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Things to do in São Vicente, Madeira

Our most recommended things to do in São Vicente, Madeira

Madeira: Skywalk, Porto Moniz Volcanic Pools, and Fanal Tour

1. Madeira: Skywalk, Porto Moniz Volcanic Pools, and Fanal Tour

Sail towards the northern coast of Portugal to explore the natural volcanic pools in Seixal, lava pools in Porto Moniz, Cabo Girão, Paul da Serra, and other sights. Swim in the tranquil waters of the pools before exploring the famous Fanal Laurisilva forest. You will depart from Funchal and head towards San Vicente along the north coast. Visit one of the most famous viewpoints, where you can look out to Porto Santo Island in clear weather. You will also be able to see the waterfall resembling a bride's veil, named Veu da Noiva. Next, stop at the natural volcanic pools in Seixal, where you can swim in crystal waters. Also visit Porto Moniz's lava pools and Paul da Serra, the biggest plateau on the island at nearly 1500 meters high. This beautiful place provides stunning views and is an ideal spot for lunch. Visit Fanal, one of the 7 Natural Wonders of Portugal filled with centenary trees. As the last stop, go to Cabo Girão, the highest sea cliff in Europe and the second highest in the world. Try out the suspended glass floor viewpoint. Finally, return to your accommodation. 

From Funchal: Best of Madeira's West Tour

2. From Funchal: Best of Madeira's West Tour

Escape the hustle and bustle of Funchal on a full-day scenic tour of the west of Madeira. Admire the unspoiled natural beauty of the area and visit the charming villages of Câmara de Lobos and Porto Moniz. Following pickup from selected hotels in Funchal, pass through the traditional fishing village of Câmara de Lobos. Continue to Cabo Girão Skywalk, Europe's highest cliff skywalk at 589m. Next, head towards the Ribeira Brava and go north through the deep and narrow valleys of Serra D'Água. Upon arrival at Encumeada, enjoy an incredible view of the south and north coast of the island. Cross a mountain pass, and witness the rugged beauty of the north coast, where Atlantic rollers deposit white surf on the cliffs. Traverse Madeira's highest plateau, and enjoy more spectacular panoramas. Continue to São Vicente on Madeira’s north coast. Visit the beautiful village of Porto Moniz and take 1 hour for lunch, as well as time to admire the volcanic swimming pools. Finish your tour at Paul da Serra to see one of the biggest natural reserves in the world.

Madeira: Jeep 4x4 Safari Tour with Porto Moniz Natural Pools

3. Madeira: Jeep 4x4 Safari Tour with Porto Moniz Natural Pools

Uncover the beauty of the countryside of Madeira on a jeep tour from Funchal. Travel to locations like Cabo Girão cliff and the village of Lugar de Baixo. Take pictures of a viewpoint overlooking the valley of Encumeada. Enjoy the convenience of being picked up from your accommodation in Funchal. Sit back and relax on the way to the charming red-roofed town of Câmara de Lobos. Climb up to the cliff of Cabo Girão which is 580 meters above of sea level. View the island from a glass platform.  Continue to the sea village of Lugar de Baixo. Begin an ascent from sea level into the mountains along an ancient path. See how local people live and how they work the agricultural terraces of banana trees, vineyards, and various other crops.  Pass through the forest, mountains, and valleys until you reach the Loch of the Moor. Admire the magnificent view of the valley of Encumeada and Serra de Água. Head through the scenic countryside of Bica da Cana, Paul da Serra, and Fanal. Reach the village of Ribeira da Janela to see the northwest coast of the Island. Drive back down to sea level to visit the coast and take in ocean views. Have the chance to stop and purchase lunch in Vila do Porto Moniz.  After lunch, you can purchase entrance to the natural pools in Porto Moniz which were created by the porous shape of the volcanic rocks. Go to the Village of Seixal to visit the waterfall of the Véu da Noiva. Finish your tour with a drive through São Vicente before heading back to Funchal.

From Funchal: Enchanted Terraces and Porto do Moniz 4WD Tour

4. From Funchal: Enchanted Terraces and Porto do Moniz 4WD Tour

Depart from Funchal and travel by 4WD vehicle towards Madeira's northwest coast, passing a stunning green landscape to locations such as Serra de Água. Journey along forgotten and enchanted old roads and get a glimpse into the island's everyday life. Go to Encumeada, where one of the island's famous walking trails leads to Madeira's highest peak. Pass through the laurel forests of Chão dos Louros and marvel at the mountains and valleys from Ginjas and Paul da Serra. Continue to Fanal in the middle of the Laurissilva Forest and then proceed to Porto do Moniz, famous for its natural swimming pools. If weather permits, enjoy the warmth of the sea or continue to Seixal known for its black sand beach. Stop for lunch (optional and not included) in Seixal, before continuing to the coastal town of São Vicente. Make your way back to Funchal at the end of the tour.

