As mentioned in my hiking post about Madeira, this is not a place to lie on the beach and there is a reason for it. For the most part, there are no beaches and even on the few beaches that exist the waves are crazy and you don’t want to go swimming there. We went on a couple of hikes along the coast, though, the best way to experience the wild side of the island.
The day we arrived, we wanted to stretch our legs but not do anything wild since we had been up since 4 in the morning to catch our early flight. So we found a short walk along the coast near São Jorge. On the beach, we watched the wild waves and chuckled every time an Italian woman standing next to us said “wow”. Which happened to be every time a wave hit the cliffs! The weather wasn’t perfect, but we got to see a rainbow.
One day we drove along the northern coast on our way to a place I had planned to do some long exposure photography. Unfortunately, the sun was hitting the beach and without more filters, getting a good image wasn’t going to happen. But it was still a nice place to watch the waves.
On our way to Ribeira Da Janela, we stopped at a lookout to see the beautiful Véu da Noiva (Bridalveil Fall) waterfall. Unfortunately, the old road is closed. Tunnels have been built to circumnavigate the old coastal road which was prone to rockfall. Leaving one tunnel and entering the next, you can see the old road and get a feeling for what a (beautiful) adventure it must have once been driving along the coast. The Véu da Noiva used to fall over the road into the sea. Now, due to rockfall and landslides, the road no longer exists beneath the waterfall. But if you look very closely, you will be able to see where the road once was.
We finally reached Ribeira Da Janela where there are a couple of interesting rocks sitting in the water just waiting to be photographed. The long exposure experiment failed, but it was fun all the same.
The most interesting coastal hike was one I had been looking forward to ever since the last time we were on the island. A hike along the length of the São Lourenço peninsula was high on my priority list and we had perfect weather while we were there. While on this hike, one can easily see how volcanoes formed the island.
While standing on the top of the highest point of the peninsula, you can look down onto two more larger islands, one with a lighthouse and only reachable by boat, and somehow they look a bit the way I imagine Scotland to be.