Madeira: Traversing the mountain ridge - Vereda da encumeada

Route: Achada do Teixeira – Pico Ruivo – Encuemeada mountain pass

View to the southeast from the Pico Ruivo

Madeira is well known for its Levada-walking routes but the Island has lot to offer if you are looking for little bit more demanding hikes. The variety of the Islands nature is unique and the landscape can change from mars-like terrain to tropical forest during same hike. We hiked across the highest mountain ridge on the Island in January 2016.

Route specs

  • Distance: 13km
  • Duration: 6h
  • Start: Achado do Teixeira, parking lot
  • End: Encuemeada mountain pass
  • Level: Moderate
  • Peak altitude: 1862m, if you visit Pico Ruivo
  • Ascent: 755m
  • Descent: 1328m 

Map and route

You can find my GPS-tracks from the Movescount 

Disclaimer: Even though the weather in the cities can be good the weather up in the mountains can be very different, always pack up the essential gear to survive the whole day even if the weather gets worse. We did our hike in January and in the morning it was chilly on the Pico Ruivo but when descending the south side of the ridge it was warm.

How to get there:

There is no public transportation to the Achada do Teixeira but many of the tourist buses go there so you can either get one way bus ride to there or you can try to get a taxi ride up to the mountains. We wanted to leave early in the morning so we chose the Taxi-ride from Funchal to the Achada do Teixeira and it was around 60 euros, you can probably get a better deal but I recommend haggling the price before the ride and booking the ride a day before.

How to get back:

We had checked the timetable for the public bus ride back from the Encuemeada mountain pass to the Funchal which was around 5 euros per person. Remember to check the latest bus timetableThere is only couple busses per day so be sure to reserve enough time for the hike.


The hike from the Achado do Teixeira to the Pico Ruivo is paved

The hike starts with very easy terrain because the route from Achada do Teixeira to Pico Ruivo is very popular among tourist groups. Just head west on the paved path and soon you will arrive to intersection, to the left you find route to Pico do Ariero, the Madeira islands third highest peak and to the right is the route to the Encumeada and to the Pico do Ruivo. Right after the intersection is the Pico Ruivo hut that serves drinks and snacks. After the hut you find the path that leads to the peak of Pico Ruivo, the highest peak on the Madeira Island.

Enjoying the view to the whole Madeira Island


After visiting the Pico Ruivo we continued the trail heading to Encumeada mountain pass. The trail follows the mountain ridge and sometimes it goes on the dry and hot south side of the mountain range and sometimes on the moist and chilly north side. You can enjoy the views to the both sides of the Island and observe the clouds that form up and rush over the ridge.  

South side of the ridge is really warm and sunny

After reaching the junction of Boca das Torrinhas and climbing the last peak on the trail you start to descent to the Encumeada mountain pass. Now you can see the view to the west side of the Island and the solar / wind farm on the Paúl de Serra plateau. 

The north side of the ridge is rainforest-like and it can be chilly

My trusty traveling companions  Kopisto  &  Annamannaa  after finishing the hike

My trusty traveling companions Kopisto & Annamannaa after finishing the hike

When you reach the end of the hike head left and couple hundred meters down the road where you will find the bus stop for the bus and a small restaurant where you can enjoy a recovery beer