How To Get To Pico Do Arieiro? (4 Ways With Pros And Cons)

Bus? Transfer? Tour? Taxi? Car?

PR1 From Pico Do Arieiro to Pico Ruivo +
PR1.2 From Pico Ruivo to Achada Do Teixeira

The most famous and stunning hike of Madeira Island, Portugal.

This article answers the question “How To Get To Pico Do Arieiro?”

Different languages, but everyone has the same question:

How to get to Pico Do Arieiro?
Wie gelange ich zum Pico Do Arieiro?
Comment se rendre à Pico Do Arieiro?
Como llegar a Pico Do Arieiro?
Jak se dostat do Pico Do Arieiro?
Hvordan kommer man til Pico Do Arieiro?
Hoe te bereiken Pico Do Arieiro?
Jak dostać się do Pico Do Arieiro?

There is absolutely no public transportation available, so…

How To Get To Pico Do Arieiro, Pico Ruivo And Back?

There are no buses or any public transportation that connects to either point of the hike. To do the PR1 Pico Do Arieiro to Pico Ruivo to Achada Do Teixeira hike the 4 options available are Pico Transfers, a rented car, a guided tour, or taxis. There are pros and cons to each option.

Also, facts you must know, weather conditions, facilities, camping and more.

  1. Pico Transfers
  2. Rented car
  3. Guided tour
  4. Taxi

1) Pico Transfers 

Pros:

  • You have the freedom to walk alone in your tempo or to join the other travelers that you meet in the transportation, it’s completely up to you.
  • It is the cheapest option in the market to do this hike wit the best value.
  • High availability since there are transfers available almost every day of the week, two times a day.
  • The only company on the island with the “transfers” concept.
  • Also, the only company offering the possibility of a sunrise.
  • Easy online booking (even last-minute) at any time of the day and WhatsApp instant support for any questions or doubts. 
  • Pick-up and drop-off in any part of Funchal and Caniço.
  • Almost 300 “5 Stars” reviews across all our channels.
  • The drivers will answer any question about the island, local food, restaurants, other hikes, bus schedules, recommendations, the lifestyle in Madeira, etc.
  • Flexible about weather conditions. Always trying to give the best experience possible, in case of bad weather, you will be asked what day you are leaving the island and you will be rescheduled to a better weather day. We use different resources and tools for the most precise weather information.
  • Extremely punctual with pick-up and drop-off times.
  • You don’t have to drive in Madeira challenging roads. Especially for sunrise, when it’s dark while you drive unknown roads.

Cons:

  • If you are a professional fast hiker, you will probably finish before the rest of the group and you will have to wait for the pick-up time arranged.
  • It is a transfer to a completely safe hike, 100% doable alone. If you are a tourist looking for a classic guided tour with a hiking-guide and a big group, this is not the option for you.
  • Pick-up and drop-off are not available outside Funchal or Caniço, you will have to go to Funchal city center by bus or car.

2) Rented Car

Pros:

  • You can go at any time of the day, without following a specific schedule.
  • Counting the renting costs and gas, it is the cheapest option if you are a group of 5 people or more.
  • You have 100% privacy during the drive and the hike.

Cons:

  • You can only do either the very hard hike (from Pico Do Arieiro to Pico Ruivo and back) or the very easy hike (from Achada Do Teixeira to Pico Ruivo and back).

    You are not able to do the full path (from Pico Do Arieiro to Pico Ruivo to Achada do Teixeira) because your car would be parked on the other side.
  • For some people, it’s scary to drive in Madeira roads with all the hills, narrow paths and steep curves. Especially for sunrise, it’s dark while you drive unknown roads.
  • Some rent-a-cars have very expensive full insurance and deposits. And in general, after the pandemic, the prices has raised a lot.

3) Guided Tour

Pros: 

  • Is the only option for tourist that prefers the company of a hiking guide.
  • The tours are offered in different languages, a good option if you are not fluent in English.
  • Pick-up/drop-off in further towns are offered for an extra charge.

Cons:

  • Short availability. Most companies offer this hike only 1 or 2 times a week. 
  • You have to follow the tempo of the guide and all the group, and make pauses when they choose to. 
  • Big buses with long pick-up/drop-offs times or they are not offered exactly at your accommodation but in a meeting point by area.

