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Hiking in Madeira, Portugal

If you follow me on IG, you've seen me post and talk about my 2.5 week trip to Europe far too much. Sorry not sorry. I, of course, wasn't only there to hike. The trip was planned around my beautiful friends bachelorette party in Barcelona and wedding outside of Frankfurt. Apart from those two amazing events, I spent a lot of time on my feet exploring the depths of the Dolomites and mountains in Madeira. I plan to share my adventures and suggestions for those who plan to visit Madeira first, otherwise I will overwhelm you with suggestions for both places :). MADEIRA, PORTUGAL If you're like me and hadn't heard of Madeira before, it's a small island off the coast of West Africa. I hadn't heard of this magical place until one of my clients visited it last fall and did some incredible hiking. Once I saw her photos and she shared her experience, I knew I had to visit. Fortunately, I had an opportunity this year as I already had plans to be on the other side of the pond. Hiking PR1 Pico Areeio - Pico Ruivo This is a 6.7-mile, 4,038' gain, out & back trail. (FYI - somehow I clocked 9.51 miles.) This challenging trail provides beautiful landscapes the whole way. Although Madeira is fairly comfortable temperature-wise year-round, I would highly recommend starting the hike at sunrise. It was the best sunrise I've ever seen. If you go for sunrise, make sure you're there extra early because there will be hundreds of people doing the exact same thing. The sunrise viewpoint is at the starting point of the hike so you can view it without hiking, as well. The terrain is very steep and challenging, so keep that in mind when planning for training, proper footwear, and helpful gear (poles, etc.). You will also need a headlamp as there are multiple caves to walk through. Be sure to bring plentiful water, electrolytes, and snacks as there aren't any areas to filter water along the trail. I brought 4 snacks, (2) 500mL collapsible bottles for electrolytes, and 2L of water. How much you bring on the trail will depend on how long you anticipate being on the trail. I personally planned for 3.5-5 hours on the trail. It can take some 6-8 hours. Getting there: I would suggest renting a car. There are taxi's and tour buses with guides, but renting a car will allow you to go at your own pace.



Hiking PR8 Ponta de Sao Lourenco This is a 4.6-mile, 1,341' gain, out & back trail. This moderate-hard trail makes you feel like you're on Mars. The various colors of rock combined with the deep blue ocean water makes this route feel like you're on a different planet. Although Madeira is fairly comfortable temperature-wise year-round, I would highly recommend starting the hike at sunrise so you can experience the changes of rock and water colors. This hike feels like a cake walk if you complete it after PR1 haha, but it does still have some challenging areas with slick rock. Be sure to bring water, electrolytes, and snacks. Getting there: I would suggest renting a car. There are taxi's, but renting a car will allow you to go at your own pace.



If I had more time, I would have also hiked PR 6 - Levada 25 Fontes. Next time ;). This hike is a loop of 5.1 miles and 2,667' gain featuring waterfalls and gorgeous views. If you have questions on these two hikes, feel free to email me at info@kath-letics.com or slide into my IG DMs. I could talk about Madeira for hours.

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Katharine Moustakes
Hey, friend!

I'm Katharine.

I'm a personal trainer, running coaching, and nutrition coach who's stoked about lifting, the outdoors, summit snacks, and my dog.

 

I understand that fitness is not your whole life. Fitness is a PART of your life. I approach training in a way that adds value to your life and longevity, so you can enjoy being active whether you're romping around in the mountains, playing with your kids, or signing up for your first 10K race.

I'm here to meet you where you are, so you can train safely and effectively, and gain strength and confidence both in the gym and on the trails.

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