Best Hiking Trails in Madeira island

Best Hiking Trails in Madeira island

Best Hiking Trails in Madeira island

Jan 29, 2024

Madeira Island Overview and Hiking Importance

Located in the vast expanse of the Atlantic Ocean, Madeira Island emerges as a haven for explorers and nature enthusiasts alike. Its rugged terrain, adorned with lush greenery and surrounded by the endless azure of the ocean, creates an idyllic setting for adventure seekers. Beyond its picturesque landscapes, Madeira's heart beats with the spirit of hiking, beckoning visitors to embark on trails that unveil the island's hidden treasures.

The cradle of biodiversity, Madeira is not merely an island; it's a living canvas where nature has painted vibrant hues across mountains, valleys, and coastal cliffs. The significance of hiking here lies not just in traversing the terrain but in immersing oneself in a living masterpiece, where every step tells a story of resilience, beauty, and the island's unique character.


Highlighting Top Trails

This guide isn't just a map of trails; it's a narrative crafted to guide you through the soul-stirring landscapes of Madeira. Its purpose extends beyond being a mere list; it's an invitation to experience the island's beating heart through the best hiking trails. Each path is a chapter in a story waiting to be told, a journey waiting to be embraced.

As we embark on this exploration together, anticipate not just directions but a curated experience. We aim to uncover not only the trails but the essence of each route, providing you with the knowledge to choose not just a path but an adventure that resonates with your soul. Madeira's trails are more than trails—they are gateways to discovery, and this guide is your key to unlock the island's natural wonders.


Top 10 Hiking Trails in Madeira


1. Vereda do Areeiro to Pico Ruivo Hiking Trail

Best Hiking Trails in Madeira island - Pico do Areeiro to Ruivo Hike

Venture on the Vereda do Areeiro, a trail that connects Areeiro and Ruivo, weaving through alpine landscapes that transport you to a different realm. The challenge of the hike is rewarded with vistas that seem straight out of a postcard – dramatic peaks, rocky terrain, and the crisp mountain air. As you navigate the challenging but rewarding path, the sheer beauty of the alpine surroundings becomes a constant companion. Vereda do Areeiro is not just a hike; it's an immersive journey into the untamed, high-altitude beauty of Madeira, leaving you with memories etched in the peaks and valleys of this mesmerizing landscape.


Pico Areeiro to Pico Ruivo Hike Map.

Vereda Pico do Areeiro Details

Difficulty Level: Medium Hard

Distance:  6.1 km (VW) | 7km (VE) 

Duration3:30 hours

Start Point: Pico do Areeiro Viewpoint

End Point: Pico Ruivo

Max. Altitude 1857 m 

Min. Altitude: 1491 m

Guided Hike: BOOK THIS HIKE »



2. Levada do Caldeirão Verde Hiking Trail

Best Hiking Trails in Madeira island - Caldeirao Verde Levada Walk

Embark on the Levada do Caldeirão Verde, where every step is a stroll through a living, breathing masterpiece. This picturesque levada walk leads you through lush, emerald-green surroundings, a symphony of vibrant vegetation that envelops the trail. The gentle murmur of the levada, a network of irrigation channels, accompanies your journey, creating a soothing ambiance. Your senses are heightened as you traverse this verdant haven, culminating in the crescendo of a waterfall at the end – a breathtaking reward for your senses and a testament to the enchanting beauty of Madeira.


Levada Caldeirao Verde Hiking Trail Map.

levada do Caldeirão Verde Hiking Details

Difficulty Level: Medium 

Distance:  6.5 km  (+ 6,5 km return)

Duration5:30 hours

Start Point: Queimadas Natural Park

End Point: Queimadas Natural Park

Max. Altitude 980 m 

Min. Altitude: 890 m

Guided Hike: BOOK THIS HIKE »



3. Levada do Rabaçal to 25 Fountains Hiking Trail

Best Hiking Trails in Madeira island - Rabaçal 25 Fountains Levada

Tackle a captivating exploration of the Rabaçal Valley with the Rabaçal to 25 Fontes trail. Moderate in difficulty, this trail introduces you to the heart of Madeira's natural wonders. As you navigate through the valley, the landscape unfolds, revealing cascading waterfalls and serene lagoons. The refreshing mist from the falls, coupled with the vibrant greenery, creates an ethereal atmosphere. This trail strikes the perfect balance between adventure and accessibility, offering an immersive experience for hikers seeking both tranquility and natural marvels.



Levada Rabacal 25 Fountains Hiking Trail Map.

Levada Rabaçal 25 Fountains Hiking Details

Difficulty Level: Medium 

Distance:  4.6 km  (+ 4,6 km return)

Duration: 3:30 hours

Start Point: Rabaçal

End Point: Rabaçal

Max. Altitude 1290 m 

Min. Altitude: 900 m

Guided Hike: BOOK THIS HIKE »



4. Ponta de São Lourenço Hiking Trail

Best Hiking Trails in Madeira island - Ponta de Sao Lourenço Hike

Discover the untamed beauty of Madeira at the easternmost point of the island, the Ponta de São Lourenço. Here, nature takes center stage, showcasing coastal landscapes that redefine breathtaking. As you traverse the rugged paths, the Atlantic Ocean stretches infinitely before you, its waves crashing against the cliffs below. The Ponta de Sao Lourenço Hiking trail unfolds to reveal unique geological formations, carved by the elements over centuries. With each step, Ponta de São Lourenço invites you to witness the raw power of nature in a setting that feels like the edge of the world.


