Before visiting Madeira I read a lot to prepare the visit. I understood that "levadas" are a must see, and tried to find a compromise between the best ones and my available time. No way.
The best ones seem to be here, in Rabaçal ("Risco" and "25 fontes"), but demand a full day.
It is in my agenda for the next visit.
Used to admire the luxurious vegetation in almost all the island, crossing Paul da Serra may seem a waste of time, due to its poor vegetation. However, it is completely different, with some endemic species, whose protection is forcing the government to forbid the cattle that we may see at ease in the area.
I'm not a botanical expert to explain the details, but the couple of hours spent in the top of the mountain were also very interesting.
If I had to choose a place to follow a "levada", this should be the one. Rabaçal seems to have two of the most spectacular trails in the island. We had no time for it, but in the third visit I will not miss.
It's worthwhile to go up the mountain to see the absolutely different look of the landscape, in the platform where most of the water carried in the "Levadas" is caught.
Yellow is the dominant colour, the road becomes straight and levelled, and, though the governmental efforts to eliminate cattle in the area to preserve the endemic flora, we may see lots of caws, some of them in apparent freedom.
This is one of the few British Palaces to be found in Madeira and Ponta do Sol.
The palace was totally restored by the local government and is a unique example of the power British had in poor Madeira last century.
The new concept of style versus nature arrived to Ponta do Sol in Lugar de Baixo. A new and modern restaurant with a fantastic bird watching point and reserve. The natural lagoon was totaly clenead up and visitors now can admire the birds drinking a fresh orange juice. :)
The village was totaly restored. This location now has a volley ball area, a restaurant/bar, shower facilities and of course the lovely beach.
Ideal for sunbathing, it offers crystal clear waters at warm temperatures and an unsually calm sea.
Visitors stopping at the Madalena do Mar belvedere, 10 km from Ponta do Sol, can enjoy spectacular views along Madeira's south-western coastline. This place was once overcrowded with camping tents.. but they have long since dissapeared.
Ponta do Sol Villages or "Sun Point" is one of the sunniest villages in Madeira. It has excellent bathing conditions, although you won't find sand here... more a pebbly beach.
This beautifull house dates from the XVIIIth century and belonged to the Azevedos family.
In the Nineties it was reconstructed and installed some autarchic services and the noble hall.
Ponta do Sol is a charming Madeira village. It's centre has remarcable historical buildings datibg from the 19th century including the church and the houses.