The landscape grows more lush on the northern side of the island, and the road is full of waterfalls. Ribeiro Frio (Cold Brook) is known for its beautiful gardens—native species and nonindigenous flowers and plants grow prolifically around a government-run trout farm, the village’s main sight. Ribeira Frio is also the starting point for two popular levada walks. The first is one of the island's easiest and prettiest, taking around 30 minutes round-trip. At the lookout of Balcões (meaning "balconies") jagged peaks tower behind you, and there are views over densely wooded valleys. A longer, 12-km (7-mile) hike leads along a levada to Portela. If you attempt this, it should take three to four hours. Arrange for a taxi back.
FODOR'S GO LIST 2016
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