The Trail from Pico do Arieiro to Pico Ruivo – Connecting Madeira's Two Giants

The trail from Pico Arieiro to Pico Ruivo is one of the most spectacular mountain connections in Madeira. The route is about 12 km round trip, meaning the hike there and back takes an average of 6 - 7 hours. It's a challenge for both body and spirit, but the reward is the incredible views that accompany hikers at every step. Using this short guide and taking care of your own safety, the hike from Pico Arieiro to Pico Ruivo will become an unforgettable experience that allows you to fully appreciate the beauty of Madeira.

The History of the Trail from Pico do Arieiro to Pico Ruivo

The history of the trail from Pico Arieiro to Pico Ruivo is inextricably linked with the culture and tradition of Madeira. The route was originally used by local residents to move between distant villages and to transport goods. Over time, thanks to the growing popularity of Madeira as a tourist destination, the path was made accessible and adapted for tourists, becoming one of the most picturesque trails on the island.

There is no doubt that this is one of the most famous and frequented routes on the island. The connection of the two highest peaks of Madeira offers not only great panoramas but also insight into the natural diversity of this unique island. Dramatic cliffs, misty valleys, and endemic flora make this hike a true experience for the senses.

Pico Arieiro – Pico Ruivo - Route Details

Starting from Pico Arieiro, the route leads through a series of rock tunnels and bridges, and hikers must overcome several steep ascents and descents. The first key landmark is "Ninho da Manta," from where there is a view of Madeira's central mountain range. Then, after a few hours of marching, we reach the Pico Ruivo shelter, from where it's just a step to the summit.

Places to Admire the Views

During the hike, it's worth stopping at several places that offer truly breathtaking panoramas. One of them is the view of the Ribeira da Metade valley from the viewpoint located just before the final ascent to Pico Ruivo. Another noteworthy place is the cliffs on the eastern side of the route, from where you can see the ocean up to the horizon.

Challenges on the Route

The trail from Pico Arieiro to Pico Ruivo is full of challenges. Although this route is one of the main magnets attracting tourists to Madeira, it is not without difficulties. Hikers must overcome numerous ascents and descents, as well as several rock tunnels and bridges. The key thing is proper preparation – both physical and mental.

Equipment – What to Take with You?

First and foremost, comfortable mountain shoes with good grip are necessary, which will ensure comfort and safety during the hike. Due to the variable weather conditions, it is worth equipping yourself with layered clothing, as well as a waterproof jacket and trousers. A backpack with a supply of water, provisions, and a first aid kit will also be essential. A headlamp often comes in handy – especially when passing through a rock tunnel.

Safety on the Trail

Variable weather conditions - Madeira is known for frequent changes in weather conditions. Even if you set off on a sunny day, the weather in the mountains can be unpredictable. Fogs, strong winds, and rains are phenomena often encountered on this route. Therefore, it is always worth following the weather forecasts and being prepared for all eventualities.

Difficult sections of the route - Some parts of the trail may pose a challenge even for experienced hikers. In particular, sections along steep cliffs require caution. It is worth slowing down in these places, sticking to the designated path, and avoiding unnecessary risks.

Flora and Fauna on the Route

During the hike, it is worth paying attention to the unique vegetation and animals characteristic of this region. Madeira is home to many species that are not found anywhere else in the world. For example, you can encounter a bird called the Madeira petrel or unique species of heather. The island is also famous for the diversity of orchids and other endemic flowers.

Rest, Return, and What Next?

After reaching the summit of Pico Ruivo, it is worth stopping for a while to enjoy the views and rest. Near the summit, there is a shelter where you can regain strength before continuing the journey. For those who do not want to return the same way, there is the possibility of descending towards the town of Santana, from where transport regularly runs back to the starting point.

After completing the hike, it is worth visiting other attractions of Madeira. In the vicinity of Pico Ruivo, there are picturesque villages, such as the aforementioned Santana with its characteristic triangular houses, or Levadas – a network of traditional irrigation channels, around which numerous tourist trails are led. Everyone who visits Madeira will find something for themselves, regardless of their interests or physical condition.

If You have any question about that transfer, just contact us
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Read also

  • Pico Ruivo - Madeira's Highest Peak
  • The Madeira Botanical Garden
  • Skywalk in Madeira? Visit Cabo Girão!
  • Câmara de Lobos in Madeira – A town worth visiting
  • Porto Moniz - Natural swimming pools in Madeira
  • Is Porto Santo worth going to? A hidden paradise next to Madeira
  • Madeira Walks - Where to go in Madeira?
  • Fanal Forest - All You Need to Know
  • Pico do Arieiro - Madeira's highest peak
  • Madeira's peaks - discover the island's highest mountains

Transfers

  • Transfer to Pico do Arieiro
  • Transfer to Rabaçal
  • Transfer to Fanal Forest
If You have any question about that transfer, just contact us
Contact us

Read also

  • Pico Ruivo - Madeira's Highest Peak
  • The Madeira Botanical Garden
  • Skywalk in Madeira? Visit Cabo Girão!
  • Câmara de Lobos in Madeira – A town worth visiting
  • Porto Moniz - Natural swimming pools in Madeira
  • Is Porto Santo worth going to? A hidden paradise next to Madeira
  • Madeira Walks - Where to go in Madeira?
  • Fanal Forest - All You Need to Know
  • Pico do Arieiro - Madeira's highest peak
  • Madeira's peaks - discover the island's highest mountains

Transfers

  • Transfer to Pico do Arieiro
  • Transfer to Rabaçal
  • Transfer to Fanal Forest