Ponta de Sao Lourenco Hiking Trail Map.

Ponta de São Lourenço Hiking Details

Difficulty Level: Medium 

Distance:  4.0 km  (+ 4,0 km return)

Duration2:30 hours

Start Point: E.R. 109 (Baía d'Abra - Caniçal)

End Point: E.R. 109 (Baía d'Abra - Caniçal)

Max. Altitude 77 m 

Min. Altitude: 5 m

Guided Hike: BOOK THIS HIKE »



5. Vereda do Larano Coastal Hiking Trail

Best Hiking Trails in Madeira island - Vereda do Larano

Located along the breathtaking coastline of Madeira, the Vereda do Larano Coastal Hiking Trail is a mesmerizing journey that immerses hikers in the raw beauty of the Atlantic. As the salty breeze tousles your hair, you'll traverse rugged cliffs, witness crashing waves, and discover hidden coves that unveil panoramic views. Be prepared for a sensory feast as the ocean's symphony accompanies each step, making this trail a serene escape from the hustle of daily life.


Vereda do Larano Hiking Trail Map.

Vereda do Larano Hiking Details

Difficulty Level: Medium Hard

Distance:  12.1 km  

Duration4:00 hours

Start Point: Porto da Cruz

End Point: Porto da Cruz

Max. Altitude 356 m 

Min. Altitude: 100 m

Guided Hike: BOOK THIS HIKE »



6. Vereda do Fanal Hiking Trail

Best Hiking Trails in Madeira island - Vereda do Fanal Hiking Trail

Enchanting Laurissilva forests await those who venture onto the Vereda do Fanal Hiking Trail. This mystical journey introduces hikers to the ancient laurel trees, their branches shrouded in mist. The trail meanders through a fairy-tale-like setting, where sunlight filters through the dense canopy, creating an ethereal atmosphere. As you follow the winding paths, you'll feel like you've stepped into a secret realm, making Vereda do Fanal an absolute must for nature lovers and fantasy seekers alike.


Vereda do Fanal Hiking Trail Map.

Vereda do Fanal Hiking Details

Difficulty Level: Medium 

Distance:  10.8 km 

Duration4:00 hours

Start Point: E.R. 209 Assobiadores

End Point: E.R. 209 Fanal

Max. Altitude 77 m 

Min. Altitude: 5 m

Guided Hike: BOOK THIS HIKE »



7. Levada do Alecrim "The Lakes" Hiking Trail

Best Hiking Trails in Madeira island - Levada do Alecrim walk

Embark on a nature lover's dream with the Levada do Alecrim "Lakes" Hiking Trail, a verdant haven that showcases the diverse flora and fauna of Madeira. The trail follows the gentle flow of levadas, leading hikers to serene lakes surrounded by lush greenery. Vibrant wildflowers paint the landscape, and the trail occasionally opens up to reveal awe-inspiring mountain vistas. This hike offers a perfect blend of tranquility and natural spectacle, making it a delightful experience for hikers of all levels.


Levada Alecrim Lakes Hiking Trail Map.

Levada do Alecrim Hiking Details

Difficulty Level: Easy

Distance:  3.5 km  (+ 3,5 km return)

Duration5:00 hours

Start Point: Rabaçal (E.R. 105) 

End Point: Water spring of Levada do Alecrim (Lagoa 'Dona Beja')

Max. Altitude 1339 m 

Min. Altitude: 1256 m

Guided Hike: BOOK THIS HIKE »



8. Levada do Rei Hiking Trail

Best Hiking Trails in Madeira island - Levada do Rei

Named after the kings of the past who once reveled in its beauty, the Levada do Rei Hiking Trail is a majestic route that traverses the heart of Madeira's Laurissilva forest. The path, adorned with ancient laurel trees and moss-covered rocks, guides you alongside a levada, providing a refreshing and immersive experience. The tranquility of the forest, interrupted only by the soothing sounds of flowing water, makes Levada do Rei a timeless escape into the island's rich ecological tapestry.


Levada Rei Hiking Trail Map.

Vereda do Fanal Hiking Details

Difficulty Level: Medium 

Distance:  5.1 km  (+ 5,1 km return) 

Duration3:30 hours

Start Point: ETAR São Jorge

End Point: ETAR São Jorge

Max. Altitude 710 m 

Min. Altitude: 530 m

Guided Hike: BOOK THIS HIKE »



9. Levada do Furado (Ribeiro Frio to Portela) Hiking Trail

Best Hiking Trails in Madeira island - Levada do Furado WalkBest Hiking Trails in Madeira island - Levada do Furado Walk

Prepare for a journey through the untamed landscapes of Madeira on the Levada do Furado Hiking Trail. This adventure takes you deep into the island's interior, where emerald-green levadas wind through dense forests and meadows. As you traverse this diverse terrain, you'll encounter waterfalls, charming villages, and perhaps even catch a glimpse of local wildlife. The Levada do Furado offers a dynamic and immersive hiking experience, making it a must for those seeking a blend of challenge and natural beauty.


