Porto Moniz was named after one of the first settlers to come here: Francisco Moniz. The city is a small seaside town that attracts tourists but also the locals for its natural water holes, wonderful for swimming in. Many hoteliers have seen an opportunity to establish their business so ever since then, many hotels have cropped up in the area. Nevertheless, the downtown area remains 'intact' and retains its natural charm. Just 45 minutes away from the airport, Porto Moniz has a large variety of hotels to choose from. Remember that camping is forbidden in Porto Moniz.
Make a brief visit to the cultural and scientific center, it's interactive and is a source of much fun for visitors young and old. The aquarium of Porto Moniz is installed in a replica of the fort of Sao Joao Baptista. Abandonned, the city bought it back in 1998 to restore it as it was in the past.
Porto Moniz has wonderful natural pools. These pools were created by secretions of volcanic lava, which have formed small steps at the foot of the cliff. The developments on the island allow you to get there without any problem. However, they are quite busy during the summer. If you stay in this area during summer, the city organises numerous events such as festivals and regattas.
Visit in the autumn as the weather is a very pleasant 17°C to 20°C. In the spring, wait until March to avoid the rains. For a typical but very comfortable stay, choose a quinta (an old house transformed into a charming hotel). The cuisine is generally excellent, however, the swimming pool, proportionate to the number of rooms, is much smaller than in the larger hotels.
For climbers, avoid climbing the Pico Ruivo (a 3 hour walk away from Pico Arieiro) due to the unpredictable weather.
From swordfish to rabbit, octopus or cod - this is all typically Portugal. The corossols (cinammon apples), mangoes, papayas, passion fruit are a delight. For dessert or tea time, have a snack in one of the bakery-cafés in the centre of town with small cream cakes or cinnamon doughnuts.
Stock up on local Madeira wine, gingerbread cakes (which keep for several months), hand embroidered fabrics in the form of tablecloths, towels, table napkins, handkerchiefs and shirts and basket items. To buy wine from Madeira, start by trying some in a factory. Visit the embroidery museum in Funchal to learn how to distinguish the authentic hand made product from the rest.
In the north of the island of Madeira, in the picturesque centre ...