Madeira 6 - From Pico do Areeiro 1818m to Pico Ruivo 1862m
It couldn't be more spectacular:
exposed ridges, panoramic viewpoints, narrow tracks, high mountains, tunnels and quite a few meters in altitude: subjectively speaking, this hike is the must-do of all hikes in Madeira.
Start & End: Pico do Areeiro 1818m
Length: 11 km
Approximate walking time: 6h
Altitude meters: 1000m up and down
Tip: Like many hikes in Madeira, the hike is not a circular route. If you have organized a pick-up, you can descend from Pico Ruivo to Achada do Teixeira - which shortens the hike to 4 hours and reduces the altitude climbed by a few meters.
It is best to check the weather beforehand via a webcam on the summit: https://www.netmadeira.com/webcams-madeira/pico-do-arieiro
Map: I have saved the route in Komoot. You can see it as soon as you have logged in.
Refreshments: There is a cafetaria at Pico do Areeiro and you'll have the „Casa de Abrigo“ mountain hut at the foot of Pico Ruivo.
Hiking guide book:Rother hiking guide "Madeira - The most beautiful levada and mountain hikes" 2020
Hiking guides:Madeira Adventure Kingdom and Madeira Experience Tours both offer guided walks.
You can find tips for accommodations in my blog Madeira 1 - What to do in Madeira?
The weather gods did not take kindly to our plans: heavy rain triggered a landslide just before the Pico das Torres. The hiking trail from Pico do Areeiro to Pico Ruivo is closed. But since we still would like to walk this famous summit path, we do the whole thing in parts.
We drive to Pico do Areeiro for the evening sunset and catch occasional glimpses of the mountains appearing between the clouds. Whenever a peak appears it looks so great that we want to cry for joy.
The weather remains poor, but we are running out of time and so we drive back to the Pico do Areeiro and, after checking with the cafeteria owner, hike up to the landslide. Thick fog hangs over the mountains. We see ... nothing! But still we start walking. The path is obvious and cannot be missed, the exposed areas are secured and so we have the feeling that nothing can happen to us. To be honest, my friend is not that unhappy with the weather. He is a little squeamish about heights, the poor visibility for him is actually good news (especially upon reaching the buzzard nest "Miradouro Ninho da Manta"). Shortly afterwards we reach an exposed ridge. With the fog, we have no idea how far the steep walls fall. Is it 20 or 200 meters? We don't know and that is precisely what makes this mysterious atmosphere so attractive. Sometimes we can't see more than a few meters, then the fog breaks up briefly and we see valleys, mountain peaks and bizarre rock formations, which disappear again a few seconds later. Our steps echo in the long tunnels, a narrow, secured path leads us along the rock face and comes to an abrupt end at the landslide. Here we have to turn around because the path is not yet passable after the storm.
One day later, the weather has improved. We drive from the north side of the island towards Pico Ruivo, to Achada do Teixeira at 1592m. From here you can climb to the highest peak Pico Ruivo 1862 in just under an hour. For the first time we see Madeira's mountains in all their glory. They are bizarrely shaped and very furrowed, dropping off steeply. Since they are barely forested, the mountain landscape looks wild and rugged. A rainbow appears over the north coast, but the new clouds are already coming in from the south. We make our way to the summit at a slow run. At least we want to see the view briefly. Once at the top, we find the clouds have outdistanced us. A little disgruntled, we walk past the summit column to the lookout point. Right at this moment, the clouds tear open again and reveal a mountain panorama that is second to none: A 360 degree view - the entire island is at our feet!
Of course it would have been nicer to do the hike in one go and in good weather, but in Madeira you always have to stay flexible. And to be honest, that's the only way we saw the mountains in very different lighting moods, and we were completely thrilled by the landscape ... and it's a nice reason to come back.