There is ample parking for at least fifty cars and it nearly always looks busy – judging from the amount of cars. It is a popular walk but not that popular lol.
The start of the walk
Leaving the car park you can either circumnavigate the cliffs to the right or walk on the pathway to the left. We chose to do both.
On the cliffs to the right are sections where people have built stone towers. It tends to be busy with the ‘selfie-queens’ who then go back to the car park!
Very quickly into the walk, less than 5 minutes, you’ll notice the spectacular scenery. To your right (west) you have the calmness of the south side of the Atlantic and to you left (east) you can see often huge waves battering the coast line. There are frequent rock slides on the eastern side of the walk and you can see the giant boulders having tumbled into the water.
The drop down to the ocean is just a small 50m and often the rope barrier to safeguard you is missing. It is frequently quite windy so do watch your step.
Serentity of the west ocean
the rough sea of the east
The sea to the west is really rough and the waves pummel the coast line. There is considerable sea damage to the western side with frequent rockfalls.
In this gorgeous but windy zone you can discover and enjoy beautiful samples of unique fauna and flora species. When we went the contrasting greens of the lushious grass and the purples of the newly sprouting flowers were vivid and contrasting.
In comparison to the rest of the island which is full of trees, this part has none. This is due to the semi-arid climate and the WINDS!
The peninsula is classified as a partial natural reserve. Of the 138 species of plant identified on the peninsula, 31 are exclusive to Madeira.
Undulating pathways of sao lourenco
The pathways are well maintained and nothing too strenuous. You climb a total of 222m and we did the return hike in 3h15.
curious rock formations
Along the route you can often see several bird species such as the Berthelot’s Pipit, the Goldfinch, the Common Canary and the Kestrel. More likely though is that you’ll hear them and not be able to spot them. On one bank in particular, you can see the canaries madly fluttering around but they’re too quick to photograph.
The Madeiran lizard, which is the island’s only reptile, is very common here. We saw the one below basking in the sunlight on a rock.
Did you spot a sea wolf?
In the sea, you may be lucky enough to spot the world’s rarest seal, known in Madeira as a Sea-wolf (Monachus monachus). We didn’t see one but if you book a trip to the deserted islands, you’re 100% guaranteed a viewing of the colony that live there.
The Sardinha house, named after its old owners, is easily identifiable as the only building on the walk. From here, in the summer, you can take the short walk down the port and take a dip! I am told that during the summer it is glorious down there.
The Sardinha house is now a base for Madeiran Natural Park Rangers and who are responsible for maintaining the area.
the final climb
Climbing up past the house is a steep set of steps which leads to the very end of the trail. It is by far the steepest part of the hike but it is definitely worth the effort.
From here, to the South you can see the Ilhas Desertas (Deserted Islands) and to the North the Porto Santo Islands.
At the end of the Point there are two islets: the Desembarcadouro Islet and the S. Lourenço Point or Fora Islet. These are inaccessible on foot as they are not connected to a path.
Making it back in time for sunset
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