The São Vicente Caves are immense wonderful natural.
The caves provide a very well organized tour with a duration of about 30 minutes, duly led by specialized guides. The visit supplements the repetitive monotony of a little diversified visual offer, with the creation of a mysterious, adequately illuminated route, referencing it with well chosen music and a certain illumination with magical architectures and, mainly, with the earthly imaginary of the Center of the Earth .
On the other hand, the existence of small transparent water lakes and some larger chambers very well integrated in the exhibition circuit give very beautiful images and allow always to associate with the caves, the force and the mystery of the Nature and, in this case, the volcanic convulsion which gave rise to the Island of Madeira.
The São Vicente caves formed from a volcanic eruption 890 a thousand years ago, in Paul da Serra, which came down to the sea, the outer part was exposed to lower temperatures that solidified rapidly, while inside lava continued to run with many gases, forming a series of lava tubes, which constitute the caves of San Vicente, where it is possible to walk on them. This set of eight "volcanic tunnels" has a total development of more than 1000 meters long, whose maximum height varies between 5 and 6 meters, and is the largest known so far, in Madeira Island.
Consisting of three galleries, the largest being the Lago de Desires gallery, visitors enjoy a breathtaking spectacle on a journey into the interior of the Earth, where they can observe volcanic stalactites, lava flows called lava flows, accumulations of lava or "lava cake" (represents the end of a slow lava stream) and the "wandering block", a rock that is carried by the lava, but due to its dimensions and the relatively low temperature was trapped inside of one of the lava tubes.In this view it is still possible to see some of the many aspects that the lava may have once shed to the surface, such as winded lava and scoriaceous lava.In the course of the course, plants give the air of their grace, especially the fetuses, which have not had any human intervention, but both the air and the water and even the visitors themselves are the possible carriers of these "seeds" that, once in the light process, trigger the process of photosynthesis, a process that is fundamental to the development of plants. The water that accompanies us throughout the visit comes from springs. Its temperature varies between 12 and 13ºC and can be consumed. The ambient temperature along the path is constant and goes from 16 to 17.
The Caves are thus an element that makes unique your visit to this county. Visiting the caves of São Vicente is to make an authentic journey to the interior of the earth and take notice of its dynamics and beauty.
At the junction between the Caves and the Volcanic Center, visitors can be dazzled by the spectacular water mirror above the Volcanism Center, followed by a corridor leading to the interior.
The marks left by the volcanic activity of the last eruptive period extinct for millennia, where the molten lava reached the temperature of 1200 ° C, can be observed along approximately 700 underground meters that resulted from the excavation, to give access to the several tubes or channels the 1000 meters. This excavation caused a maximum unevenness of about 19 meters in relation to the entrance.
First released on 1885 by local people whose curiosity was aroused through its opening. Marvel at what they found, they quickly spread their discovery and deserved a study by the Englishman James Yates Jonhson and the elaboration of an integrated project for its use.
Inaugurated at 1 in October of 1996, they are the first caves of volcanic genesis open to the public in Portugal.