18 places of interest

Central Madeira

1. Curral das Freiras (Valley of the Nuns) Is a small community boxed in the shade of the allmost vertical moutain sides. The vast valley is either a result of errosion, which is the latest theory, or as a result of vulcanic activity , as a lot of people still belve. The nuns of the Santa Clara monestary sought refuge in this valley when pirates attacked Funchal in year 1566. Hence the name.

2,Pico do Arieiro raising 1818 meters above sealevel is the 3. highest point on Madeira and the only of the 3 high peaks reachable by car. The views are spectacular and on a clear day you can even see the neighbour island of Porto Santos, 45 km from Madeira in a northeasterly diredtion.

3. Camara de Lobos. It was this traditional fishing village about 5 kilometers from Funchal, which inspired Sir Winston Churchill to paint in the citys beautifull surroundings. The city was given its name by the 2 explorers, Joao Goncalves Zarco and Tristao Vas Teixeira , because of the special shape of the bay and the numerous Monk Seals that used to live in the bay. When you arraive to Camara de Lobos from Funchal the first thing to greet you is the magnificent glittering bay and the many fishing boats in the natural harbour. 

4.Cabo Girao is said to be the worlds second highest seacliff. Standing at the viewpoint  580 meters above the ocean is a mindbaffeling experience. the view is extraordinary and wih no doubt even greater if you take a step or two away from the egde of the cliff

Madeira, west

5, Jardim do Mar (Garden of the sea) was at first a part of Prazeres and Paul do Mar, before it became an independent city in the 1700s , Surrounded by the atlantic ocean and the mountains this small village has succeeded in maintaining the calm and quiet of olden days with the antique roads an small houses with the different shaped chimneys. Jardim do Mar has become the meeting point for surfers from around the world.

 

6. Ponta do Pargo. The most Western point of Europe was named after its location at the most western point of Madeira (Ponta)  and after the special fish (Pargo) that is the base for the citys riches-

7. Prazeres. The name is from a small Chapel, which is dedicated to our lady of Prazeres.  This small village is blessed by mother nature with a unique beauty and is with no doubt one of the most pittoresque of Madeira. Here you can visit a small zoo, a herbalgarden and a teahouse. you can also engage in barefoot walking while you engorge in the magnificent views of the ocean and the surroundings. donot just pass by- stop and allow yourself time to enjoy the incredible views.

8, Porto Moniz. The name supposedly originates from Francisco Moniz , whom was married to a grandchild of Goncalves Zarco , the man who discovered Madeira. It is the northwestern point of the island and also one of the most spectacular. Porto Moniz has a newly build promenade which connects the bassins with the pier- the promenade has green areas, snackbars several viewpoints and a science center: Centro de Ciençi Viva. this center has different science related exhibits, a cyber cafe and an auditorium with 150 seats- in the fortress alongside the center there is a small aquarium

 

9. Rabacal  Paul da Serra is a plateau at 1600m above sealevel. it offers some quiet fantastic nature experiences. in the valley belov we have the levada called Rabacal / 25 fontes (read more about this levada in the levada walk section) 

10, Calheta, Calheta means little beach in portuguese. Apart from its formidable location between the cliffs and the ocean, Calheta has an old sugarcane mill which was founded in 1901 and it is still producing melasses and Aguardete, a rum destillate. Calheta is also known for it^s large variety of fish caught right of the coast. Resently  this enchanting place at the sea added a new attraction. The art museum Casa das Mudas placed high on the cliffs. addtionally Calheta has an artificial sand beach with sand imported from the Sahara dessert. The beaches and the crystal clear ocean invites to a swim

 

11, Sao Vicente. Most of the rustic manor houses are from the 1700 century an era with economic prosperity and wealth due to the the farming of grapes and the production of wine. In Sao Vicente you will find the Vulcanic center . this center  succeeds , in a very intertaining way, to convey culture and information about the creation of Madeira. Here you can visit the famous vulcanic grottos  of Sao Vicente and stroll through the wonderfull garden with the endemic flora.  The grottos / lavatunnels are a result of a vulcanic eruption some 400.000 years ago. There is several miles of tunnels . the largest known in Madeira. you walk alon a 700meter long path and the tours lasts about 30 minues. It is an absolutely fantastic trip to the center of the earth and underways you will see vulcanic stalakites , lava build ups (known as lava cakes)  and floating blocks , which are rocks that was in the lavastream and got stuck due to their size.

Madeira East

12, Sao Lourenco is one of the last barely untouched patches of nature in Europe. Here, on the most eastern part of the island, you will find a breathtaking combination of rocks, ocean and nature, with an exquisite view of Madeiras eastern and southern coastline. When the weather permits you can even see the Island of Porto Santos. A visit at Prainha is recomendable. Prainha is a wonderfull little blacksand beach that is a nice counterweight to the many pebblebeaches on the island. the surrounding landscape is different and so different from the green blanket that normally is all around you here in Madeira. In the summer the beach even has a small restaurant , dressing rooms , parasols and beachchairs

13. Reis Magos. Here is an exellent example of how a small beach can becom a bit of paradise.With  all the right facilites , but no luxury this is a meetingplace with nature. The location , in the outskirts of Canico, gives the Reis Magos Beach crystal clear water. In the summer , lifeguards watch out for the beach guests . a training area, handicap bathrooms, shade, restaurant , firstaid center, and a snackbar are among the facilities at this great beach.

14. Camacha. Camacha is famed for the applefestival and the very active folkdancing troups. The folkdancers from Camacha are some of the most famous portuguese dance troups. Camachs is also known as the basketweawing city. at the willow weaving factory furniture,  hats, kitchen utencils and offcourse baskets i all shapes and sizes are produced. more than a 1000 different objects to chose between.

15, Santo da Serra. The small comunity of Santo da Serra houses Blandy's Park, where the paths are lined by wonderfull blooming Camelias.  The park also has a small collection of animals such as Deer, horses, goats and a variety of birds. Sundays are a good day to visit Santo da Serra, as there are different markets bee held . The markets are beeig held on both sides of the road behind the church. 1,5 kilometer from the city center you find the Santo da Serra golfcourse. From this golfcourse the players has an amazing view of the island and of the Atlantic ocean.

16, Ribeiro Frio. On the central/Northeastern slopes you find this very popular starting point for levada walks. Ribeiro Frio (Cold River) still has a great deal left of the endemic vegetation .  Once Madeira was totally covered by the so called Laurisilva forrest. a reminence from prehistoric time.  The government run Trout farm at Ribeiro Frio is also worth a visit and you can visit the local restaurant and enjoy a fresh caught trout og a Chourico  grilled right at your table

 

17, Santana. Santana is a beautifull city on the northeast coast and is charactirized by the small triangular houses with straw roofing. The hourses , which are build from stones and covered with hay, has served as stabels and housing for the locals for hundreds of years. The varied landscabe is very lush and has lots of Laurislva forrest. When the forrest was named part of the UNESCO world Heritage it became an incurragement to the locals to preserve the unique forrest. With many many attractions Santana is a MUST see .  In Santana you will also find the Madeira Theme Park , open year round,, which is seperated into different key areas based on Madeiran History, tradition and culture.

18, Machico. From a historical point of view this is problably the most interresting city in Madeira. Machico is the place where the discoverers of Madeira first made landfall.  This special corner of the island can boast of having the oldest church of Madeira. A fortress testifiesofthe need for defence against the numerous pirate attacks of that time. Machico has a nice beach with sand imported from the Sahara dessert and amble facilities for swimming and sunbathing. The banks of the Machico river is covered in lush vegetation and is lined with small white houses. On the quay you will find the small chapel Sao Roque. It was build in the 1500's and has an interresting display of blue and white tiles telling the story of the Saints life.