The Volcanism Centre is located in São Vicente, a charming village on Madeira’s north coast, sitting at the end of the valley where the formation of the island started.
This centre manages to convey culture and education in a very entertaining way by providing visitors with audiovisual demonstrations of volcanic eruptions and the birth of an island. Here, you can also visit São Vicente’s famous volcanic caves (that already existed and were included in the Volcanism Centre) and stroll through the beautiful gardens featuring Madeira’s endemic flora.
Of volcanic origin, these are among the first caves of this type to open to the public in Portugal, and are composed of a series of lava tubes, result of an eruption that happened 890 thousand years ago. This complex of ‘volcanic tunnels’ represents a development of over 1000 metres length, and so far it is the biggest known on Madeira Island.
The pedestrian course has a length of 700 meters that takes around 30 minutes to view, with the help of a specialised guide and a maximum slope of about 19 metres.
These caves were discovered by the local population in 1885. Fascinated, they disclosed their finding, which deserved the attention of James Yates Johnson, an Englishman who worked out a project to make good use of them.
A truly amazing walk through the entrails of the earth during which you will be able to admire volcanic stalactites, lava accumulations, known as ‘lava cakes’, and the ‘erratic block’ (a stone carried by the lava that got stuck in one of the lava channels because of its dimensions). An experience not to be missed!
Address: Sítio do Pé Passo, São Vicente
Opening hours: Open every day of the year (except December 25) from 10:00 to 19:00 h.