4) Taxi

Pros:

  • You can go at any time of the day, without following a specific schedule.
  • You have the same privacy during the hike as Pico Transfers or a rented car.

Cons:

  • It is the most expensive option. Around 50 € from Funchal to Pico Do Arieiro and around 70 € from Achada do Teixeira to Funchal.
  • It is easy to find a taxi in Funchal to take you to Pico Do Arieiro but you have to find and contact a taxi from Santana in advance and arrange a pick-up time.

    There are not available taxis waiting in Achada Do Teixeira.
  • Some taxi drivers are not fluent in English. Communicating can be difficult.
  • Most taxi drivers don’t use Google Maps. If they are not familiar with the address of your accommodation, they will ask you to call the reception to ask for indications and it might take them a little longer time. 

Now that we have answered the big question and offered full information for you to make a choice, let’s talk about other important points… 

Facts That You Must Know

The hike from Pico Do Arieiro to Pico Ruivo is the hard part that takes around 3:30 hours. The hike from Pico Ruivo to Achada Do Teixeira is an easy walk that takes around 1 hour. Meaning:

1. The complete path from Pico Do Arieiro to Pico Ruivo to Achada do Teixeira takes around 4:30 hours.

2. The hard roundtrip hike from Pico Do Arieiro to Pico Ruivo and back takes 6 to 7 hours.

3. The easy roundtrip hike from Achada Do Teixeira to Pico Ruivo and back takes around 2 hours.

The best views of the hike are from Pico Do Arieiro to Pico Ruivo. Meaning, if it gets foggy at the top, don’t get disappointed, you already saw the best on the way and reaching the top is more about the feeling than the views.

Also, if you are going to do the very easy and short hike from Achada Do Teixeira to Pico Ruivo and back, you won’t get the famous breathtaking views of the full hike. 

You shouldn’t do the hike only for the views, you should also enjoy hiking. Otherwise, it will feel like a high price to pay for views.

It is not an extreme hike like some people say. Don’t let these comments intimidate you. Many people +60 years old do this hike without a problem.

It’s recommendable to have a minimum of hiking experience, but there is no need of being a professional. 

You don’t need hiking boots or hiking poles. Of course, it helps, but as it was mentioned before, it is not an extreme hike.

How Are The Weather Conditions In Pico Do Arieiro – Pico Ruivo?

The temperature can vary a lot during the seasons and the conditions can be 100% different to the rest of the island for being the highest points. It can be as cold as -5°C in the wintertime and as hot as 30°C in the summer. With an average of 8°C to 16°C in the spring and autumn.

The most accurate forecast for the peaks is Meteo Blue. Which you can see in this link.

Also, keep in mind the following:

  • The weather forecast for Funchal is not the same as for Pico Do Arieiro. Sometimes is sunny and clear sky in Funchal and rainy, foggy and strong wind in the mountains.

    We recommend to download the app “Madeira Weather”, as there is a live camera available. 
  • Even with a forecast prediction, sometimes the weather changes completely in a few hours.
  • During winter the temperatures are between -5°C and 5°C, be prepared with thermo clothes, layers, gloves and a waterproof winter jacket.

    We can also have between 5 to 10 days of snow per year in the mountains, and the road will be closed by the forest police.
  • During summer the temperature can reach 30°C, be aware that on hot days it will be more tiring to do the hike.
  • Some days are with a clear sky but strong wind (50 kph or more), in this case, is not safe to do the hike due to the cliffs. We recommend to download the app “Windy” to measure before choosing a day to go.

Facilities

There are 3 facilities along this hike and you can find in them a café/snack bar, toilets, and WiFi.

  • At Pico Do Arieiro: opening hours from 9:00 until 19:00. Be aware that is not open at sunrise time. Toilet costs 0,50 € per person.
  • Almost at Pico Ruivo: opening hours from 9:00 until 17:00.
  • At Achada Do Teixeira: opening hours from 9:30 until 19:00. Toilet costs 0,50 € per person.

How To Get To Pico Ruivo?

