Starting from Achada Do Teixeira, this trail brings you to the highest peak in Madeira,Pico Ruivo. The summit is on 1861 meters altitude what makes it literally one of the highlights on Madeira. This beautiful walk, also known as Vereda do Pico Ruivo, is only 6 kilometres in total and is much, much easier than the Pico Arieiro to Pico Ruivo hike.
There isn’t a lot of incline involved and the distance is pretty short, but the views are out of this world! If you’re lucky and there are clouds, you’ll walk along the ridges of Madeira in between the clouds! But even during the hike the views are just incredible on all the mountain peaks and the ocean. The entire distance to Pico Ruivo is on a cobbled pathway. It’s well marked along the way and very well maintained a safe to do. Find here all the information you need for the Achada do Teixeira to Pico Ruivo hike in Madeira.
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 for example. Both routes will take you about an hour to reach the parking spot. The best way to explore Madeira island is with a rental car which you can book here. Or book a private guided tour from Achada do Teixeira to Pico Ruivo including pick up and drop off at your hotel in Funchal.
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!
Best Madeira island tours
If you want to explore the best of Madeira with a guide then here some great tours I recommend. During these tours you will pass by some of the best viewpoints which I share in this complete guide. All of these tours include transport with hotel pick up and drop off, certified guides and sometimes the entrance fees if applicable. You can reserve now and pay later, with cancellation up to 24 hours in advance to receive a full refund.
- Customized 6 hour Madeira tour. On this six-hour tour you can choose the different areas you want to visit on Madeira island. Pick the landmarks and iconic places to make your own itinerary with the help of your local guide/driver.
- West Madeira private tour. Starting in the fishing town of Câmara de Lobos you will drive via Cabo Girao, the highest cape in Europe, to the beautiful view of Serra d’Agua valley. From there you will head to São Vicente to explore the Laurisilva forest. Continuing north, you will visit Porto Moniz, known for its natural lava pools where you can swim. As last stop you will visit the famous rocks at Ribeira da Janela.
- East Madeira tour. Visit Pico do Arieiro viewpoint, make pictures at the Santana houses and the beautiful viewpoints at Porto da Cruz to finish the day at the impressive volcanic landscape of Ponta de São Lourenço.
- Canyoning adventure with transfer from Funchal. Get the thrill of canyoneering and explore Madeira’s untouched nature. follow a river as you walk, rappel, slide and jump through hidden waterfalls with streams that cross endemic forests. A super fun and adventurous day!
- Ponta de São Lourenço hike with pick up in Funchal. Explore the most eastern tail of Madeira island with its unique volcanic rock formations to understand how the island was created.
- Funchal 48-hour hop-on hop off bus tour. Explore the lush landscape of Madeira and the sights of Funchal at your own pace with a 2 or 5 day ticket for the hop-on, hop-off bus.
- Tuk-Tuk tour to Monte Tropical Garden with Toboggan ride from Funchal. Explore Funchal Old Town with a Tuk Tuk before making your way to the mountains to the stunning Monte Tropical Garden. There you will explore over 70,000 square meters of exotic plants. At the end of the tour you will enjoy the thrilling ride down the hill with a Toboggan ride.
- Funchal Old Town walking tour. Learn about the history of Funchal and Madeira on a guided walk through the city’s medieval center. Visit the farmer’s market, the Campo Almirante Reis. The Fortress of St. James, and a number of other sites as your guide provides commentary.
- Dolphin & Whale watching Luxury Catamaran Cruise from Funchal. Enjoy the views of Funchal from a luxury catamaran. Look out for whales and dolphins in their natural habitat as your relax on board and explore the underwater world with a snorkel.
- Scuba diving Madeira. Explore the underwater world of Madeira island. A theory lesson and practice in swimming pool is included. This before you will dive about 12 meters for 45 meters in the Atlantic Ocean.
- Sunset tour from Funchal by Catamaran. Watch the sunset off the coast of Madeira on a 3-hour evening catamaran cruise from Funchal and spot dolphins (guaranteed, or you get a 2nd trip for free).
General travel must haves for Madeira
Have you thought about how to get around in Madeira? A car is the easiest way to drive around the island.
- Book your rental car here and compare the providers to get the best deal.
- Book your scooter or motorbike here to get around in Madeira. Most of the scooters you can drive with driving license (A1/A2/A) from 18 years old, or from 25 years old with a car (B) license. The motorbikes have a minimum age of 20 or 21 with A (moto) license.
Do you prefer a private driver for the day and the freedom to create your own itinerary?
Did you already book your accommodation?
- Check out this great tool to compare prices of hotels on different platforms from around the world and book your favorite hotel
Are you insured during your travels?
- Buy your travel insurance here. Safetywing not only includes coverage for travel delay, lost checked luggage, emergency response, natural disasters and personal liability. But also covers all your medical expenses for hospitalisation.
Where to stay in Madeira
There are several towns in Madeira that are great to stay while exploring the island. Funchal is the capital town of the island with the most restaurants around. It has a charming old town and all sorts of facilities you might look for such as a boulevard, shopping centre, cafe’s and nightlife. It is a great place to base yourself with plenty of culture and beautiful old buildings and charming streets to explore. There are also a few beaches in Funchal to enjoy the ocean. However these beaches are from pebble stones.
We have stayed in The Vine hotel and Okulus villa which are both beautiful locations. The Vine has the comforts of a hotel including breakfast and is located right in the city centre. Okulus villa is located in the Old Town with the most amazing ocean and city view.
If you want to be based near a sandy beach in Madeira, then Calheta is a great place. While Funchal is more to the east of the island located, Calheta is more to the west of the island located. So eventually you can also stay a few days in both towns depending the total length of your stay in Madeira. Calheta has an atmospheric marine with restaurants offering great spots to watch the sunset and enjoy a meal.
We have stayed a few weeks at Calheta Boutique Houses during our 7 months living in Madeira. Highly recommend these private villa’s as you have all the amenities you have at home as well. The modern design and amazing ocean views makes it a perfect vacation home.
Small villages in nature
If you want to experience really small towns to stay in Madeira, then check out the accommodations in Seixal, Porto da Cruz, Sao Vicente or Ribeiro Frio. Take into account that there will be less restaurants around but you will be completely immersed in the local life and nature.
More Madeira travel inspiration
I hope you enjoyed this complete guide about the Achada do Teixeira hike to Pico Ruivo.
For more Madeira travel inspiration and the must visit destinations, head over to our other blog posts about Madeira island.