Passeio Público Marítimo

Note: owing to a rock fall, the section of path between the Clube Naval and the Ponta Gorda bathing complex is closed (10th May 2024) pending works to make the area safe.

The Passeio Público Marítimo is a seaside walk that runs from the Lido area of Funchal (by the Lido bathing complex) through Ponta da Cruz and the tunnel to Praia Formosa and ultimately to Câmara de Lobos. Parts of the route are very much at the mercy of sea conditions and are subject to closure - or even damage - in bad weather or its aftermath. 

Parkland at the Lido

Lido Bathing Complex
Lido Bathing Complex

There's also a rather less fancy free bathing area that the path runs by soon afterwards:

Free bathing area

Around the corner, a lookout point offers views around the bay. A rather basic concrete bathing "beach" leads to the Marine Biology Station and the path is landscaped with opportunities for sitting and enjoying the view. Just a little further on is the pier on which the former maritime coaling station is located.

Former coaling station
Former Coaling Station

The path continues past the Jardim Panorâmico, the terraced garden with panoramic views out over the bay. There are also paddle courts and a café bar.

Panoramic Garden

From here, the path descends, passing the Clube Naval do  Funchal and its leisure facilities, until it reaches the Ponta Gorda bathing complex. The path rises again as it heads towards Ponta da Cruz.

From Ponta Gorda

Towards the Doca do Cavacas bathing complex the path drops steeply again after passing the statue to João Gonçalves Zarco, one of the founders of Madeira as a Portuguese colony. If you're unfortunate you may find yourself confronted by a locked gate meaning the tunnel to Praia Formosa is closed: in that case you have really no option but to retreat. If you want to continue your journey you'll have to walk up to the Estrada Monumental and follow the road west.

Towards Doca do Cavacas

Assuming the gate is open, the rather damp and formerly dark tunnel to the pebbled beach of Praia Formosa has been upgraded with improved lighting. At the far end, in place of a hike across the pebbled beach (with a plastic mat to ease the going), a new concrete promenade has been constructed. You can see the former tunnel path in the upper part of the following picture and the present path beneath.

The promenade is now fully open, with a tall concrete wall on its landward side more clearly delineating the public realm from present and future private developments. In conjunction with plans for extensive new residential development, there will be a new public park and covered parking in the fullness of time.

The upgraded tunnel and approach

Once back on the promenade, continue your journey passing the various beach bars and hotels. Beyond the commercial strip, parts of the path are built out above the sea.

Elevated walkway

The path is now approaching an industrial area round the Ribeira dos Socorridos. Just before the cement works, there's a signpost along the Beco da Vitoria. This will take you up to the roundabout where HF Bus 1 departs for Funchal should you have walked far enough!

Beco da Vitoria

If you want to continue, a footbridge by the gas terminal takes you over the river.

Gas terminal footbridge

Once over the bridge, the path returns to dry land.

Pathway beyond gas terminal

As you round the corner, Câmara de Lobos will be visible in the distance.

Câmara de Lobos

Getting There

Many visitors will be staying close to the Lido area or to the route of the Passeio.

There is parking around the Lido, at the foot of the Jardim Panorâmico, at the Forum Madeira shopping centre and on the streets around Ponta da Cruz as well as in Praia Formosa and Câmara de Lobos.

HF urban buses 1 and 2 run along the Estrada Monumental from where it's a short walk down to the Lido and also call close to the Jardim Panorâmico. HF bus 1 runs on to Ponta Laranjeira, close to the cement works, from where you can walk a short distance down to the Passeio. HF bus 2 stops in Ponta da Cruz on the Passeio itself.

Rodoeste buses link Funchal and Câmara de Lobos relatively frequently - check their timetables for details.