Madeira Island is an exciting destination for all types of travelers. For the venturers who want to discover the unknown, for the dependables who require travel with comfort and for the centrics who can either go for a good challenging adventure or go for anything fun and comfortable. Madeira offers varied activities for everyone. Well, as I mentioned in my previous blog, one of my favorite things to do in Madeira is to go around the island. So many things to see and do… and heeeey…. you can tour the entire island for a day or 2.
Here are my top 5 charming villages in Madeira:
Located north of the island lies this cute little village of São Vicente. You will find the chapel bridge (Capela da Ponte) or saint chapel (Capela do Santo) down the valley by the sea. Built in 1694 constructed right on the very spot where it is believed that Saint Vicente appeared.
Tip: My family loves the park in front of the chapel. This is a perfect place to walk and let the kids run loose after you grab your meal/ snacks from some of the restaurants by the seaside.
Tip: If you’re hungry then eat here. This is the only area where you’ll find restaurants in this village. Most small villages in Madeira have few options of place to have food, but this one here is by the beach, where you can relax and enjoy the beautiful sea views while eating.
Jardim do Mar (Garden of the Sea)
Oooooh…. I so love this charming village. I should say the prettiest of them all!!! Surrounded with beautiful flowers, trees, vineyards and my gosh…stunning view of the cliffs and the ocean. It has 3 pebble beaches which are famous for locals and tourists alike because of its natural and breathtaking beauty.
This known as the surfer’s paradise; where surfers get a good challenge with extremely high waves, considered by many to be the best in Europe.
Tip: When you decide to grab lunch or dinner here; consider Joe’s bar. Their chicken piri piri is a must-try; really tasty and very affordable.
Where you will find those pretty small thatched triangular houses. The house is one of the symbols of Madeira, you’ll see it in every souvenir shops. It is built of stone covered with a roof of straw thatch, painted with white walls, red doors and windows with blue trim. Really cute!!! Originating from the 16th century but nowadays most of them are kept as a tourist attraction. Madeira tourism should consider the idea of building more of these triangular houses for tourist accommodation; I will definitely stay:)
There are a lot of things to do around Santana – from the theme park, vineyards to levada walks. It’s a must-see village.
This village is famous with its volcanic natural swimming pools. Yes, volcanic and it’s very cool!!! I would love to swim here someday. It’s not your typical beach pools but the scenery is pure bliss. Huge lava rocks, deep blue crystal clear water and the big waves which actually gives you this calming emotion; is definitely one of the reasons tourists and locals visit Porto Moniz.
Tip: What’s so cool is that they have children’s swimming pool and play area. FUN!!!
This is a little fishing village easterly most part of Madeira. I am a small town girl who grew up by the beach and now that we lived in Dallas, TX; I always have this longing of a simple and peaceful life by the beach. This place feels like my home back in the Philippines… laid back, quiet and peaceful. It also looks so cute and I love those colorful wooden old boats by the pier.
Fun fact: The whaling scenes from John Houston’s film version of Moby Dick were shot in this village, which also was once the center of Madeira’s whaling industry