São Vicente, Madeira

Village in Porto Moniz (Madeira)

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

The municipality of São Vicente, nestled in Madeira, is renowned for its extensive Laurissilva forest, a gem of the archipelago and a testament to its rich natural heritage. This forest is not only significant for its diverse flora and fauna but also for its remarkable state of preservation, making São Vicente an ideal destination for nature enthusiasts. The municipality offers numerous hiking trails that meander through this lush landscape, often with the stunning backdrop of the ocean.

São Vicente’s verdant scenery is sculpted by the forces of volcanism and the erosion of its slopes. A notable attraction here is the famous volcanic caves, which formed around 890 thousand years ago, adding to the myriad reasons to explore this area.

Among the unique landmarks in São Vicente is a small yet intriguing chapel, the São Vicente or Calhau Chapel, embedded within a basalt rock beside the sea. This chapel not only symbolizes the region’s deep-rooted faith but also its intimate connection with volcanic geology.

Home to about 6,000 residents, the municipality is spread across three parishes: Boaventura, Ponta Delgada, and São Vicente itself. Covering an area of 78.70 km², it is a landscape where the abundant Laurissilva forest dominates, offering a blend of natural beauty and cultural richness.

Visit the São Vicente Caves

Dont miss the São Vicente caves, 890,000 years old, created as a result of a volcanic eruption, giving rise to the lava tubes we see today. Once the surface had cooled, these hollow spaces took shape. Although the caves were initially accessible to the local population in 1885, it wasn’t until 1996 that they opened to the general public. Guided tours are available, lasting approximately half an hour, and the route is illuminated with intriguing lighting and accompanying music.

Top Tip: A great way to visit, is to take the São Vicente Caves and Volcano Center Half-Day Tour, which includes a visit to the Capelinha do Calhau and Viewpoint Quinta Grande.

Véu da Noiva Viewpoint

If you have an affinity for scenic viewpoints, you’re in for a treat when you visit the Véu da Noiva viewpoint, aptly named ‘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, with the lush, rugged silhouette of the northern coast, the azure expanse of the Atlantic Ocean, and the ethereal white cascade. By the way, as you drive along the route between Seixal and São Vicente, be attentive to the signs directing you to this captivating spot. Véu da Noiva viewpoint is located to the between São Vicente and Seixal.

The São Vicente, Madeira appears in our Complete Guide to Visiting Porto Moniz (Madeira)!

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Visiting São Vicente, Madeira

Address: Sao Vicente, Madeira, Portugal
Duration: 20 minutes
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