Madeira Island Southwest Tour
Madeiras Southwest Tour

The Madeira Southwest Tour starts off from the reception area of your hotel at about 9h00. The first stop will be at the fishing village of Câmara de Lobos. This typical fishing village, which is about 5 km outside of Funchal, was first discovered and named by the first Portuguese explorer João Gonçalves Zarco. Câmara de Lobos was initially the home of thousands of docile Mediterranean Monk Seals. The natural harbour and chamber (hence the name "Câmara de Lobos", chamber of seals - or chamber of wolves if translated literally) that for so long provided shelter to the seal was then taken over by the recent arrivals. This picturesque village with its beautiful bay attracted the likes of Winston Churchill that spent his time painting the beautiful surroundings. Câmara de Lobos is also famous for its ‘poncha’, a mixture of lemon or orange juice, honey and sugarcane spirit, available at the many of its local taverns.
The other Parish counties that form part of Câmara de Lobos, besides Estreito de Câmara de Lobos, are Quinta Grande, the remarkably interesting and unique Curral das Freiras, and Jardim da Serra.
Estreito de Câmara de Lobos is blessed with the beautiful and picturesque colourful landscapes. Belvederes or tourist view points nearby include Boca dos Namorados, Cabo Girão, Ilhéu, Pico da Madeira, Pico da Torre, and Eira do Serrado.
Camara de Lobos
Câmara de Lobos
Or next stop is a drive of about 5 minutes further where we visit the majestic sea cliffs of Cabo Girão. This absolutely amazing sea cliff which is the highest in Europe and second highest in the world (589m), will present you with breathtaking panoramic views. Bizarrely, it has a small area of cultivated land at its foot.These terraced fields lying beneath the cliff used to be only accessible by boat. In August 2003, a cable car was installed on the slope of the cliff so farmers could reach these low-lying fields. For those adrenalin junkies, this is a popular spot for paragliding and base jumping.
Cabo Girão is a popular lookout point as well as a starting point for hikers. The length of the cliff reaches from approximately 1 km south of Campanário to the west of the urban sprawl of Câmara de Lobos.

Cabo Girão
Cabo Girão
After veiwing the magnificent views of Cabo Girão we drive for about 7 minutes further onto our next stop, Ribeira Brava. Ribeira Brava was one of the first parishes of the island and was inhabited early in the island’s history. Its name came from the wild (Brava) river (Ribeira) that used to flow in this area and, when the rain falls heavily, occasionally it still does. The town is blessed with a long beach, a river, and an unusually long thin strip of flat slightly sloping land on which the town is built. Apart from the sea front, it is surrounded on all sides by wonderful lush mountain scenery.
In the main square, which is paved with pebble mosaic, is a charming 16th century church. Now a lot easier to access since the construction of the two-lane motorway from Funchal. The town has made enormous progress with a new promenade and beach being build in the last few years. It has really geared itself up to tourism boasting many street cafés and shops and is certainly the place to spend a while taking in the sights and sounds.
Ribeira Brava
Ribeira Brava
After a small stop at Ribeira Brava we take the coastal road all the way to the most picturesque village of them all,
Ponta do Sol. This delightfully unspoilt village was blessed with glorious ocean views and more hours of sunchine than anywhere else on island wich gives the village it's name. A palmlined promenade fringes the pebbly beach, whilst taditional red-roofed , whitewashed buildings nestle at the foot of graggy mountains, overlooking the sea. Ponta do Sol is situated on both sides of the river of the same name, and this peaceful village, full of charm and tradition, is home to some of the most beautiful old family homes and buildings.
Ponta do Sol
Ponta do Sol
We then continue our lovely coastal drive, to visit one of Madeiras oldest parishes Arco de Calheta. This attractive location, surrounded by rocks that caress the ocean, Calheta – which actually means ‘small beach’ in Portuguese, now bosts as having the only white sand beach on the island. Ofcourse its a man made beach, the sand was shipped in from Morroco, but that does not stop the thousand of visitors that flock to the beach during the summer months.
Calheta
Calheta Beach
Our next stop is at the ancient and charming village of
Jardim do Mar
which sits on a plateu bending down to the ocean against a backdrop of mountainnous cliffs. The houses, with their colorful gardens, are clustered together along narrow mosaic pathways amongst banana plantations and vineyards preserving an ambience of quiet and calm from a bygone age. The village has 3 restaurants, 5 bars and is an acclaimed surfer's paradise as well as being an excellent central location for walking, sailing and swimming.The parish of Jardim do Mar, challenge surfers to ride their spectacular waves, considered among the best in Europe.

 

Jardim do Mar
Jardim do Mar
Next we make our way through one of the islands biggest tunnels to come out to, Paul do Mar. Paúl do Mar is really a traditional fishing village and life continues as it has done for many hundreds of years. Until the late 1960's,the only access to this village was by sea! Recently, new tunnels and roads have been constructed, connecting the village to the main highway and the rest of the island. This unspoiled beauty of the west also offers excellent surfing conditions, with waves able to stir even the stout-hearted. Surfers will find some of the best waves in Europe at the beaches of Jardim do Mar and Paul do Mar.Jardim do Mar and Paul do Mar have excellent access to the sea.
Paul do Mar
Paúl do Mar
Our next stop is the small town of Ponta do Pargo. Ponta do Pargo, is simple and charming, and is an interesting place to see the well-preserved customs and traditions of the island.Tranquil and serene, the country town of Ponta do Pargo can show visitors the peaceful and traditional way of life found on the island. It is probably the town that is least known and explored, but it is blessed with unspoilt countryside, wonderful sea views and offers a great base for bird-watchers and nature-lovers. Ponta do Pargo is famous for the lighthouse which stands at the most westerly point, the best-known on the island, and at 312m,  one of the highest in the world. Accessible by road, the working lighthouse commands some fantastic views out over the Atlantic, and is a major tourist attraction in the west of the island. At Ponta do Pargo we also stop for lunch.
Ponta do Pargo
View from Ponta do Pargo
After lunch we make our way up to the longest as well as the highest plateau of Madeira, Paúl da Serra, where we will stop several times to have a look at the stunning scenes on either side of the valley. Up here the weather changes drastically from one minute to the next. Hot and sunny the one minute, to cold and misty the next. Some say that it resembles the bleak moors of Scotland.
Paúl da Serra
Paúl da Serra
Located in the heart of the Laurissilva forest which has been recently recognised by UNESCO as a natural world heritage site, Serra de Agua, a little village 6.5km (4 miles) north of Ribeira Brava, is reached by trasversing a sheer canyon. One of the best centers for exploring Madeira's lush interior, it's also the site of one of the island's best pousadas (government-sponsored inns). Surrounded by abundant crops, jade-green fields, ferns, bamboo, weeping willows, and plenty of waterfalls, the village enjoys one of the loveliest settings in Madeira. This purely scenic beautiful town, is more often then not covered by mist and clouds that shroud the town.
This area is favoured by the beauty of its green landscape and its accessibility to walks along the typical “levadas” which carry the water to irrigate the agricultural land and make the link with other tourist attractions on the island. Among these for example – Pico Ruivo, the highest point of the island, Boca da Corrida, Folhadal, Pináculo and Bica da Cana.
Encumeada
Serra de Agua

After a fantastic day out we return back to the hotel.
All in all the trip lasts about 8hrs and you should be back before 17h00.
The excursion is offered with an English, German, French or Spanish guide.

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