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Hiking Madeira Island: Madeira's most beautiful hikes, here is an overview!

Madeira Island is known for its breathtaking nature and diverse hiking trails. From picturesque levada trails to challenging summit climbs, there is something for every hiking enthusiast to discover. The hikes lead through lush forests, along spectacular coastal cliffs and to hidden waterfalls. With this list of top hikes, you can get an overview and explore the island's most impressive landscapes. Immerse yourself in the beauty of Madeira and let yourself be enchanted by the magic of these hikes.

hiking madeira island

Contents

1. Top 10 of the most beautiful hikes in madeira

2. Further information

3. Top 50 hikes

4. Conclusion


Top 10 of the most beautiful hikes in Madeira

Whether you are an experienced hiker or just want to enjoy nature, Madeira has something for every taste and fitness level. You can set off on adventurous trails, hike to remote heights or choose more leisurely routes that lead through picturesque villages and green valleys.

1. from Pico Ariero to Pico Ruivo, the highest mountain in Madeira

At 1,862 meters, Pico Ruivo is the highest peak in Madeira and offers you an unforgettable experience. The climb to the summit is challenging, but the reward is breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and the sea. There are various hiking trails that lead to the summit, including the Pico do Arieiro - Pico Ruivo trail, which is considered one of the most beautiful hiking trails in Europe.

Length: min. 11 km but can be extended as desired!

Duration: min. 6-8 hours (or shorter depending on the route)

Difficulty level: Medium (surefootedness required)

Maximum altitude: Pico Ruivo 1862m

Top highlight: Sunrise and sunset on Pico Ruivo

Accommodation: Tent or hut

Starting point: Recommended at Pico Ariero

Permit: Not required

Guide: Not absolutely necessary

Best time to go: Basically feasible all year round! Note local restrictions! There may be snow in winter!

I recommend my sunrise video on the highest mountain in Madeira:

2. Hike to the Risco waterfall and its 25 springs

The Rabaçal forest in the west of Madeira is a real treasure for nature lovers and hiking enthusiasts. It is home to two of the island's most impressive natural attractions: the 25 springs and the Risco waterfall. These two destinations attract numerous visitors every year who want to experience the unique beauty of this region. The Rabaçal Trail takes you through dense forests along levadas and past lush vegetation landscapes. The trail is well marked and relatively easy to master. Along the way, you will always have fantastic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

Length: min. 9 km (there and back)

Duration: min. 2 hours

Difficulty level: easy (surefootedness required)

Maximum altitude: Pico Ruivo 1878m

Top highlight: The Risco waterfall and the surrounding springs

Accommodation: Hotel and apartments in the area

Starting point: By the road to the Rabaçal forester's lodge

Permit: Not required

Guide: Not absolutely necessary

Best time to go: Basically feasible all year round! Please note local restrictions!

hiking trails on madeira

3. The eastern cape: hike on the São Lourenço peninsula

The hike on the São Lourenço peninsula, also known as the Eastern Cape, is an absolute must for nature lovers and hiking enthusiasts. The breathtaking coastal landscape with its bizarre cliffs, rocky bays and turquoise blue water offers you an impressive backdrop for extended hikes. The well-marked path leads you along the coast and offers spectacular views of the sea and the surrounding mountains. The peninsula's unique flora and fauna, including rare plant species, birds and lizards, make this hike an unforgettable nature experience.

Length: min. 8 km (there and back)

Duration: min. 2.5 hours

Difficulty level: easy (sure-footedness required)

Maximum altitude: 125m

Top highlight: The bizarre rock formations

Accommodation: Hotel and apartments in the area

Starting point: At the small traffic circle in São Lourenço

Permit: Not required

Guide: Not absolutely necessary

Best time to go: Basically feasible all year round! Please note local restrictions!

4. Coastal hike from Canical to Porto da Cruz along the cliffs

The coastal hike from Canical to Porto da Cruz along the cliffs is very spectacular. It goes without saying that you will be rewarded with breathtaking views. The route offers a unique combination of wild nature, steep cliffs and the deep blue Atlantic Ocean.

