From Pico Arieiro to Pico Ruivo


From Pico Arieiro to Pico Ruivo. This Walk is famously called the “King of all Walks” and it truly deserves this name. 10.000 Steps await you. You better be fit for this one. 

Facts | Location | Highlights | Description of the Walk | GPS | Detailed Map

facts & Live Weather of Pico Arieiro to Pico Ruivo

Arieiro, Portugal

> Duration: 4 hours one way
> Length: 5.00 km
> Suitable for people with acrophobia: Absolutely Not
> Best-Time-To-Walk: Morning
> Accessible with Public Transport: No
> Secured: Partly Secured
> Refreshment stops available: No
> Loop trail: No
> Family Friendly: No

Location Of Pico Arieiro To Pico Ruivo

Tip:  This map will automatically show you the best route from your current location to the start of the trail.

Highlights Of Pico Arieiro to Pico Ruivo

Description of the Walk Pico Arieiro To Pico Ruivo

We from Madeira-Portugal-Guide are all for safety. That is why we recommend to never walk any of the Levadas alone. Some of them can be dangerous and involve passing high altitude areas. Falling off a steep slope or cliff, can lead to severe injuries or worse. If, for whatever reason, you decide to go alone, let someone know which Levada you will hike and report back to them, once you have safely returned.

All information on this page is made to the best of our knowledge, belief and care. A guarantee for the correctness can not be given, a liability due to the contents is therefore excluded. The use of the information is at your own risk. For accidents, which might be due to our information, is not liable. Mountain hiking, mountaineering and rock climbing are potentially dangerous activities. Each hiker must decide for himself whether the goal he aspires to corresponds to his mountaineering abilities. He has to inform himself before the tour about the current weather conditions and the degree of difficulty of the tour and decide for himself whether this tour meets his abilities. The suggestions on this page do not mean that the destination is easily accessible, unforeseen weather events can make the most harmless way impassable! This applies to every altitude. Meanwhile, the track or parts of this track can be locked.

About Pico Arieiro and Pico Ruivo

Pico do Arieiro

Pico do Arieirio is with its 1818 meters the thrid highest mountain peak of Madeira island. Only two peaks are higher. However it is the most accassible one (even by car). On a clear day you have fantastic views over the whole island. And on particular clear days you can even see the naibouring Island Porto Santo 30 nautical Miles away in the northeast. When you walk from Pico do Arieiro to Pico Ruivo you pass the second highest mountain peak Pico das Torres (1851 Meters).

Pico Ruivo

Pico Ruivo is with its 1862 meters the highest mountain peak of Madeira island. It is the neighbor of Pico do Arieiro, however this peak can only be reached by walking. The views from its peak are stunning! However unpredictable weather conditions can make it quite dangerous.


How to get there

The only way to get up ther is either by walking up or with a car. There nearest public bus stops in Poison, but it is still a long way up there. The best thing is to rent a car or book a trip by one of the many local private companies. 

Important to know

This walk is tough. Tough, tough, tough. It is very important that you do this walk, when there is good weather conditions. It can be very coled up there. So it’s better to walk in spring and summer. The next “problem” is that is a one way walk. Which means that after you rreached Pico Ruivo, you only have two options. Either you walk it back (its possible – I did both ways in under 5 hours) or you walk down to XX and take a taxi back to your car at Pico Arieiro.

Also take enough water and snacks with you, especialy when you walk in the summer. You will need it for this walk.


While following the Levada you will pass some remote areas where you will not be able to access the internet. I recommend to you, to save this guide as a PDF on your mobile device.  To do that, click on the Printer-Button in the share-section and save this page as a PDF file. This will allow you to access the trail description without the need for a stable internet connection.

The Walk

Our walk starts at the parking lot of Pico Arieiro. From here head towards the shop.

When you arrive at the shop look for the way on the left and follow it. 

Keep left and keep walking. You will see the path.

It feels a bit that you are on the wrong track. But keep going, you will be on the right path soon.

Slowly but surely you will see the path to the most intense walk on the island. 

The path is well visible. If the season is right you will walk through Ginster on your left and your right. 

From here the path is basicly allways straight ahead. Nontheless we will show you the whole way so you get a felling for the track ahead of you. 

