São Vicente Caves and Volcanism Centre
Formed 890 thousand years ago, these are among the first caves of volcanic origin to be opened to the public in Portugal.
The São Vicente Caves were formed 890 thousand years ago by a volcanic eruption, which occurred in Paul da Serra. The outer part of the lava that was exposed to lower temperatures, solidified rapidly while the inside remained liquid with lots of gases, forming a series of lava tubes.
The caves were first reported in 1885 by locals, and opened to the public on October 1st, 1996.
They were among the first volcanic caves to be opened to the public in Portugal and may be visited by following an underground route running for over 1,000 m. The height of the caves varies between 5 and 6 metres.
At the end of the tour, visitors may access the Volcano Centre, a pavilion offering a range of educational and entertaining audiovisual displays that recreate the geological evolution of the caves, the eruption of a volcano and even a simulation of the birth of the Madeira Islands.