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Location and Activities

 

Santa Cruz churchGaula is a small village (ca. 3000 inhabitants) dating back to the sixteenth century, spread out over the hillside on the Southeast coast of Madeira. Its name is said to be derived from the 14th century Amadis de Gaula novel, a popular romantic knight’s tale. There are two churches, various restaurants (there's a pizzeria at just a 2 minute walk from the house), several grocer’s shops and a number of small cafés, a bakery and a hairdresser. Administratively, it belongs to Santa Cruz, which is a somewhat bigger town (about 37,000 inhabitants) with a number of striking historic buildings and a very relaxed atmosphere. There are a number of excellent restaurants with terraces from which you can see the ocean and enjoy the pleasant atmosphere of this old town. Or you could stroll along the seafront promenade, with its shady palm trees and mosaic patterns worked into the pavement.

 

Santa Cruz  

 

Swimming

In Santa Cruz there is the “Praia das Palmeiras”, a natural pebble beach lined with palm trees at the back. There are two jetties with ladders, making it easy to get into the sea, and there is a swimming pool area (Lido), open between 9 am and 7 pm. This beach is ideal for adults and children: apart from swimming and snorkelling, you can also rent a pedal boat, enjoy walks along the promenade, or relax in the café/restaurant. For children, there are free plastic toys and a treasure island with a ‘real’ dragon and a climbing area. Lifeguards make sure everything and everybody is safe.
Even closer to the house, also belonging to Santa Cruz, there is Madeira’s only water park (aquaparque), comprising two swimming pools, a slow river, several water slides, a pool for small children, solaria, changing cabins, sun beds, a lawn, and a café. In Machico, which is just a 10 minute drive from the Casa dos Avos, there is a natural pebble beach with access to the sea by means of a small jetty with a ladder. Besides this, a sandy beach has been created, with sand imported from Morocco. This beach is protected from the waves by means of jetties, so you can take a bath here even when the sea is a bit rough. There are changing cabins and showers, as well as a number of cafés.

Santa Cruz beach Santa Cruz beach water park

In Machico, which is just a 10 minute drive from the Casa dos Avos, there is a natural pebble beach with access to the sea by means of a small jetty with a ladder. Besides this, a sandy beach has been created, with sand imported from Morocco. This beach is protected from the waves by means of jetties, so you can take a bath here even when the sea is a bit rough. There are changing cabins and showers, as well as a number of cafés.

Machico  

 

Hiking

From Gaula, you can reach the easy and very beautiful Levada da Serra within 10 minutes by either bus (which has the advantage of not having to walk back the same route) or by car. Here, you walk through scented eucalyptus forests with many rare plants and bird species, while at the end you have a fabulous view of the famous Eagle Rock and the North coast. There are any number of walks to be made from nearby Camacha (also famous for its wicker ware), or you could drive a bit further and explore the mountaineous interior of the island, or the rare Laurisilva forests of the North coast, which is just a half hour drive from here.

Levada da Serra  

 

Other Activities

Madeira Sonho offers various excursions & activities which you can book with your travel package – whether you like to spend a relaxing day on a boat or be more active and go diving, cycling, horseback riding, play golf (there are two golf courses in the area), go paragliding or explore Madeira's exuberant nature in the company of a biologist, there is sure to be something for you there!

Santo da Serra golf course