Madeira: a land of hiking. But when you go for 8 to 10 days and there is a network of over 3000 km of hiking trails, you have to make choices. Here's a selection of Madeira's must-do hikes, with various themes, to come back from your trip with unforgettable memories.
The Green Cauldron Levada (PR9)
It's impossible to leave Madeira without hiking at least once along one of the irrigation channels. Over a whole trip, I think you should select at least 2 or 3. The levada do Caldeirão Verde (PR9) is probably the most incredible and varied. It's right in the heart of the Queimada Forest Park, and therefore Madeira's primary forest, and it's a really varied route, with many views of the island's picos, numerous waterfalls and cascades, tunnels, and the discovery of Madeira's lush vegetation and pure nature.
There are many other levadas in Madeira in order to discover Madeira's forest : levada do Furado, levada do rei... the choice is vast, but the green cauldron is undoubtedly the favourite.
La vereda do Fanal (PR13)
If you want to discover Madeira's primary forest, then this is the hike to do: the Vereda do Fanal. We start from the Paul da Serra plateau to venture along a ridge that will offer us incredible views of the island, but above all a magnificent spectacle in the famous Fanal forest. If you are a photography enthusiast, then this is the place to be.
La Vereda da Ponta de São Lourenço (PR8)
The eastern tip of the island. This hike from the tip of São Lourenço takes you to the end of the world, to Pico do Furado. It is a different sight from the rest of the island that awaits us. Scrubbed cliffs, arid soil, sometimes green depending on the season, and the Abra bay where you can even try a little swimming depending on the season. The coast is jagged, the viewpoints "Miradouro" are numerous and confusing. It is really a spectacle not to be missed.
The pico Ruivo, das Torres and do Ariero
Being above the clouds, at more than 1850 metres above sea level and having a 360° panorama: it's possible by hiking on the highest picos of Madeira Island. There are different routes. You can start from Achada do Teixeira or from Pico do Arieiro. There are other trails for experienced hikers. The programme includes steep climbs, stairs and even tunnels. It is a vertiginous experience not to be missed under any circumstances as the panorama is so breathtaking! You literally find yourself above a sea of clouds, depending on the weather!
The Chão da Ribeira valley
Chão da Ribeira Valley & SeixalMADEIRA ISLAND . Seixal by PortoBay Trade is licensed with CC BY-ND 2.0
For my last choice, I propose you a real crush for this valley of Chão da Ribeira, located in the background of the village of Seixal. Generally speaking, the north-western part of the island is less known and less touristic. Two little known veredas are marked: Vereda das Feitas and Vereda do Lombo Barbinhas. On the programme: primary forest of course, but also waterfalls. The hike is not very long and it is the occasion to discover the rest of the region which is magnificent, in particular Seixal or Porto Moniz and their natural swimming pools. A real secret paradise not to be missed on the island of flowers!
That's it for my selection of hikes in Madeira. There are of course many other hikes in Madeira to do, I think of Boca do Risco, the Vereda de Jardim do Mar, and if you are a really experienced hiker, try the Madeira crossing. In short... grab your backpack, the island is waiting for you!