The Lagoa do Vento hike is a beautiful short hike in Rabaçal with a beautiful waterfall and lagoon. It’s only 3.3 kilometres one way to get to the waterfall, so Lagoa do Vento is a perfect hike for young and old. You can swim in the lagoon at the base of the waterfall, but be prepared for the cold mountain water! The area around the lagoon is perfect for a lunch break and the trail is well maintained and signposted because it’s located in one of the most popular hiking areas of Madeira Island. It will take you about 2-3 hours in total to finish the Lagoa do Vento hike depending on your speed and the total time of breaks. In this compete guide you will find all the information you need!
Lagoa do Vento key facts
Before setting off to the Lagoa do Vento waterfall hike, below some key facts!
Hike distance and duration: The total distance of the Lagoa do Vento waterfall hike is 7 kilometres out and back. This will take you about 2 – 3 hours depending on your walking speed and the time you spend relaxing at the lagoon. You can easily combine the Lagoa do Vento hike with Levada do Alecrim which are both connected via the same trail.
Hike difficulty and incline: The Lagoa do Vento hike is not very difficult and only has an incline of about 300 meters. This consists of winding natural stairs through the forest. The overall trail is clearly marked and doesn’t has scary drop offs or other moments of danger. Because most of the trail is on natural soil, it can be slippery in the forest part after rain. But as with every hike in Madeira, put on your hiking shoes and you will be fine.
How to get to Lagoa do Vento
The start of the Lagoa do Vento waterfall hike is in the popular Rabaçal area where many hiking trail starts. It can be busy here, especially during the summer months when many tourists are visiting Madeira islands. Best advice to have a quiet nature experience is to start the hike as early as possible.
The Lagoa do Vento trail starts at the same parking lot as the popular levada walks 25 Fontes and Alecrim. But to find the trail of Lagoa do Vento you should not follow the main driveway but only walk a little further to the lower end of the parking lot. There is a small trail on the right that veers into the bushes.
Best time to do the Lagoa do Vento hike
During the summer months you can expect the waterfalls in Madeira to be drier and less powerful than after some rainy weeks. We have visited Lagoa do Vento two times, once in August when the waterfall was almost dried up and another time in December after some heavy weeks of rain. It was a completely different experience! So to set the right expectation, you have to take into account that in the summer months there is probably only a trickle of waterfall, while during the winter months it will be a real waterfall splashing into the lagoon. In those circumstances it is not recommend to swim in the lagoon as the spray will be too powerful and a little dangerous.
In terms of the best time of the day to do the Lagoa do Vento hike, you can best start as early as possible. Then you will have the highest chance of having the waterfall for yourself for the most relaxing nature experience. In the summer months you can then cool off in the natural pool and eat your lunch before you get back to the parking lot. Find here some awesome lunch ideas to bring on your day hikes.
What to expect during the Lagoa do Vento hike
The trail of Lagoa do Vento starts at the lower end of the parking lot and veers into the bushes on the right hand. You will see Lagoa do Vento signposted on the wooden board. Here you will join the levada on a narrow but straightforward path. Stay focused on this part because the rocks where the path is made of are all at uneven sizes and heights making it easy to trip or roll your ankle. Along the trail you will see beautiful ferns, wildflowers and trees.
The first interesting part of this walk is where you encounter some stairs with a levada waterslide next to it. At this part of the Lagoa do Vento hike you can continue towards the Lagoa Dona Beja waterfall which is the end point of Levada do Alecrim hike. This is only a short detour and therefore you can easily combine these two hikes on the same day. You will see Levada do Alecrim signposted on the red and yellow sign saying only one more kilometer. So if you decide on doing this, you will only add 2 kilometres of flat walking in total to the Lagoa do Vento hike. This will be about 30-45 minutes extra to your overall hiking time. After visiting the Lagoa Dona Beja waterfall you simply return to this intersection and then continue towards Lagoa do Vento.
Lagoa do Vento waterfall
The part down to Lagoa do Vento goes through the forest with natural stairs. You might not notice the height of the stairs until you return to the parking lot. The climb up is definitely more challenging then the way down!
