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Ponta do Sao Lourenco on Madeira - Full Guide

Ponta do Sao Lourenco on Madeira
Ponta do Sao Lourenco on Madeira

Ponta do Sao Lourenco stands out as the most recognisable spot in Madeira, and it's the initial part of the island visible from your airplane window. Particularly from a bird's-eye view, you can observe how this peninsula resembles a dragon's tail. This rough coastline is an excellent spot to explore during sunrise, making it an unmissable location, especially for hikers and photographers.

Canical Viewpoint (Ponta do Rosto) looking towards Ponta do Sao Lourenco on Madeira
Canical Viewpoint (Ponta do Rosto) looking towards Ponta do Sao Lourenco on Madeira

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What to do at Ponta do Sao Lourenco on Madeira

Ponta do Sao Lourenco is a fantastic spot for a quick visit or a more extended exploration. It comprises two main areas. One is the Canical Viewpoint (Ponta do Rosto), where you can conveniently park your car in a small parking area right in front of the cliffs, just a few steps away from the viewing spot. The Ponta do Rosto area is quite spacious, allowing you to explore both the side facing the peninsula and the opposite side, looking towards Madeira island. There are several beautiful photo spots at Ponta do Rosto, and the location overall provides numerous photography opportunities. While there aren't any facilities on-site, you might encounter a food vendor during the day selling fast food, snacks, and souvenirs.

You might like this article: 11 Most beautiful viewpoints on Madeira

The second area serves as the trailhead for the PR8 Hike Ponta do Sao Lourenco. At the parking area, there's a food stand offering fast food, coffee, and a paid toilet. You can stroll around the vicinity and climb the nearby hills to enjoy some breathtaking views. However, taking the hike is the ultimate experience, and you shouldn't miss it during your visit to Madeira. For the more adventurous, there's also an option to apply for a permit to spend a night at the camping site at the end of the PR8 trail.

Ponta do Sao Lourenco on Madeira
Ponta do Sao Lourenco on Madeira

Ponta do São Lourenço Madeira

How to get to Ponta do Sao Lourenco on Madeira

Visiting Ponta do Sao Lourenco is quite convenient; it's just a 30-minute drive from Funchal. Alternatively, you can use public transportation from Funchal by taking SAM Bus 113 towards Baía D'Abra, and Ponta do Sao Lourenco is the final stop.

You can check the time schedule here: SAM Bus 113 Schedule

From the PR 8 trailhead, you can also take a short walk to Ponta do Rosto. There's a small parking area at Canical viewpoint that tends to fill up quickly during the day, but there's plenty of space to park on the side of the road. Visitors usually spend up to an hour admiring the views and taking photos, so parking spots are quickly reused.

The PR 8 Trailhead boasts a very large parking space, but it fills up even faster as many hikers aim to experience Madeira's favorite trail. The later you arrive, the further you'll need to park from the trailhead, adding additional kilometers to your hike. The parking tends to be quite full between 9-10 am, so I suggest getting there earlier or in the evening.

Ponta do São Lourenço on Madeira
Ponta do São Lourenço on Madeira

Ponta do São Lourenço on Madeira
Ponta do São Lourenço on Madeira

Informations about PR 8 Ponta do Sao Lourenco Hike on Madeira

Distance: 7KM (round trip)

Incline: 500M

Duration: 2-3 hours

Ticket: 1 Euro (Free for residents and children up to 12 years old), paid online by scanning the code at the trailhead sign (be aware of bad cell phone service) or HERE

The PR 8 Ponta do Sao Lourenco coastal hike on the eastern tip of Madeira offers breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean and its rugged coastline. It's a really popular hike because it's not too far from Funchal and not too steep. The trail is mostly made of rocks and gravel, but it's easy to see where to go. Just make sure you have good shoes and pay attention to where you're walking. Some places are a bit exposed, but there are always railings or wider paths to keep you safe. Overall, it's a good trail for everyone.

You might like this article: Madeira TOP 5 Hiking Trails

The hike covers a seven-kilometer trail with several beautiful viewpoints, showcasing how the coastline has changed over millions of years due to volcanic erosion. The best times to hike are early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid intense midday heat. Hiking during these times offers stunning views of the sunrise or sunset over the Atlantic Ocean, and it's less crowded!

The trail ends at the restaurant Casa da Sardinha. It looks like a nice rest stop, but unfortunately, I've never been there. Although I've done this hike several times, it was always at sunrise or sunset, so the restaurant was closed.

From Casa da Sardinha, you can see a tall hill called Pico do Furado. The trail to this viewpoint is officially closed, but that doesn't stop anyone from climbing to the top. In my opinion, the hike isn't complete without summiting Pico do Furado. The trail to the top is well-prepared, and the area at the top seems very sturdy, as expected from a mountain peak. I guess the authorities are concerned about the safety of less experienced hikers by not exposing them to more challenging parts of the hike.

From Pico do Furado, you can see the end of the Dragon's Tail with the lighthouse at its end. I particularly enjoy the sunrise views there, with the soft light gently brightening the cliffs on Ponta do Sao Lourenco. The top of Pico do Furado is a great spot for landscape photography, so you'll likely see some photographers with tripods if you go there in the morning. From here, you must return within the same way back to the parking lot, where the hike starts and ends.

We made the whole video about this hike. You can watch it here:

Canical Viewpoint, Ponta do Rosto on Madeira
Canical Viewpoint, Ponta do Rosto on Madeira

My Experience

The PR 8 Hike Ponta do Sao Lourenco is undoubtedly one of my favourite hikes on Madeira, and I've done it several times already. I really enjoy taking photos on the trail, especially at its end and at the Canical Viewpoint on Ponta do Rosto. Ponta do Rosto is a great spot for a quick photoshoot, so I often choose this location for couple photoshoots. Whenever I have friends visiting, Ponta do Sao Lourenco is an essential part of our itinerary.

Ponta do São Lourenço on Madeira

Common questions about PR 8 Hike Ponta do Sao Lourenco

When is the Best time to visit Ponta do São Lourenço on Madeira?

There's no bad time to visit Ponta do Sao Lourenco. The weather on Madeira is pleasant throughout the whole year, so you can plan this hike on any given day. The best time to start the hike is early morning and late afternoon, as you'll avoid the peak hours and save yourself from the strong sun.

What's the best time for photography on Ponta do Sao Lourenco?

If you're planning to photograph the PR8 Trail, both sunrise and sunset work well for photography. If you're interested in photographing at Ponta do Rosto viewpoint, the best time for taking photos of the cliffs towards the east is in the morning when the entire peninsula is evenly lit by the morning sun. In the evening, this viewpoint will be cast with strong shadows. Sunset is good for photographing towards the west, so you'll see many wedding photographers conducting photoshoots there during this time. You can discreetly follow them to find the best angles, as everyone tends to take the same classic shots.

If you have any more questions about Ponta do São Lourenço or the PR 8 hike, feel free to type them in the comments, and I'll answer them within the next 24 hours. Other than that, I wish you a great time exploring Madeira, as Ponta do Sao Lourenco is a fantastic place to do so.

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Madeira is such an amazing place to visit, and we still can't believe we've been able to call it home for the past two years. During our stay, we explored all the best spots on the island and tried all the most exciting activities, many of them more than once! This helped us create these comprehensive guides that will help you plan your own trip to Madeira.



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