The Lagoa do Vento waterfall hike is a great adventure for those looking for a big waterfall without a monstrous hike. After just 3.3 kilometers on the trail, you will get to enjoy a swim in the massive lagoon at the base of Lagoa do Vento waterfall, which is a pretty magical spot for a lunch break. Although there are some stairs in the forest that are not easy to climb, this is a trail most hikers will feel comfortable with so it is great for families and older hikers.
MY 3 FAVORITE TOURS IN MADEIRA
- Dolphin & Whale Watching: Take a cruise from Funchal to spot Dolphins, Whales and see amazing views of Madeira’s coastline!
- Hike Pico Arieiro to Pico Ruivo: Hike the most epic trail on the island with a qualified guide!
- Level 1 Canyoning Adventure: Rappel down waterfalls in this high-adrenaline experience.
LAGOA DO VENTO HIKE DETAILS
- Hike Distance: The total distance of the Lagoa do Vento hiking trail was a 7-kilometer out and back route in total.
- Hike Duration: The hike can be completed in about 2 to 2.5 hours depending on how long you relax and enjoy the waterfall at the halfway point.
- Hike Difficulty: This trail is pretty safe and is clearly marked. There were no moments of danger on this popular route although slippery rocks near the pools and waterfall can be a hazard for some hikers. The trail is easy to navigate but does have a fairly steep section of stairs winding through the forest that will test your cardio. As always take care, hike slowly and you will be fine on this one!
- Hike Incline: 300 meters.
- My hiking guide: I did this hike with a local guide (also a great friend) called João. He’s lived in Madeira his whole life and knows all of the unique trails (not just the popular ones). This trail requires some local knowledge for the directions so I recommend a guide. Want to contact João to be your guide for this hike or any of the hikes I’ve done on Madeira? You can contact him on Instagram here: João Let’s Hike or by email: [email protected]
HOW TO GET TO THE LAGOA DO VENTO HIKING TRAIL
The trailhead for the Lagoa do Vento waterfall hike is actually at a bit of a busy spot. This is because the trailhead shares the same parking lot like the very popular 25 Fontes Waterfall Hike and several other trails in the Rabacal Valley region.
I have pinned the Google Map location for the parking lot and trailhead below. If you get there early in the morning you will have no problem getting a park but if you arrive at midday, you can expect a crowd and a busy parking lot.
The trail starts at the lower end of the parking lot and veers to the small trail on the right, not down the main driveway. Keep in mind this trail goes above the 25 Fontes waterfall hike so don’t get complacent and follow the crowd down the paved road.
MY EXPERIENCE ON THE LAGOA DO VENTO WATERFALL HIKE
It’s always a great feeling to be the first and only car in the parking lot. This has never been more true than up at Rabacal where the parking lot overflows by midday as hundreds venture out onto the plethora of incredible trails in the region.
The trail begins at the lower end of the parking lot but doesn’t follow the downhill, paved driveway. Instead, it veers right (still on the left-hand side of the main road) and seemingly into the bushes as you latch onto the levada, which will now guide the way. Expect a bit of a bumpy ride with plenty of stray rocks ready to trip you up if your mind strays too far from your footwork. It’s a very straightforward path but for some reason the rocks are all at odd angles and sizes, making it hard to find a flow and easy to roll an ankle. Besides the trail, you can find lots of wildflowers and forest ferns.
Luckily, we avoided any mishaps on the trail as we bounded our way towards the waterfall with unbridled, early-morning enthusiasm. The trail winds up above the 25 Fontes route as it sends you deeper into the forest. My favorite part in the early moments of the trail was this very steep section of the levada that almost looked like a waterslide.
The trail can continue out to Levada do Alecrim, which is another beautiful waterfall. It is only a short detour from the trail so I do suggest adding this to your itinerary. I combined the Lagoa do Vento, Lagos da Madeira and Levada do Alecrim routes all into a one-day hike so I could see lots of the region in one hike that still ended up being less than 15 kilometers. Here is a look at Levada do Alecrim so you can decide if you want to add it to your itinerary.
Basically, you will see a red and yellow sign that points to Levada do Alecrim saying 1 kilometer or so. If you take it, you simply hike to the Levada do Alecrim waterfall and return to that point and then continue on your correct route to Lagoa do Vento. It probably adds 30-45 minutes to your overall hiking time.
