Southwest Madeira

Southwest Madeira holds the island’s monopoly on pretty seafront villages

There’s a pleaseant and appealing disjointedness to Southwest Madeira. Each village sits in its own secluded natural harbour with its own little microclimate – each in its own little world. There’s something of a Cornish-feel to places like Ponta do Sol and Madalena do Mar, and their attractively colourful buildings, pebble beaches and laid-back feel make them popular weekend destinations for the residents of Funchal.

Southwest Madeira’s largest town is Calheta. A Funchal in miniature, Calheta’s small and friendly marina is a nice alternative to the much larger marina in the capital, particularly if you enjoy sailing. Many of our favourite self-catering villas are nearby, and including a hire car makes the town a great base from which to explore the island.

Further west, you’ll come the tiny seafront hamlets of Jardim do Mar and Paul do Mar. Jardim has three popular pebble beaches – Portinho, Enseada at Ponta Jardim which are particularly popular with hardcore surfers. Paul do Mar is barely two cobbled-streets wide, and you could be forgiven for thinking you were lost in the narrow backstreets of an Italian city. Find the harbour and you’ll find the some of the best fish restaurants on Madeira – the type of places where you can eat like the locals, with the locals.

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