Discovering São Vicente is just a trip to the quintessence of Madeira, its people, culture and lifestyle. São Vicente is a small town of less than 6.000 inhabitants on the northern coast of the island. It is located in between Santana, famous for its thatched houses, and Porto Moniz, well-known thanks to its natural pools on the Ocean.
Just on the coast, there is an Ocean front with bars and restaurants. Behind the rocks, hidden like if the locals still fear the old times pirates, there is the ancient town a short distance to the inner land. São Vicente has an amazing heritage such as the set of beautiful houses downtown as well as the church that sits on a basalt rock at the small river of the town. It is surrounded by beautiful landscapes with volcanic caves and some interesting trekking paths.
Why to go to São Vicente
- Nice historic downtown
- A beautiful tradicional church
- Good trekking routes
- Natural caves
- Views to the Ocean
- Santana and Porto Moniz nearby
What to do in São Vicente
- São Vicente Parish Church: It is located in the center of the village of São Vicente. The church was built in the 17th century. Its main facade has a Mannerist portal and in the interior you can find magnificent paintings on the ceiling and an altarpiece in gilt.
- São Vicente Caves and Volcanism Center: The São Vicente Caves came out of an old eruption in Paul da Serra. The locals reported the caves to officials in 1885 and they became a tourist attraction in São Vicente in 1996. In the beginning of 2022 they are temporary closed, but they used to be visitable on a tour.
- Hiking to Pico Ruivo: You can hike up the highest peak on the island from Bocca da Encumeada. It is a very demanding trek at around 20 kilometers and 12 hours long. There are very nice views along the way and a final 360-degree panorama of the island.
- Hiking La Levada do Norte. Trekking the levadas is one of the most common things to do on Madeira. Levadas are irrigation canals and there are many all across the island. This hike starts around São Vicente. The hike takes around 2.5 hours and is a little over 5km. The forest has breathtaking viewpoints.
- Walk the Old Road from São Vicente to Seixal. The old road used to be open to people who wanted to walk from one village to the other. It goes all around the cliffs of the coast with impressive views. The new road, built behind it, goes through tunnels and is quicker and more efficient. In the beginning of 2022 it was closed for maintenance but we hope it will soon be available for wañkers who want awesome Ocean views from the cliffs.
How to get to São Vicente
- Rodoeste Nr. 6 from Funchal to Boaventura. You can catch Rodoeste Bus 6 Funchal – Boaventura. This bus takes nearly 3 hours, but the scenery is really beautiful. It departs from Monday to Saturday 3 times per day and Sundays two times. It can be challenging if you’re afraid of heights.
- Rodoeste Nr 139 from Funchal to Porto Moniz. You can catch Bus 39 Funchal – Porto Moniz. This bus works daily and departs at 9 a.m. every day. It takes two hours to arrive.
Definitely the best option. From Funchal to São Vicente takes about 45 minutes, using the fastest road. Trust Google Maps.
Eat and drink in São Vicente
- Restaurante Quebramar: It seems to be pricy with Ocean views. It is quite fair and the food is fresh and good. Very good value for your money.
- Churrasqueria Brasa Viva: The quality of the food is great and the prices are fair. It is not the best option for vegetarians or vegans.
- Restaurante Calamar: Classic Ocean front restuarant with fresh fish. It is a fair option for fish lovers.
Where to stay in São Vicente
- Estalagem do Vale: Ocean front logde with excellent views and professional service.
- Solar da Bica: It is a bit far from the Ocean but offers beautiful views, free breakfast, an indoor pool and an organic vegetables garden.
Check all the options down here!
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