Achada do Teixeira to Pico Ruivo hike key facts
Before setting off to Pico Ruivo from the Achada do Teixeira parking lot, below some key facts of the hike.
Hike distance and duration: The total hike distance of this out and back trail is 6 kilometres on a relatively flat path. Only the last 10 minutes of the hike are on stairs to reach the platform on Ruivo. In total the hike shouldn’t take you more than 1.5 hours, depending on the time you take to relax at the summit.
Difficulty and incline: This is actually one of the easier hikes on Madeira but gives you some of the most incredible views of the island. It’s awesome that a view like this and the possibility of standing on the highest peak on the island is for so many people available! Therefore the Achada do Teixeira to Pico Ruivo hike is a very family friendly activity on Madeira. We did this hike with our 60+ years old Moms and it was pretty easy for them. Only the last part of the hike has about 200 meters of incline on the stairs. But in total it’s not more than 260 meters of incline on the complete hike.
How to get to Achada do Teixeira
The Achada do Teixeira parking is located high up in the mountains on the north central part of the island. There is no direct access from Funchal, you either have to drive around the island via the airport and Porto da Cruz, or drive through the Ribeiro Frio natural park so you can combine this journey with a stop at Balcoes viewpoint or Agua D’Alto waterfall for example. Both routes will take you about an hour to reach the parking spot.
There is no parking fee and the hiking path is open 24 hours which makes it a great sunrise or sunset spot on the highest peak in Madeira!
Best time to do the Achada do Teixeira to Pico Ruivo hike
You can do the Achada do Teixeira to Pico Ruivo hike at any time of the day. But the most magical moments are with sunrise or sunset! Therefore this easy hike to the highest peak of the island is one of the better and most unique spots to watch the sunrise or sunset in Madeira.
But we did the hike with our Moms during day time and it was absolutely stunning as well. The clouds were pretty high, creating a fascinating scene which almost looked like steam that was coming out of the mountains.
Any time of the day is actually a good time to do the Achada do Teixeira to Pico Ruivo hike. But if you want to add some extra magic to this hiking experience then you should definitely go for sunrise or sunset. Take into account that you have to walk out or back to the car park, in the darkness. So bring a headlamp and you’ll be fine! I would suggest to start hiking about 1.5 hour before sunrise. This gives you enough time to reach the peak and watch the sun slowly rise above the ocean or clouds. For sunset it’s the same. Start 1.5 hour to 2 hours before sunset with your hike. Just make sure you’re not rushed so you’ll have enough time to stop along the way and take some pictures.
On our way to the peak it was a bit foggy, but on our way back to the parking we had clear blue skies!
The weather can change very quickly in the mountains, so be prepared with your clothing!
What to expect during the Achada do Teixeira to Pico Ruivo hike
The drive up to the Achada do Teixeira parking lot is beautiful via winding roads and through lush forests. The parking is very spacious and if you’re craving a coffee or some food, no worries, because there is even a restaurant called Abrigo da Heidi.
The Vereda do Pico Ruivo hike
It’s clear where the hike starts on the beautiful, inviting cobbled walking path which leads up the mountain. The first kilometre is already breathtaking with incredible views on the mountain ridge and far into the valley towards the ocean. If it’s very cloudy then don’t be disappointed, because it might still be clear on top of Ruivo! You have to climb 260 meters which means you could end up above the clouds. You can check the webcam of Pico Arieiro or the one which is located on Casa de Abrigo Pico Ruivo. This cafe is just a few hundred meters before the summit of Ruivo located. Keep in mind that even when on the webcam of Casa de Abrigo Pico Ruivo it looks cloudy, it could still be clear on the top!
We did the hike on a beautiful afternoon with low hanging clouds which were the perfect circumstances! The sea of clouds beneath us and a view on the Atlantic Ocean in the far distance with the highest peaks of Madeira sticking out above the clouds was just incredible. You maybe can imagine that we had to stop a few times to take pictures and just enjoy the view.
The complete trail goes along the ridge that separates the cliffs of Faial and those of Santana. To the left you can look into the Ribeira Seca valley on a clear day topped by Pico das Torres, and Pico do Arieiro in the background. Along the way you will find various shelters and picknic areas where you can take some rest, eat or take shelter in dense fog that sometimes covers the whole area.
When you reach the mountain hut of Casa de Abrigo Pico Ruivo, the summit of Ruivo is only 5 – 10 minutes away. Here you can order something to drink and enjoy a little break and sunshine on their terrace. They also have a public toilet for €0,50, and you can refill your water here for free! Get ready because from this point it’s going steep for a few hundred meters before you reach the breathtaking peak of Ruivo!
Refill your water bottle for free at the house close to Ruivo’s peak, go to the restroom or order something to drink on the terrace!
The last few hundred meters to Pico Ruivo’s summit!
Pico Ruivo summit
Congratulations when you’ve made it to the summit of Ruivo! Pico Ruivo is with 1861 meters the highest peak of Madeira and it really gives you the feeling as if you’re in the heart of Madeira. All around you there are mountains and valleys. It’s very impressive to see these tall mountains, the textures of these mountains and the depth in the valleys. With low hanging clouds this is an out of this world experience and definitely something you have to do in Madeira!