The central mountain core of Madeira has several jagged ridges and pointed peaks, and although Pico Ruivo is the highest at 1862m, it is also a very easy mountain to climb. I have to admit to taking the easiest and shortest route due to time constraints, but there are several approach routes, the most dramatic being that from the car park at 1800m on Arieiro, whilst the most challenging is that from the top of the pass at Encumeada. The easy route begins with a drive from Santana to a car park at around 1500m at Terxeira. The nearby refreshment hut was closed in late October.
A good path leads westwards along an easy ridge which affords fine views towards the central ridge and down into heavily forested side valleys, though on the day that I did the walk I was above the clouds, so everything below was like a sea of cotton wool.
An undemanding and pleasant path leads in about 45 minutes to a mountain hut [drinks etc] known as Casa de Abrigo. At this point the route is joined by the more spectacular path from Arieiro, which follows an undulating, spiky ridge by means of either a narrow pathway protected by ropes, or a series of tunnels through the volcanic rock.
The steepest part of the climb is the final 20 minutes or so from the hut to the summit through an area of tree heathers. The summit itself has a spectacular view over much of the island, although it looks as though it has had a makeover by a team from a TV gardening programme, as the entire summit area is covered by timber decking.
Guidebooks to Madeira seem to be a little OTT regarding the dangers of mountain walking. Fair enough, but this is very easy compared to the average mountain in Scotland, with a paved path for 90% of the way and no technical difficulties. On a sunny day in late October a tee shirt, lightweight trousers and trainers were quite sufficient, but do take plenty of liquids and sun cream.
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.