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Showing posts from January, 2017

25 Fontes and Risco waterfall hike

25 Waterfalls and Risco waterfall hikes have the same starting point. After about 1 km the trail splits into two. We went first to see the 25 waterfalls and then also Risco waterfall. It was good that we started quite early in the morning. Later the organized tour groups arrived and it got quite crowded. The problem is that the trail is narrow and it is quite annoying if you need to let the whole group pass. The trail that goes to Risco waterfall is wider so there's no problem there but 25 waterfalls hike is better with less people around.

We parked our car to the parking lot and then descended along the road until the beginning of the hike. When you get to the levada (water channel) then the surface is pretty much flat. Later you of course need to go back up again. In general I would still consider it quite easy hike. Doing both hikes took us in total about 3 hours (starting and ending at the parking lot).

Details are available here:…

Madeira. Hiking from Pico do Arieiro to Pico Ruivo and back

Pico do Arieiro is the third highest peak of Madeira (1818 m) and Pico Ruivo is the highest peak (1862 m). The hike from one peak to another is considered to be the most spectacular hike of Madeira and I completely agree with this statement.

Because we parked our car to the parking lot at Pico do Arieiro, we had to do the hike both ways. In total it took us about 5.5 hours. It is quite demanding hike because half the way you go down and then you have to go up the other half of the hike.

There are some parts where the path is ruined by the forest fires so you really have to watch where you step. I wouldn't recommend to go on this hike when it's raining or has just rained because the trail can be quite slippery and you don't want to fall there.

If you don't want to do the hike then you should still go to Pico do Arieiro. It is accessible by transport and the views from there are stunning. There is a small souvenir shop and a cafe.

It was quite cold on the peaks. The tem…

Madeira. Curral das Freiras hike

Curral das Freiras is translated into English as Valley of Nuns. It is quite close to Funchal and you can get there by tour bus or go by car.

There is very nice view platform in Eira do Serrado which offers panoramic views over the valley. So even if you don't want to hike, it is still worth going. Hiking trail that starts next to the view platform takes you down to the valley. It's pretty much going down the whole way. But if you then want to get back to your starting point, it is going up the whole way.

We arrived there quite late in the afternoon. We didn't want to finish in the dark and decided to go half-way down and then back up. There is a picnic spot in the middle of the hike and that we picked as our destination and point to turn around.

The hike description is available here:

Viewpoint information is here:

The history of the valley and why is it…

Madeira. Funchal

Funchal is the main city of Madeira and it has quite a lot to offer. The coast is very touristy but if you go a little bit inland then this is where the locals live. The city center is very lively with lots of restaurants, bars and hotels. In the beginning of January all the Christmas decorations were still out and it was a little bit weird to see Christmas displays in a tropical climate.

In city center everything is in the walking distance. From the main resort area you can walk to the city center in about 20 minutes. Many view platforms, botanical garden and tropical garden are quite far from the city center so you need a transport. The bus network is very good, there are also cable cars going to the gardens. Driving  in Funchal can be quite challenging. There are lots of very narrow and steep streets. We mostly got around on foot, used the cable car to get to Monte (area where tropical garden is) and only took a rental car in the end of our stay in Funchal and then we drove to Pic…

Week in Madeira

Madeira has been in my bucket list for a long time. When I saw that Easyjet starts to operate direct flights between Basel and Madeira, I didn't think long. January seemed also to be a nice time to visit because it's relatively warm but not the high season for tourists.

We stayed in Madeira for a week but actually didn't manage to see the whole island. You can easily spend there 2 weeks without getting bored. Madeira is an island that has something to offer for everyone - lazy beach vacation, museum and culture vacation, active vacation in the nature. We were mostly focused on the last one. And it really is a hiker's paradise. I will write about each hike we did a separate post.
Half the time we had an accommodation in Funchal and the other half we stayed in Sao Vicente. Distances are not long but often the roads need to climb over the mountains and therefore the speed limits are quite slow. There are some high ways but they don't go everywhere. The North-East coa…