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Best Hiking Trails in Madeira

Overview

Madeira is a small, beautiful Portuguese archipelago that sits closer to the African coast than to mainland Portugal and has stunning hikes throughout its mountainous interior.  Located north of the Canary Islands, Madeira consists of one main island and three small ones and is an autonomous region of Portugal.  The main island of Madeira has the most hiking, while the much smaller island of Porto Santo has some hikes. One of the unique features of hiking in Madeira are its levadas, which are are paths established along irrigation channels and are quite popular on the island.  Veredas are hiking trails up mountains, and tend to be more challenging.  There are so many spectacular hikes here, including up Pico do Ruivo (Maderia’s highest), Pico do Arieiro and the Pico to Pico hike (from Pico do Ruivo to Pico do Arieiro).  The best months to hike in Madeira are April to September.  Read on for more information on where and when to go hiking in Madeira. 

Capital: Funchal

When To Hike in Madeira?

April – September: Driest period of time with June – Aug the driest and hottest
March; October: These months have some rain
November – February: Rainy, cooler
Climate: Subtropical oceanic – mild climate throughout the year.  The north part of the island is more cloudy and gets more rain than south part of island.  

 

Madeira Monthly Weather

Accessibility of Hiking

Easy – Medium: Trails are well marked and one doesn’t need a guide for many trails, but some areas might not be as well marked.  There is a great website, Walking routes, with trail details for all the hikes on the islands plus there are numerous books with route details and maps.

Transportation required: Car is handy; a bus service that helps with getting to trailheads was established in 2023: Get to Hikes

Where to stay in Madeira for hiking:

  • Funchal
  • Calheta
  • Ponta do Sol
  • Sao Vicente

Top Places to Hike in Madeira

The whole island of Madeira is mountainous. The central part has a massif that rises up and is spectacular for hiking (where you’ll find all the big mountains). Levadas are the irrigation channels that were established covering the whole island, and where stairs have been constructed that walkers can use. There are many levada walks located throughout the island. Highest Mountain: Pico Ruivo (1862 m).

Filter out hiking places of Madeira by month

Click on the red map pointers to see more info.

Porto Santo

  • Vereda Pico Branco and Terra Chã
  • Pico Juliana
  • Pico Castelo
  • Pico do Facho
  • Pico do Maçarico

Madeira

  • The whole island is mountainous and has trails throughout; sample of popular hikes include:
  • Pico do Arieiro
  • Pico do Ruivo
  • Pico to Pico – from Pico do Arieiro to Pico do Ruivo
  • Levada do Plaino Velho
  • Levada do Caldeirao Verde
  • Penha de Águia
  • Pico Grande
  • Verada do Larano – Espigão Amarelo
  • Verada da Ponta de São Lourenço
  • Levada das 25 Fontes/Risco
  • Bica da Cana Pinaculo

Madeira's Long Distance Trails

Madeira's Walking & Hiking Resources

Madeira Hiking Books:

  • Walking on Madeira: 60 mountain and levada routes on Madeira and Porto Santo, Cicerone Guide, by Paddy Dillon, 2019, Cicerone Press
  • Madeira: The finest levada and mountain walks – 60 walks, by Rolf Goetz, 2019, Rother Guide
  • Walking in Madeira: Landscapes of Madeira: 6 car tours, 100 long and short walks, 11th Edition, by John and Pat Underwood, 2019, Sunflower Guide
  • Madeira Tour & Trail 1:40,000 Scale Map, 9th Edition including ‘Madeira Walks’ routes, 2018, Discovery Guides – MadeiraTour & Trail Walking Map Portugal 

 

Hiking Associations/Clubs:

 

Best Hiking Trails in Madeira:

There are so many great hikes on this small island, the following are just a handful of the most popular. You can find more details on hiking these trails from hiking guidebooks, hiking websites, trail maps/apps, other websites, and tourist offices:

  • Pico do Arieiro
  • Pico do Ruivo
  • Pico to Pico – from Pico do Arieiro to Pico do Ruivo
  • Levada do Plaino Velho
  • Levada do Caldeirao Verde
  • Penha de Águia
  • Pico Grande
  • Verada do Larano – Espigão Amarelo

Easy Hiking Trails in Madeira:

  • Verada da Ponta de São Lourenço
  • Levada das 25 Fontes/Risco
  • Bica da Cana Pinaculo

 

Madeira Hiking Websites: There are a lot of great travel blogs about hiking in Madeira

Social Media:

 

Madeira Weather Websites:

 

Madeira Official Tourism Site:  

 

Madeira Hiking Apps: 

 

Madeira Hiking Maps: 

What Else To Do

  • Wine 
  • Natural swimming pools
  • Caves

Other Important Points

  • They have live webcams set up in many of the cities/towns so people can get live updates of walks
  • Watch for vertigo