The coast road of Madeira
The ER101 leads all the way in one big circle around Madeira.
It is the oldest and most beautiful road of the island. Due to Madeira' s dramatic coast line, the road has many curves, narrow passages and steep climbs and descents.
Many parts of the road have been renewed with bridges and tunnels, allowing most of the island to be in accaptable reach from Funchal. The old ER101 however remains in good condition and is still accessible. Due to the many views on the coast and the Atlantic, this is absolutely the road to be taken by tourists.
In the South of Madeira the coast road is broad and somewhat romantic. To the West and the further away from Funchal, the more flowers are decorating the side of the road. Especially Agapanthus (Lily of the Nile), Montbresia (Crocosmia) and Hydrangea (Hortensia) will guide you on your tour for several miles.
In the North of Madeira the coast road is more spectacular. Eventhough you're driving close to the sea, it looks more like a mountain road.
From time to time the road gets very narrow. Especially between Boaventura and Ponta Delgada you hope there won't be any opposite traffic.
In 2006, a brand new road with lots of tunnels was constructed between Sao Vicente and Porto Moniz.
Fortunately, the old part of the coast road can still be used. Follow the signs "ER101 Antigua" !
This part of the road is one of the top tourist attractions on Madeira.
For safety reasons there is a one-way traffic on many parts of the old ER101 between Sao Vicente and Porto Moniz. If you want to see this tourist attraction then you should drive in the direction of Porto Moniz !
The old road can be dangerous. Beware of falling rocks and opposite traffic. It is one of the reasons why i advise a full insurance for your rented car.
A word of sentiment :
Madeira has evolved so much over the past decade. If you've never been to Madeira before, then it may be hard to imagine that the old road used to be the only option. Driving there was an adventure but it was also oh so beautiful.
To the government of Madeira : Please take care of the old road. Don't let it disappear.
Click for photos of the coast road