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Day 2 - São Lourenço Peninsula

Hiking route · Portugal
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  • The Sao Lourenco Peninsula
    The Sao Lourenco Peninsula
    Photo: Suzel Gary, Macs Adventure
m 100 50 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 km

Discover the island's far east: exposed, grassy hills with magnificent cliff landscape descending dramatically to the sea.

Starting at the car park of Baia d'Abra, explore the peninsula from one viewpoint to another along the trail called Vereda da Ponta de São Lourenço.

Distance 7.3 km
3:30 h
474 m
474 m
128 m
-1 m

A transfer will take you to the São Lourenço Peninsula Nature Reserve car park where your walk begins and ends.

The path is well marked, and mostly well maintained, but persistent wind and erosion leaves it dry and gravelly. The initial downhill section then leads to a series of climbs and ridges that offer magnificent views to both South and North. At the far end of the walk, you loop back round on yourself, before picking up the same path again, and you have the option of making the final ascent at the very far end up to Morro do Furado which gives you views of headland beyond.

The landscape is peculiar to this area, marked by Madeira volcanic origins and endemic vegetation species.

Author’s recommendation

Most visitors first see this piece of land in the middle of the ocean from their plane, just before landing. Attracted by beauty of São Lourenço Peninsula's landscape, lots of them enjoy this pleasant walk.
Profile picture of Laura Paterson
Laura Paterson
Update: January 19, 2022
Highest point
128 m
Lowest point
-1 m

Track types

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Safety information

  • The cliffs are steep so make sure you keep on the path, especially on windy days.
  • Wooden structures and earthen path can be slippery when wet (be careful at the further end, should you choose to try the last climb).

Tips and hints

Points of Interest

  • The peninsula is said to have taken its name from the “São Lourenço”, the ship of Madeira's discoverers, Captains João Zarco & Tristão Teixeira.
  • Casa do Sardinha, the house surrounded by palm trees, was built on the orders of Manuel Battencourt Sardinha in 1905, sold by his family to the Autonomous Madeiran Government and later became the visitor's centre for the Nature Reserve. Casa do Sardinha Reception Center
  • Flora and Fauna: The peninsula is home to one of the largest colonies of Yellow Legged Gulls, the unassuming Berthelot's Pipit and Goldfinches. A stowaway from a ship of the early explorers, the Madeiran Wall lizard skips between sunspots whilst above them all, diminutive kestrels cast a keen eye on everything below. Some plants are endemic to the peninsula. Plants of Ponta de São Lourenço
  • The rare monk seal sometimes appears in the area, coming from the Desert Islands that stand ashore. Life Madeira Monk Seal
  • The climate of the peninsula is “semi-arid”, under the influence of the Sahara some 600 km to the East


Santa Cruz and Machico are well served with banks, supermarkets, numerous bars and restaurants, a pharmacy and a bus station.

Food & Drink

  • Nothing en route. Picnic and water advised.
  • Bar conveniently located half way, at CASA DO SARDINHA NATURE SPOT CAFÉ. Possibility to use the toilets for 1€.


Tourist information board that marks the start of the walk on the car park. (79 m)
32.743267, -16.701024
32°44'35.8"N 16°42'03.7"W
28S 340628 3624105
Show on Map


Car park where you started.

Turn-by-turn directions

You will be picked up from your hotel at 9:00 am. Find your way to the tourist information board that marks the start of the walk.

0.00 km – AHEAD, past the information board and down the paved path following the PR8 sign. At the bottom you will cross a short wooden bridge before climbing up towards the first of the hills.

0.80 km – AHEAD, but take time to enjoy the cliff views just off the path on your left. There is also an optional path to a stoney beach down the right (very steep).

1.40 km – AHEAD, but again take time to enjoy the cliff views just off the path. 

2.10 km – AHEAD. Here the path narrows to a ridge, and offers glorious views to both North and South.

2.50 km – BEAR RIGHT, up the hill after taking in the cliff top views on your left.

2.60 km – BEAR LEFT at the information board where the path splits. This is the beginning of your return loop.

3.20 km – BEAR LEFT up the hill, with Casa do Sardinha (small house) in front of you. BEAR LEFT again up the hill and follow the wooden steps.

NOTE 1: Should this part of the trail be closed, do not climb and carry on as indicated in NOTE 2.

NOTE 2: It is possible to continue round to the right here to complete the loop rather than tackling the steep climb to the top. You return to the Casa do Sardinha in any case. The climb to the summit will be slippery when wet.

3.70 km – RETURN, back down the hill once you have reached the summit and had a well-deserved rest.

4.30 km – BEAR LEFT at the bottom and rejoin the loop again, this time heading round to the left of Casa do Sardinha, where you can take a rest.

Carry on downhill on the paved path. The port lies close to the wooden bridge.

NOTE: There are picnic tables available to your right before crossing the bridge.

4.50 km – TURN RIGHT over the bridge and up the hill to the information board where the loop begun and you pick up your original path again.

4.80 km – BEAR LEFT at the top beside the information board.

5.30 km – AHEAD, taking in the views on both sides again.

6.00 km – AHEAD, with another chance to take in the cliff views to your right.

6.50 km – AHEAD, with the optional path to the beach on your left this time.

7.30 km – FINISH at the car park where you started. Meet your taxi here at 4:00 pm.


all notes on protected areas

Getting there

Transfer to Baía d'Abra at São Lourenço Peninsula in the morning and transfer back after the walk.


32.743267, -16.701024
32°44'35.8"N 16°42'03.7"W
28S 340628 3624105
Show on Map
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike


  • Sun protection as there is no shade along the walk.
  • Comfortable footwear.
  • Winds can be very strong.

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7.3 km
3:30 h
474 m
474 m
Highest point
128 m


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