Madeira Mountains

Descending Pico do Arieiro

We had a wonderful day of hiking today.  We drove north from Funchal toward the highest point on the island.  After climbing up roughly 1800 meters in the Smart car, we arrived at a weather station and gift shop on the top of Pico do Arieiro.  That’s where we started the hike.  

What a view! At the weather station, we were above the clouds amongst sharp green peaks and pinnacles.  The trail was a well-maintained rock path with small railings.  It weaved up and down stairs, around mountains and through tunnels.  Our plan was to hike from Pico do Arieiro to Pico Ruivo (the highest mountain on the island).  Unfortunately, with only about 1 km  left, we had to turn around because the trail to Pico Ruivo was closed.  We ventured a bit past the trail closure sign but we decided to turn around when we saw a section of the trail missing.  It was a beautiful hike nevertheless. 

After climbing thousands of stairs during the hike, we decided to take it easy and visit a small town on the outskirts of Funchal called Monte.  We visited a few beautiful botanical gardens filled with ferns and trees.  Flowering bushes and vines decorated walls and fences but you could tell that there are likely more flowers and leaves during the spring and summer seasons. 

We finished off the day with a meal at a quirky little restaurant.  The meal was nothing to write home about but it was nice to have something other than a sandwich (we’ve been eating on the go since we left).

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