After only 3.3 kilometres, which is 5.3 when you did a visit to Lagoa Dona Beja waterfall before, you will reach the bottom of Lagoa do Vento. Here you can admire the beautiful lush surroundings and high waterfall. If you want to cool off, you can take a dip in the lagoon, but be prepared for ice cold mountain water! It is also possible to go behind the Lagoa do Vento waterfall, but only in the summer season when the spray of the waterfall isn’t too powerful.
All the rocks around the lagoon are great to sit and relax and to use as picnic table. You can easily spend a few hours here if you want to. Atiba flew the drone to get a better perspective of the waterfall. This gives a great view on the connecting stream to Risco waterfall. From the sky you can see how many waterfalls there are in this area! The Lagoa do Vento waterfall feed Risco waterfall which is right underneath it. So it also makes sense that the Levada das 25 Fontes is below Lagoa do Vento.
On this drone picture you can see Risco waterfall with Lagoa do Vento waterfall right above
This is Lagoa do Vento waterfall seen from an aerial perspective
Rabaçal valley viewpoint
You can also stand at the top of Risco waterfall which is directly on the opposite of Lagoa do Vento. You just have to follow the stream with Lagoa do Vento in your back and you will get to the beginning of where Risco waterfall falls down along the rocks. Here you will have beautiful panoramic views over the Rabaçal valley. But take extreme care here as the rocks can be slippery, especially during rainy season.
More hikes nearby Lagoa do Vento
If you’re planning on doing a few more hikes in the close area of Lagoa do Vento then you can choose from many options. The Rabaçal valley is packed with great levada walks. And from the parking lot where you will start this hike there are a few more options. Combine it with Levada do Alecrim for example, or add Levada das 25 Fontes to your workout.
What is a Levada?
If you’re coming to Madeira for the first time, you might question what the word ‘Levada’ actually means. This word is used a lot to specify the different Madeira hiking trails. But what is the origin of these Levadas and what is their purpose?
Levadas are little canals of water that wind through the mountains and translates as “carriageway”. These water canals are irrigation systems developed to distribute water from the wetter regions on the north of Madeira to the drier and sunnier areas of the south where lots of plantations are located. The levadas cover a total distance of about 2500 kilometer from the heart of the Laurissilva forest to the most rocky slopes.
The origin of the levadas dates back to the 15th century. The first levadas where then created to provide water to irrigate the sugarcane plantations. Back then sugar was also known as the “white gold” because it was considered as the main engine of Madeira’s economy in the 15th & 16th century. The narrow water canals have ever since the important task to deliver water along far distances. Mainly to banana plantations, vineyards, fruit orchards and vegetable gardens, as well as to hydro-electric power stations on the island.
But nowadays, the levadas are also a great way to discover Madeira’s stunning nature with landscapes and species of flora and fauna that are unique in the world.
Best Madeira guided levada tours
If you want to explore some of the best levada walks in Madeira, then it is highly recommended to book a guided tour. Your guide can tell you everything about the flora and fauna, you can’t get lost and you don’t have to worry about any preparation except the right shoes and clothing, All of these tours include air conditioned transport with hotel pick up and drop off, certified guides and sometimes also lunch. You can reserve now and pay later, with cancellation up to 24 hours in advance to receive a full refund.
- Levada Caldeirão Verde private hike including transportation. This is one of the most popular levada walks in Madeira as you will see many waterfalls along the way, such as the famous Caldeirao Verde waterfall.
- Levada das 25 Fontes walk. Another famous levada walk in Madeira leading you to the beautiful Risco waterfall and 25 Fontes waterfall. A must do!
- Levada dos Cedros private guided hike. The lesser known Levada dos Cedros brings you to a beautful waterfall at the end of the trail. A must do if you like the more hidden gems.
- Levada do Moinho to Levada Nova private hike including transport. The unique waterfall pours down a cliffs over the levada path. Be prepared to get a little wet!
- Levada dos Tornos private guided hike. North Madeira is super lush and the Levada brings you along a scenic path to some beautiful waterfalls.
- Levada do Alecrim private hike including transport. This levada walk is perfect for families and during the summer months you can even swim in the natural pool of the waterfall!