The hike begins in the picturesque coastal town of Canical, known for its charming harbor and relaxed atmosphere. From there, you follow the hiking trail along the rocky coast, which leads through a varied landscape of volcanic rock formations and lush vegetation. The path is well marked and relatively easy to follow, but you should still be careful as some sections can be steep and slippery. After around three hours, you will finally reach the destination of your hike: Porto da Cruz!

Length: min. 8 km (there and back)

Duration: min. 2.5 hours

Difficulty level: easy (sure-footedness required)

Maximum altitude: 125m

Top highlight: The bizarre rock formations

Accommodation: Hotel and apartments in the area

Starting point: At the small traffic circle in São Lourenço

Permit: Not required

Guide: Not absolutely necessary

Best time to go: Basically feasible all year round! Please note local restrictions!

5. Hiking along the gorges from Rabaçal to Fanal

The hike along the gorges from Rabaçal to Fanal is an impressive adventure that will inspire you. The trail leads through dense laurel forests and along picturesque waterfalls. The gorges offer you a breathtaking backdrop with steep rock faces and lush vegetation. On the way, you will pass the famous 25 Fontes waterfall, which is particularly fascinating with its crystal-clear pools. The highlight of the hike is a visit to the magical laurel forest in Fanal Pond, where the bizarre giant trees create a mystical atmosphere. This hike is an unforgettable experience and shows the unique beauty of Madeira.

Length: min. 11 km

Duration: min. 4 hours

Difficulty level: easy (surefootedness required)

Maximum altitude: 1420m

Top highlight: The mystical trees of Fanal Pond

Accommodation: Hotel and apartments in the area

Starting point: The start is at an altitude of 1,420 meters at Pico dos Assobiadoures, in a small hiking parking lot on the regional road E.R 209.

Permit: Not required

Guide: Not absolutely necessary

Best time to go: Basically feasible all year round! Please note local restrictions!

fanal pond madeira

6. Hike on the Encumeada Pass to Pico Ruivo

The Encumeada Pass hike to Pico Ruivo is a challenging yet fascinating route for experienced hikers. The trail starts at the Encumeada Pass, a spectacular viewpoint, and leads through a varied landscape of dense forests and steep mountain peaks. The route is challenging as it involves steep climbs and narrow paths, but your efforts will be rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding mountain landscape. The highlight of the hike is the Pico Ruivo, Madeira's highest peak, from where you have an incomparable view over the island.

Length: min. 14 km

Duration: min. 6 hours

Difficulty level: demanding (surefootedness required)

Maximum altitude: 1820m

Top highlight: Pico Ruivo 1878m (highest mountain in Maderia)

Accommodation: A mountain hut and a campsite on Pico Ruivo

Starting point: Encumeada

Permit: Not required

Guide: Not absolutely necessary

Best time to go: Basically feasible all year round! Note local restrictions! There may be snow in winter!

hikes madeira

7. Pico Ariero to Encumeada

The hike from Pico Arieiro to Encumeada is impressive, but also challenging. You will cross a diverse landscape. The trail begins at Pico Arieiro, the third highest peak in Madeira, and leads along a mountain ridge with spectacular views of the surrounding valleys and peaks. The route leads through picturesque laurel forests and steep slopes before ending at the Encumeada Pass. Along the way, you can enjoy the beauty of nature and experience the tranquillity of the mountains. This hike is a great way for you to explore Madeira's impressive mountain landscape and collect unforgettable impressions along the way.

Length: min. 25 km

Duration: min. 10 - 12 hours

Difficulty level: demanding - difficult (sure-footedness required)

Maximum altitude: 1820m

Top highlight: Pico Ruivo 1878m (highest mountain in Maderia)

Accommodation: A mountain hut and a campsite on Pico Ruivo, Encumeada Apartments within a 5km radius

Starting point: Parking lot at Pico Arieiro

Permit: Not required

Guide: Not absolutely necessary

Best time to go: Basically feasible all year round! Note local restrictions! There may be snow in winter!

