Balcoes and Ribeiro Frio
Balcoes, a piece of Paradise in Madeira.
"A miracle of nature", "the most beautiful place on earth"...
No words can describe the stunning view from Balcoes.
Eventhough i've explored quite a bit of the world, it never happened to me that i arrived on a place that makes me speechless. But it happened here, here i've found a piece of Paradise, hidden in Madeira !
During our first stay at Madeira, we didn't visit Balcoes. It was only after we got back home that we learned about this place when we watched a DVD about Madeira which we bought as a souvenir.
Ever since we come to Balcoes every year.
Balcoes, "Balcony" in English, is a viewpoint situated 870 above sea level, where we can overlook the valleys hundreds of meters below, as if we are standing on a real balcony.
Starting at Ribeiro Frio, a short levada walk (20 minutes) takes us through the laurel forest. Suddenly and quite unexpected the path ends at a rock.
As we make the final steps, the woods dissappear to make place for a dazzling spectacle of high mountains and deep valleys. We sit down by the rock where a wooden fence protects us from the abyss, and we listen to the silence of the wind sofly blowing through the valley.
For a moment i think to myself: "Could this be Paradise ? Am i in heaven ?"
More info :
Ribeiro Frio ist a small mountain village, well known for its trout farm that can be visited free of charge.
It is also a starting place for some walks including a beautiful walk to Portela. A couple of Tea-rooms and a cafe are well visited by tourists and hikers.
The path to Balcoes is flat and easy and is fit for a baby buggy and such.
If you arrive from Santana, the path to Balcoes is on the right hand side, just before entering Ribeiro Frio.
As you pass Poiso, Ribeiro Frio is also within easy reach from Funchal and Monte or from Santo da Serra.
This is also an interesting place for bird watching. A lot of bird species can be observed. Finches (Fringilla Madeirensis) feel at home here and can be spotted everywhere around.
Balcoes is also the best place to watch the Trocaz Pigeon (Long-toed Pigeon Columba trocaz).
Click for photos of Balcoes and the levada walk