Lagoa do fogo

An inspiring guide with all the information you need to explore some of the most amazing hikes in Portugal


If you’re an avid hiker, you’re guaranteed to have a great time in Portugal. The country is one of the most hiker-friendly countries in Europe and thousands of people visit each year just to hike its beautiful lands.

On the mainland, Portugal offers many incredible places to hike. Located next to the border of Spain, Peneda-Gerês National Park is known for having some of the most stunning hiking trails in the country and is a must-visit destination for adventure-lovers.

Portugal also has beautiful hiking-potential on islands like Madeira, Sao Miguel and the rest of the Azores. While Madeira has a rougher terrain, Sao Miguel is known for easier-going landscapes.

For the more experienced, hiking in Madeira is not to be passed up. For beginner hikers, Sao Miguel could be the perfect option.

Either way, both islands guarantee to stun visitors and you will love the hiking experience!

To give some inspiration on where to go hiking in Portugal, I’ve gathered some of the best trails in the country, including:

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7 Amazing Hiking Trails in Portugal

Along the Vereda do Arieero Portugal hiking trails
The Top of the Pico Ruivo Trail, Madeira

Pico Ruivo Hiking Trail (PR 1, Madeira)

  • Starting Point: Pico Arieiro Belvedere
  • End Point: Pico Ruivo
  • Distance: 14 km
  • Time: 8 hours
  • Difficulty: Intermediate/hard

Vereda do Arieero is probably the most well-known hiking trail in Madeira. It’s also considered to be one of the most dangerous due to frequent rockslides – proper preparation is important!

This hike to the top of the island of Madeira starts at the Pico Arieiro Viewpoint, which is easily reached. From there, you follow the paved pathway all the way to the island’s highest peak.

It’s good to note that this pathway is not secure and can be quite slippery in the mornings – be cautious.

Mountain views across the Pico Ruivo hiking trails in Portugal
Awesome mountain views

The first stop along the way is the Miradouro do Ninho da Manta. From this viewpoint, you can observe the northern mountain range and the captivating third highest peak in Madeira: Pico Arieiro.

This place is also home to lots of buzzards and is a protected area. It’s an absolute must to look after the landscape and keep it clean from any pollution!

After the stop at Miradouro do Ninho da Manta, follow the path and navigate the many stairways and tunnels.

All of these lead to Pico das Torres, Madeira’s most dangerous and hostile peak. It’s been closed for climbing because of rockslides and injuries to avid hikers. Be very careful when hiking through as there are often falling rocks.

Passing through Pico das Torres is the most high-raising part of the trail, but once it is passed you can enjoy some jaw-dropping views across the heavenly island of Madeira.

Eventually, you reach the final part of the trail which takes you to the summit. It takes around 30 minutes and is absolutely worth every step to Pico Ruivo.

Once ready to go home, climb back the same way.

If you’re not sure what to take with you, this resource on hiking essentials has all the info you’ll need.


Levada das 25 Fontes Waterfalls, Madeira
Along the Levada das 25 Fontes, you’ll find some of the most scenic waterfalls in Portugal

Levada das 25 Fontes Hiking Trail (PR 6, Madeira)

  • Starting Point: Rabaçal (ER105)
  • End Point: Lagoa do Vento
  • Distance: 10 km
  • Time: 6 hours
  • Difficulty: Intermediate

If you are looking for a trail to take your breath away, you should definitely hike the Levada das 25 Fontes! It’s in the central-western part of Madeira and is one of the longest trails on the island.

The Levada das 25 Fontes follows old irrigation systems, called levadas. They were built between the 15th and 16th century so fresh water could be brought to the southern parts of the island.

The trailhead is in the valley of Rabaçal on road ER105. From the parking near the road, the hiking trail starts with a nice descent to the Rabaçal café. This little café is set in the middle of the lush Laurisilva forest that surrounds the area and is a blissful place to stop.

Near the cafe, you’ll also see hiking maps and directions for which trails to take. There are two options: first go to 25 Fontes Falls or to Risco waterfall, the highest waterfall on the island.

The best way is to visit the 25 Fontes Falls first. It’s a secluded waterfall in a beautiful cave and truly one of the most serene waterfalls on the island (absolutely worth the long hike!).

From 25 Fontes Falls, follow the signs to Risco waterfall (2 hours at a comfortable pace). Eventually, by following the levadas, you arrive at the majestic Risco waterfall, standing 100 meters tall.

While there, there’s an option to climb over the waterfall by following along to Lagoa do Vento. It takes approximately half an hour to climb but the path is steep and slippery so be prepared with the right hiking boots.

Nevertheless, once at the top, you can gaze over the whole Rabaçal valley. It is absolutely enchanting.

Once done exploring, follow the signs to get back to the Rabaçal parking lot, where the hiking trails starts and ends.


Ponta de Sao Lourenco trail, Madeira hiking
Ponta de Sao Lourenco, one of the best hiking trails in Portugal for coastal views

Ponta de Sao Lourenco Hiking Trail (PR 8, Madeira)

  • Starting Point: Baía d’Abra
  • End Point: Casa do Sardinha
  • Distance: 6 km
  • Time: 3 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate

This route explores the eastern part of Madeira and its awesome scenery. If you’re a nature lover that likes to admire the roughness of environments, this is the one for you.

