Before the establishment of the first road network, the route to the north and south slopes was precarious and very winding. Until the first cars appeared and more roads were built, the north coast was very isolated and almost inaccessible to the mortal.
According to the writer Raúl Brandão, the hardships of the journey to the village of São Vicente were well compensated with dazzling sceneries. However, it was 'Marquez de Jacome Correa' who best understood and described it. Encumeada revealed him a valley similar to 'he state in which the first navigators found themselves and were surprised in its virginity and its lonesomeness'.
Horácio Bento de Gouveia said in his book 'the northern region of Madeira has a rude beauty that impresses - in it dominate aspects from the first ages of the world. It is the freshest area of our island and the most propitious for the emigration of those who like spending the summer at the seaside or in the country'. And the counterpart of such a far trip was the dazzling vegetation, the waterfalls that made James Yate Johnson call it the 'Cascade Valley', the crops, the orange trees, the vineyards, the stone houses and the small chapel stuck on the rocks.
A fascinating attraction are the 'Caves of São Vicente' that are actually lava tubes created whilst Madeira was still actively volcanic and that extend for many hundreds of metres.