PR8 – Vereda da Ponta de São Lourenço (Machico – Madeira)
The “PR8 – Vereda da Ponta de São Lourenço” trail is on the easternmost peninsula of Madeira, in a volcanic landscape with a unique beauty throughout the island.
We arrived at “Baía D’Abra” (D’Abra Bay) as soon as possible, where the trail begins, with some expectations regarding the weather conditions. Although forecasts indicate a light wind and little chance of rain, there was always some fear that a sudden change in weather could spoil this hike. Fortunately, this hasn’t happened.
There were already many hikers who started the trail at thir hour. Being part of the Natura 2000 Network and located in a landscape of high geological importance, it’s one of the most visited trails in the whole island by hikers. With about 4 km, one way trip, it develops at Ponta de São Lourenço, a rock formation named after the caravel of one of the three discoverers of Madeira, João Gonçalves Zarco.
A landscape completely different from everything we had ever encountered on the island.
The well defined trail is an anthem to the natural beauty of Madeira. A landscape completely different from everything we had ever encountered on the island, characterized by the absence of trees and undergrowth, a consequence of the semi-arid climate and exposure to the northern winds. I would say that it resembles a lunar or martian landscape, similar to the one that possibly exists on the Moon or Mars.
The path, always well defined, winds through the cliffs in a permanent up and down. As we move forward, our attention is divided between the breathtaking cliffs and the flora (part of it endemic) and fauna richness that we find.
On the north side of the island, the wild sea hits the rocky cliffs strongly, while on the south side there is calm and serenity in shades of turquoise blue. It’s a very present contrast and so easy to observe along the way.
At a closer look we find some curious rock formations, the result of volcanic origin and, in an improvised game with Maria, we try to discover the similarities, in each of them, with animals or objects.
At the end of the route we arrived at “Casa do Sardinha” (Sardinha house), as the former owners were called. Now serves as support for the watchmen of the Madeira Natural Park and is where the visitor can get to know in more detail the natural species of Ponta de São Lourenço. There is no bar / restaurant service here so all the food and drink must be provided when planning the hike and carried in your backpack.
As there are several picnic tables in front of the house, walkers take the opportunity to rest for a while and recover their energy. This is what we also did, in the company of some birds (mostly doves), who tried their luck there in search of the largest crumb or piece of fruit.
Before returning, we must climb “Pico da Ponta do Furado”. We done it at a slow pace, really slow, at that possible pace that our already tired legs forced us. But it was well worth it for the 360º panorama that we saw from up there, one side the Cevada islet and the Farol islet, and the other the trail that we still had to hike on the return. Far off the horizon, the Desertas Islands to the south and to north, the Porto Santo’s “golden island” erupt from the immense blue.
After taking a deep breath, we went down the hill to start the return path. We also passed by the Sardinha pier, where the clear waters invited us to take a dive (which we didn’t do), and soon afterwards we started the climb and found the trail that taken us back to the starting point.
Points of Interest:
Ponta de S. Lourenço, Landscapes, Sardinha house, Sardinha pier, Peak of Ponta do Furado.
- Do not get off the trail or approach the cliffs.
- Be even more careful in days of strong winds and adverse weather conditions, consider carefully if all conditions are met for the hike.
- Being an arid zone, with no shade during almost the entire trail, use sunscreen and protect yourself properly from the sun.
- Take food and water in the backpack.
Not accessibleto stroller
436melevation gain uphill
449melevation gain downhill
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