Levada Furado Ribeiro Frio Portela Hiking Trail Map.

Vereda do Fanal Hiking Details

Difficulty Level: Medium 

Distance:  11 km  

Duration5:00 hours

Start Point: E.R.  303 (Ribeiro Frio)

End Point: E.R. 102 (Portela)

Max. Altitude 870 m 

Min. Altitude: 520 m

Guided Hike: BOOK THIS HIKE »



10. Vereda da Lagoa do Vento "Wind Lagoon" Hiking Trail

Best Hiking Trails in Madeira island - Lagoa do Vento Walk

Step into a world of wonders as you embark on the Vereda da Lagoa do Vento Hiking Trail, a captivating journey that leads you to the magical Lagoa do Vento. This trail is a sensory feast, where the rustling leaves, chirping birds, and the distant murmur of water create a symphony of nature. As you reach the lagoon, surrounded by lush vegetation, you'll understand why it's named "Lake of the Wind." With its serene beauty and peaceful ambiance, this trail promises an unforgettable hiking experience in the heart of Madeira's natural wonders


Vereda Lagoa do Fanal Hiking Trail Map.

Vereda da Lagoa do Vento Hiking Details

Difficulty Level: Medium Easy

Distance:  1.8 km  (+ 1.8 km return)

Duration2:00 hours

Start Point: Casa de Abrigo do Rabaçal 

End Point: Lagoa do Vento

Max. Altitude 1289 m 

Min. Altitude: 1042 m

Guided Hike: BOOK THIS HIKE »



Practical Tips for Hikers

Necessary Gear and Equipment: When preparing for a hiking adventure in Madeira, packing the right gear is crucial for a safe and enjoyable experience. Consider sturdy hiking boots with good grip, as some trails might be uneven. Bring a lightweight yet durable backpack to carry essentials like water, snacks, a first aid kit, and a map. Don't forget to dress in layers, as Madeira's weather can change rapidly. A hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen are also essential to protect against the island's intense sunlight.

Weather Considerations: Madeira's weather is as diverse as its landscapes. Before embarking on a hike, check the weather forecast for the specific region you plan to explore. While the island enjoys a mild climate, it's essential to be prepared for sudden changes. Bring a waterproof jacket, especially during the winter months when rain showers are more frequent. Start your hikes early in the day to avoid the heat, and always be aware of the potential for fog in higher altitudes.

Guided Tours and Local Resources: For those seeking a more immersive experience, consider joining a guided hiking tour. Local guides can provide valuable insights into the island's history, flora, and fauna. They also enhance safety by navigating the trails and offering assistance when needed. Additionally, tap into local resources such as visitor centers, where you can obtain up-to-date trail information, maps, and advice from seasoned hikers. Embracing the expertise of locals ensures a richer and more informed exploration of Madeira's hiking gems.

Safety Precautions: Safety should always be a top priority when hiking in Madeira. Inform someone about your hiking plans and expected return time, especially if you're venturing into remote areas. Stay on marked trails to avoid getting lost, and be cautious around cliff edges. Carry a fully charged phone for emergencies and be mindful of your physical limits. If you encounter challenging weather conditions or feel unwell, prioritize your well-being and consider turning back. Respect the natural environment by leaving no trace and following any additional safety guidelines provided by local authorities.


Recap of the Best Hiking Trails

As you contemplate the beauty of Madeira's landscapes, remember the extraordinary trails that showcase the island's diverse wonders. From the challenging heights of Pico Ruivo to the serene levada walks, each trail offers a unique adventure, weaving through lush forests, cascading waterfalls, and coastal panoramas.

Embarking on a hiking journey in Madeira is not just a physical activity; it's a soul-enriching experience. Feel the earth beneath your feet, breathe in the crisp mountain air, and immerse yourself in the natural wonders that await. Let the serenity of the trails and the breathtaking vistas inspire a profound connection with Madeira's unspoiled beauty.


Madeira's Hiking Scene: Diverse Landscapes, Unique Flora/Fauna, Climate Notes

Madeira's hiking scene is a symphony of diversity, where each note resonates with the island's varied landscapes. Venture through ancient laurel forests, where the trees create a mystical canopy, or navigate coastal cliffs that stand as rugged sentinels against the Atlantic's embrace. As you tread through these trails, the island unfolds like a captivating story, revealing its chapters in the form of diverse ecosystems.

Amidst this natural spectacle, Madeira's flora and fauna take center stage. Encounter the rare Madeiran orchid and the elusive Zino's petrel, each step an introduction to the island's unique biodiversity. However, be prepared for the island's whimsical climate. Microclimates abound, from misty clouds at higher elevations to the sun-drenched warmth of coastal regions. Adaptability is key as you navigate through this ever-changing tapestry, ensuring that each hike is not just a physical journey but a sensory exploration of Madeira's rich natural heritage.

Discover our Blog