A Complete Guide to Ponta de São Lourenço: The Best Hike on Madeira Island

What to do know about Ponta de São Lourenço hike

Ponta de São Lourenço is a stunning peninsula located at the easternmost tip of the island of Madeira, Portugal. This hike is known for its dramatic cliffs, rugged coastline and breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean. The Ponta de São Lourenço hike is one of the most popular hikes in Madeira, and for good reason! We were in awe of every view on this hike and would recommend it for any traveler in Madeira. It is a relatively easy hike with moderate elevation gain, and it offers some of the most spectacular scenery on the island. In this post, we will provide a complete guide to the Ponta de São Lourenço hike.

We will cover everything you need to know, from how to get to the trailhead to what to expect on the hike. We will also provide tips on how to make the most of your experience on the best hike in Madeira! Whether you are a seasoned hiker or a complete beginner, the Ponta de São Lourenço hike is a must-do for anyone visiting Madeira. With its stunning scenery and easy-to-follow trail, it is the perfect way to experience the natural beauty of the island.

Looking for more Madeira recs? Here is a complete island guide!

How to get to the Ponta de São Lourenço hike

Drive to Ponta de São Lourenço

If you are renting a car in Madeira, then you can simply drive to the parking lot where the hike begins. There should be plenty of parking spots available if you plan to go early in the morning. If you go later in the morning or afternoon, you may need to park along the side of the road and walk a bit to the trailhead.

Take the bus to Ponta de São Lourenço

The most budget friendly way to get to Ponta de São Lourenço is to take the public bus. There is a public bus you can take from Funchal directly to the trailhead. We paid ~€4 (cash only) to get to the hike in the morning. With that said, it is difficult to time the bus on the way back. The bus also doesn’t always have air conditioning and takes about an hour and a half depending on when you get on.

Take a Bolt

The drive to the hike is only 25 minutes so depending on your budget, you can easily order a ride through a rideshare app like Bolt. It is easy to get a Bolt on the way there from Funchal, but more difficult on the way back as drivers may not want to drive that far. We managed to get one when we finished the hike and it took the driver 17 minutes to get to us. There are also taxis ready to take people in the parking lot, but keep in mind that those will be significantly more expensive than a Bolt.

Compete guide to Ponta de São Lourenço Madeira hike

How much does the Ponta de São Lourenço hike cost?

The Ponta de São Lourenço hike costs €1 at the entrance to the hike. You will see a sign to scan a QR code and fill out a form to pay online.

How difficult is the Ponta de São Lourenço hike?

The terrain of this hike is a mix of stairs and rocky hiking trails. The hike is marked as moderate, which is an accurate description. It’s definitely not an easy hike, but also not crazy difficult. If you are not equipped to handle a difficult hike, we recommend that you skip the last part of the climb after the restaurant. The climb to the peak is very steep and the safety rails are falling off. You will still see absolutely stunning views if you opt to skip that last portion!

How long does the hike take?

The hike takes 1-2 hours each way, depending on your speed and how many times you stop for pictures. There are tons of viewpoints along the way, so you will want to factor those stops into your timelines.

What to wear on the hike?

Layering is key on the Ponta de São Lourenço Madeira Hike! The temperatures vary a lot with the wind, depending on which side of the mountain you are on. It will get chillier when super windy, but then very hot when it’s just sun and the wind is not prevalent.

There is the option to swim at the beach at the bottom of the restaurant at the turnaround point. Bring a swimsuit just in case you want to take a swim break! We regretted not bringing ours to cool down before heading back to the start of the trail.

Since this is a moderate hike, wear comfortable shoes that can withstand rocky terrain. We both wore our sneakers and were comfortable. Hiking boots may be more durable for this terrain, but would not be required for this level of difficulty.

Also, it is important to wear sunscreen and bring extra to reapply during the hike.

Tips and what to expect on the Ponta de São Lourenço hike

how to get to Ponta de São Lourenço Madeira hike

Expect it to be windy

Like stated before, the hike will be very windy at portions of the hike, depending on which side of the mountain the trail is on. Bring layers and prepare for the wind.

There are limited bathrooms

The bathroom situation at this hike is not ideal. There’s one bathroom (Porta Potty) in the parking lot at the entrance of the hike and it costs €2 to use. There’s also a bathroom at the end of the hike at the restaurant that also costs €2 to use.

Bring your own food and water

While there are a few trucks to buy drinks and food in the parking lot at the entrance of the hike, we recommend bringing your own snacks and water for the hike. We made sandwiches before going and stopped off to the side to snack in the middle of the hike. You will most likely need to buy water either at the top or down at the restaurant at the turning point of the hike, since there is no place to refill otherwise.

The Ponta de São Lourenço hike is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have on the island of Madeira. It is a moderate hike and offers some of the most spectacular scenery in the world. If you are planning a trip to Madeira, we highly recommend adding the Ponta de São Lourenço hike to your itinerary. You won’t be disappointed!

Here are a few tips to make the most of your hike:

  • Start early in the morning to avoid the crowds and the heat.
  • Bring plenty of water and snacks, as there are minimal food and drink options along the trail.
  • Wear comfortable shoes and clothing, and be sure to bring sunscreen.
  • Take your time and enjoy the scenery. There are many great places to stop and take photos!

We hope this complete guide to Ponta de São Lourenço hike helps plan your trip to the iconic island of Madeira. If you have any questions about the Ponta de São Lourenço hike, please feel free to leave a comment below!

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