Vereda dos Balcões hike in Madeira
Vereda dos Balcões hike and viewpoints
The Vereda dos Balcões is one of the most visited places in Madeira as it is one of the easiestand most rewarding walks you can do on the island. This is due to the magical forest walk, the amazing views from the balcony and the friendly birds.
This hike, or just a 1.5 km long walk, starts in Ribeiro Frio and takes you along a beautiful path through the typical vegetation of the Madeira forest until you reach the Balcões viewpoint. Here you will enjoy a spectacular view of the highest peaks of the island, Pico Ruivo (1861m) and Pico Arieiro (1818m).
Besides, the Vereda dos Balcões is also ideal for birdwatching. You will find several different species of birds that are very used to people and will kindly welcome you at the viewpoint.
Information and hike details of the Vereda dos Balcões
A continuación, te damos algunos datos útiles para tu visita a la Vereda dos Balcões en Madeira.
Hike distance: The total distance of this trail walk along the Vereda dos Balcões is 3 kilometres in total, back and forth.
Hike duration: The route can be done in approximately one hour. Pero planifica media hora extra o más, para poder disfrutar tranquilamente de las vistas y de los pájaros en el mirador.
Hike difficulty: This route is one of the easiest in Madeira. There is no inclination, the path is wide and flat, clearly signposted and well maintained.
It is a walk that can be enjoyed by everyone.
Hike inclination: The total inclination is minimal, only 30 metres.
Tips: Go early in the morning to avoid the crowds as this site is very popular. You can combine this walk with another hike. After dos Balcões we did the Ribeiro Frio Chao das Freiteiras hike which starts at the same place, just across the road.
How to get to Vereda dos Balcões
The Vereda dos Balcões is located in the forest park of Ribeiro Frio which is the starting point of several routes along the levadas. From Funchal, it takes about 50 minutes by car to the starting point of this hike.
Once you reach the parking area, you will see a restaurant and other tourist facilities with gardens and streams which are part of Ribeiro Frio. Please note that parkingin this area is quite limited. We arrived after sunrise and found it completely empty, but when we left it was full and there were cars parked all along the road.
If you don’t drive, you can also get there by bus from Funchal.
Here is the point on Google maps to get to Vereda dos Balcões.
Best time to visit the Balcões viewpoint
You should be aware that the Mirador dos Balcões is located between mountains, so it can happen that when you get there, you will find it all covered in fogas you can see in some pictures, and in this case the views will not be that spectacular.
The ideal day would be aclear sky, so be as flexible as possible. From our personal experience, after sunrise is the best time. Especially if you want to avoid the crowds, as it is one of the most popular spots on the island.
Doing this walk in calmnessand enjoying the sounds of nature will be a very different and rewardingexperience compared to having to deal with the crowds of tour buses.
On the other hand, it is not worth going to the Balcões at sunrise because, as we said before, the balcony is between mountains and it will be too dark at that time.
In short, getting to the balcony between 8 and 8:30 in the morning is a good option. At this time you will have good light and probably be one of the first to arrive, so you will have the balcony to yourself and you will be able to enjoy the birdsand take some good photos.
Our experience and what you can expect from the Vereda dos Balcões Walk & Viewpoint
Once you park your car, simply follow the sign “Balcões” until you reach the path.
You will start to enter the laurel forest following a beautiful path surrounded by greenery on all sides and with huge moss-filled rocks creating natural corridors.
Although this route is a short walk, there is much to observe along the path that follows the levada do Faial. Mountains covered with rich vegetation, soil with rootsthat pop up in the middle of the road, ferns, mosses and different types of flowers and birds.
But without a doubt, the most impressive are the views from the viewpoint of dos Balcões. From here you can see the highest peaks of Madeira, Pico do Arieiro (1818m), Pico Ruivo (1861m) and the Ribeira da Metade valley. On a clear day the view is breathtaking.
The birds at Mirador dos Balcões
The Vereda dos Balcões is known not only for the views, but also because it is a perfect place forbird watching. A wide variety of species live in this area, the most popular being the goldcrest, chaffinch, wagtail and the rare Madeiran wood pigeon.
In addition to the views, there are also friendly chaffinch birds that live in the surrounding trees and are very used to people. If you carry some seeds and have patience, they will come up to eat them from your hand. Keep in mind that it is very important to respect their habitat and not to feed them anything other than small seeds.
The Mirador dos Balcões is also the perfect place to imporve your photography skills. You will be able to capture birds in motion which is a unique opportunity.
Once you finish visiting the viewpoint, it is time to retrace your steps. On the way back you will see this picturesque old house in the middle of the forest.
After finishing this walk, we took the Ribeiro Frio Chao das Freiteiras hike, which starts just on the other side of the road. You can read our post about this route here.
To conclude, we would like to mention the Mirador dos Balcões is one of our favourite viewpoints on the island as it is an exceptional scenic spot.
Madeira is a beautiful and unique island that offers something for all types of travellers and hikers. Whether you want to enjoy challenging routes over peaks and cliffs, or an easy stroll through nature, you will find it on this Portuguese island. And the Vereda dos Balcões is one of the easiest and most beautiful trails you can find.
We would love to hear your opinion and recommendations about Madeira and its routes. Any questions or tips feel free to leave us a comment here or connect with us on social media @lostcoconuts 😊
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