No, the trails weren’t for the exclusive use of the Kings.
Before the implementation of the Republic, pedestrian paths were created, the “Caminhos Reais” or “Estradas Reais”, by order of the Governors and General Captains to facilitate maritime-terestrial access. They were narrow paths, generally made by typical Madeiran mosaic paving, or then simple dirt tracks, that until today make up part of Madeiran memory.
The “Associação do Caminho Real da Madeira”, was formally constituted on February 17th, 2017. The Association’s objective is to defend, value and promote the centenary routes that combine Madeira’s historical, ethnographic, cultural, architectural and natural heritage, in urban, rural and forest contexts, through cultural, pedagogical, scientific, sporting, recreational, social or other related activities.
From the 28 existing paths, 25 are found on Madeira Island and 3 in Porto Santo. Most of the “Caminhos Reais” can be observed during our trips.