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Madeira TOP-5 Hiking Trails

Take the most out of your visit to Madeira and pic the best hikes to try during your visit to this stunning island. Here's a list of Madeira's TOP-5 hiking trails for you to choose from.


Madeira TOP-5 Hiking Trails

Madeira, often referred to as the "Pearl of the Atlantic," is a Portuguese archipelago known for its stunning natural beauty and diverse landscapes. This picturesque island is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, and one of the best ways to truly experience its splendour is through hiking. With a rugged terrain that includes dramatic cliffs, lush forests, and breathtaking vistas, Madeira offers a hiking experience like no other. In this blog post, we will introduce you to the top-5 hiking trails on the island and provide essential tips to make the most of your adventure.


You can continue reading or you can just watch about it here:




Getting to the Trails


Before we delve into the hiking trails themselves, it's important to note that public transport on Madeira does not reach the trailheads. To access these natural wonders, your best bet is to rent a car. This provides you with the freedom to explore the island at your own pace and access even the most remote hiking locations.



Hiking Essentials

Hiking in Madeira is a thrilling outdoor activity, but it's essential to be well-prepared as you venture into the wilderness. Here are some key items you should have with you:


  1. Appropriate Attire and Footwear: Dress in layers suitable for the ever-changing weather conditions and wear sturdy, comfortable hiking boots to protect your feet.

  2. Ample Water: Ensure you have enough water to stay hydrated throughout your hike, especially on warm days.

  3. Fully Charged Phone: While Madeira's trails offer a digital detox, having a fully charged phone with a backup power source is crucial for emergencies.

  4. Snacks: Pack some energy-boosting snacks to keep you fueled during your hike.

Remember, once you're on the trail, you're on your own. There are no restaurants, toilets, or assistance available, so personal responsibility is paramount.



The Top Hiking Trails in Madeira


Madeira TOP-5 Hiking Trails


Madeira TOP-5 Hiking Trails

PR1 - Pico do Arieiro to Pico Ruivo


🥾 Moderate/Hard

⛰️ Total Distance: 6KM (point to point)

📈 Incline: 500M

⏱️ Total Duration: 3-4 hours


This challenging point-to-point trail takes you from Pico do Arieiro to Pico Ruivo, the highest peak on the island. The trail offers breathtaking views of the island's rugged interior. On your way, you'll pass few impressive viewpoints, like the popular balcony - Ninho da Manta and the Stairway to Heaven. This trail is very well maintained, some of the tunnels are quite dark, but a phone flashlight is totally enough to find your way. Keep in mind that after reaching Pico Ruivo, you'll need to hike back or take an expensive taxi to return to your car. The parking next to the trailhead allows you only to park there for one hour, so if you're going for the hike you should leave your car at the bottom parking and walk up 15 minutes to the starting point.


Madeira TOP-5 Hiking Trails

There's a restaurant at Pico Ruivo and at Pico do Arieiro, so there are some good options to rest and have lunch. To our observation, going to Pico do Arieiro to see sunrise become a some sort of ritual. There are hundreds of people there at that time and the parkings are totally full. That's why, we recommend to start this hike a little later to pass the busiest moment. Last time, we started at around noon and got back to Pico do Arieiro for sunset.

Pico do Arieiro often can be covered with clouds, so we advice to check The webcam

(https://www.netmadeira.com/webcams-madeira/pico-do-arieiro) before heading there, to avoid bad weather conditions and plan your hike better.



We actually made a full YouTube video about this hike. You can check it out here:





Madeira TOP-5 Hiking Trails

Madeira TOP-5 Hiking Trails

Vereda do Larano


🥾 Easy

⛰️ Total Distance: 10KM (round trip)

📈 Incline: 300M

⏱️ Total Duration: 2 hours


The Vereda do Larano hike offers an incredible coastal experience, taking you along a cliff-side path on the eastern side of the island. This well-maintained trail allows you to admire the vast expanse of the ocean below, providing awe-inspiring views throughout your journey. There's no other hike like this one on Madeira. We like to start this hike from the viewpoint in Porto da Cruz and finish at the other viewpoint - Boca do Risco. From Boca do Risco, you can also extend the hike to the town of Machico, but after passing the viewpoint the views aren't spectacular anymore.


