Madeira Island Off The Beaten Path

  • Encumeado viewpoint.
    Encumeado viewpoint.
    by cachaseiro
  • View from Encumeado.
    View from Encumeado.
    by cachaseiro
  • Pico de Arieiro.
    Pico de Arieiro.
    by cachaseiro

Most Recent Off The Beaten Path in Madeira Island

  • Jerelis's Profile Photo

    Santo Antonio da Serra - The weekly market.

    by Jerelis Updated Jan 11, 2007

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    Market stall at Santo Antonio da Serra.

    The village of Santo Antonio da Serra is a quiet and sleepy little village. There is trully not too much to do and therefore the wWeekends are a good time to visit the village as the locals stage their market stalls along the main road and a surprising assortment of food and other goods can be acquired very cheaply.

    The weird thing is that this weekly market isn't at the main square in the village, but it is tucked away near the road towards Camacha. Therefore we drove passed it by accident, but immediately felt the need to make an u-turn and witness it. We learned that at 6 am this sleepy street romes alive as traders start unloading their lorries. The stock and prices change every week and at 7 am trading starts and carries on until 2 pm.

    There is a kind of central courtyard where some stone stalls are built, but they were mostly empty. Most of the local vendors display their goods in wooden boxes right on the ground. We smelled the aromas from the various exotic flowers, fruit/vegetables, willow work, fish and local craft. Some of the vendors were in traditional costumes, which added to the vibrancy of this surprise destination.

    Address:
    Village of Santo Antonio da Serra

    Directions:
    Situated at the middle (bit to the north east) side of the island. It is a 35 km drive from the capital of Madeira, Funchal.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Family Travel
    • Backpacking

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    Gabo Girão - The name of this high cliff.

    by Jerelis Updated Nov 12, 2006

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    Agricultural terraces at the hills near Gabo Gir��o

    The name of this high cliff is given by Zarco. Zarco, the discoverer of Madeira, sailed as far as this cliff in 1419. The word "Girão" means "turn". The length of the cliff reaches from approximately 1 kilometer south of Campanario to the west of the urban sprawl of Camara de Lobos. The terraced fields lying beneath the cliff used to be only accessible by boat. In August 2003, a cable car was installed on the slope of the cliff so farmers cab reach these low-lying fields.

    We returned to Funchal via Pico dos Barcelos, which offers a fantastic panorama of the whole of Funchal city, the bay including the harbour and the surrounding hills. We made a final stop at a wine lodge to taste Madeira Wine, world famous for centuries.

    Address:
    Gabo Girao

    Directions:
    Situated at the south side of the island. It is a 12 km drive from the capital of Madeira, Funchal.

    Related to:
    • Mountain Climbing
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Family Travel

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    Gabo Girão - Retreat from the cliffs edge.

    by Jerelis Updated Nov 12, 2006

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    A straight 580 metres down!!!

    To reach Gabo Girão, you drive through pine woods and eucalyptus trees, easily identifable by their scent. The drive is quite spectaculor as you have many lookout points viewing over the south side of the island. Above the cliffs stand a communications tower and the parish of Auinta Grande. Gabo Girão (580 metres high!) is the second highest sea cliff in the world and the highest in Europe. At least this is what the holiday brochure told us. But at least 2 European cliffs are higher. Preikestolen with 604 meters and Sleave League with 601 meters are definately higher!

    But anyway, it's very impressive and it rises sheer from the sea so that the viewpoint offers breathtaking views along the coast, over Funchal and out over the distant horizon. Standing at the iron railings of the viewpoint is quite an adventure. Like we said, the view is incredible and certainly more enjoyable once you retreat from the cliffs edge.

    Address:
    Gabo Girao

    Directions:
    Situated at the south side of the island. It is a 12 km drive from the capital of Madeira, Funchal.

    Related to:
    • Eco-Tourism
    • Mountain Climbing
    • Hiking and Walking

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    Gabo Girão - West from Funchal.

    by Jerelis Updated Nov 12, 2006

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    The road towards the cliff and its sign.

    Head west from Funchal and through the horel and residential area of town. Winding along the coast, the road passes by the village of Camara de Lobos "The Seawolves Liar", a picturesque fishing village, once painted by Sir Winston Churchill. The road then heads up the mountains and passe by the vineyards of Estreito de Camara Lobos, one of the most important vineyards of the island. The steep valleys offer good examples of the terraced cultivation seen throughout Madeira.

    Gabo Girão is a steep sea cliff located in the southern part of this beautiful Atlantic Potoguese Madeira Island. Situated lees than 2 kilometers from the town of Camara de Lobos, it rises from 560 to 589 meters above sea level. Gabo Girão is a popular lookout point as well as a starting point for hikers.

    Address:
    Gabo Girão

    Directions:
    Situated at the south side of the island. It is a 12 km drive from the capital of Madeira, Funchal.

    Related to:
    • Mountain Climbing
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Eco-Tourism

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    Laurisilva - half way to the jungle

    by pikuu Updated Oct 23, 2006

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    MAdeira thicket

    Almost all the island interior is the National Park. It preserves the laural forest - relict from the past. Madeira forests - full of trees, flowers, streams and small waterfalls - are beautiful scenery for walking along the levadas (irrigation channels) or using the veredas (special pathways). Even short walk is worth of consideration.

    But...
    In some texts Madeira forests (called Laurisilva) are described silimair to the Amazon jungle or Equatorial forests. IN real this is not true. Off course they are different than trees systems in north or central Europe (or America) but also far from atmosphere, humidity, variety, fauna and wildness of Borneo or Africa jungle.

    In my opinion Laurisilva is something between north and tropical forests.

    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Hiking and Walking

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  • Jerelis's Profile Photo

    Ponta do Sol - It's a great place to visit!

    by Jerelis Updated Oct 13, 2006

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    A waterfal coming of the cliffs at the lava beach.
    1 more image

    More recently the service industry, particularly tourism, has been trying to conquere this village, with high quality hotels in the countyside and downtown. This is not strange if you consider that some major scenic hiking routes of the island pass through the countryside near Ponta do Sol

    Of course we also had a look at the beach area, where the quality of the climate and of the tourist offer are particularly remarkable. The small rocky beach with some lava sand is nice and very clean (The Town Hall has 2 tests a week!) At the west side of the beach there are several waterfalls which fall of the high cliffs at the beach. The mansions facing the beach are very beautifully surrounded by palm trees. We had a nice cuppachino at the boulevard and were wondering why the tourists haven't dicovered this town yet, because it delighted us and with the warm water and weather conditions all year round, it's a great place to visit!

    Address:
    Village of Ponta do Sol

    Directions:
    Situated at the south side of the island. It is a 35 km drive from the capital of Madeira, Funchal.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel
    • Family Travel

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  • Jerelis's Profile Photo

    Ponta do Sol - Sun shines all year round.

    by Jerelis Updated Oct 13, 2006

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    Relinde at a nice spot in the city.
    1 more image

    The name Ponta do Sol probably comes from the existence of an arm of rock called "ponta" (end) exentending into the sea. Another rock near this "ponta" has on one of its side a sun-shaped projection. Other possible explination is the fact that the sun shines on that "ponta" all year round, from sunup to sunset.

    During our chat with the locals we learned that agriculture is still a prime industry, while fishing has significantly declined. Tourism is still not booming in Ponta do Sol. Maybe a bit weird, because it has enough to offer. For example we did visit the 15th-century parish church dedicated to Our Lady of Light (Nossa Senhora da Luz). It was restored in the 18th century, but the chapel is still the origional one. We also saw the Chapel of the Holy Spirit, which was built by Joao Esmeraldo at the beginning of the 16th century. We admired its finely sculpted wood altars and the baroque tiles.

    Address:
    Village of Ponta do Sol

    Directions:
    Situated at the south side of the island. It is a 35 km drive from the capital of Madeira, Funchal.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture

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  • Jerelis's Profile Photo

    Ponta do Sol - Founded in 1440.

    by Jerelis Updated Oct 13, 2006

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    Ponta do Sol in a morning sun.
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    Like its name tells, Ponta do Sol (Sun´s Point) has one of the best climates in Madeira, favouring the growth of vineyards, bananas and exotic flowers amongst other agricultural products. The municipality is one of the smallest on the island.

    Situated on the south of the island of Madeira colonization started here in the 15th century. The district capital of Ponta do Sol was founded in 1440 by Jean d'Emenaut, a Flemish sugar grower. This nice little town is impressively situated on each side of a deep ravine. Its houses are scattered on both sides of the river Ponta do Sol, which flows down from its source in the Pico da Arco mountain. Historically, the main sources of industry were agriculture, fishing and trade. The harbour of Ponta do Sol, though somewhat small, is worth a visit. It´s a nice place to witness the inflow of fishing and imported goods.