You will understand from this point on why this walk is nothing for people who have problems with hights and should be fairly fit. Roughly 10.000 Steps await you from this point on. 

Here goes nothing. The training starts 😀

After going a bit down, we go up the stairs. 

At least you have breathtaking views on your left and on your right. 

And if you go at the right season you will be greeted by yellow ginster on your left and on your right.

Soon after you will arrive at one of many “Miradores” (=Viewpoint)

After enjoying the view the head goes up for roughly 200 meters.

After you have to go steps down again. 

You will arrive at this spot.

This is not easy fear of hights have a lot of troubles. 

Now begins the real descent. 

You will have to pass another kind of bridge. 

Now it goes up again. Hey! Nobody said its going to be easy 😀

At least you can enjoy the view. 

The earlier you go the less trafic you will have. Bigger groups move much slower.

The path is narrow and there are not a lot of changes to overtake.

Not all part are secured like here.

Now you understand why this Walk is one of the toughest in Madeira.

The steps just dont seem to stop.

Imagine how difficult it must have bin to built it!!!

From here you will have a good view into the valley.

If you have good weather the view is breathtaking!

But dont forget to watch your step. Espacially when you get tired. 

At this point you will go through the first of many tunels. 

Ginster is greating you on the whole way. 

The next tunnel is a bit longer. Bring your tourch!

Still a long way down.

And believe it or not! Down goes the way. 

And yup! you guest it! Down, Down Down!

Congratulations. You more or less reached the lowest point. 

Bad news is, from here its up again 😀

But first head on straight ahead.

You will have to pass another tunel.

At the latest now you will hit slower groups. Because you approach the first of the two steepest point. Problem is, now its up.

After that another tunel greets you.

When you walk in summer the shadow gives some cooling relieve.

But still, a lot of up and down.

At least you will get to a point where you can get a break. 

You will be able to see it soon.

And here it is. Take your time and rest a bit here. You well deserved it. 

After your rest, head on. Follow the path.

Another tunnel awaits you. 

The path is very rough path here.

At this point you were able to go up another peak. But since several year this way is closed so head left.

Again beautiful yellow ginster is all over the place.

The ginster even gives a nice smell to the whole walk.

You are approaching the second steep point.

But first you have to go still up a bit these stairs.

In the distance you allready see the hardest point of the whole walk.

Some “Pride of Madeiras” will great you on the way.

Now comes the ultimate challange. This one is tough, tough, tough. Take your time and go up. 

Don’t think its over yet! Up it goes!

For a short while the path is a bit easier.

But it changes quickly.

And it gets brutal again.

Very brutal!

Very, very brutal!

This is the last steps you have to take. After this you will arrive a kind of platou where you can take a well deserved rest. 

From now on you will be on the right side of the mountain.

Most of the trees are dead on this side. You look kind of spooky!

When you walk in the summer. The heat is unbearable.

But the scenery is really cool!

Now starts the last ascent.

Just keep on walking.

You will reach a hut where you can buy water and food. Take a break there. But hey! You are not yet at the Pico Ruivo!

Follow the sign to Pico Ruivo! Its more or less 15 minutes from this point on.

Well I hate to say it! Up it goes again!

And yes! Up again. 

You are almost there.

Just follow the way! 

You are almost there! I promise! Don’t give up on me now!

I know its tough. But it will be wearth it!

You see! Only 300 Meters left!!!

Curse, Scream, Cry. Do whatever it takes. But keep on going.

There it is. You can allready see it. 

The last view steps!

50 Meters! You can do it!

This is it! Almost! 

And ther it is! You did it!

You are awesome! Really! You are awesome. If the weather is good you can see to Pico Arieiro. When I did this walk with a good friend, we needed 2hours and 15 minutes. Crazy as we are, we decided to go all the way back. We needed another 2 hours and 30 minutes. So it took us 4 hours and 45 minutes. It was hard! Really hard but it is possible. However, it is enough for you follow the path down to .. and take a taxi either back to your car at Pico Aieiro or back home to your hotel. 

Anyway! Congratulations! You are really tough and awesome!

Detailed map Pico Arieiro To Pico Ruivo

Tip: This map can also display the elevation of the route. To use this feature press play. Then go to the top right corner, click on menu and select “Hills”.

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