To access the highest peak you must arrive walking. There is no car/road access. The absolute best way is from Pico do Arieiro (the 3rd highest mountain on the island). It’s also possible to arrive walking from Achada Do Teixeira (easy), Encumeada (medium-hard), and Ilha (very hard).

Camping At Pico Ruivo

It is possible to stay in a tent camping at Pico Ruivo. It’s a very different and amazing experience, especially for outdoors lovers.

It is not recommendable to do it in another season than summer (July, August, and September), due to the very low temperatures during the night (from -5ºC to 0ºC), strong wind, and the possibility of rain.

You will have to go to the tourism office located in Funchal City Center with your passport and ask for permission, they will give you a paper that you must keep during your stay in the mountains. This is required by law.

The specific address of the office is: “Funchal Tourism Office Praça Do Povo” (Google Maps).

You can rent or buy quality camping equipment in the store “Decathlon” (Google Maps).

If you are planning on camping in July, August, or September, you can book with us a “Morning Transfer” with which you will arrive in the morning, have time to hike to Pico Ruivo, set up, enjoy the sunset, and stay.

And also a “Sunrise Transfer” the next day with which we will pick you up around 12:30 pm at Achada do Teixeira after you have seen the sunrise at Pico Ruivo, pack up and walk down.

About The Hike

Pico Ruivo, with 1862 meters of altitude is the highest mountain in Madeira Island, it is also the third highest mountain in all Portugal.

The path from Pico Do Arieiro to Pico Ruivo, it’s very popular for being the path in Madeira with the most breathtaking views and weather diversity along the hike.

You will feel that you walk “above the clouds” and on the challenging path you will find a few tunnel walks and the famous “stairs to heaven”.

How Long Is Pico Do Arieiro – Pico Ruivo Hike?

From Pico Do Arieiro to Pico Ruivo there is 8,3 km of a medium-hard hike which is doable in around 3:30 hours. From Pico Ruivo to Achada Do Teixiera there is 2,7 km of an easy walk downhill which is doable in a little less than an hour. Being a total of 11 km and 4:30 hours.

What Is The Elevation In Pico Do Arieiro – Pico Ruivo Hike?

The start at Pico Do Arieiro is at 1810 meters above sea level. Going to a minimum of 1542 meters and up again to 1862 meters (Pico Ruivo). Then, you will go down again to 1582 meters (Achada Do Teixeira).

Is It Safe To Do The Hike Without Any Guide?

Yes, it is completely safe. You must be careful and use common sense but it is not dangerous to go without a guide for many reasons:

  • The trail is safe, well builded and there are clear big signs all the way.
  • There are hundreds of people doing this hike every day, you are not going to be alone.
  • Locals and travelers with rented cars do this hike every day without any guide.
  • You are going to meet more people during your transfer, that you can choose to share the hike with, is up to you.

How To Get From Achada Do Teixeira To Pico Do Arieiro?

There are yellow taxis in Achada do Teixeira, however, we strongly recommend to use our service instead to avoid the big parking problematic in Pico Do Arieiro. It will also save you a lot of time and hassle.

We can pick you and drop you at your door anywhere in Funchal or Caniço. Or we can arrange a pick-up point if you are coming from another area.

If you come by rented car from the WEST, we recommend the parking “Parque 2000” in Funchal (Google Maps), as it is the cheapest and most comfortable. We can pick you and drop you there.

If you come by rented car from the EAST, we recommend the free street parking at “Jardins do Garajau” (Google Maps). We can pick you and drop you there.

What Is The Best Sunrise Spot In Madeira Island?

Without a doubt, Pico Do Arieiro. The weather conditions can vary but is likely to be “above the clouds” due to the altitude of 1810 meters above sea level. This makes a spectacular scenery for a stunning sunrise. With a “Sunrise Transfer” with us, you can enjoy this before the hike to Pico Ruivo.

At What Time Is The Sunrise In Pico Do Arieiro?

The sunrise time changes during the year, being the earliest at 7:00 am and the latest at 8:20 am. With our “Sunrise Transfer” you will arrive 25 to 45 minutes earlier (depending on the temperature) to appreciate all the sunrise colors before the hike to Pico Ruivo.

You can find the specific sunrise time for any day at this link.

For amazing pictures follow us on Facebook and Instagram! @picotransfers

Need help? Text us :-)