Vereda Dos Balcões is the perfect trail for a small adventure with incredible views of the biggest peaks on Madeira. With a small 1.5-kilometer walk to and from the viewpoint, this is a hike great for families and those looking for an outstanding scenic spot without needing to trek for hours. The path leads you through a beautiful forest before finishing at the Balcoes (balcony) with views from the ocean to Pico Ruivo, which is the highest peak on Madeira at 1,862 meters.
Hike Distance: The total distance of the Vereda dos Balcões hiking trail was 3-kilometers round-trip.
Hike Duration: The hike can be completed in about an hour but you should bargain to spend in between 1-2 hours total so you can enjoy your time at the viewpoint admiring the views and feeding the birds.
Hike Difficulty: This trail is one of the easiest hikes on Madeira. There is almost no incline at all, the trail is clearly marked and there are no moments of danger on this very popular tourist route.
Hike Incline: Total incline for this hike is just 30-meters although you will hardly notice any incline.
My Strava Map Upload for Vereda dos Balcões: View my map
HOW TO GET TO THE VEREDA DOS BALCÕES HIKE
The trail begins at Ribeiro Frio and then follows Levada da Serra do Faial all the way to the Balcões viewpoint. Ribeiro Frio is actually an attraction in itself with lush gardens, trout ponds, and a number of stunning streams and small waterfalls. Because Ribeiro Frio is quite popular, it can be tough to get parking nearby but often the parking just overflows down the street. At Ribeiro Frio, there are multiple restaurants, cafes, toilets, information offices, and facilities. The trailhead is just 23 kilometers from Funchal, which takes 40minutes by car.
I’ll include a map below with the exact location pinned so you know where to arrive for the start of the Vereda dos Balcões hiking trail. At the start of the trail, there are multiple signs so it is quite hard to miss the entrance point and the trailhead for Vereda dos Balcões.
MY EXPERIENCE ON THE VEREDA DOS BALCÕES HIKE
Vereda dos Balcões is one of the most popular trails on Madeira due to its short distance and flat terrain. With an incredible viewpoint and easy access, it’s no surprise that it is one of the busiest hikes on the island. It was actually my first hike on Madeira as a bit of a warm-up hike before tackling the bigger peaks and longer trails on the island.
We arrived at Ribeiro Frio, which is quite an impressive complex with restaurants, a trout farm with multiple ponds, streams, small waterfalls, and souvenir stores. I was a bit surprised to find so much infrastructure at the start of the trail. We found a park out on the road and had a quick look at the trout ponds and gardens before getting started on the Vereda dos Balcões, which quite simply translates to ‘Balcony Path’.
The trail follows the Levada da Serra do Faial, which is common on Madeira to follow a Levada throughout the entire hike. Despite being a short 1.5-kilometers in distance, there is a lot of diversity and many beautiful areas along the trail before you reach the viewpoint. The dense forest and unique trees make for some incredible scenes alongside the trail.
While Madeira doesn’t have the most diverse array of wildlife, the flora on display was quite colorful. With bright reds contrasting against the iconic purples and blues of the agapanthus, the trail leads you on a vibrant journey through the forest.
My favorite part of the Vereda dos Balcões hike was the narrow pathway with huge rock walls on either side, creating a natural hallway covered in vines and moss. There were two different chasms, throughout the trail and each was quite stunning to explore.
After about 20-minutes, you will be almost at the viewpoint. After having a sneak peek out to the mountains, you will reach a small cottage before turning left for the final stretch to the balcony viewpoint.
The Vereda dos Balcões reaches its vantage point at the famous balcony, which looks out all the way to the ocean on the right and then towards the biggest peaks on the island to the left. On a clear day, you can see Pico Ruivo, which is the highest peak on Madeira at 1,862 meters. However, Madeira is quite famous for its clouds that are notorious for covering the peaks very often so you will have to be a bit lucky to see the tops of all of the peaks.
We visited in the late afternoon and hung out on the balcony until sunset hoping for the peaks to show themselves but despite their best efforts, they never quite broke through the clouds.
Aside from the epic views, there is another attraction at the balcony viewpoint. The tiny Madeira Firecrest birds have become accustomed to being fed small seeds by tourists and are now so comfortable around people they will feed the seeds directly from your hand if you are patient.
ADVENTURE BAG FROM VEREDA DOS BALCÕES HIKE IN MADEIRA
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!
Tag your Adventure Bag on Instagram and mention @adventurebagcrew in your Instagram stories and we will repost your Adventure Bag photo to help inspire your friends, family, and followers to join the movement!
I hope you enjoyed this guide to the Vereda dos Balcões on Madeira Island.