The easiest top in the world
It will not be too much of an exaggeration if Arieiro Peak the name of the easiest mountain in the world. The third highest peak of Madeira, which is 1818 m, can be reached by car. A very good-quality, comfortable, asphalt road leads to the top.
Someone will say: what is this peak that I don't have to climb for five hours? There is no satisfaction from it ...
For a moment I thought so too, but only until after reaching the top I got out of the car and looked around.
The peak is located in the very center of the island. It is a dividing point between three regions: Camara de Lobos, Santana and Funchal. It is like the center of gravity of the central massif. Only two peaks on the island are higher than it: Pico Ruivo (1861 m) and Peak of the Towers (1851 m). So it is easy to imagine that the views that can be seen from it are almost endless. Glancing around, I forgot almost immediately that I had gotten in here without any effort. I don't care anymore. I had a more important thing on my mind: absorbing the fantastic views.
With time, I began to treat the possibility of going to the very top by car as an advantage. I figured it would give you a unique opportunity (as long as you have a rental car at your disposal) to observe the sunrise and sunset from a really high peak. You don't have to walk half the night in the dark to reach the top before sunrise, and you don't have to go down in the dark after watching the sunset. You get in the car and after an hour you are at the top. This is the only occasion. I sincerely recommend!
Unfortunately, before I came up with this idea, there was so little time left to the end of our trip that we did not manage to implement it. However, I will fix this error on my next visit. For views like in the video below, it's probably worth it:
See the sunset as seen from Pico do Arieiro:
There are several structures at the top, the most characteristic being the spherical antenna of the Portuguese Air Force Radar Station No. 4. In addition to the military buildings, there is a tourist information center (Centro Freira da Madeira Dr. Rui Silva), a cafe, souvenir shops, toilets and of course a viewpoint.
Access and parking
As I mentioned earlier, the access to the summit takes a good quality asphalt road. The driver, however, has to do some work, because the road is periodically steep and winding: typical, tight, mountain serpentines. However, this is not a big problem, especially since most roads in Madeira look like this. By the time you drive to Pico do Arieiro, you will most likely be used to the constant steering and climbing.
It happens that in winter there is snow on the top! The access road can then be extremely dangerous.
Unfortunately, no public transport reaches here. There is no bus route or permanent connections. If you do not have a rental car, the only option to reach Pico do Arieiro is to book an organized tour. Some information about the available tours can be found further in the text.
Below are the geographic coordinates of the car park at the top. Just click on the link next to them, and the navigation on your phone will start automatically and the route will be set. It couldn't be easier.
Tourist parking at the top of Pico do Arieiro, GPS coordinates:
32.734766, -16.928712 - click and route
Organized trips to Pico do Arieiro
Most Pico do Arieiro tours start from Funchal or the immediate vicinity of Funchal. Some organizers drive up to the hotel to pick up participants, and others ask you to come to one of the permanent stops where they stop.
Tours are organized by several tourist offices, and you can check their current availability on the website that presents the offers of Pico do Arieiro tours from various offices in one place. By the way, you can easily compare the prices and scope of services within the trip.
Hiking trails from Pico do Arieiro
Finally, one more - I think - useful information. I think it starts at Pico do Arieiro the most beautiful mountain trail in Madeira. It is marked with a number PR1, is called Vereda to Areeiro and leads to the highest peak on the island: Pico Ruivo. About the trail itself I am writing more in a separate entry - [click], but by the way, I would like to suggest something for people who do not feel up to the whole trail.
Going along the PR1 routeA little less than a kilometer from Pico do Arieiro you will come across one of the most amazing viewpoints I know: Nest of the blanket. The part of the trail leading to it is not very strenuous (although there will be some stairs to climb) and it is mostly lined with flat, comfortable stones. The effort is not great and the impressions of Ninho da Manta are hard to describe. I recommend!
If you still have some strength after reaching Ninho da Manta, continue along the trail for another 200 meters. You hit on Pedro Rija amazing crossing of the ridge top! Crazy, beautiful and brilliant!
Pico do Arieiro - map
For better orientation, I attach a map showing the location of the parking lot at the top of Pico do Arieiro and the route to the Ninho da Manta and Pedra Rija viewpoints.
In addition, I marked one more viewpoint on the map: Miradouro do Junical, located about 400 m from the parking lot.
Madeira sightseeing itineraryThis entry is part of a complete one Madeira sightseeing plan - [click]. The guide contains plans, maps and descriptions of specific sightseeing routes.
To see all currently available descriptions of attractions in Madeira, click on the link: Madeira - [click].
Safe car rental guide: Madeira - car rental without deposit?
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