Balcões viewpoint - This trail (PR11) begins at regional highway E.R.103 at Ribeiro Frio and follows the levada of Serra do Faial, providing access to the Balcões belvedere, which offers beautiful panoramas of the deep valley of Ribeira da Metade, the parish of Faial and the many peaks of Madeira Island.
Surrounding the levada the most varied endemic species abound, such as laurel trees, Madeira mahogany, Madeira blueberry, and Madeira orchids, as well as exotic deciduous trees like English oaks and London plane trees, which are found at regular intervals at the edge of the path.
When you arrive at the Balcões belvedere, you will come upon a splendid scene completely occupied by the verdant valleys that characterise the Laurisilva forest. This forest takes on added importance as a “water producer”, because it condenses the water from the mists on the leaves of the plants, and from there brings great quantities to the soil, where it later replenishes the springs and brooks.
On days when the visibility is good, you will be able to see the Central Mountain Chain of the island, with the highest peaks of the island standing out, Pico do Areeiro (1817 m), Pico do Gato, Pico das Torres, Pico Ruivo (1861 m) and the majestic geological display of the Penha d’Águia rock formation.
This place it’s also ideal to bird watching, since there is a huge variety that nicely greets visitors of this belvedere. Between this nice little creatures stands out the Firecrest, the Chaffinch, the Grey Wagtails, Blackbirds, Robins, Buzzards or the very rare Madeira’s long-toed pigeon.
The way back is made through the same way but don’t think that you saw everything yet. One of peculiarities of the Madeira’s levadas is that each time you visit, there’s always new findings, experiences and sensations that will make this activity unique.
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