Cabo Girão in Madeira
The small town of Camara de Lobos is only 10 kilometers east of Funchal. This is where the most easterly point of Madeira Island can be found. A visit to Cabo Girão, the cliffs, near Camara de Lobos is a must on a study trip to the flower island. They are very easy to reach from Funchal by car or bus and can be visited at any time. The best time to visit is early in the morning, when the sun is up or has just risen.
Only for those with a head for heights
Madeira ends in Cabo Girão. But not just with a sandy beach into the sea, but with a huge bastion made of rock. The rock formation at Cabo Girao juts out of the sea and leads to a high terrace that makes up the actual island of Madeira. They originated in the island’s volcanic past. The cliffs rise almost 600 meters, making them the highest in the European Union. From here, visitors have a wonderful panoramic view of the island and the sea. Cabo Girão is a popular destination for nature lovers and anyone who enjoys photography. And for those with a head for heights, a glass terrace offers a wonderful view down where Madeiran farmers work their fields. A cable car leads down to them. Until 2012 the farmers could only reach their fields by sea.
The highest cliffs in Europe
Cabo Girao not only invite nature lovers to enjoy the rock formations, but also athletes. The cliffs are a wonderful starting point for paragliders. Those who like things a little more down-to-earth can enjoy the small chapel Nossa Senhora de Fatima, a rustic and very charming example of Madeiran folk architecture. The mountain station of the cable car also houses a small restaurant where visitors can refresh themselves a little after taking in the wonderful natural surroundings. Many small bistros and restaurants also invite visitors to linger on the journey to and from the hotel.
Sao Vicente lava cave
Madeira Island offers many cultural and historical sights. The Sao Vicente lava cave is a relic from the distant past, when the island was still part of a volcanic system. The caves are a popular destination for both locals and travelers. Sao Vicente is just under 40 kilometers from Funchal, Madeira’s largest city, and can be easily reached by car or taxi.
Winding paths underground
A study trip to Portugal or especially Madeira provides the perfect opportunity to get to know the fiery past of today’s flower island. The Sao Vicente lava caves were discovered in 1885 and are accessible today. The underground labyrinth spans more than a kilometer of corridors, so visitors can only book a guided tour of the interior of the island. But even in this way you get a fascinating insight into the lava cave, which was formed more than 800,000 years ago during a volcanic eruption. The caves are the rest of the lava flows that made their way underground to the sea. The lava has left its traces everywhere, such as the glass-like rocks that were melted by the heat and then solidified again. A natural sculpture forest awaits visitors in the lava caves, which holidaymakers can comfortably visit. Look forward to these special sights. Although hiking in the cave can be challenging, the tour guide will not choose difficult trails for visitors.
A center for those curious about volcanism
Near the cave, the volcanism center offers further and in-depth insights into the time when volcanoes ruled this region. The volcanism center is not only a show museum for study travelers to Madeira, but also a research institution that houses renowned volcanologists. Although there is no longer any active volcanism in Madeira today, research from there is helping people around the world to understand volcanism. The center opens its doors to inquisitive visitors every day and offers not only a glimpse into volcanism but also a place to relax from a hike through the lava caves.
Natural swimming pools and aquarium in Porto Moniz
Porto Moniz is picturesquely situated on a tongue of lava that protrudes far into the sea. The place on the northwestern tip, famous for its grapevines, is one of the most beautiful on Madeira. The Sercial grape variety thrives here and two attractions have made Porto Moniz a tourist attraction: the natural swimming pools and the great sea aquarium.
Protection from the strong surf of the ocean
The place on Madeira owes its name to Francisco Moniz, who was married to a granddaughter of the legendary island explorer Goncalves Zarco. Those who visit Porto Moniz come not only because of the excellent fish restaurants, but especially because of the lava pools, which are always fed by the fresh waters of the Atlantic and are therefore wonderful refreshment on hot summer days. Bathers are protected from the strong surf of the ocean, and those who look beyond the natural limits can see the small rocky island of Ilheu Mole with its lighthouse. The Piscina naturalis is considered to be the most beautiful seawater swimming pool in Madeira. The admission prices are rather low and the bathing pleasure is unclouded. There are showers, changing rooms with lockers and a bar.
On a voyage of discovery in the marine aquarium
From the swimming pool between the lava rocks it is only a few steps to the magnificent marine aquarium of Porto Moniz at the historic port. It received a remarkable backdrop with the restored ruins of the Fort Sao Joao Batista from the 18th century. Almost all of Madeira’s underwater world can be found in the aquarium’s twelve exhibition tanks. The largest tank holds half a million liters of sea water, and if you like it, you can dive there with some harmless sharks and rays. The aquarium opened in September 2005 and is a reflection of the biodiversity of the ocean around Madeira. With classical music, the viewer is presented with the entire spectrum of sea creatures, whereby attention is also paid to the smaller creatures such as crabs, snails and starfish.