We could hear the wind roar this night. A storm must have been passing by as the rain was falling and the wind sounded more than during our first days. When we woke up in the morning the wind had started to calm down and it was only a light rain falling. So we decided to go on a new road trip. This time the goal was to reach Porto Moniz on the northwestern tip of the island. We hoped to see a few sights along the northern coast of Madeira during the day. We did, of course, have a plan B – in case of bad weather, we would return to the southern coast instead. If there’s something we have learned this week is that the weather is local and it changes quickly.
Luckily, the strong wind that gripped our car several times while driving west along the southern coast disappeared once we crossed the island. In total, we had time to stop at 5 spots during the day – São Vicente, Porto Moniz, Ponta Delgada, Boaventura, and Faial. We also lost count of the number of tunnels we drove through and the number of bridges we crossed.
Discovering Madeira: São Vicente
After crossing the island and arriving on the other side of the 3.1-kilometer long Tunel da Encumeada we were once more greeted with the sight of the Atlantic Ocean. Not to mention a little bit of sunshine. We found a parking spot in the village of São Vicente. This small town is kind of spit in two. The cozy center with the village church and a few picturesque buildings and then the seaside tourist area. Our initial plan was to find a cafe for some coffee in the area around the church but soon moved on towards the seaside. Here we enjoyed the view of the majestic ocean, the high cliffs, and the green hills. Eventually, we also found some coffee for Susann. It was the perfect time to sit down and attend to the needs of Little A as well before continuing onwards towards Porto Moniz.
Porto Moniz was our main goal for the drive today. This village is most famous for its natural swimming pools made of volcanic lava, It is only a short drive away from São Vicente, through several tunnels though. Little A fell asleep as soon as we put her in her stroller. We started the discovery with walking around, following the shore. The wind was a bit stronger in Porto Moniz than in São Vicente, so we made sure that Little A was properly covered. It is actually quite hard to protect a baby from the wind, it is so much easier with rain, snow, and cold.
We eventually found our way to a restaurant for lunch. With Little A still sleeping we could enjoy a piece of grilled swordfish and some grilled tuna. It was a really delicious meal and so rarely found at home. Once Little A woke up she really got a lot of attention from the staff in the restaurant. Everyone wanted to say hi and see her smile.
After Porto Moniz, we drove back and continued past São Vicente, following the northern coast of Madeira. We wanted to see if we could find some nice views along the road and decided to drive all the way along the northern coast until reaching the highway again in Machico. We did, however, not need to drive so long before reaching a rest spot on a hill in Ponta Delgada.
With yet another spectacular view over the Atlantic Ocean, we enjoyed something that we in Sweden call a “fika”. A small break which could include something sweet, coffee or tea. In our case that was pastries that we had brought with us.
The next village after Ponta Delgada is Boaventura. Here we saw a sign along the road telling us of a viewpoint not to far away. Driving up on a narrow road we eventually found ourselves on a really old cobblestone road with an unprotected drop on one of the sides. Well, luckily, it was possible to fit two cars on the road without getting to close to the edge. After all, it was only a hundred or so meters to the village beneath us. Here we found a small chapel and graveyard as well as a new view out over the ocean. Looking in the other direction we could see most of Boaventura just a little bit down in the valley.
The stop in Boaventura was a short one and we were soon back on the serpentine roads up and down in the valleys. Luckily Little A continued to sleep through these turns and we were able to get all the way to Faial before she woke up and had a small accident. Once more we believe that it was due to car sickness. We will see if it gets better, but with roads like these, we can understand that it gets tough for her.
Before reaching Faial we also passed through several tunnels, one of which was quite scary. It was just a hole in the rock with water flowing down on the road at both entrances. I’m quite happy that we did not meet any other car inside, as I do not believe that we would have been able to pass each other. Well, at least we did arrive at the other side unharmed. Right before entering Faial was also the Túnel do Faial/Cortado, the longest tunnel on Madeira with a distance of almost 3.2 kilometers. In Faial, we took a walk around the church while letting Little A rest a while from the drive.
From Faial, it was not a long drive left back to Garajau where we are trying to get Little A to rest for the upcoming adventures,
So, what was the highlight of our third day on Madeira? Nature really is amazing here, and the scenery is breathtaking. Anyone visiting Madeira should really take the time to explore the island, either by car or by bus. We’ve noticed that there are lots of local buses everywhere, so getting around shouldn’t be too difficult,
Now it’s time for us to go to bed, it’ll be interesting to see what Madeira will show us tomorrow.
Do you want to read more about our trip to Madeira? Click on the links below to learn more.