To the north of the island of Madeira you will find what is sure to be one of your favorite routes. A 12km route with little slope which does not require much effort in Exchange for views and encounters that will make it all worthwhile. The only jungle in Europe, in this case you can cross laurisilvas effortlessly and will reward you in the end with a 300m waterfall
This walk runs between Carvoeiro and Benagil. It is a nice hiking trail that takes in the cliffs of the area and a number of beautiful beaches such as Praia do Vale de Centeanes. I didn't finish the route because I didn't have suitable shoes and I missed some signs and information along the way. I would return one day to do the entire route.
This paved pedestrian path runs parallel to the road in the direction of the reservoir, running from the new town of Miranda to the Environmental Tourist Interpretation Centre. It's been christened "O Douro pés seus" (the Duero at his feet) as it goes along the top of the del Duero canyon, with an excellent viewpoint of the PN of Arribas and reservoir. Along the route there are benches to sit, and even some gymnastics equipment for exercise. It's not a problematic road, but it's very steep (from the town is downhill, but the return is more difficult...)
The island of Sao Miguel is full of green spaces and natural areas to explore. The path to Lagoa do Congro is one of the most amazing places to visit, due to the concentration of native flora you can find here. A few kilometres from Lagoa do Fogo and the Lombadas Valley Nature Reserve lies a crater forming a lagoon. It's a great contrast to the towering volcanic cones surrounding it. The vegetation is so dense here the sun can't get through. An imposing forest of cedars, pines and eucalyptus welcomes anyone who wants to delve into the lagoon. Along the way you will find other species like laurel leaves, that leave a blanket of orange leaves along the paths you'll travel. The trail, unlike other lakes on the island goes downhill as it is not within a volcanic cone but the earth was absorbed due to seismic and volcanic phenomena. The journey takes about 30-40 minutes. Once you get to the lagoon you can follow different paths that surround it. It really is stunning to see how the sky suddenly opens up at the only place in the area where the sun gets through. That place is none other than Lagoa do Congro.
Portimao is a town with lots of beaches and is a good choice for horse riding or a walk along the cliffs. We started our walk from Churrasqueria da Rocha to the southeastern part of the Praia da Rocha. You can choose between the walkway to the beach or the trail along the beach, we opted for the latter in order to see the whole bird's eye view of the coast: The Praia dos Tres Castelos, the Praia do Amado, Careanos Two, the Praia do Vau and finally, Three Irmaos Alvor. The trail is sandy, obviously and somewhat dangerous. Sometimes you have to take a detour because of private property but it's worth it because the views are breathtaking. We arrived at Praia do Vau and we had to finish the rest of the route the next day because, being December, at half past five it is night.
If there's a route that perfectly summarizes the mountainous landscapes of Madeira island like no other, it's definitely the one that connects the peaks and Ruivo Arieiro in Sendera known as PR.1. Like almost all the routes on the island, it's well-marked and mapped out, while presenting the unevenness (which is a real leg-buster) of more than 800 vertical meters). The length of the return path is 7 hours and it's not an easy task by any means. Many people start the trail early in the morning (around 8 a.m.) and the trip back doesn't happen until later in the afternoon. Now, the effort is well worth it, even if you only do a part of the trail. For example, you can walk from the exit at Pico Arieiro to the first (45'') or second viewpoints (1 hour 30'') and enjoy the scenery and the environment without killing yourself on the way up.
If there is a place that can certify the volcanic origin of Madeira it is the impressive volcanic peaks. Steep and abrupt, their tops dominate much of the island, with green slopes that descend abruptly into the sea. The climb to Pico Ruivo, the highest point of the island, is via a comfortable trail starting from the parking in Achada do Teixeira, near Santana village. The route is in very good condition and really doesn't even need special shoes or anything, just start walking and enjoy the scenery that can be admired along the way (an hour and a half one-way, and an elevation of about 300 m). Once at the top, you can enjoy views above the clouds from its two balconies, one facing the north coast of Madeira and the other overlooking the Pico do Arieiro.
The Levada are rock channels from the XV century and were made with slave labor and convicts that were brought to the island of Madeira. These channels distribute water from the highlands to the banana plantations, vineyards and other crops in the south of the island and that currently serve as paths and guides to explore the island accompanied by the flowing water. To reach the Levada you must drive through the lands of Paul da Serra and stop the car in the Rabacal turning. A walking route starts here, the first 2 miles are down a narrow asphalt road (although there is a small bus that travels this stretch continuously). Once at Rabacal (a picnic and barbecue area) follow the signs to the trail ridge Levada. This path journeys beside one of these Levada and comes to the Risco waterfall, which also has views of the river valley that feeds the waterfall. Then back down the same road and you're halfway to another Levada, the 25 Fontes, you can choose between returning to the starting point and you dare make that Levada. Around Rabacal once reached you can do the walk (2 miles up) or on the bus.
One of the few corners of the island of Maidera that doesn't feature tropical greenery all year is at the incredible cliffs of Punta de São Lourenço. The winds are very strong in this area, so be sure to hold your hat tightly. It is away from the main part of the island, so in the summer in can look a bit dry and barren. This does not detract from the charm of this route, marked PR-8, with a length of 4 kilometers (one way) and not too uneven, barring the last meters of the route. The route is perfectly designed and signposted (much of the route has guardrails), so there is nothing to fear from the cliffs that open on both sides of the path in the middle of the tour, which coincides with the area closer to the peninsula. Here, you can see incredible volcanic pyramids. As I said, the path is not too uneven, except in the final stretch of the route, which ascends a small hill to see the most amazing view of the route, and one that will remain in the retina of Maidera: the view of the lighthouse Deserted island. A succession of cliff after cliff, crowned at the end of the automated lighthouse Desertas Islands.
In the northwest of the island of Sao Miguel is the small village of Joao Bom. An ideal place to leave the car and start a trek to the coastal areas or to a vibrant interior. From Joao Bom there are some hiking trails that are worth considering. Heading west we can get to the town of Mosteiros with its stunning volcanic islets. On the contrary, if we go east, we reach the Laguna de Sete Cidades a route that takes us up to contemplate the beautiful scenery of the numerous volcanoes in the area. Here you can find a map right next to the road with signs which show the routes and the difficulty of them. Joao Bom offers the perfect opportunity to enjoy a day outdoors, doing some exercise, in the incomparable setting of the "Green Island" called Sao Miguel.
Although the entry sign to the inferno calderao route indicates "no trespassing" we ignore it... we know that the route is very exposed and we are careful. If you do not suffer from vertigo no problem ... the route this unprotected but I must say that is the most beautiful route in Madeira for hikers ... the route starts from the queimada house a few miles from Santana. First you go to Green calderao and from there to calderao do inferno 5 or 6 hours altogether ...amazing!!