The Vereda do Larano is an awesome hike on Madeira that follows a cliff-side trail along the eastern side of the island. You can enjoy the huge drop-off to the ocean below all from the safety of a well-maintained trail on the side of the mountain. The hike is 13 kilometers one way from Caniçal to Porto da Cruz with only a little bit of incline so it’s great for families or casual hikers.
VEREDA DO LARANO HIKE DETAILS
Hike Distance: The total distance of the hike was 13 kilometers from point to point.
Hike Duration: The hike will take you about 4 hours from start to finish.
Hike Difficulty: The first 5-kilometers of the hike is a basic levada with no difficulties to report. The middle 5-kilometers is along the cliff-side trail. Some websites reported this as ‘dangerous’ due to no railing in some parts but there’s always a wide trail and you never have to be close to the edge. I thought it was possible to stay well away from any drop-offs and would say that calling it dangerous would be inaccurate. The path is quite well maintained and with only a few hills, I thought this hike would be good for the average hiker.
Hike Incline: Total incline for the hike was 241 meters
My Strava Map Upload: Vereda do Larano
HOW TO GET TO THE VEREDA DO LARANO HIKE
The hike is a point to point trail. This means it is 13 kilometers in one direction. Therefore, you can do it in either direction. I did this hike several times and prefer to get the 5-kilometer levada section out of the way first and then enjoy finishing up in Porto da Cruz for a bite to eat rather than finishing in a random neighborhood of Machico (where you begin). You will need a second car or what we did was to call an Uber once we arrived in Porto da Cruz and it was just 12-kilometers back to the car on the roads so the Uber cost just 10 Euros.
On the map below, I’ve pinned the exact trailhead for the Vereda do Larano hike if you are planning to hike from the Machico side first. You can find some limited parking in the neighborhood where the trailhead is found. The trail begins near the old tunnel, which connects Machico to Caniçal. This path was the connecter from Machico to Porto da Cruz for many years throughout history and was used frequently by locals to travel between the two towns.
MY EXPERIENCE ON THE VEREDA DO LARANO HIKE
Madeira has lots of incredible hikes but I didn’t quite expect a coastal trail like this. Following the trail along the cliffside had me thinking back to my days in Hawaii. The great part about this hike is that you get to enjoy incredible coastal views from the side of the cliff for many kilometers but the trail is quite safe with a wide path so it’s not a dangerous trek for the views.
As I mentioned earlier, it’s a point to point hike which most people begin at the tunnel on the Machico side. We parked the car in the neighborhood and found the small entrance to the levada next to one of the local houses. There was no huge sign but it’s accurately depicted on all maps.
The first five kilometers of this hike are quite simple as you follow the Levada do Caniçal to Boca do Risco. Don’t judge this hike on how it starts but judge it on the coastal section of the trail. You begin with pretty average views as you wind through some of the upper parts of Machico. You’ll pass by many rural homes and can see how many locals still farm their own vegetables and tend to their land. I always enjoy seeing what the locals are growing in areas like this.
The trail deviates only once from the levada and that is when you see a sign on your right-hand side for Boca do Risco. Make sure to take this right-hand turn up the slight hill.
The final moments of the walk through the hills are quite interesting because you are passing through farms and dense vegetation. The strange part is that you are only a few hundred meters from the ocean but cannot see it, hear it, or even imagine it is nearby. So after five kilometers on this trail, when you see the Vereda do Larano sign, it is quite a beautiful surprise to arrive at the cliff-edge with coastal views.
From this point on you are following the cliff-side trail all the way along the coast down to Porto da Cruz. It’s the highlight of the hike and one of the most amazing sections of coastal trail on Madeira Island. Before you set off on the trail, take some time to enjoy the viewpoints at this T-intersection. It’s a great spot for a snack and a drink break to break up the 13-kilometer journey.
To give you an idea of what the coastline looks like, these aerial photos really put it into perspective. You can see the Penha d’Àguia rock formation in the distance beyond Porto da Cruz. Basically that is where you are hiking to so it’s quite nice to see the trail from above and get an idea of where this hike will lead you.
The journey then begins for 5-kilometers down the coast. Although it is a rugged and rocky cliff beneath you, the path is surrounded by dense forest and you will even pass one small waterfall. There are wildflowers hiding in the forest and lots of incredible trees and plants to take in. I thought it was quite unique to be on a trail within such lush greenery while right next to the ocean.
There are a few sections with no railing near the drop-off to the cliff-edge but the trail is always wide in these parts and quite flat. I wouldn’t think anyone would have too much trouble here, especially if you hike slowly and stay close to the inside wall. As you can see below, it’s a wide and flat path so just take care and all should be good.
Unfortunately the trail does cut back onto a paved road for the final couple of kilometers to Porto da Cruz. The official map says to follow the main road all the way into town but if you check my map with the link above, you can see it’s possible to use a small levada and walk into Porto da Cruz along the beach road, which is a much more scenic way to finish this hike.
Once you make it to Porto da Cruz, there are a number of nice cafes and restaurants for a little meal or coffee after your coastal hike. I enjoyed a great meal at the beachfront cafe called, Restaurante Praça do Engenho, which has incredible views back across the beach to Vereda Larano. From here, we called an Uber who dropped us back at our original starting point in upper Machico for 10 Euros.
ADVENTURE BAG FROM THE VEREDA DO LARANO HIKE
This is an adventure bag. It is full of trash. Every time I go on an adventure I collect one adventure bag full of trash. It’s my small way of saying thanks to mother nature for allowing me to enjoy her beautiful creations. If we have time to go on an adventure we have time to collect an adventure bag on the way back out of the trail once we have enjoyed the waterfall, the hike, or the beach. Adventure hard!
I hope you enjoyed this guide to Vereda do Larana and Levada do Caniçal. Happy hiking and stay safe out there.