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Location and activities

Arco de Sao Jorge - seen from above

Arco de São Jorge is a small village by the sea, situated on the east end of the island’s quiet North coast. It is named after an arch of mountains surrounding a green valley with a pleasantly sunny micro-climate, which also explains the vineyards surrounding the Casa das Hortensias. It is about 50 km from the airport; shops, a post office, restaurants, cafés are all within walking distance.

It is a great point of departure to explore the North Coast, famous for its dramatic mountainous landscape, to go hiking in the mountains and along the “levadas”, to visit the pretty villages further along the coast, or just to relax. The mountains in the centre of the island are just a short drive away, and thanks to the highway with its many tunnels you can reach the South Coast in less than 40 minutes.

On the way to Boaventura


North Coast Visit the beautiful rose garden at the Quinta do Arco in Arco de São Jorge, the famous “Grutas” or caves at São Vicente a bit further along the North Coast or just enjoy a drive along the old coastal road with its spectacular views.
At Santana the Madeira Theme Park offers insights into the island’s history, while nearby you can find the so-called “Santana houses”, basically a kind of pretty triangular-shaped cottages with thatched roofs down to the ground. Santana house


Levada walk – laurisilva forest Walkers will definitely be in their element on the North Coast. Some of Madeira’s most famous “levada” walks – walks along the irrigation channels running along the island’s hillsides – are within easy reach, as are the mountain trails. Most of the ancient “Laurisilva” forests can be found on the north side of the island – this type of laurel forest has survived the ice age and is to be found only on Madeira and on the Canary Islands.
The Madeira Laurisilva forest, which covers about twenty percent of the island, has been listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site due to its rarity and particular interest. Many of the levada walks lead right through this forest, offering great views of green valleys with old trees, many different sorts of plants and flowers, as well as waterfalls. Waterfall at Rabacal
Natural Pool at Arco There are various possibilities for swimming along the North Coast. Arco de São Jorge has its own small natural pool which is mainly used in the summer and can be reached from the Casa das Hortensias by just following the path between the vineyards down to the sea. There are supervised swimming facilities with natural pools, access to the sea by means of stairs and/or ladders, as well as changing cabins and bathrooms, in various villages nearby.

The beach at Seixal stands out because of its natural beauty and tranquillity: the beach, consisting of black volcanic sand, is called “Praia da Jamaica”, Jamaica beach, because of the palm trees along the path leading to the sea.

Snorkling and diving is very popular in Madeira – because of the Gulf Stream, there are many exotic fishes in the pleasantly warm water, as well as larger fishes such as the spectacular manta rays. There are a number of diving schools on the South Coast, the closest being in Machico (about half an hour’s drive).

Seixal Beach

At Santo da Serra a bit further to the south there is a golf course, and there is the possibility of taking lessons in paragliding in Funchal as well as in Arco de Calheta on the South Coast.


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! Check out the many possibilities!