    Address:
    Village of Ponta do Sol

    Directions:
    Situated at the south side of the island. It is a 35 km drive from the capital of Madeira, Funchal.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Family Travel
    • Architecture

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  • sunchasers's Profile Photo

    Jardim do Mar

    by sunchasers Written Aug 26, 2006

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    This is a great place to go to just get away and enjoy the sun (and sunsets). We noticed that when the rest of the island had bad weather, Jardim do Mar was warm and sunny. The town itself is small and charming with small alleys leading to the sea. There is ample free parking, a tea house, at least 2 restaurants, and 2 charming pubs (Joe's bar in town and another by the sea). There is also a rock beach; Jardim do Mar is known as the 'surf' spot on Madeira.

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  • zweiblumen's Profile Photo

    S?o Louren?o

    by zweiblumen Updated Dec 19, 2005

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    S��o Louren��o headland

    Just a few kilometres from the town of Machico (where the first settlers alighted) is the S?o Louren?o peninsula. This is the far eastern point of Madeira, in stark contrast to the verdant interior of the island S?o Louren?o is a windswept barren headland that makes for excellent walking. Unfortunately walkers without their own boat cannot reach Ponta de S?o Louren?o the end of the peninsula but Casa do Sardinha is a worthy alternative.

    There is a car park at Baia d'Abra which is a convenient starting place for the walk. The walk is a well marked track that follows the ridge of the headland.

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Beaches

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    Levadas

    by zweiblumen Updated Dec 18, 2005

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    Walking alongside a Levada
    1 more image

    I was going to place this tip in the Must Do section but decided to place it here instead because following a Levada will get you away from the crowds and off the beaten track.

    Levadas are man made irrigation channels and there is an extensive network of Levadas on Madeira. The levadas help to keep Madeira the verdant isle that it is channeling water to irrigate plantations and vineyards. Most of the levadas will have an accompanying footpath (depending on the terrain) here is the key to getting off the beaten track! Following levada footpaths will take you away from the hustle and bustle of the towns and into some of the most wonderful countryside you could ever imagine. A word of warning however, it is wise to invest in an up to date map if only to make sure you know where it is you are heading for. Please note also the paths can be a bit slippery at times after heavy rain so caution is required.

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking

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    sao lourenço

    by quartinb Updated Nov 14, 2005

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    Ponta de Sao Lourenco is one of the last untouched places on earth.
    Located on the easterly side of the island,
    this is the place where hills, sea and nature get combined in one of the most fabulous results of mother s nature masterpiece.

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    ribeira fria

    by quartinb Updated Nov 14, 2005

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    .
    in a place called ribeira fria a government trout farm,
    wich can be visited by the public.
    one of the most important fish species,
    that makes one of the best dishes offered in all the restaurants at the island,
    and in a local restaurant.

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    porto santo

    by quartinb Updated Nov 14, 2005

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    porto santo

    .
    Whatever your desire, the beautiful island can fulfill it!
    Transfer to the harbor of Funchal and depart by boat to Porto Santo Island with its 9 kilometer (5.5 miles) white sandy beaches, this is an island paradise. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to the center of the city where you will have the morning at your leisure. Enjoy lunch at the hotel before visiting the Cristovao Columbus Museum, Belevedere of Portela and Pico do Castelo. During the excursion there will be a stop to taste the local wine. At the end of your tour, you will be transferred to the harbor and returned by boat to Funchal.
    but for more informations go see my porto santo page.

    Related to:
    • Spa and Resort
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
    • Arts and Culture

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  • Jerelis's Profile Photo

    Santo Antonio da Serra - Animals in the park.

    by Jerelis Written Aug 23, 2005

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    Deers in the park.

    At the back of the park are several beautifully situated lookout points, overlooking parts of the north coast.

    Weekends are a good time to visit the village as the locals stage their market stalls along the main road and a surprising assortment of food and other goods can be acquired very cheaply.

    Address:
    Village of Santo Antonio da Serra

    Directions:
    Situated at the middle (bit to the north east) side of the island. It is a 35 km drive from the capital of Madeira, Funchal.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Eco-Tourism

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Madeira Island Off The Beaten Path

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