The unknown Madeira's trail of Vereda da Ponta de São Lourenço (PR8), Portugal
On this green and steep island, the Vereda da Ponta de São Lourenço is the exception, the surprise, and the wonder.
For your better understanding, “vereda” means a narrow path, and “ponta” means edge.
From the photos, you can see there are cliffs here, and they can look quite dramatic. Still, it is not the walls that dominate the landscape, but the undulating terrain with leading lines to the farther edge of the island.
When we travel to Madeira and look for hikes to take, the first ones to pop up are the “levadas” or aqueducts. Those are probably the most famous ones.
Also, the trail from Pico do Areeiro to Pico Ruivo is one of the most famous.
They are great hikes, no doubt about it, and they will be in your memory for a long time.
When I was researching which Madeira‘s trail to walk with the limited time I had, I almost skipped the PR8 because it was not mentioned anywhere or, at least, not frequently. After having done it, not doing it would have been a mistake.
This area is far from the most central areas of the island, where most of the marked trails are concentrated.
You can get information about the trail here http://www.visitmadeira.pt/en-gb/what-to-do/walking-routes/pr8-vereda-da-ponta-de-sao-lourenco
Upon arriving at the starting point of the walk, I was surprised to find many cars parked there, I thought the location was less known, my mistake.
However, unlike other places I went on the island to walk, there were almost no vans of hiking companies.
At the parking lot, you could see mostly rentals. By the look of the people I saw, the percentage of foreigners dominated the count.
As I put my feet on the path and saw an endless line of hikers on the trail, I immediately get chills down my spine. Isolation is something I appreciate and look for.
To be fair, after walking for a short time, I forgot about this feeling, the beauty of the place prevailed.
The trail is straightforward to follow, very well marked, and you can see its design on the landscape from far away.
It’s a photography paradise.
What can you find here that interests photographers?
- the leading lines get lost in the horizon;
- there are very different kinds of textures;
- multiple saturated colors;
- absurd contrast of landscapes;
- a constant shift from wide angles to details
- and a continuous tingling of people giving scale to the landscape.
Almost at the end of the trail, there is a mix of pleasant and irritating surprise, is the Casa do Sardinha – Sardine’s House.
Casa do Sardinha is an interpretation center and fortunately the only building in the neighborhood.
When we arrive at the area where this house is, we have the feeling that we have entered a “roça,” an old Brazilian farm. At any moment, we will see all the activities of such a place.
The surroundings of the Sardine’s House are well arranged, there are picnic tables and an inviting atmosphere for us to be there for a while.
So what’s the nasty, or annoying, part? Don’t you guess?
The sanitary facilities were closed or damaged or… no matter the reason, it matters that it was not possible to go to the bathroom.
It was definitively not a short time situation … you could see by the litter on the surroundings.
I already know the local authorities will answer that on the website it says that some works may be taking place there.
For sure, it will also say if we want to go there, you must contact a specific number.
Give me a break … it is very unprofessional.
Regardless of the reasons, the situation does not make sense.
Maybe it will be solved in the future because the beauty of the place worths your visit, one way or the other.
Another thing to appreciate is, although the trail was crowded, the impact on the area is centered only on the path itself.
The trail was it is very well maintained and that the rest of the natural space is little or nothing affected.
Don’t miss this trail during a visit to Madeira.