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Madeira — hiking in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean

© Maren Kowalke

Madeira — hiking in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean

Hiking Collection by komoot

8

Tours

31:50 h

51.0 mi

15,125 ft

In the middle of the deep blue Atlantic, the reddish-brown mountain slopes of Madeira tower above the floods. While the sun-drenched south is densely populated, you will still find unique and untouched nature on the north coast and inland. And although the island is quite small, the landscape is incredibly varied: The rugged peaks of the central mountain range, the cloudy Paul da Serra plateau, the steep cliffs of the north coast and the enchanted laurel forests are all waiting to be discovered. To see it all, you can enjoy challenging mountain hikes or stick to the coast—or discover the island nature along the levadas. These narrow water channels have been guiding the water from the mountain streams down to the terraced fields of the population for hundreds of years. The footpaths along the levadas are often almost at ground level and so even leisurely hikers can explore deep into the nature of Madeira.

We have selected eight routes for you to discover the diversity of Madeira. The Levada hikes, the jungle of Fanal and the peninsula of São Lorenço are suitable for families, while the hikes in the Massif Central make the hearts of every experienced mountaineer beat faster. If you spend an entire week in Madeira, all you need to do is determine the order of your hikes and then start exploring the unique volcanic island.

Madeira has a very mild climate, the winters are quite warm and in the summer it does not get too hot. Therefore, you'll find perfect hiking weather all year round. The best way to explore the island is in a rental car, with which you can reach even the most remote hiking trails.

On The Map

Tours & Highlights

  • Easy
    01:45
    3.67 mi
    2.1 mph
    575 ft
    575 ft
    Easy hike. Great for any fitness level. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Once Madeira was completely covered by dense, mist-covered forests, but the first settlers cleared the forests to create land for agriculture. Only in the most impassable valleys and on the windy plateaus can today be found even larger primeval forests. A particularly beautiful jungle can be found on the western plateau at the forester's house of Fanal: Here are centuries-old and knotty stink-laurel trees. Until early summer, dense fog fields pass over the mountains every day, transforming the unique landscape into a mystical jungle.The tour starts at the Forsthaus Fanal, where you can find some parking. Between the huge tree giants, it goes a bit up to a wide heathland with great views down to the north coast. The path meanders along the plateau into the steaming and dripping stinkberry forest. The trees are overgrown with lichen and ferns, and apart from the quietly rustling leaves in the wind, a peaceful silence surrounds you.

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  • Intermediate
    03:22
    6.12 mi
    1.8 mph
    1,650 ft
    1,650 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The Levada do Rei is one of the most beautiful hiking tours in Madeira. The narrow irrigation canal leads through dense forests and is very easy to walk along the …

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  • Difficult
    05:06
    8.42 mi
    1.6 mph
    2,950 ft
    2,950 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The Levada Central is one of the most beautiful levadas and leads you through fantastic views over the dramatic Ribeira da Janela valley through the green jungle of Madeira. The …

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  • Intermediate
    02:41
    5.76 mi
    2.1 mph
    800 ft
    800 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Countless Levadas flow on Madeira from the mountains down to the terraced fields. Many of the irrigation channels are carefully maintained and enjoy great popularity with hikers from around the …

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  • Intermediate
    02:12
    4.57 mi
    2.1 mph
    750 ft
    750 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The São Lorenço peninsula is a unique natural area in Madeira. Due to the low altitude and the exposed location in the very east of the island there is hardly …

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  • Difficult
    05:27
    9.81 mi
    1.8 mph
    2,525 ft
    2,525 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The north of Madeira is famous for its cliffs, which drop in many places over hundreds of meters perpendicular to the sea. In the northeast of the island a spectacular path leads through the steep cliff face and you have incredible views of the Atlantic Ocean and the reddish brown cliffs. Although the path is secured on all steep sections with a wire railing, you should be free from giddiness to enjoy the experience to the fullest.You start your tour in the small coastal town of Porto da Cruz at the foot of the famous eagle rock. Here you will find a large, free car park where you can safely park your rental car. After a short distance through the village, we will head east along the coast. Climb up the stairs to a dry levada and continue on a little-traveled road between terraced fields.

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  • Difficult
    06:10
    6.82 mi
    1.1 mph
    3,275 ft
    3,275 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    The Pico Ruivo is with 1,862 meters the highest peak in Madeira. It dominates the breathtaking mountain landscape of the Madeiran Massif Central, formed by rugged peaks, vertical cliffs and …

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  • Difficult
    05:07
    5.86 mi
    1.1 mph
    2,625 ft
    2,625 ft
    Expert mountaineering route. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    The Massif Central of Madeira invites to extended mountain tours. A particularly beautiful route is the mountain trail between the Encumeada Pass and the Pico Ruivo. The demanding mountain path is rarely committed and takes you through breathtaking nature. Our hike leads as a classic mountain hike from the trail parking lot at the pass to the Pico do Jorge. Its rugged summit can not be climbed in the last few meters, but below the summit pyramid you can expect great views.From Encumeada Pass, follow the signposted PR 1.3 Vereda de Encumeada trail. On countless stone steps, you climb through pristine laurel forest to the saddle between Pico da Encumeada and Pico Ferreiro. On top of the ridge you have a fantastic view of the valley of São Vicente in the north and at the same time on the valley of Ribeira Brava in the south.

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    8
  • Distance
    51.0 mi
  • Duration
    31:50 h
  • Elevation
    15,125 ft

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Madeira — hiking in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean