Walking from Cape Girao to Lido, Madeira, Portugal

Walking from Cape Girao to Lido, passing through Câmara de Lobos, enables us to explore various locations in Madeira with the tranquility afforded only by walking.

Cape Girão, Madeira, Portugal
Cape Girão, Madeira, Portugal

Walking from Cape Girao

Some sites claim that Cabo Girão stands about 580m high, making it the tallest cape in Europe.

Being there, I can readily believe it.

On the glass platform, as we peer down at the small fajãs below, we feel as though we’re hovering—except for the set of dots printed on the glass, which completely spoils that sensation.

Okay, I understand; many people need those dots to alleviate their vertigo.

While these dots exist to mitigate the feeling of vertigo, I believe they also detract from the platform’s intended purpose.

Nevertheless, a visit is still worthwhile.

Walking from Cape Girao starts here

Right here is where this walk begins, leading us down to the bathing area of the Lido.

It’s a 9.5 km trek, primarily downhill, quite demanding on the legs.

Following mostly along the coastal line, this route entails a 650m elevation loss.

The journey commences by guiding us along the Caminho Velho do Rancho, as mentioned in another text.

While it provides an excellent start, the remainder of the walk is no less appealing.

Câmara de Lobos

If Câmara de Lobos is on your list of places to visit in Madeira, then this hike offers an excellent means to accomplish that goal.

During this walk, you’ll traverse through Câmara de Lobos on foot, and like myself, you may choose to pause there for lunch.

Explaining the origin of the name Câmara de Lobos, we can refer to the town’s website:

“In 1419, precisely on July 1st, João Gonçalves Zarco and Tritão Vaz Teixeira anchored at Madeira Island, in the Machico area. Upon their arrival on Madeira Island, they began exploring the southern region. On the first day of exploration, they reached this land, which they named Câmara de Lobos due to the abundant presence of sea lions on the south coast.”

In Portuguese, “Câmara de Lobos” translates to an area, bay, or chamber with wolves.

Also in Portuguese, sea lions are called sea wolves, hence the idea of a sea lion chamber. 

The numerous bars and restaurants in Câmara de Lobos offer us the opportunity for lunch, with a variety of options to choose from.

You can indulge in your meal at one of these establishments.

Additionally, a wooded area near the fishing port provides a chance for a brief respite in the shade, perhaps enjoying your sandwich while gazing out at the sea. You’ll find a water faucet there, and the water is potable.

Walking from Cape Girao
Walkway along the sea, near Câmara de Lobos

Towards Formosa Beach

A pathway stretches along the coastline from here to the Formosa Beach area, offering a peaceful and highly picturesque stroll with the sea always to our right.

Praia Formosa, Madeira, Portugal
Praia Formosa, Madeira, Portugal

At the onset of Praia Formosa (Formosa Beach), public restrooms are available.

Given its status as a beach area, if you’ve brought bathing gear, you might also enjoy some time on the beach.

Available restaurants

Immediately beyond this point, you’ll encounter an area with several excellent beachside restaurants.

To cater to all tastes, as we say in Portugal, there are two very distinct restaurants available.

One of the restaurants boasts a more sophisticated appearance, featuring modern design and meticulously presented dishes.

In contrast, the other restaurant offers a more approachable atmosphere, with ample terrace seating and, in my opinion, a selection of more authentic options.

Honestly, the first restaurant failed to impress me. Its menu seemed contrived, overly geared towards tourists… not my cup of tea.

The second restaurant, while somewhat modest, exuded a clean and sincere charm.

Upon perusing its menu, I was pleased to find a range of local options tailored to the tastes of the community.

Can you guess which option I chose? I bet you can.

Limpets at Madeira
Limpets at Madeira

A plate of limpets, a bifana in Bolo do Caco, and a couple of beers were my choices to start… Bingo! Everything was delicious and authentic.

Not familiar with bifana? It’s a pork steak sandwich, highly esteemed in Portugal.

After unwinding at the beach, enjoying a snack, or perhaps both, you can continue your journey by passing through the Bathing Area of Ponta Gorda or Poças do Governador.

Poças do Governador offers paid access to sea swimming pools, making it an excellent spot to while away some time.

The walk concludes at the Lido, an area known for its resorts.

Certainly, one could make less flattering remarks about this bustling hub of tourism activity.

Nevertheless, it’s a relatively small area compared to the expanse of the island, and it’s where the island’s tourism industry initially flourished.

It’s all about finding the right balance, and for me, it seems to strike just that.

From here, you have the option to catch a bus or hail a taxi to Funchal, if need be.

Walking from Cape Girão to Lido, Madeira, offers an opportunity to spend your day actively without exerting yourself too strenuously.

Many of the adventures featured on this website can be arranged through my travel agency at Iberactive.com.

Carpe diem.
David Monteiro