8. Levada do Norte: a leisurely day of hiking on Madeira

The Levada do Norte offers you a relaxed and leisurely day of hiking on Madeira. The Levada trail runs along the canal that brings water from the north of the island to the agricultural areas. The route offers gentle climbs and magnificent views of the surrounding landscape. You can enjoy the lush vegetation, the blooming flowers and the fresh mountain air. There are also charming little villages along the way where you can take a break and get to know the local culture. The Levada do Norte is an ideal choice for a relaxing day in nature.

Length: min. 12 km

Duration: min. 4 hours

Difficulty level: medium (surefootedness required)

Maximum altitude: 580m

Top highlight: Sometimes very scary paths

Accommodation: Hotels and apartments at the start in the surrounding area

Starting point: Near Câmara de Lobos, between the vineyards of Estreito Canara

Permit: Not required

Guide: Not absolutely necessary

Best time to go: Basically feasible all year round! Please note local restrictions! There may be snow in winter!

madeira levada hiking trails

9. Levada from Porto da Cruz to Ribero Frio

The levada hike from Porto da Cruz to Ribeiro Frio is a scenic route that will delight you. The trail leads along the levada canal and offers you wonderful views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. The route takes you through lush vegetation, past picturesque waterfalls and through charming villages. Along the way, you can breathe in the fresh mountain air and enjoy the beauty of nature to the full. Ribeiro Frio is a popular stopover where you can admire the unique flora and fauna of the laurel forest. This levada hike is a perfect combination of nature experience and relaxation.

Length: min. 16 km

Duration: min. 8 hours

Difficulty level: medium (surefootedness required)

Maximum altitude: 880m

Top highlight: Levada section through the rock

Accommodation: Hotels and apartments at the start in the surrounding area

Starting point: At Porto da Cruz

Permit: Not required

Guide: Not absolutely necessary

Best time to go: Basically feasible all year round! Note local restrictions! There may be snow in winter!

10. Along the Levada do Rei to Ribeiro Bonito

The Levada do Rei is a popular hike in Madeira that delights nature lovers. The trail runs along the Levada channel and offers a picturesque backdrop of lush vegetation, dense forests and refreshing waterfalls. The route is well marked and relatively easy to complete, making it suitable for less experienced hikers. Along the way, you can admire the diversity of flora and fauna and enjoy the tranquillity of nature. The Levada do Rei is a perfect choice for a relaxing day surrounded by the breathtaking beauty of Madeira.

Length: min. 10 km

Duration: min. 3 hours

Difficulty level: medium (surefootedness required)

Maximum altitude: 680m

Top highlight: Levada section through the rock incl. waterfall

Accommodation: Hotels and apartments at the start in the surrounding area

Starting point: At the Caminho do Curralinho parking lot

Permit: Not required

Guide: Not absolutely necessary

Best time to go: Basically feasible all year round! Note local restrictions! There may be snow in winter!

madeira levada hiking trails

Further information

Money: ATMs and credit cards are available in many places. You should still take cash with you on your trip.


Water: Unfortunately, you won't always find it. Make sure your water container is always well filled. I usually had about 2.5 litres with me. You should only drink the water from the lavedas in an absolute emergency. This is water for agricultural use. I drank it, but first I put it through a water filter. Sometimes there are waterfall pools or fountains along the way. However, you should definitely use a water filter. No matter how clear the water is, it can still contain impurities, for example from animal excrement or dead animals. However, you can also boil the water.

Animals or vermin: There are virtually no pests on the island and it is free of dangerous insects and bugs. Take care when pitching your tent, though. I had a bloody big spider in the undergrowth. It was a bit of a scare.

Surefootedness: In my opinion, there was a minimally exposed passage shortly after Pedra Longa. However, it was bearable for me with a fear of heights. The paths are often full of scree, so you have to be careful when walking.


Long-distance hiking trails in Europe: 90 routes, all countries

Wild & adventurous: these are the most beautiful long-distance hiking trails in Europe.


Safety advice

All the safety rules of mountain sports also apply to hiking and trekking! You can find the safety rules in the link below:

Proverb from Madeira. Come into my garden. I want my roses to get to know you. Richard B. Sheridan 1751 - 1816.
madeira island hiking trails

Top 50 hikes in Madeira: an overview!

