North west Madeira is where the wild Atlantic crashes headlong into the jagged and imposing cliffs that dominate landscape of the north-coast.
The north-coast road from Sao Vicente, via the Cascata Veu da Noiva waterfall to Seixal, is one of the most impressive drives on the island – bringing you to the small village Porto Moniz: one of the best natural swimming spots on the island.
Inland, the high Paul de Serra plain is quite a contrast to the rest of Madeira, and when the cloud and mist drops you could be forgiven for mistaking the Serra for the highlands of Scotland. It’s the start-point for some of the more-popular walks on the island (the famous Levada das 25 Fontes walk begins here), and the Japanese Cedar forests across the western slopes of Pico da Padreira are home to some of the best mountain biking trails on Madeira.
The village of Sao Vicente is home to the island’s Volcanism Centre where you can explore Madeira's 800,000-year-old lava caves and tunnels.
The 140m high Cascata da Garganta Funda waterfall is one of the highest on the island, and the nearby village of Achadas da Cruz has one of the island’s most impressive (i.e. steepest !) clifftop cable cars.
The Complexo Balnear outdoor swimming pools at Porto Moniz are the best swimming spot on the island.
Northwest Madeira is great for mountian biking, canyoning, walking or simply exploring by car.
The Quintas and Casas around Sao Vicente and Boaventura are a good choice if you want to feel in-amongst the mountains and ravines. If you'd rather be closer to the sea, the Hotel Aqua Natura (overlooking the pools at Porto Moniz) is a wonderful place to stay.