Located on the northern coast of the island of Madeira, the small town of Santana is inhabited by some 8000 people. It is located about 22 miles away from the island capital of Funchal. Between the sea and the mountains, Santana stands out from the other cities of Madeira with its traditional houses. These are small triangular houses, protected by thatched peak roofs. Dotted throughout the city, some are better preserved than others. They are not uninhabited houses, they are actually the homes of the indigenous people. The surrounding areas of Santana are also worth a visit. The Forest Park of Queimadas is located on the hillside and offer some of the most beautiful hiking routes on the island. Take the time to follow one of the levadas (aqueducts), which are the famous on the island. Follow a trail along a river, passing through several tunnels, to face a beautiful waterfall that is fed by water from the mountains. The walk is not difficult and it is well worth the trip!
It is impossible to come to Madeira and not hike along a levada. The forest of Laurissilva contains magnificent landscapes for all you budding photographers out there.
Located in Santana, the theme park of Madeira is an exhibition area highlighting the history, the science and the traditions of the island of Madeira. The park is divided into four pavilions: the first 'Discovery Island' tells the discovery of Madeira, the second called 'Future of the Earth' introduces the visitor to the environment, the third 'Fantastic trip to Madeira' allows you to explore the whole island as a couple on honeymoon, and the last called 'A World of islands, the islands of the World' teaches us the culture and the resources of Madeira.
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.
Hikers should be well equipped. Wear good shoes to avoid slipping into the wetlands. Wear layers as it is a bit colder on the hillside and especially near the waterfalls. Bring water and a flashlight for the tunnels that are not well lit.
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.
It is in the middle of vineyards and gardens that you find the ...