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Empenas Hike In Nun’s Valley To The ‘Window’


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Tiffanie Bassett



Welcome to the breathtaking Empenas Hike in Nun’s Valley, where nature’s wonders unfold at every step. This exciting and challenging trail offers a unique opportunity to explore the beauty of Portugal’s countryside and immerse yourself in its rich natural heritage. The Empenas Hike takes you through a mesmerizing journey, revealing stunning landscapes, cultural landmarks, and an extraordinary natural wonder known as the ‘Window’.


Located in the picturesque region of Madeira, Empenas Hike is a popular choice for outdoor enthusiasts, hikers, and adventure seekers. The trail offers a perfect combination of physical exertion and tranquil beauty, allowing you to experience Portugal’s remarkable biodiversity up close.


Whether you are an avid hiker or a nature lover, Empenas Hike has something for everyone. This article will provide an overview of the hike, its location, route description, difficulty level, and precautions. We will also delve into the highlights of the trail, including the breathtaking scenery of Nun’s Valley and the awe-inspiring ‘Window’.


So, fasten your hiking boots, grab your backpack, and get ready for an unforgettable journey through Empenas Hike. Let’s explore the wonders that await you in Nun’s Valley and discover why this hike is a must-visit destination for adventure enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.


Overview of Empenas Hike

The Empenas Hike is a thrilling and challenging trail that takes you through the stunning landscapes of Nun’s Valley. This hike offers an opportunity to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Madeira’s countryside while enjoying a moderate to advanced level of physical activity.


The hike covers a distance of approximately 10 kilometers, starting from the village of Curral das Freiras and leading you through the verdant forests and rugged terrains of the island. Along the way, you will encounter breathtaking views, cascading waterfalls, and diverse flora and fauna.


The trail is well-marked and offers a combination of ascents and descents, providing a challenging yet rewarding experience for hikers. As you make your way through the Empenas Hike, you will navigate through narrow paths, traverse rocky sections, and cross small streams, adding to the excitement and adventure of the journey.


It is important to note that the Empenas Hike requires a good level of fitness and hiking experience. The trail can be steep and slippery in some sections, and proper hiking gear, including sturdy footwear and adequate hydration, is essential. It is recommended to check the weather conditions and plan your hike accordingly.


The duration of the hike can vary depending on your pace and level of fitness, but it typically takes around 4-6 hours to complete. Along the way, you will have the opportunity to take breaks, soak in the breathtaking views, and capture memorable photos of the surrounding landscapes.


Whether you are an experienced hiker seeking a thrilling adventure or a nature enthusiast looking to explore Madeira’s natural wonders, the Empenas Hike offers a unique and invigorating experience. Get ready to challenge yourself, embrace the beauty of Nun’s Valley, and create lasting memories as you embark on this remarkable hiking journey.


Location and Route Description

The Empenas Hike is located in the picturesque region of Madeira, specifically in the stunning Nun’s Valley. Situated in the heart of the island, Nun’s Valley is a hidden gem known for its dramatic landscapes and rich cultural history. The hike starts from the village of Curral das Freiras, which is approximately 20 kilometers north of Funchal, the capital city of Madeira.


To reach the starting point of the hike, you can either drive or take a bus from Funchal to Curral das Freiras. The village is nestled amidst towering mountains, providing a spectacular backdrop for your adventure. Once you arrive, you will find parking facilities available, allowing you to safely park your vehicle before beginning the hike.


The route of the Empenas Hike takes you through a variety of terrains, offering a diverse and captivating experience. You will traverse through lush forests, cross gushing streams, and navigate rocky sections. The trail is well-maintained and marked with signs, ensuring that you stay on the right path throughout your journey.


As you ascend, you will be rewarded with breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes, including the iconic Curral das Freiras village, nestled in a picturesque valley. The trail gradually leads you to higher altitudes, allowing you to soak in the beauty of the mountainous terrain and the expansive vistas that stretch out before you.


