Travelling to Madeira and not hiking the Levada das 25 Fontes it's like visiting Rome and not seeing the Pope. This levada, located in the North-western coast, in the Rabaçal area, is probably - together with Santana's Caldeirão Verde (more on this one soon) - the most famous in Madeira.
And (if you forget the long approaching march, by a two and a half kilometre tarmac road, from the parking lot to the Rabaçal forest house) one of the most enjoyable.
Like I said, after parking your car in the parking lot near the water chamber of Calheta's hydroelectric power plant, you proceed downhill along the tarmac road and heading to the Rabaçal forest house.
Once there you'll catch the trail leading you to the levada level, a couple hundred meters below. From here a shorter route will lead you to the Risco waterfall and the longest one will take you to the 25 Fontes source. My advice: explore both. Just don't forget that's going to be a long way back. So start early.
Whith good parking conditions, on the Paúl da Serra plateau, and therefore easily reached by car, the Levada das 25 Fontes is a good introduction to us, nature lovers, on the biodiversity of Madeira. Along this easy but long walk, you'll have the chance to look around, to your heart's content, for plants...
Just make sure that you bring with you, for the trail, either in Summer or Winter, an adequate supply of "bom-dia's", "bon-jour's", "hello's", "guten tag's and guten morgen's, "ciao's" and "hola's" (just to name a few). You'll surely going to need them.
Being one of the most popular in Madeira, the Levada das 25 Fontes can be, sometimes, a little bit crowded. Ohh, well... this is also part of the fun. Picturing the levada's source, on a, somehow, busy Summer day.
All pictures taken with Nikon D40X and Nikkors 18-55 and 55-200 kit lenses. Post-processing in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, ver. 4.1 of TIFF images, converted from NEF files in Nikon View NX2.