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Unique hikes and walks in Madeira island

With a wide variety of hiking trails for all levels and physical condition, Madeira is considered a true paradise for hikers. But if you are planning on visiting Madeira for just a few days, you will not be able to do all the existing trails.

There are more than 100 walking routes, in an extension of about 2 500 km of levadas, so before your trip to Madeira island, make sure to get a list with the best hikes and levada walks in Madeira.

Hiking in Madeira is a must do if you want to explore the most beautiful places on the island. The canyons, the most impressive landscapes, and the most remote waterfalls, hidden in the lush forests and mountains that cannot be seen from the road.

To make your holidays in Madeira even more unforgettable, we would like to share with you the 5 very best hikes and walks of Madeira, and here is our selection based on the experience of our guests hiking in Madeira.

Vereda do Areeiro (PR1)

This is probably the most difficult hike on the island, but without a doubt the most beautiful as well. Vereda do Areeiro connects the two highest peaks of Madeira - Pico do Areeiro (1 818 m) and Pico Ruivo (1 862 m), over a total distance of 12 km.

This trail takes you along the two mountain peaks high above the clouds and the mountains here are so steep that you feel like walking on top of the world. The scenery is simply breathtaking.

However, do not be fooled by beauty itself, this hike is challenging, long and strenuous. It will take even the most experienced hikers at least 6 to 8 hours.

Nonetheless, you do not have to hike to Pico Ruivo to experience the beauty of the scenery. Even if you hike just a small part of the trail, you will be able to admire some of the most beautiful landscapes of Madeira.

Keep also in mind that due to the weather and dense clouds closing the view, you may not be able to do this hike.

Nevertheless, if you are lucky with the weather and feel fit, do not miss this hike (or part of it). You will not regret it, because it is a remarkable experience!

Levada das 25 Fontes & Levada do Risco (PR6 & 6.1)

These two hikes do not take that long (about 3 to 4 hours) so they can be easily combined (at a certain point the path splits, right after doing 25 Fontes, just go back to the crossing and then turn to Risco).

Levada das 25 Fontes Levada do Risco hike deep inside the interior of the island and are two of the most popular levadas on the island. So, if you want to enjoy this hike remember to arrive early in the morning to avoid crowds, but also because these levadas are quite narrow and it is difficult to overtake or cross paths with other hikers.

Levada das 25 Fontes is a waterfall of 30 m from many different streams in a "cauldron" such as the Caldeirão Verde. The impressive Risco waterfall has a drop of 100 m and can only be seen from a path (it is not possible to descend to the bottom of the waterfall).

These hikes present a moderate difficulty, with a total distance of 9 km (round trip).

Vereda da Ponta de São Lourenço (PR8)

Vereda da Ponta de São Lourenço is a very different hike from anything else you will experience in Madeira. The trail follows the rocky coastline of the Eastern- most peninsula of Madeira, named after the caravel of João Gonçalves Zarco, one of the three discovers of Madeira island.

Along the way you pass many viewpoints with the most unexpected spectacular views behind every corner.

Strong winds, the burning sun and the many stairs are the challenge here. The rock formations and the colour contrast with the blue wild ocean water and the rough and almost unspoiled nature are a true sight to see.

This trail has a moderate difficulty and takes about 4 hours to explore the total 8 km (round trip).

Levada do Caldeirão Verde (PR9)

Levada do Caldeirão starts with a trail that seems less interesting than everything you have seen on the island and it does not seem as beautiful or as exciting as the other hikes in Madeira. But do not give up yet, because you will not regret it.

Walking in Madeira also means finding amazing waterfalls and water streams! And the Levada do Caldeirão Verde has its reward precisely towards the end of the trail.

As you pass a few smaller waterfalls, you will also reach four tunnels (bring a torch) and from there the trail will become increasingly narrow. The biggest reward of the Levada do Caldeirão Verde is, in fact, the waterfall of Caldeirão Verde, which is simply mesmerising.

This trail has a moderate difficulty and takes between 5 to 6 hours to cover 13 km (round trip).

Levada do Rei (PR18)

The hike to Levada do Rei is done through a peaceful trail completely integrated in an area of well-developed natural forest, where you can find several stunning waterfalls and a great natural biodiversity.

The trail follows the Ribeiro Bonito (Rio Bonito) through the dense forest until reaching a gorge featuring several small cascades and waterfalls. At the end of the gorge, you will be rewarded by a hidden waterfall of considerable dimensions and accessible through some basic climbing.

This is one of the easiest hikes in Madeira in an extension of less than 10 km, which can be completed in about 2 to 3 hours.

Likewise, the Levada do Rei is one of the most popular levadas walks in Madeira, mainly because it offers magnificent views without a strenuous incline. Due to the steep slopes of Madeira, there are very few hikes or walks with 10 km in distance with less than 100 m of incline. However, Levada do Rei has just 72 m of total incline and relatively safe trails, allowing you to enjoy waterfalls and lush landscapes without great physical effort.

Eessential items for each hike

We also take the opportunity to remind you of some essential items for each hike, such as good mountain boots, plenty of water, a backpack with some snacks and fruits, a sweater and a waterproof jacket for the rain and a torch for the tunnels. During summer, you may also want to bring a swimsuit, if you feel like having a dip in the cold water at the end of each hike.

Also, and most importantly, do not forget to always follow the signs and markers for each trail (most of the trails are well marked), choose a hike and a walk suitable for your physical condition and avoid unnecessary risks, such as getting too close to the cliffs and leaving the suggested trails.

For more details on the best levadas and hikes in Madeira and, for more suggestions on the best walking trails in the pearl of the Atlantic, go to the reception of the Dom Pedro Madeira hotel and the Dom Pedro Garajau hotel. Our team will be more than happy to assist you and we will try our best to make your holidays in Madeira even more unique.

During your stay in one of our beautiful hotels in Madeira, take the time to explore the island’s most outstanding places.

Enjoy your holidays and have an amazing stay with us.

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