Throughout the hike, you will also encounter several highlights, including the stunning viewpoint of Eira do Mourão, where you can take a moment to rest and admire the panoramic views of Nun’s Valley. As you continue on the trail, you will reach the enchanting ‘Window’ – a natural rock formation that resembles a window opening to the majestic scenery beyond.


The route of the Empenas Hike is a loop, which means you will eventually return to the village of Curral das Freiras upon completing the trail. This allows you to fully experience the beauty of Nun’s Valley from different perspectives and ensures that you don’t miss out on any of the remarkable sights along the way.


Be prepared to be surrounded by nature’s wonders as you embark on the Empenas Hike, immersing yourself in the awe-inspiring landscapes and cultural heritage of Madeira’s Nun’s Valley.


Difficulty Level and Precautions

The Empenas Hike offers a moderate to advanced level of difficulty, requiring a certain level of fitness and hiking experience. While the trail is well-marked and maintained, it does present challenges that should be considered before embarking on the hike.


The terrain of the Empenas Hike includes steep ascents and descents, rocky sections, and narrow paths. As such, it is important to wear appropriate footwear with good traction to ensure stability and avoid slipping. Hiking boots or sturdy trail shoes are highly recommended to provide ankle support and protect your feet from any potential hazards.


Due to the elevation gain and varied terrain, it is advisable to be in good physical condition and have prior hiking experience. Regular exercise and conditioning can help prepare your body for the demands of the trail and minimize the risk of fatigue or injuries.


It is crucial to check the weather conditions before starting the hike, as sudden changes in weather can affect the safety and enjoyment of your experience. If the weather forecast predicts rain or adverse conditions, it may be wise to postpone your hike or choose a different day. Heavy rainfall can make the trail slippery and increase the risk of accidents.


Carrying sufficient water and staying hydrated throughout the hike is essential. The Empenas Hike can be physically demanding, and it is recommended to bring at least 1.5 to 2 liters of water per person. Additionally, packing energy-rich snacks or light meals can help maintain your energy levels during the hike.


It is important to respect the natural environment and adhere to designated paths and signage. Straying off the marked trail can not only pose a risk to your own safety, but it can also disturb fragile ecosystems and endanger local flora and fauna. Leave nothing but footprints and take nothing but memories.


Lastly, inform someone about your hiking plans and expected return time. This is a precautionary measure to ensure that someone is aware of your whereabouts and can raise an alarm if needed.


By being prepared, taking necessary precautions, and respecting the natural surroundings, you can safely enjoy the Empenas Hike and have a memorable experience exploring the wonders of Nun’s Valley.


Highlights of the Hike

The Empenas Hike is a trail that promises numerous highlights and breathtaking moments throughout the journey. As you make your way through the stunning landscapes of Nun’s Valley, you will encounter a range of natural and cultural attractions that will leave you in awe.


One of the main highlights of the hike is the opportunity to witness the beauty of Madeira’s biodiversity up close. The trail winds through dense forests, showcasing a rich variety of flora and fauna. Keep an eye out for endemic species, such as the Madeira Firecrest and the Trocaz Pigeon, which can be spotted in the lush vegetation along the path.


As you ascend higher, you will be rewarded with magnificent panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. The viewpoint at Eira do Mourão offers a mesmerizing vantage point where you can take in the vastness of Nun’s Valley and marvel at the rugged beauty of the terrain.


Another highlight of the hike is the encounter with stunning waterfalls that cascade down the mountainside, adding a touch of serenity and enchantment to your journey. Take a moment to pause and listen to the soothing sounds of rushing water as you appreciate these natural wonders.


One of the most memorable highlights of the Empenas Hike is the ‘Window’ – a natural rock formation that resembles a window opening to the breathtaking scenery beyond. This unique geological feature offers a surreal view of Nun’s Valley, presenting the perfect photo opportunity and a moment of wonder.


In addition to the natural beauty, the cultural heritage of Nun’s Valley is also a significant highlight of the hike. Curral das Freiras, the starting point of the trail, is a charming village with a rich history and a sense of tranquility. Explore its narrow streets, visit the local shops and taste the traditional chestnut-based delicacies that the village is famous for.


