Levada do Alecrim waterfall hike on Madeira is one of the best, easy hikes on the island with a beautiful waterfall and swimming pool at the end! This is a great short hike with just 7-kilometers of hiking required for the return trip. The trail takes you along the levada and visits several waterfalls and pools on the way to the main falls.
HOW TO GET TO THE LEVADA DO ALECRIM HIKING TRAIL
The trailhead for the Levada do Alecrim 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.
LEVADA DO ALECRIM HIKE DETAILS
Hike Distance: The total distance of the Levada do Alecrim hiking trail was a 7-kilometer out and back 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 very 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 not very smooth with a bumpy, rocky ride making it easy to make a false step. As always take care, hike slowly and you will be fine on this one!
Hike Incline: 160 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]
MY EXPERIENCE ON THE LEVADA DO ALECRIM 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. We set off with the morning light breaking over the hills in the distance, a golden glow beamed off our faces as did our smiles.
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. That’s a rough way to begin a golden morning.
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.
You will reach a red and yellow sign pointing you to continue on to Levada do Alecrim as you always keep the levada on your right. After a little more than three kilometers, you will reach the Lagoa Dona Beja waterfall area, which is where there are a number of beautiful waterfalls and natural pools. They seem to cascade all the way down the river, which eventually feeds into Lagoa do Vento. You can actually do a canyoneering course all the way up these waterfalls because you can see the hooks drilled into the rocks for the ropes. Take care if you wander down to explore the pools as the slipper rocks are very, very good at catching people out for a fall.
Just a little further on from the first pools and you will reach the famous Lagoa Dona Beja waterfall, which pours into a circular pool at its base. I found this waterfall to be one of the prettiest on Madeira although not the biggest by any means. I was interested to see if it could be cliff-jumped but with dark murky waters, I wasn’t sure what type of rocks, logs, and debris were hiding below the surface. We sat here and had our morning snacks while taking in the waterfall.
If you continue on a little further, you can visit the top of Lagoa Dona Beja waterfall for a different perspective from the location.
After reaching Lagoa Dona Beja waterfall, instead of heading back the same way back, we decided to continue on and complete the Lagos da Madeira loop, which passes back on the other side of the river. On the way, you see a number of new pools but the trail was quite overgrown and it wasn’t necessarily my favorite section of trail on Madeira. There was one nice waterfall hidden on the route, which was the highlight. Here are a couple of photos from our route when we continued past the Levada do Alecrim trail and onto the Lagos da Madeira trail.
The one other option I want to share with you about hiking in this region is that you can also combine the Lagoa do Vento trail with both the Levada do Alecrim and Lagos da Madeira trail. We combined all three for a one-day hike. This way you do the Lagos da Madeira trail (which includes the entire Levada do Alecrim trail) and then instead of heading back to the parking lot, you deviate to join the Lagos do Vento trail and then complete the circular route back to the parking lot. This means you see a lot of waterfalls, beautiful trails and great viewpoints. The nice part is that even though you are combining three hikes they actually all overlapped in some part anyway so your hike is only 12-15km in distance.
These are a few of the photos from Lagoa do Vento part of the trail and the waterfall so you can see what you would be in for should you choose to combine all three as we did.
ADVENTURE BAG FROM THE LEVADA DO ALECRIM 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!
I hope you enjoyed this guide about the Levada do Alecrim waterfall hike in Rabacal on Madeira Island.
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.
All of my favorite hikes: MADEIRA HIKING GUIDE: 60 AWESOME HIKES ON MADEIRA
The best waterfalls on the island: 25 EPIC WATERFALLS ON MADEIRA
My favorite levada walks: 25 BEAUTIFUL LEVADA WALKS ON MADEIRA
Most epic adventure I had: HIKING THE MADEIRA ISLAND ULTRA TRAIL IN 4 DAYS (115KM)
Longest hike on Madeira: CAMINHO REAL 23: MADEIRA’S ROYAL PATH (180KM)
YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT ALL OF MY MADEIRA VIDEOS ON YOUTUBE
I created 20 adventure travel videos while on Madeira and some of them were from never-before filmed locations. From hiking in a snowstorm to running on coastal ridges, it’s a playlist of videos you will enjoy. I’ve linked the entire playlist of my Madeira videos below.
WONDERING ABOUT WHERE TO STAY ON MADEIRA?
Throughout my six months on Madeira, 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