Madeira TOP-5 Hiking Trails

Pico Grande from Boca da Corrida


🥾 Moderate/Hard

⛰️ Total Distance: 10KM (round trip)

📈 Incline: 850M

⏱️ Total Duration: 3-4 hours


This is truly a hidden gem as only the most adventurous tourists decide to hike this trail. Pico Grande might be the best viewpoint on the whole island, offering a 360 panorama over the Nuns Valley and all the surrounding picks. The peak of Pico Grande is a very unique place, and you won't find anything similar to it on Madeira. To get to this peak, you can choose one of the 3 starting points. We like to start from a viewpoint Boca da Corrida, as this is the shortest way to get there. The first 2/3 of the hike is mostly a flat, pleasant walk with beautiful views, but the last part is a steep climb up, ending at the top of Pico Grande, a rewarding endeavour. You won't need to do any actual climbing, but a hiking experience and being comfortable in the mountains is obligatory.


Madeira TOP-5 Hiking Trails

PR17 Caminho do Pináculo e Folhadal

🥾 Moderate/Difficult

⛰️ Total Distance: 17KM (loop trail)

📈 Incline: 700M

⏱️ Total Duration: 5-7 hours


Caminho do Pinàculo e Folhadal is one of the hiking trails we love the most on Madeira Island. It takes you past many beautiful waterfalls, through thick Laurissilva forest, exciting tunnels and down steep rocky walls. This trail has everything that makes Madeira special. So, get your hiking gear ready and take your time to explore this trail. We promise you won't be disappointed. It's a 17km long trail that will make you tired, yes, but it also will make your day unforgettable!


There is a small parking available at the beginning of the trail (opposite the Miradouro da

Encumeada tourist shop). Don’t forget to bring a flashlight or a charged phone with flashlight for this hike, because you’ll have several dark tunnels on this trail. The trail from Bica da Cana to Pináculo has waterfalls that flow right onto the path. You might get wet from the waterfalls - so get the jacket or a raincoat and be ready for fun! At the final part of the trail, when the weather is clear, Pináculo is becoming a great viewpoint to see the two highest mountains of Madeira: Pico do Arieiro and Pico Ruivo.


Watch Our Video from this Hike




Madeira TOP-5 Hiking Trails

PR8 - Vereda da Ponta de Sao Lourenco


🥾 Easy/Moderate

⛰️ Total Distance: 7KM (round trip)

📈 Incline: 500M

⏱️ Total Duration: 2-3 hours


This coastal hike on the eastern tip of Madeira offers breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean and its rugged coastline. It is a really popular hike because it's not too far from Funchal and not too steep. The trail is mostly made of rocks and gravel, but it's easy to see where to go. Just make sure you have good shoes and pay attention to where you're walking. There are some places where it's a bit high, but there are always railings or wider paths to keep you safe. Overall, it's a good trail for everyone. The hike is a seven-kilometer trail that has several beautiful viewpoints, from which you can see how the coastline has changed over millions of years because of volcanic erosion. The best times to hike the trail are early in the morning or late in the afternoon, as the heat can be intense during the middle of the day. Additionally, hiking during these times will provide you with stunning

views of the sunrise or sunset over the Atlantic Ocean, and of course, it will be less crowded!


The trail ends at the restaurant Casa da Sardinha. From Casa da Sardinha, you can see a tall hill called Pico do Furado. The trail to this viewpoint is officially closed, but that doesn't stop anyone from climbing to the top. In our opinion, the hike isn't complete without summiting Pico do Furado. The trail to the top is well-prepared, and the area at the top seems very sturdy, as expected from a mountain peak. The top of Pico do Furado is a great spot for landscape photography, so you'll likely see some photographers with tripods if you go there in the morning. From here, you must return within the same way back to the parking lot, where the hike starts and ends.



Watch our video from this hike:



To see these trails in action and get a glimpse of Madeira's natural beauty, check out our YouTube video featuring these hikes and more.


We hope this guide inspires you to embark on your own hiking adventure in the stunning landscapes of Madeira. Just remember to be well-prepared, take safety precautions, and leave no trace as you explore this island paradise. Happy hiking!


Other Articles about Madeira you'd might like

Madeira is such an amazing place to visit, and we still can't believe we've been able to call it home for the past two years. During our stay, we explored all the best spots on the island and tried all the most exciting activities, many of them more than once! This helped us create these comprehensive guides that will help you plan your own trip to Madeira.










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