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Location and Activities

 

Sao JorgeThe house itself is situated in the district of São Jorge on the quieter North coast of Madeira. From the house, you can follow a (very steep!) road downwards to Fajã da Rocha de Baixo, where there is a bar. Here you can have a drink and relax right by the sea. There are also a number of restaurants nearby; the closest, serving traditional Madeiran food, is just a 15 minute walk from the house.
It is about a ten minute drive to the peaceful, traditional village of São Jorge, where you will find a grocery, a café, a restaurant, and one of the most beautiful (Baroque) churches of the island. A bit further along, in Arco de São Jorge, you can visit the famous rose garden of the Quinta do Arco, which holds 1700 different varieties of roses, one of the largest collections in Europe. Continue driving along the North Coast, along the narrow old cliff road with its spectacular views of the coast, and you will reach São Vicente, another pretty village, which is worth a visit in itself, but where you can also visit the spectacular caves (“Grutas”). The guided tours through the caves are very worthwhile!

If you drive in the other direction from the house, you reach Santana, a somewhat larger (less attractive) village, where you can find a number of excellent restaurants. All the food in Santana’s restaurants is biological and from the area. At Santana, there is also the Madeira Theme Park, where you can experience the island's history and sights in a very attractive display, including some traditional "Santana houses", pretty, triangular-shaped cottages with thatched roofs down to the ground. A little bit further south, you reach the pretty village of Porto da Cruz, which has a pleasant seaside promenade and various good seafood restaurants.

Porto da Cruz North Coast

It is worthwhile just exploring a number of the country roads in this area – there are quite a number of “miradouros”, panoramic viewpoints, from where you can overlook the coast and the spectacular, rugged, green landscape of the North Coast. The North Coast is famous for the Laurissilva forest, a Unesco World Heritage site, as these ancient laurel forests can now only be found on Madeira and on the Canary Islands.

Miradouro  

 

Swimming

Sao Jorge beachAlthough the North Coast is not ideal for swimming, there are a number of safe swimming complexes with seawater pools, sun loungers, changing facilities and cafés/restaurants serving traditional Madeiran food. One of those can be found at São Jorge, between Santana and the village of São Jorge, about a 15 min. drive. This swimming facility is ideal for both adults and children.
At Ribeira do Faial, about 20 min. by car, a large seawater pool has been created to afford comfortable swimming. There are sun loungers, changing facilities, bathrooms, as well as a café/restaurant. Both this beach and the one at São Jorge are supervised. There is another pleasant (supervised) beach at Porto da Cruz, with seawater pools, access to the sea, changing cabins, and a pleasant café. If you are prepared to drive a bit further, you have the choice between two very attractive beaches: along the North coast, there is Seixal’s “Praia da Jamaica”, with natural pools and facilities, and in the direction of Machico/Caniçal you will get to the only natural sandy beach of the island, Prainha. Both beaches are about a half hour drive.

Seixal beach  

 

Hiking

Walk in Sao JorgeThe North Coast is perfect for (Levada) walks across Madeira’s reknowned Laurissilva forest, as well as in the island’s mountains. Some most famous hikes depart from Queimadas, following the levada through the “green kettle” of Calderão Verde to several waterfalls, or to Pico das Pedras or Vale da Lapa. From Teixeira you can walk up to the Pico Ruivo, with 1862m the highest peak of the island. There are also easier walks to be made, such as the old coastal road of São Jorge. Walking is the best way to explore the island’s interior with its green slopes and many rare plants and flowers – it is definitely worthwhile. Please note: always take good footwear (preferably sturdy walking boots) and if necessary torches (on some levada walks, such as the one to Calderão Verde, you will come across tunnels), and enquire at the Santana or Funchal Tourist Office whether the walking paths are in good condition at the time you are planning to go.

In the mountains Levada walk

 

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, go paragliding or explore Madeira's exuberant nature in the company of a biologist, there is sure to be something for you there!