Travel Guide: Madeira Best Attractions: Pico Arieiro and Curral das Freiras

Dear Alice,

A further recommendation from my side concerning Madeira are definitely the mountains of the islands. Madeira and its magnificent mountains are a must, you have to find time to visit them and to enjoy the unique views they have to offer while on this wonderful island.

Where there are mountains, there you will find hiking paths.
Where there are hiking paths, there you will find panoramic views and landscapes.
Where there are panoramic views and landscapes, there you will find your inner peace.

Yes, Madeira and its mountains are an unforgettable experience you should not miss. Including hiking if possible. The more, the better 🙂 . While on Madeira, I highly recommend you to visit the Pico Arieiro Mountain of the island. Whereas Madeira has a variety of mountains and peeks, Pico Arieiro and Pico Ruivo are the most popular and also the highest ones of the island (you can even see them from the plane during landing or take off). And after you have visited them, you will definitely understand why.

So here is my experience concerning visiting the Pico Arieiro Mountain on the Madeira island:

  1. Decide on the duration of your trip to Pico Arieiro (I recommend a one day trip): We decided to organize a one day trip to Pico Arieiro and Pico Ruivo while on Madeira, and I must say it was a great decision, but you can definitely spend more time on these peaks if you want to. You can directly access Pico Arieiro with the car from anywhere on the island, which is situated at an altitude of about 1800 meters. From there on, you can choose several hiking paths, which will lead you to different peaks and ultimately to Pico Ruivo. The duration of the hike can vary depending on your wishes and your desires of course, but it can last at most up to 5-6 hours. Still, be careful: the hiking paths are partially secured, but they are from place to place quite steep and slippery and the weather is extremely windy, so you will need to have both a very good physical condition and no vertigo. The paths are marked yellow and red on the peaks with a high level of difficulty. There are also a lot of traveling companies that organize hiking trips to Pico Arieiro and Pico Ruivo with a guide, so if you feel more comfortable you can consider booking some of these trips.
  2. Rent a car for your trip to Pico Arieiro: While there are different buses or even traveling companies that organize trips to Pico Arieiro, I would definitely recommend to rent a car for your trip to the magnificent mountain. In this way, you can experience the whole trip at your own speed and pace. Still even if a bit more expensive, be sure to rent a good enough car with a good engine and with enough power-horses (I would recommend a BMW or a Mini), since the streets up to Pico Arieiro are quite steep and not everywhere in a perfect condition.
  3. Take the road via Curral das Freiras to Pico Arieiro while traveling from the south of the island there: There are a lot of paths you can take to reach Pico Arieiro with the car, still the best path is the road via Curral das Freiras to Pico Arieiro. The road is very well-maintained here as opposed to the other possible roads. We did not know this trick before, and we took another road, which was quite challenging to handle.
  4. Choose a hiking path to take while on Pico Arieiro (even if an easier one): While on Pico Arieiro do choose a hiking path to take even if it is easier than the others. You will not regret the unique panoramic views and beautiful landscapes. All hiking paths up on Pico Arieiro are marked as difficult paths, and you will definitely need a good equipment and profile shoes for taking them (do remember this). Still you do not have to take the ultimate path to Pico Ruivo for the first time, you can choose an intermediate path to the other peaks on the road, they will offer you a great view as well (and even if you will find it a bit difficult in the beginning, you will get used to the path after a couple of minutes). Still do decide to take these paths only if you have the necessary physical condition and equipment.
  5. Visit Curral das Freiras parish on your way to Pico Arieiro from the south of the island: Curral das Freiras is a parish in the vicinity of Pico Arieiro, it is a small village situated in the middle on the mountains isolated from the other communities, with an impressive history. There are stories saying that back in the days the nuns of the Covenant took here refuge during the attacks on Funchal. It is definitely an impressive place to visit.

Yes Pico Arieiro and Curral das Freiras definitely a must while on Madeira: just take a look at some of the flashes depicted in the pictures below. Till our next encounter concerning Madeira best attractions, wish you all the best 🙂 .
Sincerely yours,

Starting our hiking tour on one of the paths on Pico Arieiro. Even though there are a lot of visitors to Pico Arieiro, not a lot of them are to be found on the hiking paths.

This is the secured part of the hiking path, it does not last too long though.

Looking back on the hiking path to the first peak.

Reaching first peak on the hiking paths

Very windy up there indeed. Come prepared for windy weather 🙂 .

View on the Curral das Freiras Parish: really wonderful indeed.