Ponta de Sao Lourenco, PR 8 in Madeira - Hiking Details and 5 Tips
Ponta de Sao Lourenco, PR 8 in Madeira - Hiking Details and 5 Tips

Ponta de Sao Lourenco, PR 8 in Madeira - Hiking Details and 5 Tips


When Is the Best Time

This is one of the best hikes along the rugged coastline at the eastern tip of Madeira. In contrast to the Levada hikes, the track is exposed to the sun and wind leading through the geological history of Madeira.

The breathtaking high cliffs and volcanic rocks.
To the right is a fantastic Miradouro de Sao Lourenco viewpoint which you reach after 2,6 km.

If you plan to hike this exciting narrow track, check out the weather forecast a day or two before. There is no shelter or protection from the elements from wind, rain, and the intense sun in summer. Link weather

Best Time for Ponta de Sao Lourenco

Sao Lourenco Peninsula Hike exposed section secured with ropes.
You can already see the cafe and palm trees, and the high rock marks the end of the trail.

Regarding the temperatures, the best time to hike the PR8 track - Vereda da Ponta de Sao Lourenco is from October until May. In summer, from June until September, temps can top 30°C in the sun. A sunny winter day can be pleasant, around 20°C. However, check the weather forecast before because rain is more likely to occur from October to March.

Best Daytime

View back along the Sao Lourenco Peninsula
You can see where the path winds along the peninsula - view from higher elevation shortly before you reach the end of the track.

If you plan to visit Madeira between June and September, I highly recommend starting early before it gets scorching hot. Although frequently windy along the exposed path until the end of the peninsula, the way back on this partly circular trail is protected from the wind, and you may break a sweat during midday. 

Watching the Sunrise at Sao Lourenco

One of the many information boards along the track.
The trail is well maintained and equipped with information about the peninsula.

Of course, watching the sunrise from here must be breathtaking, but depending on where you stay, it may take one hour to get to the parking, plus half an hour of hiking for an excellent viewpoint. This means hiking this exposed track in darkness with a headlight, and maybe it is windy, something we did not want. We enjoyed one sunrise and plenty of sunsets because we are not early risers – more in my additional Sunrise and Sunset Guide for Madeira.

How to Get to Sao Lourenco

The most easterly tip with the lighthouse.
Here ends the track, you can't continue furthermore to the lighthouse.

This hiking trail is located at the most easterly point. It takes half an hour by car from Funchal, and from the south, like Ponta de Sol already 50 minutes to one hour. We had a break in Canical for lunch before we continued to Vereda da Ponta Sao Lourenco.

Avoiding Crowds

An info board and a profi photographer at Sao Lourenco.
The scenic landscape and an explanation where the name comes from.

The peninsula hike is one of the most popular ones. To dodge the crowds in the peak season, either come early or start your hike in the afternoon. The pros are that you avoid the midday heat, and either you start before the majority arrives or when the crowds thin out.

A hiker at an exposed section of this track.
It was a great hike and not busy despite the pleasant weather.

We started the hike after 2 pm lots of people had already left, and nearby parking was available. Nevertheless, many visitors come for a quick look, and the beginning is crowded. The further you walk on this trail, the quieter it gets.

Parking Trailhead Vereda Sao Lourenco

Parking at Sao Lourenco trailhead
There are more than a hundred parking spaces at the trailhead.

Although a huge car park with more than a hundred spaces at the trailhead, it can be totally full at midday during the peak season, the summer months, and you are forced to park at the shoulder.

View from the trail back to the full car park
You can see the many cars along the road and in the parking lot.

The most easterly tip is a popular place; many day trippers stop here for an hour or so to get a glimpse of this beautiful coastline, plus the many hikers. Therefore, either come in the morning or early afternoon (in summer, until 3-4 pm works well). Parking Google Maps Location

5 Tips for Vereda da Ponta de Sao Lourenco

Ice and beverages van plus last restroom at Sao Lourenco trailhead
The one and only restroom, therefore go before you arrive at the parking.
  1. Go Before You Go; There aren’t any facilities at the trailhead, a van offering beverages, ice cream, snacks, and the only available restroom.
  2. Bring plenty of water for this track without any shade; you definitely get thirsty. 
  3. At the end of the track is a beautifully located but a bit high-priced cafe; half a litre beer for 5€. Of course, everything must be transported by boat, but a fee of 1€ for a dirty restroom is unacceptable.
  4. Due to the exposed location, you never know how the weather will be on the peninsula. It changes quickly, so a wind and rain jacket is needed. 
  5. Beaches and swim spots are along the trail on the calmer side to the south. Start early, and carry a lunch, towel, and swimsuit in your backpack.
A pebble beach and a boardwalk with sunbathers
One of the spots for swimming in the calm sea.

The two beaches are Praia do Sardinha, close to the cafe and Praia da Baia D'Abra, one-kilometre distance from the car park.

Vereda Sao Lourenco Trail Details

Several hiking signs and the tip of Sao Lourenco
This is the circular part of Vereda da Sao Lourenco.
  • Duration: The trail takes roughly 4-5 hours if you like to enjoy the fantastic views and volcanic landscape. Often it is mentioned that the hike can be done in 2-3 hours, but I can't agree, although we hike quite fast.
  • Length: 8 km long trail - first and last three kilometres are the same; the two in between at the end are circular
  • Difficulty: Moderate
    Although a rugged trail, it is well secured with metal ropes. It is more challenging during a hot summer day, and you must carry more water.
  • Altitude difference on this hike is 790 m
  • Hiking Map by Locus Map App, including beaches
First hiking trail sign for Sao Lourenco
It is easy to find the path on the Sao Lourenco Peninsula.

