Penha d’Águia

Hike in Santa Cruz (Madiera)

Faial, Madeira
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Holger Uwe Schmitt

Boasting incomparable grandeur, Penha d’Águia stands as one of the most significant geological symbols in the archipelago of Madeira. Situated between Porto da Cruz and Faial within the municipality of Machico, this colossal formation is a genuine natural monument. Its sheer size, nearly 600 meters in height, makes it an unmistakable landmark, dominating the landscape and taking center stage in the backdrop of some of Madeira’s most iconic viewpoints. This volcanic mound was formed by the emission of vast quantities of lava 5.8 million years ago.

The magnificence of Penha d’Águia is visible from numerous vantage points across the island, contributing to the unique character of Madeira’s scenery. While its awe-inspiring presence is a captivating sight, ascending Penha d’Águia is an unforgettable yet challenging experience, recommended primarily for hikers with good physical endurance. The trail leading to the top is a steep, dirt-track path, offering a demanding yet rewarding hike through exotic vegetation.

The Vereda da Penha d’Águia Circular Route

The journey along Vereda da Penha d’Águia commences at Caminho D. Sebastião and takes approximately 2 hours there and back or about 3 hours for the circular walk. Throughout the trek, hikers are enveloped by exotic vegetation, creating a lush and immersive environment. Reaching the summit becomes a reward in itself, providing a breath taking panoramic view encompassing the region’s villages, the Madeiran mountain range, and the vast expanse of the Atlantic Ocean. This walk is not really suitable in wet weather as the paths can become treacherously slippery.

You can park on The ER108 by Bar Adega da Cruz, and walk up the lane behind the bar to find a sign for the “Verada da Penha d’Águia”. Walk along the path through a banana plantation for a few hundred meters and you come to a wooden sign directing you up the dirt path to the summit. After a steep climb you will come to a fork in the path the left takes you to Faial and the right to the cliff-side to overlook Porto da Cruz. On a clear day you have a view through the trees to the Ponta de São Lourenço and the distant island of Porto Santo.

Return the way you came and wither take the right hand trail to Faial or return the way you came up.

Trail to Faial guides you through the forest, winding down slippery tracks. Despite a couple of breaks in the treeline that offer sneak peeks of the mountain ranges, this segment of the hike is generally uneventful.




The Penha d’Águia appears in our Complete Guide to Visiting Santa Cruz (Madiera)!

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Visiting Penha d’Águia

Duration: 3 hours

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