  1. Levada do Caldeirão Verde

  2. Pico Ruivo

  3. Levada do Rei

  4. Ponta de São Lourenço

  5. Ribeiro Frio - Portela

  6. Vereda do Larano

  7. Levada das 25 Fontes

  8. Rabaçal - 25 Fontes

  9. Queimadas - Caldeirão Verde

  10. Levada do Alecrim

  11. Caminho Real do Paul do Mar

  12. Caminho Real da Encumeada

  13. Levada do Moinho

  14. Levada dos Cedros

  15. Levada da Serra do Faial

  16. Levada Nova

  17. Ribeiro Frio - Balcões

  18. Caminho Real do Monte

  19. Ponta do Pargo - Farol

  20. Levada do Furado

  21. Levada da Ribeira da Janela

  22. Levada do Caniçal

  23. Levada da Serra

  24. Levada da Ribeira Brava

  25. Caminho do Pináculo

  26. Levada da Rocha Vermelha

  27. Levada das Funduras

  28. Levada do Caniçal de Baixo

  29. Levada do Balconcitos

  30. Levada do Barreiro

  31. Levada dos Tornos

  32. Levada do Norte

  33. Levada dos Maroços

  34. Levada do Lombo do Mouro

  35. Levada da Ponta do Sol

  36. Levada da Fajã do Rodrigues

  37. Levada do Risco

  38. Levada das Levadinhas

  39. Levada do Rei - Lamaceiros

  40. Levada do Paul do Mar

  41. Levada dos Balcões

  42. Levada dos Prazeres

  43. Levada da Serra do Faial - Balcões

  44. Levada da Serra do Faial - Pico Ruivo

  45. Levada do Norte - Encumeada

  46. Levada dos Cedros - Folhadal

  47. Levada do Moinho - Levada Nova

  48. Levada do Alecrim - Lombada Velha

  49. Levada do Caldeirão do Inferno

  50. Levada dos Cardais

hikes madeira

The most beautiful multi-day tour on Madeira

The 105km east-west island crossing

Length: min. 105km but can be extended as desired!

Duration: min. 5 days

Difficulty level: Medium

Maximum altitude: Pico Ruivo 1862m

Top highlight: Sunrise and sunset on Pico Ruivo

Accommodation: Tent or hut/hotel/apartment

Starting point: Near Canical

Finish: Port Moniz

Permit: Only for wild camping

Guide: not absolutely necessary

Best time to visit: May - October, but also possible all year round!

As always, I recommend my video about the tour:

With a length of almost 105 km, the island crossing is a fantastic hike that offers an incredible amount. It shows a cross-section of Madeira's beautiful landscape. I really enjoyed the tour! It is my absolute favorite tour. Have a great time and good luck!

Conclusion

The top 10 hikes in Madeira offer a variety of breathtaking landscapes and diverse routes. But which is the most beautiful hike in Madeira? It's hard to say! From the picturesque levadas such as the Levada do Caldeirão Verde and the Levada do Rei to the spectacular summit hikes such as the Pico Ruivo, Madeira offers something for everyone. The hikes lead through lush forests, along steep cliffs and to hidden waterfalls and often offer unforgettable views across the island. The variety of walks allows you to enjoy both relaxed strolls and more challenging trekking tours. Madeira is undoubtedly a paradise for hiking enthusiasts. Have a great time and good luck ;)


As always, I would be delighted to receive feedback via one of my channels.



You are also welcome to leave me a comment here.

 
Hikingfex

Hello, I am Christian, the chief globetrotter of this Site and an enthusiastic adventurer, hiker and filmmaker. I love to explore new paths and inspire people with them, and I love to share my hiking knowledge with you! You can also find my videos on YouTube! On my blog you can find tips for beginners and professionals on the greatest and most beautiful hiking tours there are. I want to encourage people to explore the world as a hiker, whether in the countryside, through the forest or in the mountains. True to the motto: If you haven't hiked, you haven't seen the world,


On my blog, I also write about hiking gear, the right summit training and nature conservation, as well as tips and information about hiking.


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