The Rabaçal area is one of the most visited places in Madeira for hiking and one of the main levadas.

It is located where a flat and austere plateau with low vegetation gradually falls into deep valleys covered with native laurel forests, stretching about 20 km northwestwards to the ocean.

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Rabaçal is a very humid place, where many watercourses originate and eventually join to form Ribeira da Janela, Madeira's longest river.

Many popular trails start here, 2 of which are among the most famous in Madeira:

  • Levada do Risco - the path to one of the highest waterfalls in Madeira (over 100 metres).
  • Levada das 25 Fontes - the path to a set of small waterfalls, of which there are 25

In total, however, there are more than 8 different routes starting in the Rabaçal area, mostly shorter ones through dense green forests and with relatively high elevations. However, the trails are often converted into hiking paths and so the walking may not be as challenging.

Getting there

The main car park (free) is on the inland road ER 105 connecting the Encumeada mountain range with the town of Porto Moniz, see map.

Originally you could drive down to the forest grove, which is now a refreshment area with a café, but this is no longer possible and you have to walk another 2 km (one way) on tarmac from the car park to the start of the main levadas.

From the car park to the grove, there is a shuttle minibus for 5 eur one way or 8 eur return.

You can also get here by taking the ER 211 road from Calheta, which is not marked on some maps but is normally passable for all types of cars. The distance from Funchal to the car park is about 42 km, from Porto Moniz 24 km and from Calheta about 12 km.

There is no public transport to the hiking trails, although bus stops are shown on the maps. The only way to get here without a car is hitchhiking.


There is no accommodation directly on Rabaçal. The nearest larger and well-known towns with a wider range of hotels and apartments are Calheta and Porto Moniz.

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