Achada do Teixeira onto Pico Ruivo & Pico Arieiro

Hiking route · Madeira
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10.2 km
680 m
454 m

This unforgettable walk connects the highest peaks of the island: Pico Ruivo & Pico Arieiro, it's a walk onto the roof of Madeira.

This walk is an ascent to the two highest peaks of the island. A comfortable cobbled path makes the ascent to Pico Ruivo almost into a stroll which takes less than an hour. The panoramic view at the top will leave you speechless. There isn’t a more exciting mountain walk on Madeira than the route between Pico Ruivo and Pico Arieiro. The mountain path was constructed 50 years ago and it links the three highest mountains of the island. There are some very exposed sections that are well protected but fitness is required for the very steep ascents. 

Author’s recommendation

The walk from Pico Ruivo to Pico Arieiro is nothing I have ever seen before, it was simply breathtaking. Depending on the weather and your personal fitness this is something you can't afford to miss. 

Highest point
1862 m
Lowest point
1498 m
Best time of year

Safety information

In fine weather the walk from Achada do Teixeira onto Pico Ruivo is an easy walk. In winter the region is often cloudy and strong winds can start up too quickly. The walk onto Pico Arieiro from Pico Ruivo is a very demanding mountain walk: Strenuous. The tracks are sometimes cobbled and stepped, and sometimes stony. There are very exposed sections which are at most times well protected. Fitness is required for the steep ascents, and a head torch for tunnels. This walk can only be undertaken when the weather conditions are dry and stable. Having said that, it’s so worth it! 

Tips, hints and links

Packed Lunch is essential if you are walking the whole route (to Pico Arieiro), you won’t pass any restaurants or cafes on either routes until you have reached the endpoint at the summit of Pico Arieiro (there's a cafe here). Packed lunch is available at your accommodation in Santana (at a small additional cost). Make sure to order the packed lunch upon your arrival or at least the night before. Always make sure to carry plenty of water and to keep hydrated during your walk. 


Achada do Teixeira (1575 m)
32.764918, -16.921107
28S 320049 3626859


Pico Ruivo/Pico Arieiro

Turn-by-turn directions

0.00km - The days walk starts after a short transfer to Achada do Teixeira, which is the starting point. You will be able to see a sign saying 'Pico Ruivo' which you initially keep following.

2.20km - Continue on, following the cobbled path. There's a signpost for 'Pico Ruivo' and 'Pico Arieiro', TURN RIGHT and walk towards the white building. BEAR LEFT and follow the sign to 'Pico Ruivo'.

2.70km - You have reached the panoramic viewpoint and summit of the highest mountain on the island: Pico Ruivo. Take your time to enjoy the views and to catch your breath again! Once you are ready to move on, make your way back to the white building. 

If you won't be walking onto Pico Arieiro this is the endpoint of your walk, make your way down the way you came. The taxi driver will pick you up where he dropped you off. If you do wish to continue, walk back and follow the signs to Pico Arieiro. 

5.10km - BEAR LEFT and continue on until you have reached a tunnel, make sure to grab your headtorch and keep it with you as you will reach another tunnel soon. 

6.30km - Walk STRAIGHT ON following the sign to Pico Arieiro, another tunnel will follow shortly. 

7.40km - You have reached a spectacular viewpoint: Ninho da Nanta. 

10.20km - You have arrived at the endpoint of today's walk, you're at the summit of Pico Arieiro. You can find a restaurant, souvernir shop and toilets here should you wish to use these facilities. 


Arrival by train, car, foot or bike

Book recommendations for this region:

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All normal walking equipment are required: walking shoes/boots, water and windproof jacket, plenty of water and snacks for during the day. Be careful when you are planning on taking your walking poles with you as the paths are narrow and there are steep ascents involved where it might be more useful to hold onto railing. It is required to take your headtorch with you today as you’ll pass through numerous tunnels on your way to Pico Arieiro.

Responsible for this content
Macs Adventure User
Heleen Bosch
Updated: August 09, 2017

Travel Guide: Hikes in Madeira

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