Peak to Peak walk in Madeira – Vereda Do Areeiro PR1

Last updated Aug 4, 2022
Peak to peak walk in Madeira

Peak to Peak walk in Madeira. It’s a good thing that we didn’t know what was in store for us during our second day in Madeira. Don’t get me wrong – it was an AMAZING experience but it was hard! And to top it all off – we had yet another hike booked for the day after. But first thing’s first. The peak-to-peak walk in Madeira is a must for everyone that is up for an incredible experience.

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Peak to Peak walk in Madeira

There are a lot of different hikes and walks to do while visiting Madeira and the “peak-to-peak walk in Madeira” is just one of them. However, this is the most strenuous but still allows you to hike even if you are not that fit. The route connects two of the highest peaks on the island, Pico do Areeiro and Pico Ruivo.

The path at the peak to peak walk in Madeira.
This walk is probably the toughest one in Madeira.
Peak to Peak walk in Madeira
Beautiful views at the trail
Peak to Peak walk in Madeira
Let’s go through that little tunnel down there.
The start of the peak to peak walk
Sometimes it is easy walking.

It starts at the Pico do Areeiro Viewpoint at 1817 meters and finishes at Pico Ruivo at 1861 meters. There’s no need to worry about the elevation because you are not high enough to get altitude sickness. But – you are high enough to get some great views and an amazing hike. We can’t emphasize enough how great this trail really was!

About the trail

During this hike, you will get the best that Madeira has to offer. You walk in different environments, through small caves, steep slopes, and incredible landscapes. There are several different plants and birds that can only be found here and the whole walk is a treat. The caves that you walk through are said to have been a shelter for shepherds and their cattle during bad weather.

The stairway to heaven. Peak to Peak walk in Madeira
The stairway to heaven.
A narrow pass at the Peak to Peak walk in Madeira.
It looks worse than it is in the picture.
Peak to Peak walk in Madeira

This walk will give you an experience of a lifetime. No, you will probably not be the only one walking the trail since this is a really popular one. However, you will find a real peacefulness that is hard to find in the world today.

How long and strenuous is the walk

Depending on where you get your information, the hike is either seven or nine kilometers. The fact is that it used to be seven kilometers but then a part of the path got in too bad shape so they had to close it off and redirect it. The new path takes a loop around the old one – making it longer than it used to be before. The road will probably never open again so the “new” path is nine kilometers long. The walk took us about 5,5 hours to complete.

Peak to Peak walk in Madeira
Peak to Peak walk in Madeira

Neither Mini nor I am fit and we never go running. I would say that our level of fitness is average (or even a bit below). The hike was hard and that’s a fact. But it wasn’t impossible. The last part was the toughest one because it became steep and we had already been walking for over four hours. So be prepared for a tough hike but a really amazing one at the same time. Nothing’s more special than reaching the top and filling your lungs with fresh air!

Stick to the rules

The hike is open to everyone and it’s free of charge. However, there are some rules that you should stick to so that the hike becomes a pleasant one – for both you and the people walking behind you!

  1. Do not leave the path.
  2. Avoid making loud noises so that you don’t scare the wildlife.
  3. Don’t take anything but memories (and photographs) with you while walking the peak-to-peak walk in Madeira.
  4. Do not litter. Everything you bring with you needs to leave with you.
  5. For your own safety – don’t do the hike alone!
Flora at the Peak to Peak walk in Madeira
Beautiful views at the peak to peak walk

Different ways of doing the peak-to-peak walk

Peak to peak walk in Madeira

There really is no right or wrong on how to do the hike – you do whatever suits you best. Since we did the hike and talked to other people on the trail, we got to know about the different options for doing the peak-to-peak walk in Madeira. Make sure to pick the choice that you feel is the best for you. We had a guided tour and that worked perfectly for us. Here are the different options:

Take a guided tour – one way

We had a guide with us during the whole hike. Lisandro Nunes works for the Madeira Adventure Kingdom and they offer private tours all over the island. By getting a guided tour you can just enjoy and walk behind your guide. You get all the information you need and you get several plants and species shown to you that you might otherwise miss.

Peak to peak guide

According to us, this is a relaxed way of doing the hike and you can focus on the walk and just take it all in without having to find your own way around the hike. Pick up and drop off at your hotel. For booking a hike with the Madeira Adventure Kingdom click here to visit their website.

Arrange for your transportation in advance – one way

Different ways of doing the peak to peak walk

The Peak to Peak walk in Madeira starts at one point and ends at another. Since you walk from Pico do Areeiro to Pico Ruivo, you will need to be let off at another place as you get picked up after the hike. You can either book a taxi and make the arrangements right away on where and when the pickup should be. Make sure to have everything covered before you start your hike so that you can enjoy it and don’t need to worry about how you will get back.

If you are staying at a hotel, ask them to help you make the arrangements and they will help you to make the walk a nice one.

