, which is about a 50-minute drive from Funchal, the capital city of Madeira. It’s also known as the Risco-Rabaçal trail. The walk is approximately 11 kilometres (6.8 miles) long and takes around 3-5 hours to complete, depending on your pace. The route is relatively easy and flat, but there are a few steep steps and rocky sections along the way. It’s important to note that the Levada das 25 Fontes trail can be slippery in some areas, especially near the waterfalls and streams. Therefore, it’s important to wear sturdy hiking shoes with good traction and to be cautious when walking on wet surfaces. The total incline of Levada das 25 Fontes is around 300 meters, depending on where you park your car.

Levada das 25 Fontes starting point

There are two common points from where people start the Levada das 25 Fontes trail. The first begins in Calheta on the E.R. 211. There is a car park (Parque de estacionamento Levada 25 Fontes), but this will be full on busy days. People do, however, park on the side of the road. If you decide to start the trail here, you’ll come across the nearly one-kilometre-long tunnel. You can follow a different route just before the tunnel, but this one has some very steep inclines. If you have your torch with you, it’s way easier to follow this route! It’s less scenic, but also flat!

The second option is to start in Rabaçal on the E.R. 105 (previously E.R. 110) at Calheta – Levada das 25 Fontes e Risco. This car park is much bigger but can also be very busy! It’s the most popular starting point, so most people will park here. The good thing is that you can take a service bus to the starting point at the Rabaçal Forestry House. You’ll skip a 2-kilometre-long path that is pretty steep in places. It’s a concrete road with not much to see. The price for the bus service is € 3,00 one way, or € 5,00 return (cash only). The bus service is available between 09:30 and 18:30. You can, of course, decide to walk as well, and the path offers some great views of the valley.

Whichever route you choose, you’ll join the same path to discover the Risco Waterfall and Levada das 25 Fontes.

The WalkMe Madeira App

The WalkMe Madeira is a mobile application that provides users with detailed information about hiking trails and walking routes on the island of Madeira. The app is designed to help you explore Madeira’s beautiful landscapes, natural wonders, and cultural heritage through self-guided walking tours. Although Levada das 25 Fontes can be a busy route, there are shortcuts you can take, and you can also extend your hike. Downloading the app ahead of time will ensure you stay on the trail. The app is available for a small fee to download on both iOS and Android devices.

The WalkMe Madeira app offers a variety of features, including:

  1. Interactive map: The app includes an interactive map that shows the location of all the walking routes on the island. You can browse the map to find the most suitable paths for your skill level and interests.
  2. Route descriptions: The app provides detailed descriptions of each walking route, including the distance, difficulty level, estimated time, and points of interest. 
  3. GPS tracking: The app uses GPS tracking to help you navigate the walking routes. You can easily follow the trail on the map by following the red line.
  4. User reviews: The app includes reviews and ratings from other users who have walked the routes. It’s a great way to understand what to expect and find tips and recommendations.


What to bring to hike Levada das 25 Fontes?

It’s essential to wear comfortable hiking shoes. The path is relatively easy but can be wet and slippery. White runners will most likely be ruined, even on dry days when the trail might be dusty. Also, bring plenty of water and snacks, and wear sunscreen and a hat, as the sun can be pretty intense in this area.

You’ll also need a headlamp or torch, depending on where you start your hike. At the beginning of one of the car parks is a nearly 1-kilometre-long tunnel. It is pitch black inside, and it’s narrow in certain places. The tunnel is, however, high enough to walk straight in. It can also be very wet inside the tunnel, so a light source is needed to follow the trail. Bring some plasters, just in case! And wear layers. The Madeira weather changes sometimes by the minute.

What will you see along the trail of Levada das 25 Fontes?

Depending on when you’re here, it might be pretty busy. So if you love hiking all by yourself, come very early! The walk itself takes you through lush green forests, past waterfalls and streams, and along the levada channel. The water literally pours out the rocky walls, and the trail can be wet and muddy in many places. Twisted tree branches surround you, and the laurel trees come in every shade of green. The path is easy to follow, and you’ll usually have the levada next to you. At some point, you’ll hit a fork. Here you can decide whether to go to the Risco Waterfall or follow the 25 Fontes trail. Tip: go see both!

