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Location: Madeira- east side
When to visit: Any time of year. The island remains temperate throughout all seasons with most rainfall occurring in winter.
How many days: The hike takes just an afternoon, but you can easily incorporate this into a full day trip by exploring more of eastern Madeira. This option makes most sense if you have a rental car.
Parking: There is a huge parking lot that fills up very quickly by 8am and has more spaces around 1:00 or 2:00 when the morning hikers are leaving.
- Save money on a rental car for this day by taking a bus. If you want to explore more of Eastern Madeira on the same day, then renting a car makes most sense for you.
- Madeira buses do NOT run on schedule. My 9:30 bus to the trail head was ended up loading and fully departing by 9:25am. This is common for the bus system here- the schedule is estimates only. The ride was an hour and a half with many stops.
How to Get There
Drive or take the bus! Car rentals on the island can be expensive so it’s great to take advantage of the cheap public transport to reach this hike. You can take a Bolt (similar to Uber), but this non-cost efficient option can be up to 50 euros one way.
If you’re staying in Lido, Funchal:
Catch a 1.25 bus from Lido to the SAM bus stop on the Downtown Funchal Harbor. This was a 25 minute ride with several stops.
From Downtown Funchal:
You’ll hop on a Coach Bus from the SAM stop. There are many bus stops along the harbor, but it’s not hard to miss with the many crowds around 9am- so crowded that they let too many passengers on the bus and several needed to stand. The cost is 6.10 roundtrip.
After descending the staircase at the trailhead, you are greeted with your first views.
There is slight incline and decline throughout, but things stay primarily flat until you get to the top. Many parts are narrow. It is ultimately the lower end of a moderate route. Some hikers may find it easy. The closer you get towards the cafe (right below the final, hard climb to the top), climbs up and down become steep.
From the restaurant, the hike all the way to the top is genuinely hard. From the incline itself, to the slippery gravel, unstable wooden plank steps, you’ve got to be careful. The viewpoint from the top really was rewarding and my descent was much quicker. Even if you’re not sure you can make it to the top, I still highly recommend this route because all parts of the hike are so scenic.
The Bus Back
This (not surprisingly) departed 1 minute early and I almost missed it. Again, be mindful of Madeira buses running on only an estimated schedule. A Bolt ride back can be up to 50 euros, so if you’re not driving, hop on that bus!
20 minutes into the route, we stopped at SAM station in Manachino and switched buses. Don’t fall asleep like me, and almost miss the transfer…
The new bus was something in between a Coach bus and standard city bus- not luxurious, but generally comfortable. I’m not sure if this type of transfer is typical. The bus made an additional stop in Santa Cruz, coming down to a grand total of an hour and a half to get back to Downtown Funchal.
That’s that! We hope you enjoy your future hike at San Lorenzo, or that we have been able to inspire some wanderlust. If you have visited and have additional tips, feel free to comment below!