Caminho Velho do Rancho, a must-do walking trail in Madeira, Portugal

When I think of a walking trail in Madeira, I start to googling and the walks and hikes I get are, most likely, the “levadas” trails at the top of the list.

Levadas are irrigation canals or aqueducts that you can walk along. Quite famous walks, I will also write about it. 

There are also other famous hikes such as Encumeada, Pico do Areeiro to Pico Ruivo, and some others.

Without a doubt, all these walking are very quite impressive.

But when analyzing where they are located, you will they are all in the interior of the island.

Looking for a coastal trail to hike, and not too far from Funchal, the island capital, I couldn’t find anything interesting.

I know these slopes are steep, but that it is not enough reason for the lack of walking trails because they certainly exist.

I can understand that a specific set of trails is primarily promoted by my fellow tour operators, and other trails end up being forgotten.

I happen to love hiking with views of the sea. So, visiting Madeira, I couldn’t miss visiting Cabo Girão and try to walk back to Funchal, which contains all these ingredients.

While I was preparing my walk, I did not find any path defined between Cabo Girão and Funchal or, at the very least, to Lido.

The Lido / Funchal section does not seem to me to be of interest in terms of walking.

Although I didn’t find any trail, and I badly wanted to find one, I didn’t get discouraged and planned to go to check the place anyway.

During the bus ride Cape Girão, I met a gentleman, who by mistake, didn’t write down his name, and told me was born and raised in those places.

The said gentleman told me of a path through which I could descend from very close to Cape Girão down to the entrance of Câmara de Lobos.

“I’m going”

I was not expecting the spectacularity I’ve found and a little bit of the wonders we can see in the featured photograph of this text.

The trail is called “Caminho Velho do Rancho,” and it isn’t difficult to find.

From Capo Girão going downhill to Câmara de Lobos, just try to as closer to the coast as possible, and you will find the indications to it.

This path descends abruptly between houses and farmland where we can find corn, strawberries, and a wide variety of vegetables.

While descending and looking at the coastline, the only thing I could feel was fascination. I was overwhelmed by the view.

But not everything is a piece of cake. The slope is so steep that it does not allow us to totally abstract from the path, not even for an instant.

You need to keep your eyes on the walk. Than stop once in a while to enjoy the view.

It is a trail to be added to others because it is too short. It has about 1Km, with an elevation loss of about 200m.

A rural path with a view worthy of a king. It is this duality of characteristics that add all the charm to the walk.

It is also an opportunity to get involved with the locals without being surrounded by heaps of tourists as it happens on other trails.

Caminho Velho do Rancho, a must-do trail when we go to Madeira.

Have fun.

David Monteiro

Caminho Velho do Rancho
The Caminho Velho do Rancho is a must-do trail to be walked during a trip to Madeira.
Caminho Velho do Rancho
The Caminho Velho do Rancho is a must-do trail to be walked during a trip to Madeira.
Caminho Velho do Rancho
The Caminho Velho do Rancho is a must-do trail to be walked during a trip to Madeira.
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