Ribeiro Frio, see this useful link http://www.love-madeira.com/ribeiro-frio-madeira.html, is rarely thought of as one of the main tourist destinations by visitors to Madeira Island. Unfortunately, the destination is hard to reach by using local buses. Added to that, Ribeiro Frio also has a small number of visiting tourists because the holiday literatures available often neglect to mention this delightful village. Casting the reasons and whyfores aside, it makes the discovery of Ribeiro Frio’s hidden treasures all the more rewarding for the minority who do actually manage to include it on their holiday itinerary.
Ribeiro Frio in Maderia (reference: www.love-madeira.com) gained its title from the Portuguese inhabitants of the region. For them, it means only one thing – and that is a freezing river. Which is what the words Ribeiro Frio mean in Portuguese. Having visited, you will also keep it forever in your mind for only that one thing as well!
Since the river was responsible for the naming of Ribeiro Frio, it will come as no surprise that the river is also behind the main tourist attraction of the village.
First impressions can sometimes misguide you – and so it is with Ribeiro Frio. Upon arrival, this little community portrays itself as just having a single restaurant, bar and an rather dishevelled tourist shop. However, take a little time to explore and you will soon uncover that village has rather more to offer.
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Starting at the centre of Ribeiro Frio and heading in the direction of Santana, lies the principle reason for most tourists’ visit. The trout fish farm. Which, incidentally, is open to the visiting public. Here you will get a pleasant surprise, for, the entrance charge is exactly zero! Spend time to stroll slowly around the pleasantly planted grounds whilst you mingle in and out of the plentiful trout holding ponds. The uninspiring, plain, white, rectangular hatchery tanks serve their purpose and nothing else. At the opposite end of the scale, the round tiling, cooling ripples of the adult pools undoubtedly will leave you gazing into a continuous dance of rainbow trout swimming almost as if one. And, each pool is replenished by the chill, clear waters of the local fast flowing river that gives the village its name.
If you have the time, cross and head a little further down the road to find the start of the levada route to the breathtaking Balcoes viewing platform. This is one of the best walks on the island and should take you little more than 60 minutes there and back. At your destination, the balcony platform, you will delight at the fantastic view of the distant power station at Faja da Nogueira in the valley that stretches out before you. In the other direction, on a clear day, you can see all the way to the Atlantic coastline. Making your way back along the same track, take some time out to enjoy the plants and birds that make this their home. And, of course, the levada crosses the Ribeiro Frio river.
When you have finished exploring the village, a good place to eat is where many of tourists head at the end of their day.
However, before you leave, there is one last thing that it is almost obligatory for visitors to Ribeiro Frio to undertake. Seek out a place where you can gain easy access and stretched down to dip your hand into the fast flower waters of the river. From the instant that your fingers touch the surface, you will be left with a lasting memory, and it will always remind you just why Ribeiro Frio was so called.
Ribeiro Frio is one of the highlights of the East of Island tour offered by Sunrise Madeira Tours.