Overall, the Empenas Hike is a journey that combines stunning landscapes, panoramic views, cascading waterfalls, endemic flora and fauna, and the unique ‘Window’ formation. Prepare to be mesmerized by the natural wonders and cultural treasures that await you along this remarkable trail.


Scenic Beauty of Nun’s Valley

Nun’s Valley, the picturesque region in which the Empenas Hike is located, is renowned for its unparalleled scenic beauty. Nestled amidst towering mountains and lush greenery, the valley boasts a stunning landscape that captivates the hearts of all who visit.


As you embark on the Empenas Hike, you will be mesmerized by the awe-inspiring vistas that unfold before your eyes. The valley is surrounded by dramatic cliffs, creating a natural amphitheater effect and adding a touch of grandeur to the scenery.


Throughout the hike, you will encounter breathtaking viewpoints that offer panoramic views of Nun’s Valley. From these vantage points, you can admire the patchwork of terraced fields, quaint houses dotting the landscape, and the winding roads that snake their way through the mountains.


The sheer beauty of Nun’s Valley is further enhanced by the diverse vegetation that blankets the slopes. Lush forests consisting of laurel, eucalyptus, and chestnut trees create a verdant backdrop, while colorful flowers such as hydrangeas and wild orchids add bursts of vibrant hues.


One of the most captivating aspects of Nun’s Valley is its tranquility and sense of remoteness. The valley is known for its peaceful ambiance, far removed from the hustle and bustle of urban life. The serene atmosphere allows visitors to truly connect with nature and experience a sense of calm and serenity.


As you traverse the Empenas Hike, you will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in this idyllic setting. The sound of chirping birds, the whispering of leaves in the breeze, and the gentle flow of nearby streams create a symphony of nature that is both tranquil and invigorating.


In every season, Nun’s Valley reveals a different aspect of its beauty. In spring, the valley is adorned with vibrant wildflowers, bringing a burst of color to the landscape. In summer, the warmth of the sun illuminates the valley, creating a golden hue. In autumn, the foliage turns into a spectacular display of red, orange, and yellow, painting the valley with an enchanting palette. And in winter, a gentle mist blankets the valley, creating an ethereal atmosphere.


Whether you are a photographer seeking the perfect shot, a nature lover in search of serenity, or simply someone who appreciates the beauty of the outdoors, Nun’s Valley offers a scenic paradise that will leave you in awe of its exquisite charm.


The ‘Window’: A Natural Wonder

One of the most extraordinary features along the Empenas Hike is the ‘Window’ – a natural rock formation that stands as a testament to the awe-inspiring forces of nature. This unique geological wonder is a must-see attraction, captivating hikers with its fascinating shape and breathtaking views.


The ‘Window’ is located at a strategic point along the trail, providing a perfect photo opportunity and a chance to admire the stunning landscapes of Nun’s Valley from a whole new perspective. As you approach this natural wonder, you can’t help but be amazed by its distinctive appearance, resembling a perfectly framed window opening into the magnificent scenery beyond.


Carved by millions of years of erosion, the ‘Window’ exhibits the remarkable power of nature to shape and sculpt the rocky landscape. The precise dimensions and angles of this formation add to its intrigue, creating a sense of wonder and curiosity among hikers as they stand before it.


Peering through the ‘Window’ offers a captivating view of the picturesque valley, with its rolling hills, terraced fields, and scattered houses. The panoramic vista stretches out before you, inviting you to immerse yourself in the beauty of Nun’s Valley and appreciate the grandeur of nature’s craftsmanship.


Not only does the ‘Window’ provide a stunning view, but it also encapsulates the essence of the Empenas Hike – the encounter between man and nature. Seeing the valley and the surrounding landscapes framed through the ‘Window’ serves as a reminder of the symbiotic relationship between humans and the natural environment. It is a humbling experience that encourages reflection on our place in the world and the importance of preserving and appreciating the beauty of our surroundings.


