I thought one day should be enough to see the main of the east side of the island. Actually it is not if you want to go on at least 2 hikes. That is the route we did in 2 days.
Link to map.
On the way to the east
We were staying in Calheta, so on the south west part of the island. On the first day we decided to stop for Cabo do Girao viewpoint. It is an amazing skywalk where you see cliffs and the ocean right down under you. We arrived around 11 am so there were no tourist groups, but around 9 am it should be crowded. Better to avoid tourist groups unless you are part of it.
Also there are more viewpoints to stop for, but we wanted to reach the goal. Only we could not resist to visit the only natural black lava sand beach. It is very close to Ponta do sao Lorenzo. There is no road to go close, you need to hike down for like 5 minutes. There is a small kiosk with snacks and black sand beach. We also went on the cliffs next to it – amazing views of the ocean!
Vereda da ponta de Sao Lorenzo
Full info and a map of Vereda do sao Lorenzo. Hike will take you 3-4 hours depending on your speed. I recommend to take enough drinkable water, some snacks, comfortable shoes, wear a hat and sun block.
This walk is very popular so you will meet plenty of people. The path looks challenging but actually it is not. Just a little bit up and down. It is amazing when you see where path goes next, in the middle of the hill and so on. Of course, the views are breathtaking so I absolutely recommend to take this hike. At least half of it.
Town of Canical
It is a cosy little town close to Ponta do sao Lorenzo. There is a whale museum if you are interested in sea life. Also many cosy restaurants and a nice marina. We have chosen the place to have dinner and it was cheap and tasty. I tried squid and bolo do caco. Typical sandwich of the island. More about food.
I would recommend to spend max 1 – 2 hours in the town cause there are many things to sea.
Porto da cruz
Second day that was dedicated for the east part we headed for Porto da Cruz. We wanted to go to Vereda do Larano but starting from its official end. This one is not popular at all so there were almost no people. And very few signs so it is even challenging to find it. You just continue walking on the beach to the right hand side and you will see the stairs up. Just like in Lord of the rings. Luckily, nothing bad happens in these mountains. The view of the beach and cliffs are already amazing. Going up is a little bit challenging, you will also meet goats, pass through harvest fields of locals. We walked until the dead end. After the rock fell there was no path left. Just the straight way down the cliff that we definitely did not want to take. On the way back we somehow managed to get lost, so we took a car road to Porto da Cruz but after 10 min of walk we saw our Vereda. So we just did a shortcut. 🙂 Went to one of the restaurants on the beach – views are breathtaking.
There are so many viewpoints in Madeira. I used one list of 28 best viewpoints.
So on the way to Santana we stopped at viewpoint of Guindaste – location. And the views were amazing – especially on a sunny day. And again we were lucky as there were no tourist groups. Then it feels like all the view to yourself and all the ocean belongs to you.
Santana is famous for its traditional houses. The fun fact is that they are really amazing! You can visit them completely for free next to the city hall. There are few shops inside of them and many flowers. Also you can find the smaller version of the houses in the only Theme park in Madeira. Theme park is all about Madeira – history, culture, food, wine and so on. There are many things dedicated more for kids like a small boat ride or ”boat ride” to history. Entrance is very cheap – only 1 Eur, if you want to enter attractions you have to pay more. But for adults is good as we do not want to enter all attractions.
That is what we visited in 2 days that were dedicated for the east part.
Read more about West part and the peaks part.