25 Fontes Waterfall

If you continue the path towards 25 Fontes, you’ll come across the impressive 25 Fontes Waterfall, which is located at the end of the levada. If you’ve walked the Levada do Caldeirão Verde, it might look like a mini version of the caldera. The waterfall is around 30 meters tall, and 25 streams pour out and over the wall into a small natural pool. The water comes from the marshlands of Paul da Serra, located further above. Did you bring a towel? It’s a popular place to dip in the ice-cold water! Or enjoy a sandwich now you’re halfway on the track! The walk to Risco Waterfall is the most challenging part of the hike, but very doable. You’ll walk over a ridge, so the path will go down again after walking up. Easy peasy!

Risco Waterfall

The highlight of this walk is definitely the 100-meter (328 feet) tall Risco Waterfall, which is considered one of the highest waterfalls on the island. Especially after heavy rains, thousands of litres of water will tumble down the rocks. In summer, the waterfall might be less powerful, but still stunning to see! At some point, the road stops, and you cannot go further. There used to be a trail all along the waterfall, but it’s now closed off due to landslides. If you follow the mountain ridge with your eyes, you can clearly see where the trail used to be.

Flora and fauna along Levada das 25 Fontes

Madeira is home to some very unique and endemic species of flora and fauna. Laurel trees surround you, and the landscape is dominated by moorland. It’s the perfect place to spot Erica Arborea and Erica Scoparia (both types of heather) and the vaccinium padifolium (a Madeirian berry plant). Enjoy the view over the Ribeira da Janela valley and the stunning Laurisilva forest, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999. This subtropical rainforest is over 20 million years old and dates back to the Tertiary Age! The Laurisilva forest is also part of the Natura 2000 network. You´ll also be able to spot many bees, lizards and birds. If you’re lucky, you can see a Laurel Pigeon. Bring some bird seeds, and the chance of seeing the Madeira firecrest, Grey Wagtail, Robbin, and Madeiran chaffinch is many times higher.

Rabaçal Nature Spot Cafe

The Rabaçal Nature Spot Cafe, also known as the Rabaçal Forestry House, is a beautiful place to stop for a drink and a snack. It’s also the only place along the trail to use the washrooms. You can start your hike at Rabaçal Nature Spot Cafe, but the reward will be even higher after a few hours of walking! They sell lovely cakes, quiche and other healthy snacks. (Sorry, no pics! It was eaten before the camera came out again!) In case you get cold, there are warm drinks such as coffee and herbal teas and cold drinks for those hot summer days. There is inside seating, as well as an outdoor terras. Bringing water and some snacks is still a very wise plan! You might get hungry and thirsty along the route, and the cafe might be closed. Usually, it should be open from 10 AM until 6 PM.

How to get to Levada das 25 Fontes by car?

As with many places in Madeira, Levada das 25 Fontes is easiest to reach by car. It takes around 45 minutes from Funchal to get to either of the two car parks. Especially if you decide to take more trips around the island, hiring a car is well worth it! With Discover Cars, you’ll always get the best deal! You can easily choose and book your car rental in Madeira with the different filters. Tip: read tips for renting a car in Portugal to be fully prepared.

Levada das 25 Fontes parking

Whichever car park you choose, parking at the trailhead of Levada das 25 Fontes is entirely free of charge. The two locations are here and here.

How to get to Levada das 25 Fontes by bus?

Currently, there is no bus service to the starting point of the Levada das 25 Fontes trail. You can, however, take a bus to a nearby town. Rodoeste is offering a bus service to busstop Estreito da Calheta. You can take bus services 80, 107, 115, and 142. Click here for more information about the route and timetable. The bus ticket costs € 4.70 when you board the bus in Funchal. From Estreito da Calheta, you can take a take to the starting point of Levada das 25 Fontes.

