Madeira Travel Guide

Madeira Sights

Pico do Arieiro

  • Viewpoint/Scenic Overlook
  • Fodor's Choice

Published 03/16/2017

Fodor's Review

At 5,963 feet, this is Madeira's third-highest mountain. On your way here, you'll travel over a barren plain above the tree line: watch for errant sheep and goats wandering across the pavement on their way to graze on stubbly gorse and bilberry. Stop in the parking lot near the top and make the short climb to the lookout (next to a giant NATO radar), where you can scan the rocky central peaks. There are often views of the clouds below (unless you're in them), but on a clear day you can see to the southeast the Curral das Freiras, a valley named after the nuns of the Santa Clara convent who fled Funchal in 1565 to escape pirate raids. It's also known as the Grande Curral (Great Corral). Look in the other direction and try to spot the huge Penha de Águia (Eagle Rock), a giant monolith on the north coast. The trail from the lookout that crosses the narrow ridge leads to Pico Ruivo (6,102 feet), the island's highest point, crossing the second-highest point, Pico das Torres (6,073 feet), along the way—it's one of the best hikes on the island, though as it is a tough 13-km (8-mile) round-trip trek, and sections are sometimes closed by landslides, you might consider taking a guided tour from one of the many outfitters in Funchal or fixing a price with a taxi driver.

Sight Information


, Portugal

Published 03/16/2017


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