The entire trail is well-maintained, the first 200 meters or so are cobbled pave leading into a gravel path. The track is up and downhill but easy to walk and even suitable for children and dogs. 

View from Miradouro de Sao Lourenco - Outlook
The view to the rugged volcanic coastline from Miradouro de Sao Lourenco.

The trail traverses the peninsula offering exceptional views of the untamed ocean in the north on your walk to the tip of the peninsula and the calm sea in the south on the hiking path back to the car park. 

Different volcanic colorful rock layers on top of each other
This is the best hike to experience the volcanic history of Madeira.

You witness the volcanic erosions from millions of years ago along the trail. It is a breathtaking colour explosion on the rugged coastline track.

Sao Lourenco hike traverses the peninsula in volcanic landscape
These little dots on the exposed rocky ridge are hikers, but it looks more hazardous as it is.

Some sections are exposed but always secured with metal ropes. You can't miss the well-marked path. There are scenic outlooks and beaches on this hiking trail.

Spectacular view to the pensinsula and bay from Ponta and Miradouro do Furado
View to Cais do Sardinha, the cafe, from the steep ascent to Ponta, and Miradouro do Furado.

The trail ends after a steep climb to Pico- Miradouro do Furado. You can't walk furthermore. The path after the outlook is not maintained, steep, and you reach the sea.

Two men at the end of the hiking trail looking to the lighthouse of Sao Lourenco.
The lighthouse of Sao Lourenco is in the back - from here, you walk the 1 km circular trail back to the main trail.

Overall, plan at least 4-5 hours for photo stops to enjoy the beautiful scenery, and definitely bring a picnic. Wear proper shoes for the gravel, dusty, and slippery trail. Some people went swimming at one of the picturesque spots. 



Where to Stay? My Top Recommendations


Calheta Beach Resort perfectly located
The Calheta Beach Resort is perfectly located next to Calheta Beach.

The Calheta Beach Resort is excellently located in front of the beach and sea, and within walking distance is a small supermarket Pingo Doce. It is shallow water here and, in combination with the sand beach excellent for children. Swimming is best at high tide, and snorkelling is amazing. Due to the breakwater, the bay and beach are well protected from powerful waves and currents. It is one of the very few sandy beaches in Madeira.

Ponta do Sol

Ponta do Sol Promenade and bay
The breakwater protects the bay.

This town is located in the south, and it is one of the sunniest places in Madeira. There is an interesting historic town centre, lovely restaurants, and one of our favourite spots for swimming. The protected bay is well laid out.

Promenade and Hotels in Ponta do Sol
Several hotels in front of the beach.

There are lots of highly-rated hotels in Ponta do Sol. These hotels (by Stay22 and booking.com) are opposite the awesome sunny bay.

Thanks for booking via my website. With your support, I am able to provide all my guides for free.

Best Months to Visit


Related Topics

Location and Tips


Vereda Ponta de Sao Lourenco leads to the easternmost tip of Madeira, and this is one of the top five hikes IMO.

If you wish to use any of my photos, contact me, but I will take action against picture theft. Why do I write this here? Hundreds of my pictures are used worldwide without any credit, nor did they get my permission. I don’t mind giving permission, but I want to get asked for it and to be mentioned. The world wide web changed a lot, and rewriting honest travel content is the new business for many fake travel websites. Do you wish to know more about this topic and how to unmask such websites quickly? Read my article “The Truth About Fake Travel Websites and Picture Theft.” 

Nearby Places
Levada do Caldeirao Verde and Inferno - Best Levada and Waterfall Hike in Madeira
22 km
Levada do Caldeirao Verde and Inferno - Best Levada and Waterfall Hike in Madeira
Madeira provides many spectacular Levada hikes, but this one is the most…
Pico do Arieiro to Pico Ruivo in Madeira - PR1 Hiking Details and Tips
23 km
Pico do Arieiro to Pico Ruivo in Madeira - PR1 Hiking Details and Tips
This hiking trail is challenging for those not used to climbing mountains. The…
The Traditional Food in Madeira - Food and Drink Guide
23 km
The Traditional Food in Madeira - Food and Drink Guide
The traditional food in Madeira is excellent, and if you visit the island, you…
Best Places to Watch the Sunrise and Sunset in Madeira
23 km
Best Places to Watch the Sunrise and Sunset in Madeira
Madeira is such a diverse island. Usually, the sun shines while it rains…
Best Time to Visit Madeira - Guide for Levadas and Waterfalls
26 km
Best Time to Visit Madeira - Guide for Levadas and Waterfalls
Madeira is a volcanic island, the top of a shield volcano located northwest of…
7 Best Beaches and Natural Pools in Madeira - Portugal
38 km
7 Best Beaches and Natural Pools in Madeira - Portugal
Madeira is like a little continent having all types of landscapes, from beaches…
3 Best Hiking Trails in the Anaga Rural Park in Tenerife
466 km
3 Best Hiking Trails in the Anaga Rural Park in Tenerife
Anaga, in the east of Tenerife, is a terrific area during all seasons,…
3 Must-Do Hikes at Mount Teide in Tenerife + 7 Tips
500 km
3 Must-Do Hikes at Mount Teide in Tenerife + 7 Tips
I will give you all the details and a packing list to climb Teide, how to get a…
Tenerife Best Time and Most Breathtaking Sunsets
501 km
Tenerife Best Time and Most Breathtaking Sunsets
I will give you all the information for my favourite four spots to watch an…
3 Volcano Hikes and All About Timanfaya National Park in Lanzarote
501 km
3 Volcano Hikes and All About Timanfaya National Park in Lanzarote
  Lanzarote, has an area of approximately 845 square kilometers (or roughly…
Created by
Micha Herber-Bleich
Micha Herber-Bleich
I am always open, curious about new…