At 1,900 feet, Cabo Girão is on one of the highest sea cliffs in the world, and a new observation platform—with a clear glass bottom so you can see straight beneath you—gives you a bird's-eye view down to the coast. Totally uninhabited, the clifftop allows you to see ribbons of terraces carved out of steep slopes, where farmers daringly cultivate grapes and garden vegetables. Through centuries, thousands upon thousands of poios (terraces) have been built in
Madeira. The poios rise from sea level up the mountainsides, and the mind boggles at the dangers involved and sheer labor that went into constructing the retaining walls that hold the terraces together. In the past, neither machines nor animals were used on Madeiran farms because the plots are so small and difficult to reach. Not long ago, farmers blew into conch shells as a means of communication with neighbors across the deep ravines.
Cabo Girão is an easy drive off the main west coast highway, and there's plenty of parking close to the clifftop. Rodoeste Bus 154 also stops here, but there are only four buses daily (fewer on weekends). It's 16 km (10 mi) west of Câmara de Lobos.
Câmara de Lobos, Portugal