This must be the best view point on the island – and the drive up is pretty dramatic too but not for the faint hearted as the road climbs up the side of the Mountain on a narrow ledge.
Above the tree line, there are superb views across the mountains which in May were yellow with broom and gorse. The road climbs across an increasingly barren landscape to Pico do Arieiro, at an altitude of just under 6000’ and Madeira’s third highest peak, complete with its white Radar dome.
There is a parking area and steep path up to the dome and tourist complex with cafe and gift shop. A series of well marked walking trails lead off from here.
The views are astounding, looking down into valleys catching the clouds. These can gradually build up and shroud the top in mist. The tiny settlement of Curral das Freiras, which is the only one in the centre of the island, can be glimpsed far in the valley below.
This was also one of the few places we found a lot of “wild flowers”:http://wasleys.org.uk/eleanor/otherholidays/madeira/eastern/flowers/index.html growing.
To the south on the road back down to Funchal, watch out for the tiny stone ‘igloo’ known as “Pocos de Neves “:https://images.app.goo.gl/SWZaBmvdQ11gmYDXA or snow well on the right. This was built in 1800 and was used to store ice needed by the hospital and also supplied ice for gin and tonics at Reid’s Hotel.
There are more pictures “here.”:http://wasleys.org.uk/eleanor/otherholidays/madeira/eastern/ariero/index.html