Located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, the island of Madeira has rural areas straight out of a dream. Visit the mountains of Madeira and enjoy the benefits nature has to offer.
Long walks in the Laurissilva forest, the chirping of the birds, the silence, the temperate climate, the charming country houses, the gastronomy flavours and the hospitality of locals, will guarantee you an unforgettable experience.
These are some of the must-see places in Rural Madeira:
1.Porto da Cruz
This town offers magnificent views of the countryside. Visit the viewpoint of Portela and contemplate the beauty of this valley while enjoying the sea breeze. Get dazzled by sea cliffs, such as the emblematic Penha d ‘Águia, at 590 m of altitude. Enjoy the sun or surf the waves at the magnificent black sand beach of Alagoa. Discover the agricultural fields of Porto da Cruz or walk along the Levada do Furado (PR 10). Visit the Company of Engenhos do Norte and taste the traditional Madeiran drink — poncha, made from sugar cane rum.
2.Santo da Serra
Santo da Serra holds the rural atmosphere of the old days. It has a Sunday market, where local farmers sell their products and visitors delight with the traditional gastronomy. It is also an area of lush forest, beautiful farmhouses and charming hotels. This town invites you to romantic retreats, long walks and the luxury of silence.
Visit Santo da Serra Golf Club and test your golf skills in a magnificent setting surrounded by mountains and sea. There is also a horse riding school nearby.
Santana boasts a vast area of Laurissilva Forest. It has a few typical triangular houses with thatched roofs, which attract many tourists. Besides visiting charming country houses and hotels, you can also discover beautiful forest parks, like Queimadas and Pico das Pedras with endemic flora and fauna. This location is one of the best places for hikers, looking to get access to Levada do Caldeirão Verde (PR 9) and to the highest peak of the island, Pico Ruivo. Madeira Theme Park exhibits regional traditions and customs, through multimedia pavilions and interactive experiences, surrounded by local nature. Located by the sea, Rocha do Navio Nature Reserve, allows you to enjoy a great view over “Ilhéu da Viúva” and local agriculture. In the Museum of Vine and Wine, located in Arco de São Jorge, you can discover how to make Madeira wine and enjoy some wine varieties of this area.
4.Chão da Ribeira
Chão da Ribeira is an authentic refuge, bordered by green mountains with small agricultural fields, picturesque rural houses and a large area of Laurissilva forest. In January, you can attend the “Panelo”, a gastronomic tradition where locals cook a typical outdoor dish, with vegetables and meat, from the local producers. Besides hiking in the mountains, you can practice Canyoning and feel nature while crossing small rivers and waterfalls. In Fanal Path (PR 13) observe the beauty of a volcanic caldera, surrounded by an amazing forest of “Til” (Ocotea foetens).
Discover this charming town with stunning sea views. “Caminho Real dos Prazeres”, “Caminho dos pés descalços” and “Vereda do Jardim do Mar” (PR 20) are some of the most popular walks. Marvel at the waterfalls, the endemic flora and discover the main elements of Madeiran nature such as bay leaves, eucalyptus leaves, pebbles among others. At “Vereda do Jardim do Mar” you can observe the traditional agriculture, practised in small terraces, called “poios”. “Quinta Pedagógica dos Prazeres” promotes agricultural traditions. It has a herb garden and a cosy tea house, where you can relax and enjoy homemade jams and passion fruit cider. You can also visit the local farm animals.
Some of the most popular mountain bike trails in Madeira are also located in this area.