The Pico do Maçarico hike on Porto Santo Island is a great peak for either sunrise or sunset with panoramic views of the entire island. The route is short but very steep up the rough trail. There is no official path but you will find a worn trail that makes it easy to access the summit where you will find a large white cross overlooking the ocean and the whole island of Porto Santo.
PICO DO MAÇARICO HIKE DETAILS
Hike Distance: The total distance of the hike was 2.5 kilometers from the main road.
Hike Duration: The hike will take you about 1 hour, not including the time you spend at the summit.
Hike Difficulty: This is an unofficial trail although you can see it was previously used more frequently. The incline is quite steep but shortlived. The trail begins with a march up the grassy hill and then you traverse the rocks towards the summit. You never need to clamber on the rocks with exposure to your side and can stay close to the fence, which is on the side away from the cliff-edge. At the summit, you have plenty of space and I found this one quite safe. Adventurous children would enjoy this hike and I think it would be suitable to bring a dog on the trail.
Hike Incline: Total incline for the hike was 237 meters.
My Strava Map Upload: Pico de Maçarico
HOW TO GET TO THE PICO DO MAÇARICO HIKE
The place where I began the hike was at a small dirt road just after the Portela Viewpoint. There is no official name or point on the map to show you but I have taken a photo of where I turned off to begin the trail. Once you turn down the dirt road (which is on your right when on the main road) you will see the quarry on your left. The dirt road is about 200-meters after Portela viewpoint so, with the photo and this description, you should be okay to find my starting point.
MY EXPERIENCE ON THE PICO DO MAÇARICO HIKE
My journey began at Vila Baleira as I rode my bike all the way up past Portela Viewpoint. Just a couple of hundred meters past Portela Viewpoint, I turned in on the dirt road that leads you to Pico do Maçarico. You will know you are on the right dirt track if you see this white marker on the right-hand side of the trail and the quarry will be down to your left.
The trail began here for me but if you are in a car you will probably park back up near the road. The gravel road continues for another hundred meters before you will need to climb the steep, grassy hill. There was no official route or at least none that I could see. The hill was fairly overgrown but I could spot a few lines that seemed a bit more worn so I chose a route and marched my way up the hill. You should be aiming for a tree next to the fence line and this will let you know that it’s the right path.
The trail then becomes rockier as you are now navigating along a bit more of a ridgeline compared to the vast hill where you began. There is now a path that is quite clear although you can clamber on the rocks if you prefer. There was no point in time where you had a sheer drop and you could always find a moderately wide line as you continued to climb.
When you look up from the trail at this point, you can see the cross atop the rocky summit of Pico do Maçarico. You simply keep on the ridge while following the worn footsteps that have come before you.
I reached the summit way too early as I thought it was going to be a longer and more difficult hike. However, it was only just over 1-kilometer to the summit from where I parked my bike. Don’t get me wrong, it was steep but very short. I had come for a sunset view, so I sat down on the rocks for an hour and soaked up some sun like a lizard.
The great part about Pico do Maçarico is that you truly have panoramic views. When looking to the west you can see the ferry Port and all the way back to the west coast across the entire island of Porto Santo. You are even in the perfect position, just high enough, to see the sun hit the horizon as it finishes its job for the day. I thought it might be obstructed by the hills but there’s a nice little dip in the ridgeline of the west coast that makes Pico do Maçarico an unlikely spot for an epic sunset even though it is on the east coast.
The sunset turned out to be a burner with the sun shooting through below the clouds sending pastel covers over the entire island. I stayed up at the summit til after sunset and then quickly scurried back down the 1-kilometer route before it got too dark. It only took about ten minutes to get down, so I didn’t even need a headlamp.
I hope you enjoyed this guide about the Pico do Maçarico on Porto Santo Island.
WHERE TO STAY ON PORTO SANTO
There’s a lot of options on Porto Santo Island from big all-inclusive hotels to small Airbnb apartments. I’ve written a huge post about all of the best options when it comes to Porto Santo and you can check it out here: WHERE TO STAY ON PORTO SANTO ISLAND: 11 BEST RESORTS AND HOTELS
I stayed for five days at Vila Baleira Resort and five days at Hotel Porto Santo & Spa but also heard and saw great things about Pestana Porto Santo Beach Resort & Spa. Here’s a quick glimpse at those three, beautiful beachside accommodations.
VILA BALEIRA RESORT
Vila Baleira Porto Santo (Luxury & All-inclusive): THIS IS WHERE I STAYED! Vila Baleira is a 4-star resort situated right on the golden sand beach of Porto Santo. The rooms are on one side of the road and the restaurant and pool area are directly next to the beach. I had the all-inclusive package, which meant we got a wristband when we arrived and then had buffet breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well as unlimited coffee and alcohol all day, every day.
Click here to check the best current rates and availability of Vila Baleira Porto Santo.
PESTANO PORTO SANTO BEACH RESORT & SPA
Pestana Porto Santo Beach Resort & Spa (Luxury): This is a 5-star resort on Porto Santo Island and it is by the largest hotel group in Portugal. The moment you step in the resort you’ll be rewarded with a blissful setting and its world-class amenities. I would’ve liked to stay here and from everything, I heard while on the island, it is a pretty awesome place to stay. It’s the top pick for a hotel on Porto Santo Island if you want luxury!
Click here to check the best current rates and availability of Pestana Porto Santo Beach Resort & Spa.
HOTEL PORTO SANTO & SPA
Hotel Porto Santo & Spa (Luxury): THIS IS WHERE I STAYED! Another classy, 4-star resort is Hotel Porto Santo & Spa where I stayed for my second 5-day period on my 10-day trip to Porto Santo Island. I’d happily recommend this Porto Santo hotel for couples and those looking for beachfront luxury with a very relaxing atmosphere. On top of that, the spa has a Turkish bath, a heated pool, massage rooms, relaxation spots, hot sand therapy, and more. Not to mention the restaurant serves fresh local dishes.
Click here to check the best current rates and availability of Hotel Porto Santo & Spa.