Walk back and forth

Apparently, this is a common way to do the Peak to Peak walk in Madeira. And sure, it’s fine if you have the strength and energy to do the hike both ways. A lot of the people we talked to, didn’t know that there was any other way to do the hike. People that come to Madeira often end up renting a car so that they can get around the island.

Peak to Peak walk in Madeira
Peak to Peak walk in Madeira
Different ways of doing the peak to peak walk

When they go to do the hike, they park their car close to Pico do Areeiro and then they need to get back there to get to their car. This is an option for people that are fit and up for a challenge.

What do you need to bring on the hike?

Closed-toe shoes are a must and the best option is to have a pair of really good hiking boots. We had regular sneakers and we were fine but I believe that it would’ve been easier if we had regular hiking boots. Also, make sure to bring something that you can eat during your hike.

Today, a lot of cellphones have a built-in flashlight but if your cellphone doesn’t have that – make sure to bring a flashlight. When walking inside some of the caves, you’ll need a flashlight to be able to see. Other than that, you are good to go and just enjoy your hike!

Other nice hikes in Madeira

There are a lot of nice hikes and walks to do while visiting Madeira and even if Peak to Peak in Madeira is the most famous one – there are several others that we also recommend you to check out while visiting Madeira. Here are some of them for all you hikers out there…

PR1.1 Vereda da Ilha – Pico Ruivo to Ilha

Distance: 8,2 kilometers.
Duration: 3 hours.
Difficulty: Medium.
Information: This hike starts at the top of the island’s highest peak and from there the hike is all about the descent. This is a really nice hike that a lot of people do.

PR1.2 Vereda do Pico Ruvio – Achanda do Teixeira to Pico Ruivo

Distance: 2,8 kilometers + return.
Duration: 1,5 hours.
Difficulty: Medium.
Information: If there is good visibility, you might be able to see the rock formation of Penha D Aguia, Serra das Funduras and Ponta de St Lourenco. This hike also includes a hike to the island’s highest peak – Pico Ruivo.

PR1.3 Vereda da Encumeada – Pico Ruivo to Encumeada

Distance: 11,2 kilometers.
Duration: 6 hours.
Difficulty: Medium.
Information: This is one of the longest hikes on the island. It starts at the Pico Ruivo shelter and stretches along a lot of nice areas and viewing points.

PR2 Vereda do Urzal – Curral das Freiras to Boaventura

Distance: 10,6 kilometers.
Duration: 4,5 hours.
Difficulty: Medium.
Information: This trail has great and beautiful scenery that changes during the walk. If you want you can also join another route and walk up the island’s highest peak Pico Ruivo.

PR5 Vereda das Funduras – Portela to Marocos

Distance: 8,7 kilometers.
Duration: 3 hours.
Difficulty: Medium.
Information: It’s said that this is one of the best trails to see the Laurissilva forest and all of its glory. The trail starts with a really nice viewing point and ends in the town center of Marocos.

PR6 Levada das 25 Fontes – Rabacal to 25 Fontes

Distance: 4,6 kilometers + return.
Duration: 3 hours.
Difficulty: Medium.
Information: This is one of the most popular walks on Madeira. A lot of it has to do with the fact that you will pass a really nice waterfall. And you will also get to see some amazing views and sights during your walk.

PR7 Levada do Moinho – Ribeira da Cruz to Lamaceiros

Distance: 10,3 kilometers.
Duration: about 3,5 hours.
Difficulty: Medium.
Information: Here, you climb a path from the road to a Levada and you will see several watermills. In the valley of the Ribeira do Tristao you get to see a great waterfall and you will be surrounded by the Laurissilva Forrest.

PR8 Vereda da Ponta de Sao Lourenco – Baia d’ Abra to Cais do Sardinha

Distance: 4 kilometers + return.
Duration: 2,5 hours.
Difficulty: Medium but more on the easier side.
Information: A nice walk that will take you close to cliffs and water. A lot of different and special flowers can be found here. Check out our post on the Ponta de Sao Lourenco walk here

PR9 Levada do Caldeirao Verde – Queimadas to Caldeirao Verde

Distance: 6,5 kilometers + return.
Duration: 5,5 hours.
Difficulty: Medium.
Information: This hike was built in the 18:th century and it passes abrupt cliffs and mountains. During this hike, you will also walk through tunnels.

PR10 Levada do Furado – Ribeiro Frio to Portela

Distance: 11 kilometers.
Duration: 5 hours.
Difficulty: Medium.
Information: A nice walk where you pass a lot of nice views and landscapes. The Levada here is one of the oldest. A really nice walk.

PR11 Vereda dos Balcoes – Ribeiro Frio to Balcoes

Distance: 1,5 kilometers + return.
Duration: 1,5 hours.
Difficulty: Easy.
Information: if the weather is nice, you will be able to see the two highest peaks on the island during this hike. A small and pretty short hike that is really nice to walk.

