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Hiking The Madeira Island Ultra Trail (MIUT): 115km In 4 Days


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Sonya Rumsey



The Madeira Island Ultra Trail (MIUT) is a challenging and exhilarating adventure that takes hikers on a breathtaking journey through the stunning landscapes of Madeira, Portugal. This epic trail spans a total distance of 115km and is completed over the course of four days. For outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers, the MIUT offers an opportunity to immerse oneself in the beauty of the island while pushing physical and mental boundaries.


Madeira, known as the “Pearl of the Atlantic,” is an archipelago located in the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Portugal. With its dramatic cliffs, lush forests, and crystal-clear waters, it’s no wonder that Madeira has become a popular destination for outdoor activities. The MIUT showcases the diverse terrain of the island, taking hikers through challenging mountainous regions, dense forests, and picturesque coastal paths.


Embarking on the MIUT is not for the faint of heart. It requires careful planning, physical fitness, and mental preparedness. Hikers must come equipped with the right gear, including sturdy hiking boots, weather-resistant clothing, and ample food and water supplies. It’s also essential to have a good level of hiking experience and be comfortable with long distances and steep elevations.


Throughout the MIUT, hikers will encounter a variety of breathtaking sights and challenges. From the initial ascent to the highest peak on the island, Pico Ruivo, to the winding trails through the laurel forest of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Laurissilva, there is no shortage of natural wonders to explore. The trail also passes through charming villages, where hikers can experience the local culture and cuisine, providing a well-rounded experience of the island.


Whether hiking solo or in a group, the MIUT promises an unforgettable adventure. It’s a chance to test one’s limits, connect with nature, and experience the sheer beauty that Madeira has to offer. As hikers conquer each stage of the trail, they will gain a sense of accomplishment and forge lifelong memories.


Join me as we delve into each day of the MIUT, exploring the challenges, highlights, and awe-inspiring moments that make this trail a must-do for any hiking enthusiast.


Day 1: Starting the MIUT

The first day of the Madeira Island Ultra Trail sets the tone for the challenging adventure that lies ahead. The starting point is in Porto Moniz, a picturesque coastal town known for its natural swimming pools. As hikers gather at the starting line, anticipation and excitement fill the air.


With adrenaline pumping, the race begins, and participants set off on the first leg of the journey. The initial section of the trail takes them through rugged coastline, offering stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and towering cliffs. The salty breeze and crashing waves serve as a reminder of the island’s raw beauty.


As the coastal path gives way to the inland trails, hikers find themselves surrounded by dense vegetation and steep ascents. The terrain becomes more challenging, demanding strength and endurance. But with each step, the sense of achievement grows.


One of the highlights of the first day is reaching the iconic Pico Ruivo, the highest peak on the island. The ascent is demanding but rewarded with panoramic vistas that take hikers’ breath away. From the summit, they can see vast expanses of mountains, valleys, and the azure ocean stretching out into the horizon.


After descending from Pico Ruivo, the trail leads hikers through tranquil forests, where the sound of birdsong and rustling leaves creates a soothing ambiance. The shade provided by the trees offers respite from the sun’s rays, providing a moment of tranquility amidst the physical exertion.


As the first day comes to a close, hikers arrive at the designated overnight campsite, where they can rest, replenish their energy, and share stories with fellow participants. The campsite is a communal space filled with camaraderie, a place where hikers can connect and bond over their shared love for adventure and the great outdoors.


Day 1 of the MIUT sets the stage for the days ahead, challenging hikers physically and mentally. It serves as a reminder of the incredible landscapes and awe-inspiring vistas that await, as well as the personal growth and accomplishment that come with conquering the trail.


Join us for the next section of the trail, where we delve into Day 2: Conquering the Mountains, where hikers face even more demanding ascents, lush forests, and stunning vistas.


