The Pico do Facho hike is a great coastal trail on Madeira, starting in Machicho and reaching its halfway point at Ribeira Beach. This is a great hike for plane spotting due to its proximity to the airport. This lightly trafficked trail is highlighted by the viewpoint over Machico and the beautiful coastal views all the way to Sao Lourenco.
TOP 3 PLACES TO STAY IN MADEIRA
- Ultimate Luxury: Les Suites at Cliff Bay best location and view
- Best Value: Hotel Alto Lido – Funchal rooftop swimming pool under 100 Euros
- Budget Hostel in Funchal: Santa Maria Hostel is easily the top hostel in Funchal
PICO DO FACHO HIKE DETAILS
- Hike Distance: The total distance of my hike was 7.65km
- Hike Duration: The hike will take you about 2 hours.
- Hike Difficulty: This trail is a great one for all levels with no real dangers or drop-offs. There is a bit of a steady incline so you need to be in decent shape but it’s a moderate difficulty level.
- Hike Incline: Total incline for the hike was 455meters
- My Strava Map Upload: Pico do Facho
MY 3 FAVORITE TOURS IN MADEIRA
- Dolphin & Whale Watching: Take a cruise from Funchal to spot Dolphins, Whales and see amazing views of Madeira’s coastline.
- Hike Pico Arieiro to Pico Ruivo: Hike the most epic trail on the island with a qualified guide!
- Level 1 Canyoning Adventure: Rappel down waterfalls in this high-adrenaline experience.
HOW TO GET TO PICO DO FACHO HIKE
Pico do Facho hike begins in the upper neighborhood of Machico. It’s an out-and-back route, so you can park your car here and will return to the same spot. You can technically drive up to Pico do Facho and start there but it’s quite busy and not the suggested route. I will add the exact pin location for where to park and the trailhead.
BEST RENTAL CAR COMPANY ON MADEIRA
When you book your Madeira Rental Car online, I personally recommend and always use Discover Cars. They search for both local and international companies, so you get the best deal! MUST Read: Guide to Renting a Car on Madeira
MY EXPERIENCE HIKING THE PCIO DO FACHO TRAIL
With a spare afternoon, I searched around for a short hike near Santa Cruz, where I was based at the time. I had driven past Machico a million times and always seen the radio tower atop the hill behind Machico and assumed there was a viewpoint up there. Today was the day to find out.
I found the route as an out-and-back starting near Snack Bar Levada Nova. There are a few different routes including a circular journey but I was more interested to see the coastal views and not looping back via a suburban levada.
The hike begins on a paved road in the steep suburbs above the center of Machico. The reality is that you can drive all the way to the initial viewpoint. However, don’t be disheartened as the majority of the route is on a natural path and is lightly trafficked. You will enjoy a natural, peaceful vibe once you veer away from the viewpoint.
The trail begins with a 1-kilometer, uphill walk to the base of the Pico do Facho viewpoint. I noticed some climbers coming up the grassy slopes directly from Machico. This is the route that I traveled on for the Madeira Island Ultra Trail and it would be a much more natural route. However, you will add a few hundred meters of ascent to your route if you follow the trail running route of Machico. I decided to leave those steep pastures to the goats.
Once reaching the base of Pico do Facho, you can either climb up and check out the view or leave it for when you return as it is an out-and-back route. I decided to carry on towards Canical as the sun wasn’t out and I thought I’d try my luck for better weather conditions when I was back to this point in about an hour’s time.
Just at the base of Pico do Facho, you turn left down a muddy driveway. It eventually merges into a small hiking track that will lead you along the coastal slopes to Canical.
Starting with the muddy car tracks, the trail gets better and better the further you venture away from Pico do Facho. Views of Sao Lourenco are a constant in the backdrop or if you peer out over the ocean, you can spot Desertas Islands.
About halfway to Ribeira Beach, there is a rocky ridge leading directly out to the ocean. It’s not part of the trail but I decided to venture out to find a nice vantage point of the planes that pass right past the cliffs. This adds a bit of scrambling and ‘danger’ to the hike but is an unnecessary detour.
Undulating its way towards Ribeira Beach, I’m thoroughly enjoying the picturesque corners of the trail as the ocean provides a beautiful backdrop. The azure blues of the Atlantic contrast spectacularly against the lush greens of the slopes as they emerge from a wet winter. I think these goats enjoyed the view as well.
The trail continues all the way along Ribeira Beach to the museum on the other side. I decided to turn back here at the start of the beach as I wasn’t looking for a swim. It’s quite a nice beach and appeared very empty on the day I visited.
I made the journey back up the incline to reach Pico do Facho to finally explore the viewpoint, which is the focal point of this coastal hiking route. A road wraps around the viewpoint and allows you easy access via stairs. However, there is a scrambling route as well that begins near the road. It’s your choice.
Atop the peak, there is a natural side where you can look out over Machico towards the hills. On the front side, there are stairs, tables, coffee vendors, and a view of the ocean and passing planes. I hung out by myself on the backside watching the clouds dissipate as they gave me a glimpse of Pico Ruivo and Pico do Arieiro all the way up to the top of Madeira.
After enjoying the view, I made my way back down the paved road towards my car and wrapped up a solid afternoon of hiking along the southern coast of Madeira Island. I hope this was a helpful guide and review of the Pico do Facho to Ribeira Beach hike from Machico.
WONDERING ABOUT WHERE TO STAY ON MADEIRA?
Throughout my six months on Madeira Island, I stayed in multiple accommodations. My favorite regions to stay in were Funchal and Canico de Baixo. I’ve created several guides to help you find the right region for you and a great hotel or apartment.
- The ultimate guide: WHERE TO STAY ON MADEIRA: WHICH REGION IS RIGHT FOR YOU?
- If you want luxury: BEST 5-STAR LUXURY HOTELS ON MADEIRA ISLAND
- To feel at home: TOP 10 BOUTIQUE HOTELS ON MADEIRA ISLAND
- If you want to base in Funchal: WHERE TO STAY IN FUNCHAL: 15 TOP-RATED HOTELS
HAVE YOU READ MY OTHER MADEIRA BLOGS?
I spent six months exploring Madeira and the nearby island of Porto Santo. These are some of my most popular guides about the region that you may be interested in.
- My favorite hikes: 65 AWESOME HIKES ON MADEIRA
- My favorite levada walks: 25 BEAUTIFUL LEVADA WALKS ON MADEIRA
- The best waterfalls on the island: 25 EPIC WATERFALLS ON MADEIRA
- Guide to the best Accommodation: WHERE TO STAY ON MADEIRA
- Hardest hike: THE MADEIRA ISLAND ULTRA TRAIL IN 4 DAYS (115KM)
- Longest hike: CAMINHO REAL 23: MADEIRA’S ROYAL PATH (180KM)