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Madeira

Hiking in Madeira

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Madeira is a hiker’s paradise, without doubt one for that bucket list of yours. Walks in Madeira have something for every inclination. If you’re hankering for multi-day treks across precipitous ridges to wild camps on airy mountain summits, you’ve come to the right place. Perhaps, it’s the coast that floats your boat. If so, you’ll love the trails that wind along the island’s dramatic cliff tops.

If this sounds like there’ll be a bit too much adrenaline surging around your body, fear not. The awe-inspiring scenery of this uncompromising, striking landscape can be gained on relatively flat routes that follow Madeira’s unique irrigation channels: the famous levadas.

There are subtropical forests, crashing waterfalls, jagged rock towers, dreamy lagoons, towering cliffs and so much more to discover. And due to its subtropical climate, hikes in Madeira are enjoyable all year round. That bucket list just got heavier.

Intermediate
02:08
4.46 mi
Difficult
04:45
8.33 mi
Difficult
05:05
9.09 mi
Intermediate
02:59
4.95 mi
Difficult
07:39
9.53 mi
Intermediate
02:17
3.56 mi
Intermediate
03:48
5.24 mi
Difficult
05:44
10.1 mi
Intermediate
02:28
5.05 mi
Difficult
05:15
9.28 mi
Intermediate
03:29
6.37 mi
Intermediate
01:21
2.72 mi
Intermediate
03:26
6.23 mi
Intermediate
02:54
6.28 mi
Intermediate
02:34
5.55 mi
Easy
01:20
2.69 mi
Intermediate
04:02
6.63 mi
Intermediate
03:57
7.05 mi
Intermediate
03:59
8.34 mi
Difficult
04:52
5.62 mi

Top 20 best walks and hikes in Madeira

    1
    Intermediate
    02:08
    4.46 mi
    2.1 mph
    700 ft
    700 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    2
    Difficult
    04:45
    8.33 mi
    1.8 mph
    1,800 ft
    1,800 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.
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  • 3
    Difficult
    05:05
    9.09 mi
    1.8 mph
    2,025 ft
    2,025 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.
    4
    Intermediate
    02:59
    4.95 mi
    1.7 mph
    1,375 ft
    1,375 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    5
    Difficult
    07:39
    9.53 mi
    1.2 mph
    4,050 ft
    4,050 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.
    6
    Intermediate
    02:17
    3.56 mi
    1.6 mph
    1,275 ft
    1,275 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    7
    Intermediate
    03:48
    5.24 mi
    1.4 mph
    2,150 ft
    2,175 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    8
    Difficult
    05:44
    10.1 mi
    1.8 mph
    2,475 ft
    2,475 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    9
    Intermediate
    02:28
    5.05 mi
    2.0 mph
    900 ft
    900 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    10
    Difficult
    05:15
    9.28 mi
    1.8 mph
    1,600 ft
    1,600 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.
    11
    Intermediate
    03:29
    6.37 mi
    1.8 mph
    1,700 ft
    1,700 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    12
    Intermediate
    01:21
    2.72 mi
    2.0 mph
    525 ft
    525 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Great for any fitness level. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    13
    Intermediate
    03:26
    6.23 mi
    1.8 mph
    1,700 ft
    1,700 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    14
    Intermediate
    02:54
    6.28 mi
    2.2 mph
    825 ft
    800 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    15
    Intermediate
    02:34
    5.55 mi
    2.2 mph
    725 ft
    725 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    16
    Easy
    01:20
    2.69 mi
    2.0 mph
    525 ft
    500 ft
    Easy hike. Great for any fitness level. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    17
    Intermediate
    04:02
    6.63 mi
    1.6 mph
    2,300 ft
    2,300 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    18
    Intermediate
    03:57
    7.05 mi
    1.8 mph
    1,350 ft
    1,350 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    19
    Intermediate
    03:59
    8.34 mi
    2.1 mph
    1,325 ft
    1,325 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    20
    Difficult
    04:52
    5.62 mi
    1.2 mph
    2,450 ft
    2,450 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

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More Information

A subtropical volcanic island paradise

Rising out of the North Atlantic, some 430 miles (700 km) west of Africa, the Portuguese island of Madeira is an adventurer’s dream. Effectively, the zenith of a gigantic shield volcano that rises 20,000 feet (6,000 m) from the ocean floor, it is a lavish botanical paradise where almost anything grows from the fertile volcanic soil.

Many walks in Madeira venture into the island interior’s lush, subtropical Laurisilva forest, characterised by evergreen and glossy broadleaved trees. The naturalist in you will revel in the endemic species found here, such as the colourful Madeira firecrest and the Madeiran wall lizard. Such is the importance of this beautiful habitat, it has been afforded UNESCO World Heritage status.

Veredas and levadas

The besthiking trails in Madeira, or veredas, are those that explore the unforgettable beauty and cooler air of the mountains at the island’s centre. High-point Pico Ruivo, at 6,109 feet (1,862 m), makes for a challenging but spectacular hike from neighbouring Pico Arieiro, itself an awesome, jagged rock tower. The views across the shimmering, neighbouring islands and the ocean stretching away indefinitely are absolutely awesome.

Not all hikes in Madeira’s high places are strenuous though. The island is criss-crossed by around 200 historic irrigation channels called levadas and many of them are accompanied by wonderful, flat trails. The levadas allow you to access truly inspirational scenery without the attrition usually associated with such spectacular situations.

Meanwhile the experience of Madeira’s coastal trails will leave you stunned. Some are pleasant, scenic ambles, others are vertigo inducing cliff-huggers. Towering 1,900 feet (580 m) above the blue, Cabo Girao boasts Europe’s highest cliff top skywalk. Whilst in the very east of the island, the gorgeous Ponta de Sao Lourenco peninsula stretches out to the cerulean sea.

In the know and when to go

Scheduled buses transport you to the main trails from the island’s major centres and routes are clearly signposted and easy to follow. Madeira enjoys a very mild climate, with extremely dry, warm summers. In the still relatively mild winter months, the island’s north west and its mountains see a large amount of rainfall, sheltering the south east, which sees little. However, the weather can be unpredictable any time of year, so always be prepared for rain.


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