South West Coastal Towns of Madeira
There are three small, south west coast towns worth a mention. It was difficult to choose just one so I have plumped for all three.
Ponta Do Sol
Ponta do Sol is the first of the these and a stunning location to start with. It’s the closest of all three to Funchal City (30 Mins) and is roughly 50 minutes by car from the Airport. Although it is possible to get there by local bus again I wouldn't recommend it. If you decide on a taxi then its something I would pre book before hand or try a local transfer with R&N Transfer services (see here)
or just hire a car (See here)
. Driving in Madeira is really quite easy these days with quiet and lots of new roads.
Ponta Do Sol’s little red roofed homes look like they are clinging on to the side of the dramatic hillsides either end of the ravine. The front of the town has a little pebble beach and a palm lined promenade plus a couple of little coffee shops to laze away the days.
Ponta Do Sol literally translates as “Sun Point” and it is said that this area of Madeira gets the most sunshine. It also produces some great evening sunsets which you can watch from the harbour or the two or three boutique hotel bars that have made Ponta Do Sol that little bit exclusive.
Jardim Do Mar
Jardim do Mar, the second of the towns, is a tiny little place packed with houses, some new, some old and some really old, well derelict! but the scenery is so dramatic and breathtaking that I definitely feel like it deserves a mention. The town has a small square with a couple of bars and coffee shops and here is where you will see the older locals playing cards and putting the world to right. Due to the mild climate and abundance of water the local population dedicated much of their time to agriculture, thoroughly practiced on small land terraces supported by stone walls known as “poios”. These shape the landscape and beg the question “How do they get up there?” Carry on through the square and start looking between the houses and you will see the crashing waves in the background. A short walk takes you to the other side of the houses and the large promenade that runs in front. Here you can watch the crashing waves and enjoy the sound of the sea. Its pretty mesmerising and well worth a visit and even if you don’t stay overnight here its worth a trip in the car.
Paul Do Mar
The huge mountain backdrop to this strip of beautiful waves makes this town every bit as popular as its neighbour Jardim do Mar. This Madeira town is well known for its waves and surfers. The sport has seen a huge increase in popularity in Madeira over the past few years and Paul do Mar is where most of the surfers hang out. You will even see a few bars dedicated to free spirit and the surfing life.
A short drive up hill from Paul do Mar takes you to the village of Faja da Ovelha from here you can take a coffee at the small tasca known as Restaurante O Precipicio, I have to say that it has one of the best views in Madeira and its a great way to see Paul do Mar.
Accommodation in these resorts vary from smaller 4 star hotels to Small independents to Individual Holiday Homes.
Pros – Sunfilled days, Stunning Vistas, Surfing and relaxing walks.
Cons – Fairly isolated, 30 mins drive from the City.
Holidays For – Walkers, Surfers, Quiet types.