The Pico do Concelho hike on Porto Santo Island is a steep climb up an undefined trail, which rewards hikers with epic views along the east coast of the island. It’s a perfect hike for sunrise and I can all but guarantee you will be up there alone as the sun creeps over the horizon to announce a new day.
PICO DO CONCELHO HIKE DETAILS
- Hike Distance: The total distance of the hike was 3.2 kilometers.
- Hike Duration: The hike will take you about 1.5 hours of moving time and then of course 30-60 minutes at the summit enjoying the sunrise. Therefore I would bargain to spend 2.5 hours on this adventure.
- Hike Difficulty: This is an unofficial trail. Very unofficial. Normally once I reach the summit I can identify a better path down than when I came up but this was not the case at Pico do Concelho. We literally just scrambled straight up the side of the road and that’s how we went down. It wasn’t pretty but I felt it was fairly safe if you went slow. It’s gravel and rocky and quite slippery so can be tough to handle. This is really for those who love a bit of adventure. It’s also straight-up a brutally steep hill, which is a rough way to wake up! I found it quite safe with no big drop-offs but it was definitely an ‘off-beat’ adventure to say the least.
- Hike Incline: Total incline for the hike was 322 meters.
- My Strava Map Upload: Pico do Concelho Hike
HOW TO GET TO THE PICO DO CONCELHO HIKE
I wish I could give you a perfect starting point but I can’t. Although there were a few random trails near the lower area of the hill, none of them went all the way to the summit. I parked in the Porto dos Frades parking lot and then basically went straight up the hill toward the summit. I’ll add the pin location for the parking lot below and then you can view the map I linked to above if you are interested in what route we took up.
MY EXPERIENCE ON THE PICO DO CONCELHO HIKE
This morning was all about steep climbs. I first had to ride my bike from Vila Baleira, up and over the windmills at Portela Viewpoint, and then down to Porto dos Frades. We locked up in the parking lot and decided to just head straight up the hill. There seemed to be no clear trail and in the darkness of dawn, we didn’t have much choice.
If you are trying to do this hike for sunrise, I would leave about an hour before the sun will rise. It took me 40 minutes to reach the pillar at the summit and we went pretty quick so we had a few spare minutes before the sun came up.
So, the climb up is a bit interesting. There was no clear route so we took a direct line to the top more or less. However, there are a few channels that have been eroded in the rocky surface so you can’t cross those. The big one is near the house by the coast but there are a couple of others. You will see them when you arrive. Basically, you just pick a route to the top and try and come around the left side of the mountain when you are looking towards the hill from the parking lot. The access from the left side is much easier in the final moments. This photo was obviously taken on the way back down when it was light enough to see.
Once you reach the first little summit, it is just a short walk along the ridge to the coastal viewpoint of Pico do Concelho. We arrived at the final viewpoint just before the sun was about to rise. The clouds were playing havoc, as they so often are on Porto Santo, which made it difficult for the sun to breakthrough. However, the cloud cover did produce some pretty amazing light rays as they shot through the thick layer of clouds over the ocean.
The views from the top are actually pretty epic. On the left, you look down the coast to the north and can see directly to Pico Branco and Terra Chã. To the right, you can see all the way to Pico de Baixo and the small island in the distance called Ilhéu de Cima. Below, you have a great view of the incredible Porto dos Frades tidal pools, which are a great spot for snorkeling. I think the best part about the view was just how wild and free it felt. There was zero chance of another hiker coming up to join us and we felt on top of the island, all by ourselves.
The walk back down was pretty tricky due to the slippery gravel. We basically took the same route down as you can see on the map I linked above. The idea is to take it slowly and not rush down and you should be fine apart from the occasional small slip. The total moving time for the hike was just over an hour but we hung out at the summit for over an hour so we ended up spending almost three hours on our adventure.
I hope you enjoyed this guide about the Pico do Concelho hike on Porto Santo Island.
WHERE TO STAY ON PORTO SANTO
There are a lot of options on Porto Santo Island from big all-inclusive hotels to small Airbnb apartments. I’ve written a huge post about all of the best options when it comes to Porto Santo and you can check it out here: WHERE TO STAY ON PORTO SANTO ISLAND: 11 BEST RESORTS AND HOTELS
I stayed for five days at Vila Baleira Resort and five days at Hotel Porto Santo & Spa but also heard and saw great things about Pestana Porto Santo Beach Resort & Spa. Here’s a quick glimpse at those three, beautiful beachside accommodations.
VILA BALEIRA RESORT
Vila Baleira Porto Santo (Luxury & All-inclusive): THIS IS WHERE I STAYED! Vila Baleira is a 4-star resort situated right on the golden sand beach of Porto Santo. The rooms are on one side of the road and the restaurant and pool area are directly next to the beach. I had the all-inclusive package, which meant we got a wristband when we arrived and then had buffet breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well as unlimited coffee and alcohol all day, every day.
Click here to check the best current rates and availability of Vila Baleira Porto Santo.
Pestana Porto Santo Beach Resort & Spa (Luxury): This is a 5-star resort on Porto Santo Island and it is by the largest hotel group in Portugal. The moment you step in the resort you’ll be rewarded with a blissful setting and its world-class amenities. I would’ve liked to stay here and from everything, I heard while on the island, it is a pretty awesome place to stay. It’s the top pick for a hotel on Porto Santo Island if you want luxury!
Click here to check the best current rates and availability of Pestana Porto Santo Beach Resort & Spa.
Hotel Porto Santo & Spa (Luxury): THIS IS WHERE I STAYED! Another classy, 4-star resort is Hotel Porto Santo & Spa where I stayed for my second 5-day period on my 10-day trip to Porto Santo Island. I’d happily recommend this Porto Santo hotel for couples and those looking for beachfront luxury with a very relaxing atmosphere. On top of that, the spa has a Turkish bath, a heated pool, massage rooms, relaxation spots, hot sand therapy, and more. Not to mention the restaurant serves fresh local dishes.
Click here to check the best current rates and availability of Hotel Porto Santo & Spa.