Whether you decided to visit Levada do Alecrim (Lagoa Dona Beja waterfall) or not, you will end up back at the intersection where you see the red and yellow signs. This time, you obviously follow the red and yellow sign that points down to Lagoa do Vento. The trail now leads you down a series of winding stairs as you embark on the downhill journey to the base of the waterfall. You may not notice how steep these stairs are until the way back when you have to climb up them.
After just 3.3 kilometers, you will reach the base of the Lagoa do Vento. It’s great for swimming but be prepared for some icy water. There are lots of rocks around to turn into your picnic table as this is a great spot for a snack or lunch break on your hike. I flew the drone here to get a better look at the waterfall. Keep in mind that during the summer seasons, the flow of the waterfall can be minimal but in the rainy season, you will get a more spectacular show from the full-flowing force of the falls.
The Lagoa do Vento waterfall is actually part of a multi-tiered series of waterfalls. Below it is the massive Risco Waterfall, which is even more impressive as it is higher than Lagoa do Vento and seemingly hides away in a little canyon it has created over thousands of years. You can see what it looks like here from the drone view. It is easy to view the Risco Waterfall from the Levada da Rocha Vermelha hike or the 25 Fontes Waterfall Hike.
The other option is to visit the top of the Risco Waterfall, which is right next to the Lagoa do Vento lagoon base level. Take extreme care here and don’t go near the edge unless you are very confident in our safety. The rocks here are very slippery and the drop off the edge will be deadly if you slipped so don’t take any risks you aren’t confident in.
After enjoying the Lagoa do Vento, the circular route continues through the Rabacal Valley, often with stunning views through the heart of the valley. You will pas by the Rabacal House, which is a functioning cafe where you can stop for a coffee or snack. I really love the Rabacal Valley as it reminds me of Hawaii. You basically stare down through all of the ridges which form a giant ‘V’ shape. Clouds sporadically roll through creating a mystical atmosphere as you continue your journey through the region.
The final section of the trail is back on the road as you connect back to the ER110 parking lot where you began the hike. I hope you enjoyed this guide about the Lagoa do Vento Waterfall Hike in Rabacal, Madeira.
ADVENTURE BAG FROM THE LAGOA DO VENTO HIKE
This is an adventure bag. It is full of trash. Every time I go on an adventure I collect one adventure bag full of trash. It’s my small way of saying thanks to mother nature for allowing me to enjoy her beautiful creations. If we have time to go on an adventure we have time to collect an adventure bag on the way back out of the trail once we have enjoyed the waterfall, the hike, or the beach. Adventure hard!
Tag your Adventure Bag on Instagram and mention @adventurebagcrew in your Instagram stories and we will repost your Adventure Bag photo to help inspire your friends, family, and followers to join the movement!
WONDERING ABOUT WHERE TO STAY ON MADEIRA?
Throughout my six months on Madeira Island, I stayed in multiple accommodations. My favorite regions to stay in were Funchal and Canico de Baixo. I’ve created several guides to help you find the right region for you and a great hotel or apartment.
- The ultimate guide: WHERE TO STAY ON MADEIRA: WHICH REGION IS RIGHT FOR YOU?
- If you want luxury: BEST 5-STAR LUXURY HOTELS ON MADEIRA ISLAND
- To feel at home: TOP 10 BOUTIQUE HOTELS ON MADEIRA ISLAND
- If you want to base in Funchal: WHERE TO STAY IN FUNCHAL: 15 TOP-RATED HOTELS
HAVE YOU READ MY OTHER MADEIRA BLOGS?
I spent six months exploring Madeira and the nearby island of Porto Santo. These are some of my most popular guides about the region that you may be interested in.
- My favorite hikes: 65 AWESOME HIKES ON MADEIRA
- My favorite levada walks: 25 BEAUTIFUL LEVADA WALKS ON MADEIRA
- The best waterfalls on the island: 25 EPIC WATERFALLS ON MADEIRA
- Guide to the best Accommodation: WHERE TO STAY ON MADEIRA
- Hardest hike: THE MADEIRA ISLAND ULTRA TRAIL IN 4 DAYS (115KM)
- Longest hike: CAMINHO REAL 23: MADEIRA’S ROYAL PATH (180KM)