An impressive testimony of altitude volcanism and erosion
Comprising the island's entire central mountain range, the Mountainous Massif of Madeira encompasses areas situated at altitudes above 1,400 metres. Madeira's imposing peaks decisively mark the contours of the Madeiran landscape.
The Central Mountain Range of Madeira is considered a Natural Monument, occupying an area of about 8,200 hectares. Here, two distinct areas are delimited. The eastern part integrates the highest peaks of Madeira, namely Pico Ruivo (1,862 m) and Pico do Areeiro (1,818 m). On the other hand, the western part is composed of the highest points of the area of Paul da Serra, especially Pico Ruivo do Paul (1,640 m) and the area of Bica da Cana (1,620 m).
The rugged outline of this region is the result of differential erosion caused by the action of water on pyroclastic rocks. The highly rugged relief of Madeira's peaks is thus an impressive testimony to the island's millenary history of volcanic origin.
Besides being considered a Geological and High Altitude Vegetation Reserve, with several endemic flora species, the Central Mountain Range, where the Madeira peaks are located, is the only identified nesting place for a rare seabird, the endemic Madeira petrel (Pterodroma madeira).