The 8 parishes of Calheta are still fairly under populated and as such are very quiet and peaceful. A holiday in Calheta is very much about scenery and landscape than anything else. If you like local restaurants and places to walk to in the evening then you are probably better suited to Funchal or Caniço but If you like to completely submerge yourself in quiet contemplation then Calheta is definitely for you.
The 8 parishes of Calheta all have their own little squares and churches that are worth a visit. However the real beauty of the area is not man-made, the geology, coastal views and crashing seas are the real stars.
The area of Paul do Mar, which has a population of around 600 inhabitants’ is famous for its surf. Many surfers take to the seas here in the hope of catching one of the big waves. It also has a large promenade stretching the whole of the town.
Jardim do Mar is another of the parishes that is worth a mention. The small town has a little square and a couple of cafes, should you fancy a coffee. It also has some amazing views in between the beautiful little houses that are clinging on to the cliff.
If you don't fancy a quick surf lesson then maybe a simple drive around this stunning area of natural beauty will be more your thing. The steep cliffs, winding roads and laid back atmosphere make it great for exploring. The view from Ponta do Pargo’s lighthouse is one of the most stunning in the region. From up above you can see Madeira’s south coast, contrasting with the deep blue background of the Atlantic Ocean. This peaceful, meditative spot is at the islands westernmost point. You can also visit the lighthouse and its small museum.
Then perched on the cliff over Calheta is the building of the arts centre – Casa das Mudas. The building was designed by Madeira’s architect, Paulo David and has won some of the most important international architecture prizes. Its famous exhibitions, including works by artists such as Andy Warhol, Thomas Joshua Cooper, Botero or Man Ray, have turned Casa das Mudas into a major cultural reference of Madeira and don't forget like everywhere on Madeira Island this area has its own many village fiestas / fetes. Contact the local tourist information office for a list of dates.
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