Madeira’s nature is very diverse and this walk shows yet another extreme. Ponta de São Lourenço is totally different from the levada walks through green forests. On this walk you’ll pass jagged cliffs in a desert like landscape. Madeira is a volcanic island, and on this peninsula you will see volcanic rock formations in many colours. Orange, purple, red: a beautiful contrast with the vivid blue ocean.
During the entire walk to the end of São Lourenço you’ll walk between rock formations, with beautiful views on the endless ocean and the rocky shore on both sides of the trail. There are many ‘observation points’, from which you can see the waves crash against the rocks down below. Some rocks are so vividly coloured, it’s hard to believe those colours are 100% natural!
You can sit down for a rest outside the visitor centre Casa do Sardinha. Inside the visitor centre you can find some interesting information about the area of São Lourenço and the nearby Desertas Islands which are an important refuge for the rare Mediterranean monk seal. Outside the visitor centre, the local fauna is also represented fairly well: there are lizards all over the place.
From the visitor centre you can continue for a bit and climb the highest point of São Lourenço. It’s a short, but steep, climb. However, when the sky is clear, you will have a great view from up there. You will be able to look in all directions and see Porto Santo island, Desertas Islands and the inland mountain peaks. You will walk back the same way to the start of the trail. If you feel like taking a dive: there are multiple possibilities to follow a path down to the ocean and take a refreshing swim in this beautiful area. During summer, you’ll probably be very tempted to do just that, since there is no shade on this entire walk.
This area is perfect for coasteering! So don’t be surprised if you encounter some people dressed in wetsuit wearing helmets. They will probably climb down the coast to do some swimming, climbing and cliff jumping there.
This walk is moderate: there are some short ascents and descents. Especially during summer, these can be quite strenuous. But, overall, it’s not a difficult walk. There are some narrow and exposed points which are mostly protected by railings, but you must have a head for heights.
Length: 6km / Return trip / Duration: 2,5hours.
Route #13 in Sunflower Guide.
Official trail by Madeira’s tourist office: PR 8.