PR 1 - Areeiro footpath
This trail is unique in that it links the two highest peaks of Madeira Island, Pico Ruivo (1861 m) and Pico do Areeiro (1817 m), traversing part of the Central Mountain Massif, an area integrated in the Natura 2000 Network.
Starting from the Pousada (inn) of Pico do Areeiro, within a short distance we come upon the Ninho da Manta (Buzzards Nest) belvedere. From this platform where this bird of prey is supposed to have bred, one can see the valley of Fajã da Nogueira, where some Manx shearwater (Puffinus puffinnus puffinus) breed, São Roque do Faial and a large part of the Central Mountain Range. This is the only known breeding site in the world of Zinos petrel (Pterodroma madeira), a species endemic to the island and considered to be the most endangered seabird of Europe.
To reach Pico Ruivo, we must go around Pico das Torres up a steep incline of steps carved in the rock and then descend, the most difficult part of this trail being the final climb to the Shelter at Pico Ruivo. But the thought of reaching the highest point of the island is a driving force.
Along the way, we find various caves dug out of the volcanic tuff where the cattle took refuge and which served as shelter for the shepherds; we can also see various birds, some of the more important ones being species restricted to Macaronesia, the canary (Serinus canaria canaria), Berthelots pipit (Anthus berthelotti madeirensis) and the plain swift (Apus unicolor), as well as other subspecies found only in the Madeira archipelago: the Madeira rock sparrow (Petronia petronia madeirensis), chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs madeirensis), and the firecrest (Regulus ignicapillus madeirensis).
For those who enjoy plants, this area is known as a high-altitude heath and is marked by the presence of various endemisms of Madeira, which include the Madeira violet (Viola paradoxa), Madeira grey heather (Erica maderensis), the rock orchid (Orchis scopolorum), and the Madeira kidney (Anthyllis lemanniana).
Near the Pico Ruivo shelter, you will find footpath PR 1.2, which leads to Achada do Teixeira. At Achada do Teixeira you can see Homem em pé (Standing Man), a basalt rock formation found on the way down the slope after you pass the shelter at Achada do Teixeira.
Weather is subject to frequent changes, take warm clothing; tunnels en route, carry a torch; carry drinking water.