Updated: Jul 8, 2022
The hike connects the third highest with the highest peak of Madeira in a spectacular way with steep ascents & descents, different tunnels and breathtaking views into the mountains of Madeira. The peculiarity of the path is that it connects the three highest mountains of Madeira: Pico Ruivo (1862 m), Pico das Torres (1851 m) and Pico do Areeiro (1817 m). To do this, it crosses part of the central mountain range.
The hike begins at the top of Pico do Arieiros. After only a few meters, you already come across the spectacular viewing platform Miradouro Ninho da Manta. From there you can see the valley of Fajã da Nogueira, a large part of the central mountain range and the north coast with the town of Faial.
In order to reach Pico Ruivo, one must walk around Pico das Torres via several steep descents and ascents. Numerous steps are carved into the rock here. Shortly before reaching the top of Pico Ruivo, you will find the mountain inn "Casa do Abrigo", where you can fortify yourself with snacks and drinks before the last 500m to the highest point of Madeira. Once there, with good visibility, you can see the entire mountain range from Paul da Serra to Pico do Arieiro. Also the valley of the nuns with the individual cottages can be marveled at from up here. Since Pico Ruivo is centrally located, you will also be able to see the north & south coast - here you are guaranteed a panoramic view that you will never forget.
From here you make your way back to Pico do Arieiro. Even if you think that you already know the route, you will once again experience completely new impressions on the way back with other sun & cloud conditions and other perspectives.
Along the route there are several caves carved into the volcanic tuff, where in earlier years cattle sought refuge and which served as shelter for shepherds. In addition, it is possible to observe a wide variety of birds, among which the most important are the species that are only found in Macaronesia, such as the Canary Island Lark, the Canary Island Pipit) and the Monochromatic Swift. The area is also known for its high heath and different endemisms. Especially the yellow Madeira violet, the Madeira bell heather and the rock orchid characterize the landscape.
If you don't want to walk the whole 12 km trail, but you don't want to miss the highest mountain of Madeira, you can take the PR 1.2 footpath from Achada do Teixeira to Pico do Ruivo. The approximately 2 km long well-maintained path leads relaxed to the mountain inn and to the top of Pico Ruivo.