Madeira 3 - Hike to Ponta de São Lourenço
Bad weather? No problem! Even when Madeira is covered in rainclouds, there is usually one place that stays dry:
São Lourenço, the easternmost tip of the island. Here is my first, easy hiking tip for Madeira to get you started – more ambitious ones will follow soon 😉
♡-Factor:♡♡♡♡♡ Start: Baia d'Abra car park Length: 7.36 km Approximate walking time: 2 hours (without breaks) Altitude meters/Climb: 280 up, 290 down Difficulty: Easy. A leisurely hike. There are a few exposed spots, but they are well secured. Points to watch out for: The hike is very popular. I would start very early in the morning, or late – just right for sunset. Map: I have saved the route in Komoot. You can see all the details after login. Refreshments: Casa do Sardinha is located at the furthest turning point of the hike. A nicely located café at the most easterly point.
Hiking guide book: Rother Wanderführer "Madeira - Die schönsten Levada- und Bergwanderungen" 2020
You can find tips for accommodations in my blog Madeira 1 - What to do in Madeira?
During our visit it had always rained a little each day, so the peninsula looked more like Ireland’s little sister than a dry Portuguese island: There was grass and wild flowers everywhere! Just what the doctor ordered, especially compared to the dreary Central European winter! The hiking trail is impossible to miss: it is well signposted and there is actually only one way there and back - apart from a small detour to Pico do Furado at the Eastern point of the peninsula. From here you have a spectacular view to the Ilhéu da Cevada island, separated by a small water channel. Further out towards the South you can also see the Ilhas Desertas ... and of course the raging sea.
But what makes the hike so special?
It is above all the different bizarre rock formations in red, grey, black and ochre that fascinated us. Especially in contrast to the blue of the sky, the grey of the sea and the delicate green of the grass and flowers - the colour contrasts are spectacular.
Like all of Madeira, the Ponta de São Lourenço is of volcanic origin. It consists of dark trachyte and light or reddish tuff. In some places trachyte ducts lead almost vertically upwards. Cracks in the rock have filled with magma from below, you can see such black lines everywhere along the path. On the Northern coast of the peninsula erosion has created steep cliffs, the Southern side slopes down a little more gently. The highest elevations on the headland are the Pico do Furado (150 m) and the Piedras Brancas (163 m).
The Ponta de São Lourenço was declared a nature reserve in 1982, it is part of the Parque Natural da Madeira and one of the eight important bird areas in the region - a heavyweight when it comes to nature conservation, so please treat the area accordingly ... When the weather is nice, the protected pebble beach Praia da Prainha, which can be reached via a staircase, beckons at the halfway point ... during our visit the weather was a little stormy, but this didn't detract from the flair of the hike.