PR12 Caminho Real da Encumeada – Boca do Corrida to Encumeada

Distance: 12,5 kilometers.
Duration: 6,5 hours.
Difficulty: Medium.
Information: This hike used to be the road where people on the island traveled. It is said that there used to be a store somewhere along the route where all the trading would go down. Today it’s a nice walk with a lot of nice sights.

PR13 Verada do Fanal – Paul da Serra to Fanal

Distance: 10,8 kilometers.
Duration: 4 hours.
Difficulty: Medium.
Information: During this hike, you will enjoy the ingenious cable installations that were used for the transportation of firewood and other things. Make sure to rest at the volcanic cauldron – a beautiful place that needs to be visited.

PR14 Levada dos Cedros – Fanal to Curral Falso

Distance: 5,8 kilometers.
Duration: 3 hours.
Difficulty: Medium.
Information: This Levada is one of the oldest on the island. During this hike, you will get superb views of the valley of Ribeira da Janela and Paul da Serra. There are also a lot of old laurel trees here.

PR15 Vereda da Riberia da Janela – From Curral Falso to Ribeira da Janela

Distance: 2,7 kilometers.
Duration: 1,5 hours.
Difficulty: Medium.
Information: This is the route where wine barrels used to be transported to be sold or exchanged for other products. If you are interested in seeing the endemic species of the Trocaz pigeon, this is the place to be.

PR16 Levada da Faja do Rodrigues – Faja da Ama to Ribeira do Inferno

Distance: 3,9 kilometers + return.
Duration: 3,5 hours.
Difficulty: Medium.
Information: A hike that will give you a really nice mix of flowers, waterfalls, and extensive tunnels. The footpath here has two names – Levada Faja so Rodrigues or Levada Faja da Ama.

PR17 Caminho do Pinaculo e Folhadal

Distance: 14 kilometers.
Duration: 6,5 hours.
Difficulty: Hard.
Information: During this trail, you walk through several different landscapes. For this hike, you need to bring a flashlight and a pair of really good hiking shoes. Keep in mind that this is one of the hardest trails to do on the island of Madeira.

PR18 Levada do Rei – Quebradas to Ribeiro Bonito

Distance: 5,1 kilometers + return.
Duration: About 3,5 hours.
Difficulty: Medium.
Information: This is the hike to do if you want to see views of the agricultural landscape and walk along a Levada.

PR19 Caminho Real do Paul do Mar – Prazeres to Paul do Mar

Distance: 1,8 kilometers.
Duration: 1,5 hours.
Difficulty: Medium.
Information: While hiking this trail, you will get to see some panoramic views of Jardim do Mar and Paul do Mar. This trail is also a way to show how hard it was to transport food and things before Madeira got some nice roads.

PR20 Vereda do Jardim do Mar – Prazeres to Jardim do Mar

Distance: 1,9 kilometers.
Duration: 1 hour.
Difficulty: Easy.
Information: A nice and easy walk where you will get to check out an old windmill and see some really nice views of the island.

PR21 Caminho do Norte – Encumeada to Ribeira Grande

Distance: 3,2 kilometers.
Duration: 1,5 hours.
Difficulty: Medium.
Information: This hike will allow you to get some great views of the island’s highest peaks. This path is used to connect the south and north sides of the island for both trade and traditional pilgrimages.

PR22 Vereda do Chao dos Louros – Chao dos Louros

Distance: 1,9 kilometers.
Duration: 45 minutes.
Difficulty: Easy.
Information: The main highlight of this trail is the spectacular view of the Sao Vicente valley from this route’s natural viewpoints.

Our experience of the peak-to-peak walk

We had no idea that the hike would be so hard to do. I do think that it was for the best because we didn’t have time to vine or mope about it – it was just to walk and look happy. And the hike was AMAZING – in fact, it was one of the nicest hikes we have done. Sure, it was hard and the last hour was even bad at times. The steps were steep and we needed to take a lot of breaks.

Our experience of the peak to peak walk

When we finally reached the goal – the peak of Ruivo – we had a snack and just enjoyed the view. In total, this hike was fantastic. However, the next day – we could barely walk. Yes, that’s true! And then we were off to the next hike – but that’s a different story 😜!

Our experience of the peak to peak walk
Our experience of the peak to peak walk
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  1. Ann

    Det ser underbart ut!

    Vi tog inga promenader alls, eller jo men i stan, mellan pubar och resturanger 😛 Portugal är helt klart ett land jag vill se mer av, gärna Lissabon 🙂

    • Annika & Mini

      Hahaha rätt inställning! Portugal är helt underbart. Vi älskade både Lissabon och Porto 🙂

  2. Anna Majak

    Fantastiskt beskrivet och fantastiska bilder!❣️

    • Annika & Mini

      Tack så mycket!


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