Paúl da Serra

Paúl da Serra is the top plateau on the middle of the island. I can tell you one thing: it doesn’t feel tropical here, and your ears will probably have popped several times on the way up. Where there were palmtrees there are now wind mills and fog, fog and more fog over a rocky landscape.

paul da serra

Above the tree line, there isn’t much tall growth around us any longer, but walking along the edges, you can look down on the vast greenness otherwise embracing the island. Paúl da Serra is also the starting point for plenty a levada walk. We, however, drive through on the way home, in the late afternoon. Not only are we not clothed for this, but we also don’t want to start a hike just before the sun settles for the night. Instead we drive through: stop a little here and there, on our way back to Funchal.

However: what goes up must also come down. The journey down from Paúl da Serra is steep: ears pop again as we drive through villages that cling on to the mountain side. And when we think we are nearly down, really, we are only halfway. The view is stunning, but the roads scary! It is the same rule as before here: honk before doing any sharp curves.

We stop at a small café where we are given chicken hearts as nibbles on the house; before we go back into the car and make it all the way to Câmara de Lobos. On the way, we start feeling the warmth again. Going over Paúl da Serra and coming back down feels like a little like coming back to civilisation after having been to a cliff on top of the world.

In a few days we’ll be coming back — this time to park the car and walk down one of the levada paths.

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