Madeira Trail

Duration: 5 days
Trails: T3 trails
Distance: 15 - 20 km per day
Ascent per day: More than 1000 m ascent per day

> Cross the entire island on foot on the Madeira Trail
> Spend your nights in comfy places surrounded by forest and mountains
> Climb Madeira's highest peak Pico Ruivo

The Madeira Trail is a 5-day trek across the Portuguese island of Madeira. This remote sub-tropical island is situated in the Atlantic Ocean, about 500 kilometres from the African continent. The hiking route runs from the east to the northwest coast of the island via a network of pathways that connect the ridges and mountain peaks. The trek includes a climb up the highest summit of Madeira, Pico Ruivo (1862m).

We created the Madeira Trail by connecting the most scenic levadas (walkways along irrigation channels) and veredas (mountain paths) to cross the island in less than one week. It's a strenuous walk with lots of climbing and descending, but each night you will stay in a comfortable accommodation surrounded by mountains. If walking through a primary cloud forest, bagging high peaks and epic ocean views are your thing, join us on the Madeira Trail!



Machico - Ribeiro Frio

Duration: 07:30 h
Distance: 19.9 km
Ascent: 1150 m
Descent: 480 m
The Madeira Trail kicks off on the PR5 at the northwestern edge of the town Machico. A steep climb through a forest of ferns takes you to the top of a mountain ridge. The trail continues to the west and meets the first levada of the trek, Levada da Portela. From Portela (the village) enjoy the stunning views across the rugged north coast and the town of Porto da Cruz. The trail continues as the PR10. As you gradually ascend, you keep walking through the untouched forest alongside Levada do Furado until you reach Ribeiro Frio (Cold River) where you’ll spend the night.

Casa do Ribeiro Frio (Santana)

Casa do Ribeiro Frio (Santana)

Ribeiro Frio - Casa do Ruivo

Duration: 07:05 h
Distance: 15.1 km
Ascent: 1480 m
Descent: 580 m

Be ready for a big climb today as you are heading towards Madeira’s highest point, Pico Ruivo. The day starts with a climb towards a viewpoint called Cabeço da Lenha. As you cross the Parque Ecológico do Funchal, you’ll hop on the popular PR3. The trail leads to the first, and possibly the most spectacular peak on the Madeira Trail, Pico do Arieiro. With an altitude of 1818 metres this is Madeira’s third highest mountain. Apart from sipping a cappuccino in the restaurant you can explore a small side trail taking you to Miradouro do Juncal, offering arguably the most spectacular mountain view on the entire island.

The PR3 becomes the PR1 as you head north towards Pico Ruivo. The trail bypasses Madeira’s second highest peak Pico das Torres (1862 metres) and runs through a barren landscape towards the summit ridge of Pico Ruivo. Here you will find your epic spot for the night, the mountain hut Casa de Abrigo do Pico Ruivo. If you are early you could still scale Pico Ruivo, only a 15 minutes hike up.

Casa de Abrigo do Pico Ruivo (Pico Ruivo)

Casa de Abrigo do Pico Ruivo (Pico Ruivo)

Casa do Ruivo - Boca da Encumeada

Duration: 06:10 h
Distance: 10.2 km
Ascent: 490 m
Descent: 1240 m
If you haven’t scaled Pico Ruivo yet, then that’s probably how you will start your day. Today’s route on the Vereda da Encumeada (PR1.3), is essentially a ridge walk that slices through the heart of Madeira. You’re quite literally with your head in the clouds. Along the way you pass other high peaks such as Pico Jorge and Pico do Ferreiro. It’s the shortest day of the trek, but it may also be the most adventurous stretch on the Madeira Trail. You’ll stay in a guesthouse in Boca da Encumeada.

Estalagem Encumeada (Feiteiras)

Estalagem Encumeada (Feiteiras)
See entire itinerary


  • Accommodation

    We will arrange your accommodation on the Madeira Trail in hotels, inns, and guesthouses. Accommodation will be private in single, double or twin rooms and with en-suite bathroom where possible.

  • Full travel guide

    We will send you on your way with a digital travel guide which includes a route description, interactive Madeira Trail hiking maps, and the most important information applicable to your trek.

  • Breakfast at Estalagem Encumeada

    After you wake up in Estalagem Encumeada a good breakfast will be waiting for you, so you can start the hiking day well. So for this day you do not need to bring your own breakfast.


  • Traveling to and from

    You have to make your own way to the starting point. The total amount does not include personal transport. This also applies to any transport from the end point of your trail.

  • Transfers

    Should you need any form of (public) transport on location, this is not part of the trekking package. This includes the use of taxi, bus, cable cars, gondolas etc.

  • Travel Insurance

    Your international travel insurance is your own responsibility. Discuss your itinerary with the insurance company before your trek.

  • Meals

    Meals are not included in the price on the Madeira Trail unless otherwise indicated in the inclusive list. Along the way, there are several places to stock up on food and restaurants that lend themselves to a delicious lunch or dinner. These locations are indicated in our travel guide.


  • Is Walking in Madeira Something for Me?

  • Where Do I Go Walking in Madeira and How Can I Get There?

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Contact our Trekking Expert
Maureen Ypma
Maureen Ypma

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