Madeira: Sightseeing Tour through the North West Coast!

Madeiras North East Coast-laurel-forest

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The North Coast of Madeira is a showcase of some of the most stunning landscapes the island has to offer. In this region, nature has outdone itself, masterfully blending mountains, forests, cliffs, and the sea to create awe-inspiring views. This natural masterpiece offers unforgettable vistas along the coastlines from Sao Vicente to Porto Moniz.

The coastline here is also dotted with intriguing volcanic caves, like those in São Vicente, and features natural swimming pools, including the famed ones in Porto Moniz, which are the pride of this charming town.

Adding to the North Coast’s splendour is the Laurissilva Forest, a true natural gem. This forest spans about 15,000 hectares, covering 20% of Madeira’s territory. Its presence is particularly striking on the North Coast, enhanced by the region’s abundant water sources, contributing to the area’s lush and extraordinary landscape.

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Paúl da Serra

Road In Paul Da Serra
CC BY-SA 2.0 / Mysserli

Paúl da Serra, situated between 1,300 and 1,500 meters above sea level, stands as a notable tourist attraction in the central western part of Madeira. Known as the flattest area on the island, it offers spectacular views of the lush green mountains and valleys. On clear days, visitors can enjoy the unique opportunity to see both the southern and northern seas.

This location serves as a hub for numerous paths and levada walks, connecting to various destinations across the island. From here, you can embark on trails leading to places like Rabaçal, Risco, 25 Fontes, Pico Ruivo, Ribeira do Alecrim, Lombo do Mouro, and Bica da Cana. These paths weave through the enchanting Laurissilva forest, offering a captivating experience of Madeira’s natural beauty.

Location: Paúl da Serra ER209 Ribeira da Janela Portugal
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Discover the Enchanted Fanal Forest


Park in the Fanal Forest Parking .

Fanal Forest, a stunning natural marvel on Madeira Island in the Atlantic Ocean, stands out as an ancient laurel grove. It is among the few surviving segments of Europe’s primeval rainforests, dating back millennia. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is celebrated for its unique biodiversity and special characteristics, serving as a crucial conservation area.

Attracting nature enthusiasts and hikers, Fanal Forest offers a range of hiking trails set amidst its breath-taking natural scenery. It serves as a serene escape from the fast-paced modern world, providing an opportunity for visitors to immerse themselves in the tranquility and unspoiled beauty of this pristine environment.

Top Tip: A visit to Fanal Forest takes on an enchanting quality when shrouded in its eerie morning fog. The fog’s mystique is most striking in the early hours, dissipating usually by 10:30 am. Nevertheless, Fanal’s beauty remains captivating and is well worth a visit even in the absence of the fog.

Location: Fanal Forestry Station, Porto Moniz, Portugal | Jeep tours to Fanal Forest
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Swim in the Natural Rock Pools of Porto Moniz

Porto Moniz
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Bjørn Christian Tørrissen

Park in the free car park at Porto Moniz.

Exploring the municipality of Porto Moniz offers an immersive experience with the northern sea of the island. This area is characterized by its waterfalls, beaches, and natural pools crafted from volcanic rocks, all showcasing a profound bond with the ocean. The viewpoints here provide stunning views over the sea, highlighting the intimate connection between the land and the water. Porto Moniz, stretching from the sea to the mountains, presents a tapestry of breathtaking scenery.

Read our Porto Moniz (Madeira) Travel Guide
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Marvel at the Rock Formations of Ilheus da Ribeira da Janela

Ribeira Da Janela

Drive to and park by the beach at Parkplatz Ribeira de Janela.

Ilheus da Ribeira da Janela is a breathtaking coastal location renowned for its extraordinary rock formations, situated just meters off the shore. This spot offers a unique experience for visitors, especially at sunrise. Imagine standing on the beach as the sun emerges over the horizon of the ocean, casting its first light of the day. This moment becomes even more magical with the sight of thousands of swallows gracefully circling in the sky, adding a dynamic and vibrant element to the serene morning. This natural spectacle at Ilheus da Ribeira da Janela not only captivates with its stunning geological features but also provides a rare opportunity to witness the beauty of wildlife in harmony with the awe-inspiring Atlantic Ocean. It’s a perfect destination for nature lovers, photographers, and anyone looking to experience a tranquil yet impressive display of Madeira’s coastal charm.

Location: Ribeira da Janela, Portugal
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Walk Barefoot on the Black Sand of Seixal Beach

Seixal In Porto Moniz, Madeira
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Ximonic (Simo Räsänen)

Drive to and try to park at the small car park near Seixal beach.

Nestled between São Vicente and Porto Moniz on Madeira Island’s rugged north-west coast, the quaint village of Seixal offers a setting reminiscent of a fantasy world. Flanked by towering cliffs on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other, this charming town is a magnet for various activities or simply for appreciating the dramatic contrasts and boundless natural beauty of its environment.

The landscape features terraced cultivation on the mountain slopes, intriguing rock formations creating stunning natural pools, and meandering paths through forests and waterfalls. Exploring Seixal unveils a picturesque slice of Madeira, inviting visitors to bask in the lush, vibrant nature of this enchanting island.

Along the route to is the Véu da Noiva viewpoint or ‘the bride’s veil.’ This name derives from a waterfall that resembles a bridal veil as it gracefully descends from a cliff into the sea. It’s an irresistible photo opportunity!

Location: Seixal, Portugal | Tour of Westside Achadas Cruz, Moniz, Seixal and Fanal.
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São Vicente

São Vicente, Madeira Portugal
CC BY-SA 2.0 / Vitor Oliveira

Again head for the free parking at the beach.

São Vicente is distinguished by the vibrant green hues of its lush vegetation, shaped by volcanic activity and erosion across its picturesque slopes. Across its three parishes, visitors can explore a variety of gardens, numerous watercourses, trails, and viewpoints. The area is also known for its natural caves, significant historical heritage, and an extensive portion of the Laurissilva Forest, adding to its rich and diverse natural landscape.  Have a look at the small and peculiar chapel built inside a basalt rock, by the seafront.

If you wish to visit the caves and the volcanic centre then drive over to the Parque Estacionamento Grutas de São Vicente.

Location: Sao Vicente, Madeira, Portugal | São Vicente Caves and Volcano Center Half-Day Tour
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