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Hiking in Madeira

Find your hiking trail in Madeira

Change your idea of Europe with a trip to one of its most scenic hiking destinations, far from the mainland. Hiking in Madeira is an unforgettable experience on this stunning Portuguese archipelago, beloved for its plunging cliffs and diverse hiking trails. Whether you’re a thru-hiker and want to cross the island or just in for a day hike, hiking in Madeira has it all. Climb Madeira’s highest peak, Pico Ruivo, or stroll along the serene Levadas. The most popular trail is by far the PR1 Vereda do Areeiro connecting three iconic spots in Madeira, the highest peaks of the island. It begins at Pico do Areeiro (1818m), crosses Pico das Torres (1851m), and ends at Pico Ruivo (1862m), the highest peak of the island.

Best hiking trails in Madeira


Why hike in Madeira?

Madeira’s exceptional nature, characterized by its volcanic mountains, laurel forests, and flowing Levadas (irrigation channels), makes it a top destination for people worldwide. The island’s mild climate year-round means it has perfect hiking conditions, inviting you to explore its unique ecosystems. Funchal, the capital of the island is a perfect gateway to one of the many trails. Also, Porto Moniz, Ponta del Sol, and Machico are perfect destinations as basecamps to get around on Madeira.

Top hiking trails in Madeira

Reach the summit of Madeira at Pico Ruivo, the island’s highest peak. Accessible via several well-marked trails, including a popular route from Pico do Arieiro, this hike offers stunning vistas across the island. You’ll exert a moderate effort, making it suitable for most fitness levels if you can handle steep stairs.

Levada do Caldeirão Verde is known for its lush scenery and the striking Caldeirão Verde lagoon. The trail passes through subtropical forest and alongside gushing waterfalls, making it a perfect spot for photography and birdwatching.

Ponta de São Lourenço is a great option to see the dramatic eastern coastline of Madeira. It features unique geological formations, dry vegetation zones, and panoramic ocean views, ideal for geology enthusiasts and landscape photographers.

Hiking along the levadas in Madeira

The levadas of Madeira are a stunning network of water channels that crisscross around the island. Originating in the 16th century, these aqueducts were constructed to distribute water from the rainfall-rich north and west of the island to the drier southern regions. Today, the Levadas continue to serve their vital irrigation purpose and also double as hiking trails.

What are levadas?

Levadas are irrigation channels designed to capture and channel water to agricultural regions. Unique to Madeira, these channels extend over 2,000 kilometers and are accompanied by maintenance paths, which have been transformed into some of the most beautiful walking paths in the world.

Popular Levadas to hike

Levada do Caldeirão Verde: Known for its enchanting green lagoon, this Levada offers a walk through dense forest, past cascading waterfalls and towering cliffs. The trail is about 13 kilometers long, providing a moderate hike that is as rewarding as it is beautiful.
Levada do Rei: Starting from São Jorge, this Levada takes you through a mix of cultivated terraces and indigenous forests, showcasing the diverse flora and fauna of Madeira. It’s an easier route for casual walkers and nature enthusiasts alike.
Levada dos 25 Fontes: This is one of the most visited Levadas, famous for its spectacular gathering of 25 natural springs that converge into a single, stunning lagoon. The trail here is rich in biodiversity and offers mesmerizing views of the valley below.

Weather in Madeira

The weather in Madeira can be unpredictable. Check forecasts in advance and dress in layers to accommodate changing conditions. While the weather in most months is favorable, it can be very windy and rainy in some weeks of the year. It can be wise to postpone your hiking trip when the forecast isn’t great so you don’t get in trouble.

Best time to hike in Madeira

The best time for hiking in Madeira extends from late spring (April) to early fall (September). During these months, the weather is typically dry and sunny, providing ideal conditions for hiking and the clearest views of the island’s spectacular landscapes.

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