Visiting the ‘Window’ on the Empenas Hike is an unforgettable experience that leaves a lasting impression on all who witness its grandeur. It serves as a reminder of the remarkable natural wonders that exist within Nun’s Valley and a testament to the unique geological heritage of Madeira.


Before you leave the ‘Window’ and continue your journey, make sure to savor the moment and capture the beauty of this exceptional natural wonder – a window into the breathtaking beauty of Nun’s Valley.


Importance of Preservation and Conservation

The Empenas Hike, with its stunning natural landscapes and unique geological formations, highlights the importance of preservation and conservation of the environment. As visitors, it is our responsibility to ensure that the beauty and integrity of Nun’s Valley are safeguarded for future generations to enjoy.


Preservation and conservation efforts help maintain the delicate balance of ecosystems, protect vulnerable species, and preserve the natural wonders that make the Empenas Hike and Nun’s Valley so special. It is crucial to follow sustainable tourism practices and respect the natural environment during our visit.


One aspect of conservation is ensuring that we leave no trace while hiking. This means that we should avoid littering, pack out any trash we generate, and dispose of waste properly. By doing so, we can keep the hiking trails and surrounding areas clean and preserve the natural beauty of Nun’s Valley.


Another important aspect of conservation is respecting designated paths and trails. Straying off the marked trail can lead to soil erosion, damage to fragile ecosystems, and disturbance to local flora and fauna. Staying on the established trails ensures minimal impact on the natural environment and helps preserve the unique biodiversity of Nun’s Valley.


Conservation efforts also involve raising awareness about the importance of protecting the natural environment. By sharing our experiences and photos from the Empenas Hike, we can inspire others to appreciate and respect nature. Educating ourselves and others about the flora, fauna, and geology of the region fosters a deeper connection to the environment and promotes a sense of responsibility towards its preservation.


Local organizations, national parks, and conservation groups play a crucial role in preserving the natural treasures of Nun’s Valley. Supporting these organizations through donations or volunteering helps ensure that resources are available to protect and maintain the hiking trails, conduct research, and implement conservation initiatives.


Moreover, it is essential to be mindful of our environmental impact in other aspects of our visit to Nun’s Valley. Choosing eco-friendly transportation options, minimizing water and energy consumption, and supporting local businesses that prioritize sustainability contribute to the overall conservation efforts in the region.


By recognizing the importance of preservation and conservation, we can actively contribute to the long-term sustainability and preservation of the Empenas Hike and Nun’s Valley. Together, we can ensure that future generations have the opportunity to experience the natural beauty and wonder of this remarkable destination.



The Empenas Hike in Nun’s Valley offers a remarkable journey through the natural wonders of Madeira. From the captivating landscapes to the unique geological formations, this trail presents a blend of adventure, beauty, and cultural significance.


Throughout the hike, you will be immersed in the breathtaking scenery of Nun’s Valley, witnessing panoramic views, cascading waterfalls, and diverse flora and fauna. The ‘Window’, a natural wonder, stands as a testament to the incredible forces of nature and offers a mesmerizing perspective of the valley.


Embarking on the Empenas Hike requires a level of physical fitness and proper preparation. It is essential to be aware of the difficulty level, follow safety guidelines, and respect the natural environment. Preserving the beauty and integrity of Nun’s Valley is a shared responsibility, and practicing sustainable tourism ensures that future generations can enjoy the wonders of this region.


As you explore the Empenas Hike, take a moment to reflect on the significance of this experience. Appreciate the harmony between man and nature, embrace the tranquility of Nun’s Valley, and foster a sense of gratitude for the remarkable beauty that surrounds you.


In the end, the Empenas Hike in Nun’s Valley is not just a physical adventure, but an opportunity to connect with nature, immerse yourself in the rich heritage of Madeira, and create lasting memories. So put on your hiking boots, breathe in the fresh mountain air, and embark on an unforgettable journey through the wonders of Empenas Hike and Nun’s Valley.