Europe/ Portugal & Madeira/ Travel

Vereda da Ponda de São Lourenço hike: PR8 guide, Madeira

Madeira’s Eastern tip is like something out of a sci-fi movie – a huge contrast to the tropical tree-lined hillsides throughout the rest of the island. In fact, it literally is from sci-fi. Did you know that part of Star Wars ‘The Acolyte’ was filmed at this hike’s location?

Starring moments aside, the Vereda da Ponda de São Lourenço hike (or PR8) is a must-do for those visiting the island who want to see spectacular views, perhaps without the risk of bad visiblity the higher altitude trails carry.

After hiking the famous Pico to Pico trail last year, I didn’t expect to be as impressed by Vereda da Ponda de São Lourenço. I’m glad to say that I was wrong.

Ready to get planning? This guide will answer all your questions!

A complete guide to PR8 hike Madeira

Vereda da Ponda de São Lourenço hike summary

Distance: The out-and-back hike is around 6-7km for the round trip.

Duration: You can complete the hike in just 2-3 hours or take longer to enjoy the views at a leisurely pace.

Difficulty: The hike is moderate difficulty with some steep sections. However, regular hikers won’t find it a serious challenge and there’s no technicalities to the walk. We took our family dog with us and he had a great time!

Vereda da Ponta de São Lourenço hike Madeira

When is the best time to hike in Madeira?

Honestly, Madeira’s weather is pretty good all year-round so there’s no bad time to do the Ponta de São Lourenço PR8 hike. However, there are some factors to consider with this particular route that I’ll go into now.

Time of day

I’ve only done this hike once and we arrived around 07:30 in the morning, bagging the last spot in the small ‘official’ car park. After then, cars behind lining the roads and it starts hotting up!

If you want to see the sunrise from the end of Vereda da Ponta de São Lourenço (Pico do Furado), I’d advise setting off around 1 – 1.5 hours beforehand.

Sunrise at Vereda da Ponta de São Lourenço

While the trail isn’t very busy in the mornings – tours tend to arrive from around 09:30 – I’ve heard that late afternoon is quieter. If it’s cloudy or not too hot, this could be a nice way to round off your day.


Caniçal is typically a warm area of Madeira so if you’re going on a summer’s day, expect some blazing sun! Come prepared with plenty of water and sunscreen, particularly if you’re planning to spend some time by the sea as well as hiking.

The PR8 hike can be windy too, as the eastern point of the island is quite open on the exposed and high sections. There’s also no shelter if it does rain, so check the webcams rather than the forecast as it can be unreliable.

Basically, go prepared as Madeira is well known for changing weather conditions.

How do I get to Vereda da Ponta de São Lourenço?

Hiring a car is the easiest way to get to the start of Vereda da Ponda de São Lourenço hike. From Machico, it takes around 10 minutes, or 30 minutes from Funchal. The road ends at the point where the hike begins, so you can’t miss it!

If you don’t have your own car, you can also take a tour – although bear in mind, these often arrive at the busiest times of day.

Is there an entry fee to hike Vereda da Ponta de São Lourenço?

Like more and more attractions in Madeira, there is a small charge now in place to hike PR8. However, I didn’t actually know this as we set off early and there were no officials at the start then so we didn’t pay.

When we got back to the car park, a few people were being directed to pay online. Official entry is €1, with Madeira residents and children under 12 going free. Payment is via the government portal – same as Cabo Girão viewpoint.

Vereda da Ponta de São Lourenço hike

What can I expect from the route?

On the whole, hiking Vereda da Ponta de São Lourenço isn’t too challenging as there are many flat sections that counteract the inclines. You’ll start at some steps from the car park before the trail turns into a dirt/rock path for the rest of the way.

The views throughout are amazing, but don’t miss the really stunning viewpoint halfway where you can see particuarly incredible cliffs and rock formations.

Vereda da Ponta de São Lourenço viewpoint

The steep incline to Pico do Furado at the end is the hardest part by far but don’t worry – it only lasts around 10 minutes before you’re rewarded with more incredible views all the way to the island’s tip! You can’t hike any further than here as the next sections of rock are separated from the mainland.

Note: as of June 2024, the end of the route is temporarily semi-roped off – the signs had fallen down so we actually didn’t see them until we came down! However, most people were still heading up to the top but be careful if you do.

While the path itself is perfectly safe, some of the steps aren’t in great condition and the guide ropes are in terrible shape, rusted or frayed and spiky. Don’t touch them unless you want a nasty cut – take it from me!

Pico do Furado, PR8

Do I need walking boots for Madeira’s PR8 hike?

For the most part, you’ll be fine doing this hike in sturdy trainers with a decent grip. I wouldn’t recommend any other footwear like sandals or flip-flops, as the ground can be muddy if it’s rained or dusty and slippery on the downhills if it’s dry.

If you’ve got plenty of space to pack your boots, they won’t be wasted, but they’re not an essential for Vereda da Ponta de São Lourenço.

Other than that, you don’t need any other specialist equipment – just bring plenty of water, snacks and a good sunscreen/hat to protect you.

Vereda da Ponta de São Lourenço cliffs

Is Vereda da Ponta de São Lourenço dangerous?

While the trail is generally in good condition and safe, there are a few sections – as with anywhere in Madeira! – that could be dangerous. For example, there are many steep cliffs that make the route incredibly spectacular, so as always, take care and stay on the trail. A number of tourists fall each year so don’t be one of them!

Is there food and drink available?

If you start the hike early like we did, there aren’t any facilities available throughout the Vereda da Ponta de São Lourenço PR8 hike.

Regardless, it’s best to set off as early as possible, particularly if it’s hot and sunny, as the route is really exposed with virtually no shade.

Vereda da Ponta de São Lourenço summit

If you are around later in the day, there’s a small café, Casa do Sardinha Sea Spot Café, in a gorgeous location near the end of the hike which is open from 10:00 – 18:00. As it’s so isolated, keep in mind that it’s probably a little expensive.

However, by the time we returned to the car park around 10:00, a couple of food trucks had pulled up. One of them had a portaloo attached, so take some change in case you’d like anything.

How does PR8 compare to other hikes in Madeira?

Honestly, hiking Vereda da Ponta de São Lourenço far surpassed my expectations.

On my last visit, we took on Madeira’s epic PR1 return hike from Pico do Arierio to Pico Ruivo in questionable, cloudy weather but I thought it couldn’t get better.

Vereda da Ponta de São Lourenço PR8 hike Madeira

If the weather isn’t great during your trip, you’ll have a far better chance of amazing views doing the PR8 hike – Caniçal is famously a warm, sunny part of Madeira, and of course Vereda da Ponta de São Lourenço is much closer to sea level too.

Got time to take on two hikes? Do both to experience the heavenly mountains and the extra-terrestrial vibes.

Guide to Vereda da Ponta de São Lourenço hike

Where is the best place to stay in Madeira?

While many people choose to stay in Funchal, I personally love Machico as it’s my family’s hometown!

I pretty much always book my accommodation through (it’s the Genuis discounts for me). In Machico, I’d recommend the White Waters Hotel or look for an apartment that suits your group size.


So, now you’re ready to get excited and take on PR8/ Vereda da Ponta de São Lourenço!

Have the best time, stay safe and don’t forget to check out the many Madeira articles on Wander with Laura for more inspiration.

Laura x

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Vereda da Ponta de São Lourenço hike Canical Madeira

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