Pico do Arieiro is a mountain on the island of Madeira, off the coast of Portugal. At 5,965 feet (1,818 meters), it’s the island’s third highest peak and one of its most popular tourist attractions, thanks to incredible views from the summit and challenging hiking trails.
Located in the center of Madeira, north of the capital Funchal, Pico Arieiro has been drawing visitors to its impressive summit for many years. Looking out over the surrounding landscape from the peak is a surreal experience, as the top of the mountain is often above cloud level. On a clear day, visitors can look down onto clouds dotted below and the blue sky above and even see all the way to the neighboring island of Porto Santo, some 30 miles (48 kilometers) away.
From the summit, a hiking trail extends into the surrounding hills toward Pico Ruivo, the island’s highest peak. It’s a challenging walk, but the panoramic views are spectacular, even if you only venture a short distance along the trail. Visitors can opt to explore Pico do Arieiro as part of a guided island tour combined with other popular sites. Many small-group tours travel by 4WD vehicle in this area.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Refreshments, bathrooms, and a souvenir shop are located at the summit.
- There is free parking at the summit.
- A chairlift is available to access the summit for those with limited mobility.
- Check weather conditions before you set out.
- Bring an extra layer or two, as the temperature can change rapidly at the summit.
- Wear suitable footwear if you’re planning to hike the trails, and take water and sunscreen with you.
How to Get There
Pico do Arieiro is around 30 minutes by car along route ER103 from Madeira’s capital, Funchal. The mountain road is very steep and winding; consider traveling with a guided group if you’re not experienced at driving in this type of terrain.
When to Get There
The summit is open daily, but the restaurant and shop may close on certain holidays. Try to set out early in the day if you’re planning to hike to ensure you have enough daylight to return.
A Wild Ride on the Monte Toboggan Run
For a one-of-a-kind Madeiran experience, hop on a wood-and-wicker sled for a thrilling ride—down paved streets, not pristine snow. Take the cable car from the capital Funchal up to the town of Monte and then step on board a sled (carro de cesto) for a quick zip back down the steep streets. Two experienced drivers ride behind the sled to steer you safely down the hill while you enjoy the ride.