We sent a month on the island of Madeira, staying in Santana. Queimadas was our closest mountain and just a five minute drive away. One afternoon we popped up to explore the park and some of the smaller paths around it.
Driving to Queimadas
Queimadas to Caldeirao Verde is a 12km hike and provides one of the most spectacular walks on the island, however if you’re not up for a big walk you can still explore this little park and have fun. Maybe take a picnic and enjoy some of its shorter pathways.
The park of Queimadas which is a Laurisilva forest is an enchanting emerald green, mossy paradise of a tropical rain forest. The forest here is the last surviving area of laurel forest and is protected by being a UNESCO world heritage site. It contains a unique suite of plants and animals, including many endemic species such as the Madeiran long-toed pigeon. Sadly for us, we didn’t see one.
Parking at Queimadas
The little buildings at Queimadas
At the entrance to the Queimadas park there is a traditional thatched house/shelter ( Casa de Abrigo das Queimadas) intended for the rangers but there’s also a smaller building that houses the WC’s. Take some small change as I think you need to pay.
There are plenty of levadas and smaller but engineered waterfalls running through the park. The park has ample seating for picnics.
Exploring the woods at Queimadas
following a path to nowhere
We decided to follow a sign that said ‘miradouro’ or ‘lookout point. It literally translates to ‘gazebo’ but given we’ve never found a gazebo when following these signs around Madeira, I’d hazard a guess at it meaning lookout point!
Many of the levadas on this route ran dry and the paths are frequently mossy but dry and not slippy.
On our route we discovered some sort of dry, water chamber overlooked by a shed. There were NO signs anywhere to explain this so I am going to guess it once formed a pond of some sort and a bird hide. Maybe only open in the summer?
The view from the miradouro
The miradouro is about 1km from the houses and gives great views over the valley towards Faial and the Atlantic.
Let’s walk further
As the path carried on further we decided to follow it, wondering where it led out.
The path became more overgrown with the bank verges above us looking more and more unsteady and finally the path ran out. Overgrown with brambles, rocks and moss, we could go no further.
So we headed back down, a little disappointed that our walk was cut short.
What else can you do for free on Madeira?