Known for its rugged topography, soaring cliffs, and seaside views, volcanic Madeira is a dream destination for hikers and outdoorsy types. From relaxed seaside strolls to challenging clifftop treks, the island offers hiking routes for amblers of all skill and experience levels.
Here are five of Madeira’s most popular trails with the recommended tours.
Vereda do Areeiro – 4.4 miles (7 kilometers)
A challenging but rewarding trail, the Vereda do Areeiro connects Madeira’s third-tallest peak (Pico do Areeiro) with the tallest (Pico Ruivo). En route, pass through tunnels, clamber up steep ascents, and discover striking rock formations, but nothing compares to the sweeping views of the island’s mountainous heart.
Queimadas to Pico das Pedras – 1.3 miles (2.1 kilometers)
This straightforward hiking route is one of Madeira’s most accessible, but that doesn’t mean it’s short on scenery. The trail wends its way from the richly arboreal Queimadas Forest Park to Pico das Pedras Forest Park, abundant in indigenous flora and fauna. The trail is part of the longer Caldeirão Verde Levada Walk, a 4-mile (6.5-kilometer) loop that’s suited to intermediate walkers.
Levada das 25 Fontes – 6.8 miles (11 kilometers)
Madeira is famed for its levadas: irrigation channels that crisscross the island and form the backbone of many hiking routes. One of the top levada excursions is Levada das 25 Fontes. True to its name, it bypasses 25 natural springs, pools, and waterfalls (including the Risco Waterfall), making this scenic trail one of the island’s most popular.
Vereda da Ponta de São Lourenço – 4.5 miles (7.2 kilometers)
Located on a narrow peninsula on the easternmost edge of the island, this Madeira hike is ideal for those after memorable seaside views. The trail includes dramatic cliff topography, volcanic rock formations, turquoise waters, and glimpses of different sea birds, seals, and other aquatic species. If the day is warm, pause for a dip.
Levada do Rei – 3.2 miles (5.1 kilometers)
The Levada do Rei—the King’s Levada—is one of the island’s loveliest hiking trails. Located within the Madeira Natural Park, the path threads its way through Laurisilva of Madeira, a laurel forest that’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Discover the forest’s striking trees and abundant wildlife, and glimpse landmarks such as São Jorge Watermill, which is more than 300 years old and still in operation today.