Ponta de São Lourenço Hiking Trail
Ponta de São Lourenço is a headland in the east of Madeira and contains the easternmost point of the island. The headland was named after one of Madeiras discoverers’ ships. Naturewise Ponta de São Lourenço is different from the rest of the island as it is mostly covered by grassland. In 1982 it was classified as a nature reserve and is also recognized as an Important Bird Area. This variety in landscape makes the Ponta de São Lourenço Hiking Trail all the more interesting and unique compared to other hikes on Madeira.
If you wish to read more about what else we did while on the beautiful island of Madeira, head to our Extensive Sightseeing Guide to Madeira. Or head to our 25 Fontes Hiking Trail Guide for more information on another amazing hike on Madeira!
Where to start?
The starting point of this hike is very straight forward, since there is basically just one road leading up to the trail and the parking lot is at the end of it. The parking lot is pretty big and even offers parking for busses or RVs. However this hike is rather popular so in high season it is advised to head here early.
Parking is free of charge.
The Hiking Trail Stats
The Ponta de São Lourenço Hiking Trail is a one-way hiking trail towards Pico do Furado, one of the highest points of this headland. The hike from the starting point towards Pico do Furado is a little over 3km long. Since this hike is a one-way hike, you will have to hike the same route back (which leads to around 6-7km). The hike only has a 100m altitude difference (lowest point compared to highest point), however the trail itself constantly changes between going up and down which means that you will actually have to walk a lot more altitude difference. The hardest part is the last stretch towards Pico do Furado which is pretty steep. However all in all this hike can be considered of medium difficulty.
From the parking lot, the trail starts by descending onto a beautiful grassland. We spotted several huge seagulls on the edge of the cliffs behind the grassland, watching over the fish farm that is located on the south side of the headland.
Since we had read before that this stretch of land is also home to the Mediterranean monk seal, we were constantly on the lookout for them (however unfortunately we were not lucky).
The northside of Ponta de São Lourenço has a rougher coast, with steep cliffs and sharp rocks piercing the sea. The beautiful black and red colors of the rocks attest to the volcanic origin of the island.
We followed the trail up and down the rocky headland and through beautiful grasslands towards a small “oasis”. This refuge (Casa do Sardinha) contains a small restaurant where we stopped for lunch.
I’ll let the following pictures of the trail speak for themselves:
After lunch we were ready for the last stretch of the hike: climbing Pico do Furado. Like already mentionned before, this last stretch was the most difficult one. The trail goes straight up the hill and is very steep. It is also not very well secured. But once we reached the top we were rewarded with one of the best views yet.
There are two islands located in front of Pico do Furado, Ilhéu da Cevada and Ilhéu do Farol. The second one is home to the oldest lighthouse of Madeira, named Farol da Ponta de São Lourenço which was finished in 1870.
We stayed at this viewpoint for quite a while. While we were sitting on one of the rocks taking in the views, unexpectedly a lizard crawled up my leg. It must have thought that my black leggings were a good spot for sunbathing. So I let it be for a while. However when a second one wanted to follow the same path I quickly ended the sunbathing party and gently showed them the way back to their usual sunbathing spots;).
Then we slowly made our way down from Pico do Furado. On our way back to the parking lot we took a small detour to check out one of the beaches. But after a few minutes we decided to head home and then relaxed for the rest of the day at our accomodation!
Is the Ponta de São Lorenço Hike worth it?
In our opinion, this hike is definitly worth it. Especially since the landscape on this peninsula of Madeira is so different from the landscape elsewhere on the island! The hike itself is also not that hard. You should be sure-footed. But the hike should be easily manageable if you are moderately fit.