Pico de Ana Ferreira is an incredible rock formation on Porto Santo, which looks like a spine of jagged rocks running down the center of the island. There are several attractions at Pico de Ana Ferreira such as the numerous caves to explore, a hike to the summit along the jagged ridge, and the ‘Organ Pipes’ rock formation. In this blog post, I will share with you all of the details about visiting Pico de Ana Ferreira for sunrise, sunset, hiking, and viewing the rock formations and caves.
HOW TO GET TO PICO DE ANA FERREIRA
Pico de Ana Ferreira is accessible from many sides but I found the best way is to start at the ‘Organ Pipes’ and then hike up to the cave and then continue to the summit. This is the most effective way to visit all three attractions in one direct route. I have added the pin location for the ‘Organ Pipes’ rock formation so you know where to begin. You can park in the gravel parking lot near the golf course or drive all the way up along the gravel road to the parking lot right at the Organ Pipes.
I will share with you the attractions in the order I visited them so you can plan your adventure to Pico de Ana Ferreira.
PICO DE ANA FERREIRA ORGAN PIPES
After parking the car in the gravel parking lot near the golf course, we followed the dirt path up the hill to the ‘Organ Pipes’.
This rock formation is incredibly unique, with an organ-pipe arrangement of pentagonal rock columns, which was caused by volcanic activity millions of years ago. The crest was produced by differential erosion, which means the ‘host’ rocks were worn out exposing the more durable and resistant inner layer of mugearitic rock.
At the base of the organ pipes, you can walk all the way up to inspect the surface. When you are close to the rocks, you will quickly be dwarfed by the huge, elongated columns that tower above. It’s a very unique spot to visit on Porto Santo.
PICO DE ANA FERREIRA SUNRISE CAVE
After visiting the ‘Organ Pipes,’ you will spot a trail to the left of the rock formation. Follow this trail to the left and it will take you on a 15-minute walk around the hill. It is a worn trail but there are no signs and it is not always very clear where the exact track is. Basically, you are trying to reach the northern end of the crest/ridge of Pico de Ana Ferreira. This is where you will find the cave.
The trail runs out after a few hundred meters and you need to begin the incline up the hill. Again, there is no clear trail but you can spot a few worn tracks as you clamber up through the long grass, avoiding the cactus plants along the way. There are several routes to the caves with some coming from the west or even on top of the ridge, but I found this the best route.
You will spot the caves from halfway up the hill and then you can identify the best path to reach them. I found it handy to visit during the day rather than trying to figure it all out during sunrise because, in the dark, the caves are harder to spot.
Once you reach the caves, you will see there are two separate caves about 5 meters wide. The great part about these caves is that they face directly to the east so you can sit inside the cave, hiding from any wind, while waiting for the sun to rise over the ocean in the east. I visited the caves during the day and for sunrise. They were both great times to visit but the sunrise was extra special with some nice colors popping out over the clouds as the sun breached the horizon.
PICO DE ANA FERREIRA HIKE
The final part of the adventure to Pico de Ana Ferreira is the hike. It’s not for everyone, but if you are adventurous, traversing the spine of the rock formation will be one of the highlights of your Porto Santo trip. After visiting the cave, you will climb around the corner and get on top of the cave. This is easier than it sounds. You then basically take a direct route to the summit along the ridge.
If clambering along the spine is a little nerve-wracking for you but the summit is on your bucket list, you can take the lower path that cuts up and down the rocks. It isn’t quite as fun but involves less clambering and is probably a bit safer.
The views looking back down the spine during the golden hour before sunset were just incredible. For an island not known for hiking, Porto Santo sure does have some pretty ridges and peaks.
The final incline is up the rocks of the summit, which were pretty basic but you will still need to take care. The rocks here were very dry and grippy but I would not recommend this hike if it has been raining as you don’t want to be on these rocks when it’s slippery.
From the summit, you have panoramic views of the entire island. To the east, you can spot all of the other mountain peaks and to the west, you can watch the sun slowly fade behind the coastal sea cliffs. You’ll also see the Espigao peak nearby, which is another great hike on Porto Santo Island. You can’t see the sun hit the horizon from this viewpoint, but it’s still a great sunset spot. Just make sure you bring a headlamp or leave yourself enough light to get back down.
I climbed down from the summit on the southwestern side of the ridge to explore a few more caves. These are pretty unknown compared to the caves on the east and you will rarely find people in them. One of the caves was shaped like a teardrop and on a day with a beautiful sunset and a colorful sky, it would be a great spot to sit back and relax.
There are multiple routes down but I returned back along the ridge before dropping down on a safe section to join the gravel road back to the parking lot near the golf course.
I hope you enjoyed this guide about Pico de Ana Ferreira on Porto Santo Island.
WHERE TO STAY ON PORTO SANTO
There are a lot of options on Porto Santo Island from big all-inclusive hotels to small Airbnb apartments. I’ve written a huge post about all of the best options when it comes to Porto Santo and you can check it out here: WHERE TO STAY ON PORTO SANTO ISLAND: 11 BEST RESORTS AND HOTELS
I stayed for five days at Vila Baleira Resort and five days at Hotel Porto Santo & Spa but also heard and saw great things about Pestana Porto Santo Beach Resort & Spa. Here’s a quick glimpse at those three, beautiful beachside accommodations.
VILA BALEIRA RESORT
Vila Baleira Porto Santo (Luxury & All-inclusive): THIS IS WHERE I STAYED! Vila Baleira is a 4-star resort situated right on the golden sand beach of Porto Santo. The rooms are on one side of the road and the restaurant and pool area are directly next to the beach. I had the all-inclusive package, which meant we got a wristband when we arrived and then had buffet breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well as unlimited coffee and alcohol all day, every day.
Click here to check the best current rates and availability of Vila Baleira Porto Santo.
Pestana Porto Santo Beach Resort & Spa (Luxury): This is a 5-star resort on Porto Santo Island and it is by the largest hotel group in Portugal. The moment you step in the resort you’ll be rewarded with a blissful setting and its world-class amenities. I would’ve liked to stay here and from everything, I heard while on the island, it is a pretty awesome place to stay. It’s the top pick for a hotel on Porto Santo Island if you want luxury!
Click here to check the best current rates and availability of Pestana Porto Santo Beach Resort & Spa.
Hotel Porto Santo & Spa (Luxury): THIS IS WHERE I STAYED! Another classy, 4-star resort is Hotel Porto Santo & Spa where I stayed for my second 5-day period on my 10-day trip to Porto Santo Island. I’d happily recommend this Porto Santo hotel for couples and those looking for beachfront luxury with a very relaxing atmosphere. On top of that, the spa has a Turkish bath, a heated pool, massage rooms, relaxation spots, hot sand therapy, and more. Not to mention the restaurant serves fresh local dishes.
Click here to check the best current rates and availability of Hotel Porto Santo & Spa.