Levada das 25 Fontes Tour

Besides renting a car, another easy option is booking a guided tour. You’ll be driven to the trailhead, and along the way, you can enjoy the stunning views over the island. During the hike, the guide will tell you many things about the environment, the “levada” irrigation system and the surroundings of Levada das 25 Fontes. The tours usually take 5 to 8 hours, making it a fantastic day trip from Funchal. As this route is so popular, booking ahead of time is advisable! Check the availability below and secure your spot!

What else can you see around Levada das 25 Fontes?

From Levada das 25 Fontes, you can add several routes to your hike. If you stay in the area, it’s perfect to discover them all! From the Rabaçal Forestry House, for example, you can walk to Lagoa do Vento. The trail starts at Levada do Alecrim and is a 6.7-kilometre-long circular hike. This one is perfect for experienced hikers as the route is full of challenges. This also means there are way fewer people on the trail.

Levada do Alecrim is a lot easier. This trail is 6.8 kilometres long and is also a circular route. This patch also starts at Rabaçal Forestry House, and more waterfalls surround you. This includes the waterfall that feeds into Lagoa do Vento (Lagoon of the Wind).

A bit further away, you can discover Levada do Moinho, a moderate 8.5-kilometre circular route. Or take a look at the famous Cascata dos Anjos (waterfall of angels)! This 90-meter-tall waterfall falls from a cliff over the coastal road ER101! It’s a very Instagrammable spot to take some pictures. If you feel you deserve an excellent (alcoholic drink), head over to Taberna da Poncha! This is THE place on the island to try a local Madeira Poncha, and they serve them in different flavours. Will you go for passion fruit, orange or lemon?

Other hikes in Madeira

Madeira is an island loved by hikers! And there are many more routes to discover! Are you looking for a short but easy trail? Head over to Levada dos Balcões. Or find the longer but also easy Levada do Calderão Verde. Fancy a coastal path instead? Vereda da Ponta de São Lourenço is perfect for you! Or maybe you feel energetic and want to climb the highest peak of Madeira? Vereda do Pico Ruivo is the ideal challenge. For an easy overview of perfect beginner hikes on the island, click here.

Hotels around Levada das 25 Fontes

Levada das 25 Fontes is located in the southwestern part of the island. With so many hikes in the area, it might be nice to stay in this area. A lovely place is Banda Do Sol, where you can sleep in a cottage! They even have a swimming pool, and you’ll enjoy the view over the ocean. Or what about a stay in the beautiful Calheta Glamping Pods? You’ll feel totally one with nature, and the Nature Retreat also offers an outdoor swimming pool. CASA DO MAR is ideal if you prefer to be closer to the sea. Check the below map for all the unique hotels, guesthouses, glampings, and nature retreats in Madeira.


If you like your greens, Levada das 25 Fontes is for you! It’s a beautiful levada walk in the Laurisilva forest of Madeira. It takes around 4-5 hours to complete and passes through lush green forests, past waterfalls and streams, and along the levada channel. The walk highlights are the impressive 25 Fontes Waterfall and the Risco Waterfall. Bring a picnic to enjoy the view! It’s one of the most popular hikes in Madeira, but well worth it! Go early if you prefer to avoid the crowds. Or join a tour to learn more about this beautiful paradise in Portugal!

Written by Marga

Written by Marga

Content creator, travel writer and photographer

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I’m Marga, the blogger and photographer behind this site! I live in Lisbon, and I’m a cat-mum to 13-year-old Savage. I love coffee, cheese, a good book and exploring this beautiful country. I write about Lisbon and the rest of Portugal, and I hope this website will help as an inspiration for your holiday.

11 Responses

  1. Absolutely beautiful! Looks more tropical than European. Portugal is on our list of places to visit, it was a toss up between Spain and Portugal for our next vacation but ultimately Spain won. We’re planning for Portugal next year though.

  2. I always love checking your blog to see what you’re posting.
    This place looks so lush and green and gorgeous! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Pinned this one for future reference – Portugal our next European destination and we love outdoor adventures like discovering waterfalls!

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