One of the best ways to get to know Madeira is to rent a car and drive from one Island’s end to the other. Follow the Madeiran roads but take a good grip at the wheel for between curves and counter-curves, ups and downs, tunnels, cascades and breathtaking views, the emotions will be high!
Although there are several tunnel alternatives to the regional roads, there are still areas where one can drive along the old routes, with all the charms and “wow’s”, as the tradition in Madeira dictates.
Discover these 6 spectacular scenic roads in Madeira:
1.Porto Moniz – Seixal – São Vicente – Ponta Delgada (ER 101)
This road is bordered by the sea, and the magnificent green mountains of the north coast of Madeira with streams flow running down to the sea. The dazzle is mainly due to the beauty and spectacularity of the landscapes, present in every curve.
Take a break and visit the natural pools of Porto Moniz, the cascade of the bride’s veil in Seixal, the rock formations of Ribeira da Janela or the mysterious Chapel of Calhau in São Vicente. Discover why this road was considered one of the most scenics in the world.
2.Ribeira Brava – Encumeada (ER 104 / ER228)
WOW! It is the exclamation that best defines the road that crosses the magnificent Encumeada Valley. With well-defined contours and circulation in both directions, it is always a pleasure to contemplate Encumeada. Make a stop in the Serra d’Água to see the Pico do Galo and the famous “poios”, land cultivated in terraces.
At the Encumeada gazebo, the mountain cutouts are well delineated, and a stream runs gently along its longitude, down to the sea. This road was once the main gateway to São Vicente, linking the south to the north coast of the Island. Today, you can also opt for the tunnel, which allows us to save time on the way, but without the same scenic charm…;)
3.Bica da Cana – Fonte do Bispo/ Paúl da Serra (ER 110)
On the plateau of Paul da Serra lies the longest road stretch in Madeira. Without the curves, which Madeira has well accustomed us, there are areas of this road where the wind energy mills contrast with the blue sky, which seems to be endless.
Circle around, enjoy the scenery and take the opportunity to stop at the Rabaçal or the Fanal to get to know the mystic trees of the Laurissilva Forest.
4.Caniçal – Baía de Abra (ER 109)
Its barren and treeless landscape offers a cinematographic backdrop. Drive along the shore and discover viewpoints with spectacular views, such as the Pico Rosto. The road ends at Abra Bay.
Continue your walk along the path of Ponta de São Lourenço (PR 8) and enjoy diving in the Cais do Sardinha clear waters.
5.Poiso – Ribeiro Frio – Faial (ER 103)
Imagine a road running through a forest of cedars and laurels. The sun insists on peering through the trees and fills the path of multiple shadows that seem to dance at every turn.
The shades of green and the reflections in the rearview mirror are dazzling. While travelling this road we feel the best of two worlds: the peace of the forest and the adrenaline of driving curve after curve.
6.Poiso – Pico Areeiro (Route sans nom)
Before you travel this road, make sure the sky is clear, because if it is foggy, you will not be able to fully appreciate its beauty. If the clouds are low, driving up at the altitude of 1818 meters (Pico do Areeiro) is one of the best experiences you can have in Madeira.
The blue skies, the clouds in the backdrop and the cutouts of the imposing mountains are worthy of a stage where curtains open to the sound of the gearbox as the speed changes.