Western Madeira: Full-Day Jeep Safari Tour

5. Western Madeira: Full-Day Jeep Safari Tour

This jeep safari tour will start in Funchal City and then you will visit several unique places in Lugar de Baixo, Lombo do Mouro, Bica da Cana, Paul da Serra, Santa, Porto Moniz, Seixal, Serra d´água, and Funchal. Explore the fascinating landscapes along the rugged North coast of Madeira. Appreciate the crystal clear air and mysterious wilderness as you head into the indigenous Laurissilva forest at Santa, before descending in to the impressive villages along the outstanding Northern coast. For example, go to Seixal to see its many different waterfalls. Next up, travel to Porto Moniz, known for its natural saltwater pools composed of volcanic rocks, which are some of the most beautiful natural swimming pools in the world. Finally, go to the stunning Serra de Àgua valley to see the South Coast, Encumeada, Ribeira Brava, and Campanário. On Mondays you can explore the west and north of Madeira Island.

Madeira: Northwest Full-Day 4x4 Tour

6. Madeira: Northwest Full-Day 4x4 Tour

Discover the northwest of Madeira on a full-day tour. Swim in a natural volcanic pool in Porto Moniz, visit the quaint village of Ginjas, and marvel at the lush nature of the island. Begin your tour with a comfortable pickup at your hotel or guest house in a 4x4 vehicle. Enjoy your ride to Serra d'Água, where you will have the opportunity to learn about the island of Madeira. Continue north to visit the tiny town of Ginjas. Next, go off-road in your 4x4 and head to the top of a mountain to reach Paúl da Serra. Explore the natural beauty of this island, meet the people, and explore the cultures, traditions, and local food and drinks. Stop in Porto Moniz to swim in the natural swimming pools created by cooled volcanic lava. Continue on to Ribeira da Janela to admire its towering rock formation. Marvel at the beautiful beaches of Seixal and the lush forests of São Vicente. Stop at one of the villages to enjoy a short "levada" walk through water and forest before returning to your hotel.

From Funchal: West Madeira and Laurel Forest Day Trip

7. From Funchal: West Madeira and Laurel Forest Day Trip

Discover the highlights of Madeira's beautiful landscapes and charming towns on this guided tour in a comfortable vehicle, with pickup and drop-off included. Stop at Camara de Lobos, the Ribeira Brava and visit the village of São Vicente. After pick-up from your hotel, make your way to Camara de Lobos where beautiful landscapes were painted by Sir Winston Churchill in the 1950s. The drive takes you along the old narrow roads of Estreito de Camara de Lobos, where the vines were first introduced and still exist today. Admire the banana plantations and sugarcane on the steepy terraces that sometimes are difficult to get to. Visit Madeira's pride and Cabo Girão, the highest sea cliff in Europe and the second-highest in the world. Discover the breathtaking views over the mountains and sea and old agricultural terraces still planted today. Then, the route descends to Ribeira Brava, visit old monuments including the church. Continue the drive through to Paul da Serra Madeira´s popular flat plateau at 1500m above sea level. Embrace the beautiful laurel forest views through Madeira´s little green Scotland, where the oldest Laurel Trees and endemic vegetation that grows and embraces the long Rabaçal Valley, to Porto Moniz valley, well known for its natural volcanic pools in the summer. Spend 2 hours and in the winter 1 and half hours there. A stop for lunch or a light snack follows after (not included in the price). The tour continues along the north coast where waterfalls are visible. Drive through the village of Seixal, well known for its black natural volcanic beach and wine terraces which continues right through São Vicente. Appreciate Portugal's own little "Hawai" due to the high wave attraction in the winter and surfing attraction nature will escort up to the Encumeada Pass, where the North meets the South at 1007 meters above sea level (this stop will depend on the weather conditions). At the end of the tour you will be dropped back at your hotel.

West Madeira: Full-Day 4x4 Excursion

8. West Madeira: Full-Day 4x4 Excursion

Enjoy the unique landscapes of Madeira and explore traditional villages that still retain their historic charm in this full-day adventure. The day begins with hotel pick up before the group heads out to Serra de Agua valley, named for the old water mills that run in the town. Walk through laurel forests in Encumeada and Chão dos Louros and take an easy walk up to see the Levadas, canal systems developed in the 16th century.  From here the journey continues off-road, where your driver will take you to discover amazing landscapes and hidden viewpoints. Cool off with a refreshing swim at the volcanic pools of Porto Moniz or Seixal and try a poncha (a local drink made from brandy cane sugar, honey and lemon juice), before heading back to Funchal for drop-off.

Madeira 2 Full-Day & 1 Half-Day 4x4 jipe Special Tour Combo

9. Madeira 2 Full-Day & 1 Half-Day 4x4 jipe Special Tour Combo

Get the most out of your time in Madeira with this special combo experience, featuring 2 full-day tours of east and west Madeira and 1 central half-day trip. Explore Pico do Areeiro, Seixal, São Vicente, Porto Moniz, and more. Visit a sugar cane rum factory, taste drinks at a local bar, and join a levada walk. East Tour (Mondays and Thursdays)During the east tour, go to one of the highest mountains on the Island, Pico do Areeiro, then go to Ribeiro Frio and take a 45-minute walk along the levada to the Balcões viewpoint. Back to the jeep, travel through Roque do Faial, Cruzinhas, and Lombo Galego. Arriving at Cova da Roda through alternative roads and off-roads, pass through Pico das Pedras right in the middle of the natural park. Heading towards Santana, you’ll see typical local houses and take a break for lunch (not included). In the afternoon, drive towards Faial, heading to Porto da Cruz. Visit the local sugar-cane rum factory, then end the day with a visit to Ponta de São Lourenço, a natural reserve with rock formations and panoramic views over the Atlantic Ocean. West Tour (Tuesdays and Fridays)Depart from Funchal towards the village of Ribeira Brava. After a short stop for sightseeing, start climbing towards Paúl da Serra, a plateau in the center of the island with memorable views. To arrive, you’ll drive off-road and go through Ponta do Sol and Canhas, two picturesque villages. Potentially take another short levada walk (approximately 20 minutes), then, in Paúl da Serra, at 1500 meters, start the descent through Fanal, an area with laurel forest classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Arrive at a viewpoint in Ribeira da Janela with breathtaking views. At Porto Moniz, be greeted with the unique scenery built by the natural swimming pools. These pools were created by volcanic lava and have crystal-clear waters thanks to the sea. Here, you’ll stop for a lunch (not included). After recharging from lunch, carry on near the coast towards Seixal and São Vicente. Finish off the day at 1007-meters high at the Encumeada Viewpoint, next to a mountain range that allows for views over the deep valleys of Ribeira Brava (south coast) and São Vicente (north coast). End your second tour with a return to Funchal. Central Tour (Wednesdays)Leaving Funchal, venture towards Nuns Valley (Curral das Freiras) to a small visit and a villa with a unique geographic location on Madeira Island, situated in a deep valley that resembles a volcano crater. The resemblance is due to strong erosion. After this stop, travel to Boca dos Namorados, a viewpoint at 1100 meters over Nuns Valley, allowing viewers to behold from above the one-of-a-kind scenery. Continue off-road through a trail to feel nature in its purest state. Then, make a short stop in a typical Madeiran bar to try the famous Poncha, a traditional drink made of sugar cane rum, orange juice, lemon juice, and fresh lemon (costs not included). 

Northwest Madeira: Open Top 4x4 Tour

10. Northwest Madeira: Open Top 4x4 Tour

Get off the beaten track in an open top 4x4 vehicle driven by an experienced guide. Explore the rugged Northwestern side of Madeira and learn about local traditions, culture, and history while encountering the natural wonders of the area. Taste local food and drinks like poncha and swim in the natural seaside, volcanic lava pools at Porto Moniz or Seixal. Go for an easy 15 minute walk along a levada and learn about the unique aqueduct system that continues to supply the island with water and energy today. Explore a small segment of a vast levada network stretching over 2,000 km and admire the beautiful views of the countryside these canal walkways provide. Check out the fauna and flora in Fanal Forest, including the native Ocotea foetens trees, some of which are over 500 years old. This tour passes through Serra d'Água, Ginjas, Estanquinhos, Paúl da Serra, Fanal, Ribeira da Janela, Porto Moniz, Seixal, and São Vicente.

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What people are saying about São Vicente, Madeira

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 4,438 reviews

This was a great tour and our guide Diogo was great fun. We go picked up and dropped off at the hotel which was perfect. The tour is max 8 people and our tour was booked for 8 but 2 didn't show up. Travel is by safari jeep and to be honest I was happy it was only the 6 as it would have been uncomfortable if full. There is a stop at a "rain jungle" cafe and your food is ordered in advance. We all seemed to be charged the same no matter what we got and the food was not great. It was packed with other tours and was very cramped. But all in all it was really a great day and we saw lots of interesting and beautiful things. Diogo is very skilled driver and if you do this tour you will understand why this is very important. Bring your bathing suit if you fancy a swim. I didn't know this was an option but I was also happy to sit in the sun. Thanks Diogo for giving us all a great day out.

I fully enjoyed every minute of this tour and got to see so much in a small group of 5. We had a nice lunch (not included in the price but organised by the guide - no obligation). My guide was so welcoming and I loved her energy. I only wished I’d read the description better&taken layers for Fanal but we only had a quick stop there anyway. Maybe not the best weather for sea swimming; the sea was very rough and not so warm but I enjoyed it all the same. We swam in the pools at Seixal (had the option at Porto Moniz but I needed lunch!) and it was very slippery and treacherous getting in and out of the water but once in, it was lovely. Very glad I booked this tour.

Super happy to have taken this tour! Got to see so much beauty of the island, very diverse and with the most beautiful views. The jeep is definitely an added value as you can access the dirt roads in the forests. And it is great to hit the road with only a small group of people. Thanks a lot to the best guide Ruben for sharing and caring so much! I learned tons about the island and I can't wait to come back to experience more!

A great tour with Diogo P.. Bathing at 18 degrees was a challenge but doable. Not too much going on in January either. The off-road tour was a lot of fun and the food in the restaurant was delicious. The pick-up and the return trip worked out great, we had booked an apartment instead of a hotel. We learned a lot about Madeira and had a super nice day. Thank you for all the impressions

It was an amazing tour and enjoyed a lot. Everything was well organised. But its possible to add a few more stops, as there were more beautiful places on our way.