If you prefer to self-cater, Calhau Grande in the sunny south-coast village of Arco da Calheta is the perfect holiday location.
There are eight carefully restored cottages which have a cosy and authentically-Madeiran feel. The décor is simple: original hand-cut cedar beams and exposed basalt walls mixed with modern touches – they’re not busy or cluttered; just the comfortable-basics you’ll need for a relaxing stay. Each cottage has its own little private outdoor space, surrounded by fruit trees, organic vegetable patches and aromatic herbs where you can relax, eat and enjoy the sunsets. There’s also a lovely swimming pool with sun loungers and a panoramic view out across the Atlantic.
Your hosts are the Gouveia family. Senhor Eleuterio Gouveia discovered Calhau Grande in ruins back in 1995. and immediately fell in love with their location and potential – Casa Calhau was rebuilt first as a family home, before Eleuterio and his family began the careful restoration of all eight cottages: 2 x two-bedroom cottages (Casas Calhau and Sapateiro), 1 x one-bedroom cottage (Casa Eira) 2 x one-bedroom bungalows (Casas Levada and Junior), and 3 x open-plan studios (Casas Sol, Tenda and Palha).
Daughter Sofia now looks after the day-to-day running of Calhau Grande and she’ll be waiting to greet you when you arrive. As you’re staying in a rural location, we normally recommend including a hire car to allow you to explore further afield. The town of Calheta is a short-drive away – the marina is a excellent jumping-off point for sailing and whale watching, and it’s a good place to shop for supplies. For your evenings, there’s a selection of friendly local café bars and restaurants within easy walking distance.
Calhau Grande is on the sunny south-west coast of Madeira, in the hills above Calheta. It's a very rural location and we recommend including a hire car during yoru stay; it's not crucial as our guides can show you aroudn the island, but it does allow you more freedom to explore.