Sao Vicente is located in a region known for its luscious forests, rolling hills, and the volcanic forces that sculpted the landscape. While the competition is stiff, Sao Vicente remains one of the most picturesque spots in Madeira and, given the recently restored village centre, it’s attracting more travellers and escapists than ever.
Like the rest of Madeira, Sao Vicente enjoys a climate similar to the Mediterranean or costal California, meaning the winters are mild and the summers are warm and sunny.
In terms of the best time to go, we recommend between May and August when temperatures average 28C and, because of the surrounding waters, it never feels too hot. If you’d prefer to travel off-peak between December and February, you’ll rarely experience temperatures below 14C but conditions can be wet. Hey, it’ll still be an escape from the frigid temperatures you experience in the UK during winter months.
This remote, picture-perfect resort is ideal for visitors seeking leisurely hikes and immersion in the island's natural beauty.
Visit the Sao Vicente Caves and Volcanism Center for a half or full-day trip where you can walk through lava tubes, get an educational perspective on the eruption (that happened 890,000 years ago!) and watch a 3D movie about how Madeira was formed.
Praia da Laginha is a clean, beautiful beach, perfect for enjoying watersports, swimming and other beach activities in the summer. If you prefer relaxing, there’s a beach bar nearby.
Top tip: Hang out into the evening for a spectacular view of the sunset!
While there aren’t a lot of options in terms of dining, there are a few quality places to enjoy a meal.
For fresh food and a stunning view of the ocean, head to Restaurante Quebramar. If an affordable buffet is more up your street, Xapa Grill is a great choice.
While there are a few small local bars and pubs, the best places to enjoy a tipple are within restaurants. Of course, while here, drink like the locals do and try Poncha, made from sugar cane, rum and limes.
For those with an adventurous spirit, there are several hiking opportunities in and around Sao Vicente.
A hike from Bocca da Encumeada to Pico Ruivo will take you to the tallest peak on Madeira. If you don’t have the time, energy or patience (it’s a 20km hike) to make it all the way to the top, don’t worry! There are several impressive, 360 DEGREE views on your way up.
For an easier hike with equally impressive views, you could make the 5 km trek from Sao Vicente through the Folhadal Forest. Along the way, you’ll come across unusual plants, animals and breathtaking waterfalls.
There’s a new road that goes from Sao Vicente to neighboring villages which can be travelled on foot. But, if you’d rather explore more of the area, we recommend renting a car or organising day trips.
While there are public buses traveling to and from Sao Vicente, the journeys are long and difficult and, compared to the 45-minute drive via car from Funchal, buses take around three hours.
The climate of Madeira is similar to that found around the Mediterranean or coastal California - Madeira has mild winters, and generally warm, sunny summers. The ocean moderates the climate so the island never suffers extreme heat or extreme cold. Winter months are slightly wetter - especially in mountain regions, however these spells only last a day or two at a time. In winter there is typically 5 - 6 hours of sunshine, and in Summer there can be up to 8.