Madeira - The ultimate guide to the island's trails

Madeira .. A unique and special destination that each of us should visit at least once in his life. Unique, untouched natural beauty, breathtaking views, constantly changing landscapes, steep high mountains and in general, a setting that reminded us very much of beautiful Hawaii, making us look forward to our next visit.

Madeira is located north of the Canary Islands (you can read our articles on Lantharote here and here), while the main reason to visit it, is in our opinion, the unreal trails transport you to another world !!

So let's go and take a look at the best of them.

You can get a taste by watching our related videos for the Pico Arieeiro - Pico Ruivo trail


as well as at the top of Pico Ruivo

but also ALL of our adventures in Madeira in the related highlights of Instagram here and here.

For the specific demanding trails, we had the support of Terramare with its reliable trekking shoes Lafumaand also of Nutree with its delicious and nutritious energy bars.

Vereda do Pico Ruivo (PR1.2)

Degree of difficulty: Moderate - High

Distance (Return): 5.4 Km

Estimated time: 4-5 hours

This is a path that leads to the highest peak of the island, Pico Ruivo, above the clouds, at an altitude of 1862 meters. From there you can admire a wonderful breathtaking view. All along the way to the top there are many places to gaze at the landscape and nature.

Of course, the price to pay for the view is the relatively high degree of difficulty. Although there are organized stop spots on the route you can relax.. the hot sun, the lack of shade, the steep terrain, the strong winds, and the dangerous passages will definitely strain the average hiker. You will definitely need sunscreen, good shoes and water. Much water ..

Vereda da Ponta de Sao Lourenco (PR8)

Degree of difficulty: High

Distance (Return): 7.2 Km

Estimated time: 5-7 hours

This trail is located at the eastern end of the island. Here the scene changes from rich vegetation to the absolutely barren and dry landscape. It is the most "wild" area of ​​the island with the strongest winds that blow frequently. So strong at some times you can hardly walk.

The barren and stony ground, the large altitude differences, the extremely strong winds combined with the long distance, make this route very demanding but at the same time enchanting. At the end of the route there is a beach with turquoise water where one can if swim and regain strength before heading back!

Levada do Rei (PR18)

Degree of difficulty: Small

Distance (Return): 9.7 Km

Estimated time: 4-5 hours

This is a very beautiful green route, where you constantly have a stream of water running next to you while at many spots you need to go through small caves, below or behind waterfalls (see more in the Instagram Highlights mentioned above) and some narrow spots that really cause dizziness.

But in general (despite the distance of 10 km) it is an easy - pleasant path to enjoy the nature of the island.

Levada do Caldeirao Verde (PR9)

Degree of difficulty: Moderate

Distance (Return): 11.8 Km

Estimated time: 5-7 hours

This is another green trail, which compensates us the hiker the end with a heavenly setting of a towering waterfall that forms a natural pool at its base.

Throughout the route you got a water stream running next to you, several mini-waterfalls, fallen trees to block your way, while you need to go through low caves without lighting (you need a flashlight to cross them - see highlights - but also watch out not to hit your head at the sharp rocks that protrude).

At many spots, the paths are very narrow just enough to fit, while on the right and left there are vertical cliffs. A relatively dangerous path that needs special attention especially in case of rain where the ground becomes very slippery.

But surely the result compensates you and we consider it one of the best trails on the island.

Vereda dos Balcoes (PR11)

Degree of difficulty: Minimal

Distance (Return): 2.7 Km

Estimated time: 1 hour

It is a small and very easy trail that leads to a balcony (as its name suggests) with a wonderful panoramic view. Unfortunately for us that day was very foggy and we did not manage to enjoy the great view. But certainly under better weather conditions, the experience would be completely different.


Vereda do Areeiro – Pico Ruivo (PR1)

Degree of difficulty: Extremely high

Distance (Return): 14 Km

Estimated time: 8+ hours

This is the most difficult trail of the island but at the same time the most beautiful - picturesque of all the others. You can visit the three highest peaks on the island (Pico do Arreeiro - Pico das Torres - Pico Ruivo) while you constantly feel how "small" you are in front of nature's grandeur (this little black dot in the center is us) .

The huge continuous altitude differences, the long distance, the extremely difficult and dangerous paths, the very narrow points with the steep cliffs and also the strong winds.. require very good physical preparation (because you will most likely reach your limits) and not to fear heights because vertigo is guaranteed.

Nevertheless, the images obtained from this particular trail are unique and unrepeatable.

Miradouro do Guintaste – Eira da Achanta

Two more places that are not trails but you can enjoy very beautiful viewpoints are Miraduro do Guintaste


as well as Eira da achada

A very useful application for all our routes was "Walk Me - Walking Madeira Island Levadas", which you can download from here. It contains detailed maps, distances, altitude differences, reference points, explanations, useful tips, weather information, favorite lists, offline mode and more. We highly recommend it.

For any questions do not hesitate to contact us. Stay tuned to our channel in Youtube for our upcoming Madeira documentary.

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