- Lagoa do Vento private guided hike including transport. The beautiful, tall waterfall of Lagoa do Vento is a must visit. You can even swim in the natural pool for a refreshing dip after the hike down.
Best Madeira island tours
If you want to explore the best of Madeira with a guide then here some great tours I recommend. During these tours you will pass by some of the best viewpoints which I share in this complete guide. All of these tours include transport with hotel pick up and drop off, certified guides and sometimes the entrance fees if applicable. You can reserve now and pay later, with cancellation up to 24 hours in advance to receive a full refund.
- Customized 6 hour Madeira tour. On this six-hour tour you can choose the different areas you want to visit on Madeira island. Pick the landmarks and iconic places to make your own itinerary with the help of your local guide/driver.
- West Madeira private tour. Starting in the fishing town of Câmara de Lobos you will drive via Cabo Girao, the highest cape in Europe, to the beautiful view of Serra d’Agua valley. From there you will head to São Vicente to explore the Laurisilva forest. Continuing north, you will visit Porto Moniz, known for its natural lava pools where you can swim. As last stop you will visit the famous rocks at Ribeira da Janela.
- East Madeira tour. Visit Pico do Arieiro viewpoint, make pictures at the Santana houses and the beautiful viewpoints at Porto da Cruz to finish the day at the impressive volcanic landscape of Ponta de São Lourenço.
- Canyoning adventure with transfer from Funchal. Get the thrill of canyoneering and explore Madeira’s untouched nature. follow a river as you walk, rappel, slide and jump through hidden waterfalls with streams that cross endemic forests. A super fun and adventurous day!
- Ponta de São Lourenço hike with pick up in Funchal. Explore the most eastern tail of Madeira island with its unique volcanic rock formations to understand how the island was created.
- Funchal 48-hour hop-on hop off bus tour. Explore the lush landscape of Madeira and the sights of Funchal at your own pace with a 2 or 5 day ticket for the hop-on, hop-off bus.
- Tuk-Tuk tour to Monte Tropical Garden with Toboggan ride from Funchal. Explore Funchal Old Town with a Tuk Tuk before making your way to the mountains to the stunning Monte Tropical Garden. There you will explore over 70,000 square meters of exotic plants. At the end of the tour you will enjoy the thrilling ride down the hill with a Toboggan ride.
- Funchal Old Town walking tour. Learn about the history of Funchal and Madeira on a guided walk through the city’s medieval center. Visit the farmer’s market, the Campo Almirante Reis. The Fortress of St. James, and a number of other sites as your guide provides commentary.
- Dolphin & Whale watching Luxury Catamaran Cruise from Funchal. Enjoy the views of Funchal from a luxury catamaran. Look out for whales and dolphins in their natural habitat as your relax on board and explore the underwater world with a snorkel.
- Scuba diving Madeira. Explore the underwater world of Madeira island. A theory lesson and practice in swimming pool is included. This before you will dive about 12 meters for 45 meters in the Atlantic Ocean.
- Sunset tour from Funchal by Catamaran. Watch the sunset off the coast of Madeira on a 3-hour evening catamaran cruise from Funchal and spot dolphins (guaranteed, or you get a 2nd trip for free).
General travel must haves for Madeira
Have you thought about how to get around in Madeira? A car is the easiest way to drive around the island.
- Book your rental car here and compare the providers to get the best deal.
- Book your scooter or motorbike here to get around in Madeira. Most of the scooters you can drive with driving license (A1/A2/A) from 18 years old, or from 25 years old with a car (B) license. The motorbikes have a minimum age of 20 or 21 with A (moto) license.
Do you prefer a private driver for the day and the freedom to create your own itinerary?
Did you already book your accommodation?
- Check out this great tool to compare prices of hotels on different platforms from around the world and book your favorite hotel
Are you insured during your travels?
- Buy your travel insurance here. Safetywing not only includes coverage for travel delay, lost checked luggage, emergency response, natural disasters and personal liability. But also covers all your medical expenses for hospitalisation.
More Madeira travel inspiration
I hope you enjoyed this full guide about the Lagoa do Vento hike.
For more Madeira travel inspiration and the must visit destinations, head over to our other blog posts about Madeira island.