Take freeway R101, direction west. Just before the freeway leaves Funchal take the exit towards Curral. Follow the road towards Curral get on through and park near the Bus stop in the hamlet of Faja Escura.
Altitude gain: 1500m!
Trailhead: Faja Escura near Curral da Freiras
This is by far the most strenuous ascent to Pico Grande. 1500m of altitude need to be climbed but the "development of the scenery" as you enlarge your view by ascending is simply great. First you only see Pico Ruivo but finally you have the whole island at your fingertips.
The trail starts out at the busstop at Faja Escura and first ascends through the village and then heads for a clearly visible rock. Climb over this rock and afterwards the trail winds steeply upwards along the slopes of Pico Grande. A little before you reach Boca do Cerro turn right and leave for the ascent path to Pico Grande. The remainder of the ascent follows the same route as the one described above (from Boca da Curida).
Hiking gear and long pants (because of the gorse). Take into account that part of the hike is exposed.