The hiking trail of Sao Lourenco starts from the nearest parking lot and follows a pretty well-maintained trail. Along the way, you’ll find a couple of beaches too, including the Sao Lourenco beach, which is easily reached.

Your route will take you to many inspiring viewpoints, among which the most impressive ones are Ponto de Vista and Ponta do Castelo. On a clear day, you can see nearby Porto Santo, Cevada Island the Desert Islands!

Eventually, you end up at the Morro do Furado, the last stop on the hiking trail and also called the “End of the World” due to its vastness and harsh nature.

To finish the trail, come back along the same route.


Lagoa Verde and Lagoa Azul on Sete Cididades hike in Sao Miguel
See emerald lakes formed in natural craters along the Sete Cidades hike

Sete Cidades Hiking Trail (Sao Miguel, Azores)

  • Starting Point: Parking lot of Lagoa do Canário
  • End Point: Sete Cidade parish (Church São Nicolau)
  • Distance: 11 km
  • Time: 3 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate

The Sete Cidades hiking trail is located on Europe’s most beautiful islands: the Azores. And, though it’s a small collection of islands, they’re home to some of best hiking in Portugal. This trail is the perfect way to unwind and embrace nature.

It starts near the Canary Lake parking lot in Sao Miguel island and follows the pathway to Pico da Cruz, a nearby peak. From here you’ll find jaw-dropping panoramas over the whole island of Sao Miguel.

Towards the end of the trail are some of the biggest natural craters in Sao Miguel: Lagoa Verde and Lagoa Azul.

These craters have formed vast natural lakes which are beautiful and hotspots for many tourists coming to the island. After passing through the famous lakes of Sao Miguel island, you finish at the parish of Cede Cidades.


Lagoa do Fogo, one of the best walks in Portugal
Lagoa do Fogo in all its glory

Lagoa do Fogo Hiking Trail (Sao Miguel, Azores)

  • Starting Point: Pico
  • End Point: Lagoa do Fogo Beach
  • Distance: 11 km
  • Time: 3 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate

This trail to Lagoa do Fogo, or the Fire lake, is one of most famous hiking trails in Sao Miguel and a must-visit natural landmark.

The relatively easy route starts close to an abandoned factory above the city of Agua De Alto, which the locals call Pico. From there, follow the trail signs that go up the hill.

To navigate, it’s easiest to follow the irrigation channel (levada) going up the hill to reach the valley of Ribeira da Praia.

This point gives clear views over the city of Villa Franca do Campo and its islet. It’s also where you can descend to the beach of Lagoa do Fogo.

WARNING: the path crosses areas with breeding seagull colonies. They are protective of their chicks and can become aggressive during the months of April and May!


The Salto do Prego trail takes you to this stunning waterfalls
The Salto do Prego trail takes you to this stunning waterfall

Salto do Prego Hiking Trail (Sao Miguel, Azores)

  • Starting Point: Faial da Terra bus stop
  • End Point: Salto do Prego
  • Distance: 4.5 km
  • Time: 2 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Salto do Prego is Sao Miguel’s most beautiful waterfall and you’d be crazy to miss it. It’s located near the small parish of Faial da Terra in the southeastern part of the island.

The trail starts at the last bus stop from Faial da Terra. You embark on a muddy section passing through abandoned houses, then follow to a small spring surrounded by lush Laurisilva forest.

Eventually, you come to a very steep stairway to descend to the waterfall. It’s good to be prepared, especially if you are afraid of heights. Once at Salto do Prego, enjoy the serenity!


Hikes in Peneda-Geres National Park
Views from hiking in Peneda-Geres National Park

Trilho dos Currais Hiking Trail (PR 3 mainland Portugal)

  • Starting Point: Vidoeiro village camping
  • End Point: Miradouro da Pedra Bela
  • Distance: 10 km
  • Time: 5 hours
  • Difficulty: Intermediate

One of the best hikes in mainland Portugal is the Trilho dos Currais. It’s situated in Portugal’s only national park, Peneda-Gerês National Park, close to the Spanish border in the North.

The path leads to the top of the mountain, overlooks the village of Geres and is considered to be one of the most beautiful vistas in the country.

Trilho dos Currais starts at the Vidoeiro village camping ground and follows the road surrounded by tall pine trees.

It’s all very well signposted and it takes you through a lush pine forest all the way to the very top. The Miradouro da Pedra Bela viewpoint at the end of the trail overlooks the beautiful city of Geres. Portuguese hiking at its finest!

You can also opt to extend the trail by going to the Cascata do Arado, a chain of waterfalls known for their crystal clear ponds.

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The Best Hikes in Portugal: 7 Epic options (Madeira, Mainland & Azores!)

A guest post by Alex from EarthOSea

Alex has extensively travelled around Europe for the past 3 years. She has lived in Portugal through 2019 and become very familiar with the Portuguese culture, traditions and language.

Alex’s speciality is travelling sustainably and causing less harm to the environment. Her blog also focuses on budget travel and hiking.

She is most at home hiking and discovering uncharted islands but also loves staying at the beach with a book in hand.

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One Comment

  1. I love this! Thank you. My dream is to travel all over Europe. I will definitely bookmark your page for when I make all my travel plans.

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