Day 2: Conquering the Mountains

As hikers embark on the second day of the Madeira Island Ultra Trail, they are greeted with a new set of challenges and breathtaking mountain scenery. This leg of the journey takes them through some of the most demanding ascents and descents on the entire trail, testing their strength, endurance, and determination.


The day begins with an early morning start, as hikers set off from the campsite with a renewed sense of energy. The trail leads them through dense forests, where the fragrant scent of eucalyptus fills the air and the sound of birdsong adds a lively soundtrack to the journey.


The first significant challenge of the day is the ascent of Encumeada, a mountain pass nestled between the valleys. The steep climb rewards hikers with breathtaking views of the surrounding peaks and valleys, providing a sense of accomplishment and a well-deserved rest at the summit.


From Encumeada, the trail continues through undulating terrain, guiding hikers through narrow paths carved into the mountainside. The lush greenery and vibrant flowers create a picturesque backdrop, offering a visual feast for weary eyes.


One of the highlights of Day 2 is the traverse of the Ribeira da Janela, a rugged and dramatic river valley. Hikers must navigate through rocky terrain and cross streams, adding an element of adventure to the day’s journey. The untamed beauty of the valley serves as a reminder of the raw power of nature.


As the day progresses, hikers are met with more steep ascents and descents, challenging their physical and mental stamina. But with each summit reached and each obstacle overcome, a sense of accomplishment and determination grows stronger.


The second day of the MIUT is a true test of resilience and endurance. It showcases the majestic mountains of Madeira and rewards hikers with unparalleled views and a profound connection to nature. As the sun begins to set, hikers arrive at the designated campsite for the night, worn but satisfied with their progress.


Join us for the next section of the trail, where we explore Day 3: Crossing the Coastal Paths, where hikers experience the rugged beauty and serenity of Madeira’s coastal landscapes.


Day 3: Crossing the Coastal Paths

On the third day of the Madeira Island Ultra Trail, hikers embark on a captivating journey along the coastal paths of the island. This leg of the trail offers a unique perspective, as hikers have the opportunity to witness the rugged beauty of the coastline and immerse themselves in the serenity of the ocean.


The day begins with the rising sun illuminating the trail, creating a golden hue that dances across the ocean’s surface. Hikers set off from the campsite, their spirits lifted by the anticipation of the scenic adventure that lies ahead.


The coastal paths of Madeira provide a breathtaking backdrop, with steep cliffs plunging into the sparkling turquoise waters below. As hikers traverse the rugged terrain, they are treated to panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean, with waves crashing against the rocks and seabirds soaring above.


The beauty of the coastal paths is not without its challenges. The trail meanders through steep inclines and descents, demanding agility and focus. Hikers must navigate carefully, ensuring their footing remains secure amidst the uneven terrain.


One of the highlights of Day 3 is reaching the Ponta de São Lourenço, a stunning peninsula known for its dramatic cliffs and unique rock formations. As hikers make their way to the tip of the peninsula, they are rewarded with sweeping vistas and a sense of awe at the raw power of the ocean.


Throughout the day, hikers encounter quaint fishing villages, where they can pause for a moment to immerse themselves in the local culture and indulge in freshly caught seafood. The warmth and hospitality of the locals provide a welcome respite, fueling hikers for the rest of their journey.


As the coastal paths wind towards the end of Day 3, hikers are greeted with the sight of the finish line in Machico. The sense of accomplishment and satisfaction is palpable as they cross the threshold, knowing they have conquered another challenging leg of the MIUT.


The third day of the trail offers a captivating blend of natural beauty, coastal wonder, and physical exertion. It allows hikers to connect with the power of the ocean and experience the tranquil serenity that comes from being immersed in nature.


Join us for the final section of the trail, where we delve into Day 4: Finishing Strong at the MIUT, as hikers push themselves to their limits and cross the ultimate finish line.


Day 4: Finishing Strong at the MIUT

The fourth and final day of the Madeira Island Ultra Trail is the culmination of an incredible journey. Hikers wake up with a mix of excitement, fatigue, and determination as they prepare to push themselves to their limits and reach the ultimate finish line.


