Journey through the clouds: Madeira’s highest peaks (Ruivo & Arieiro)

The highest peak in Madeira is Pico Ruivo, with 1862 meters of altitude. It’s the third highest peak in Portugal, only mountains on Azores islands are higher.

Interesting fact is, that almost all pathway leading to the top, is wooded.. perfectly confirming why the island is called Madeira (‘madeira’ in portuguese means ‘wood’).

Moreover, Madeira is one of unique places in the world where one may find laurel trees.

Laurel forest “Laurissilva” is a replica of the forests that covered much of Europe until last glaciation.

It is so outstanding, that is on the list of UNESCO natural heritage since 1999.

Even thought the pathway to the top of Pico Ruivo from Achada de Teixeira takes only 2,7 km, it is so comfortable to have a small drink before attacking the final trail which is quite steep. The place, situated just below the peak, already above the clouds, is called Casa de Abrigo
Casa is located at the crossing between the hike mounting from Achada de Teixeira and longer hike leading directly from the second highest peak of the island, Pico do Arieiro (1818 m).

Even thought two mountains are very close one to each other, there might be a dramatically big change of weather in just one day, that would transform surprisingly, views from the top of both peaks.

During our journey, we have had very sunny and just a little cloudy weather the day we visited Pico Ruivo, but during our climbing on Pico Arieiro we had a lot of fun when facing a lot of snow and wind !

How to get to the top? Examples of popular trails:

  • Pico Ruivo

from the parking Achada de Teixeira (only around 5km round trip – easy)

from the top of Pico do Areeiro (PR1 takes around 6 km by foot to get from one peak to another and then another 6 to return the same way)

  • Pico do Areeiro

it is possible to get there by car -> if too much snow, you need to walk the last 2 km to the top which is also very easy to do

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