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Ponta de São Lourenço PR8 Trail – This hike was part of a 7-day trip to Madeira (January 2020).
Ponta de São Lourenço is the easternmost point of Madeira Island. There is a hike in that area, Vereda da Ponta de São Lourenço (PR8), which takes several hours of walking on rocky terrain covered by herbaceous vegetation having the Atlantic Ocean on both sides.
As soon as we arrived at the trail’s starting point, it started to rain. We decided to ignore the weather and proceed further. In those area, if you give importance to the weather forecast, you might end up staying indoors all day long.
After a few hundreds of meters the rain stopped and the sun rose high in the sky. Even so, the sudden gusts of wind which could easily blow my phone down, especially in the exposed area on the cliffs’ edge, caused a chilly weather. But the scenery was wonderful. I spent a lot of time admiring every corner of nature.
On the trail we met many seniors hiking. It is admirable how they continue to explore the world despite their age. The route consists largely of a succession of ascents/descents on the hilly ridges. From place to place, if the slopes are steeper, there are terraced areas and safety railings to prevent people from falling off.
The trail permanently goes parallel to the ocean giving you the chance to admire the water’s silver reflections given by the sunlight. In the distance I saw a fish farm, the Desert Islands and the island’s main airport. The airport in Funchal is named after the famous football player, Cristiano Ronaldo, who was born in Madeira. This is one of the most spectacular and dangerous airports in the world due to its location.
Those who don’t want to hike can take the boat from the city to Pier Sardine and from there they can reach Casa do Sardinha which is located very close to the end of the trail. The house is open daily from 10h-15h and you can enjoy a beverage or a snack in the middle of a dessert landscape.
From Casa do Sardinha it starts the steepest portion of the trail. The terrain is terraced and the route is delimited by railings.
Once you reach the small plateau at the end of the route, you can see 3 uninhabited islands in the immediate vicinity, Agostinho, Desembarcadouro and Farol. On Farol there is found the first lighthouse in Madeira. It currently works with solar energy, without the need of a lighthouse keeper.
It took us 3 hours to get to the end of the route because we spent a lot of time taking photos or having breaks. But on the way back to the car, we rushed because we were very hungry. We had dinner at Casal da Penha (1 Michelin star) then we took a short stroll in the Funchal’s harbor.
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