The trail on Day 4 leads hikers through a variety of terrains, offering a fitting finale to the MIUT experience. From rocky paths and dense forests to open meadows and quaint villages, there is a sense of anticipation in the air as participants set off on this memorable day.


The physical and mental challenges of the MIUT come to the forefront on Day 4. Hikers must dig deep within themselves, summoning their inner strength and resilience to overcome the fatigue and exhaustion that have accumulated over the past three days.


As the trail winds through picturesque villages, hikers are greeted with the cheers and support of the local community. The camaraderie and encouragement propel them forward, fueling their determination to cross the finish line.


One of the highlights of Day 4 is the ascent to the stunning Pico do Arieiro, the second-highest peak on the island. The steep climb tests hikers’ physical prowess, but the rewarding panoramic views from the summit make it all worthwhile. From there, they can see the entire expanse of the island, a reminder of the incredible journey they have undertaken.


As hikers descend from Pico do Arieiro, the anticipation of reaching the finish line builds. The final stretch takes them through quaint cobblestone streets and past historic landmarks, serving as a testament to the rich history and culture of Madeira.


With each step, hikers draw closer to the ultimate achievement of completing the MIUT. The finish line comes into view, and a wave of relief and exhilaration washes over them as they cross it, knowing they have accomplished something truly remarkable.


As participants celebrate their achievements, a sense of shared accomplishment fills the air. They have conquered the daunting 115km trail, tested their limits, and emerged stronger and more inspired than before.


Finishing strong at the MIUT marks the end of a remarkable journey, but it also signifies the beginning of new possibilities and adventures. The memories forged, the connections made, and the personal growth experienced will forever be cherished, serving as a constant reminder of the remarkable spirit of the MIUT.


Join us in reflecting on this incredible adventure as we conclude our exploration of the Madeira Island Ultra Trail.



The Madeira Island Ultra Trail, spanning 115km over four days, is a truly captivating adventure that takes hikers through the diverse and awe-inspiring landscapes of Madeira, Portugal. From the challenging mountain climbs to the tranquil coastal paths, the MIUT offers a unique experience that combines physical endurance with the beauty of nature.


Each day of the MIUT presents its own set of challenges and highlights. Starting in Porto Moniz, hikers conquer the coastal paths, ascend to the highest peak, Pico Ruivo, and navigate through dense forests. The demanding ascents and descents, the breathtaking views, and the sense of accomplishment create an unforgettable journey.


The MIUT is not only a test of physical fitness but also a chance to connect with nature on a deeper level. The lush forests, rugged cliffs, and pristine coastline provide a constantly changing backdrop, immersing hikers in the raw beauty of Madeira. It is a reminder of the power and resilience of the natural world.


Throughout the trail, hikers encounter the warmth and support of the local community. The encouragement and camaraderie shared with fellow participants create a sense of unity and accomplishment. The MIUT is not just a personal journey but a shared experience that forges lifelong memories and friendships.


Completing the MIUT is a remarkable achievement that pushes hikers to their limits, both physically and mentally. It instills a sense of resilience, determination, and self-discovery. It proves that with perseverance and a strong will, one can overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges.


As hikers cross the final finish line, a wave of exhilaration and pride washes over them. They have conquered the MIUT, and in doing so, have accomplished something extraordinary. The experience leaves an indelible mark, inspiring them to pursue new adventures and reach new heights.


The Madeira Island Ultra Trail is not just a hike; it is a transformative journey that unleashes the spirit of adventure and connection to nature. The resonating power of the MIUT lies in its ability to challenge, inspire, and leave a lasting impression on all those who embark on its path.


So, lace up your hiking boots, prepare your mind and body, and let the MIUT take you on a memorable adventure through the breathtaking landscapes of Madeira. Experience the thrill, the beauty, and the tremendous sense of accomplishment that awaits along this extraordinary trail.