One day is enough to drive this route that I made for the west side of the island. Enjoy the cliffs and the blue ocean views, take time to go down with a cable car to the isolated small town in Achada das cruz and swim in a natural pools in Porto Moniz.
Link to the map.
The west point
As we were staying in south west it was a short trip to the far west of the island. Ponto do pargo lighthouse. Close to it there is also a restaurant if you feel like a morning coffee. Otherwise it is easy to find – many signs and in the end you just drop the car on the round a bout and go to enjoy the cliffs and blue ocean views. Good part is that you do not need to climb or walk anywhere.
That day I just felt like going off the road after the signs to ”miradouros” – the viewpoints. If you have time – I would recommend to do that during all the trip as there are many hidden beautiful places! Of course it is always challenging to see the tiny ”one way road” that two cars should fit going down. But in the end it is always worth to take the trip. I visited two viewpoints that are really not crowded – Miradouro Garganta funda and Lombada velha. In both it was so windy that I thought I will be blown away from the cliff. But otherwise – greenery and blue water – I love it!
Achada do cruz
If you want to know the feeling of going down the cliff in a safe way – thats the place! The cable car in Achadas da cruz is only 3 eur round trip to go down and explore a tiny village. Try to imagine people living there, the only way out was by the water. You can stay there 15-20 min or have a longer walk or even a picnic on the rocky beach.
Porto Moniz natural pools
On the way to the town, there is a car parking on the hill that you can see all Porto Moniz and its pools. It helped to plan where to park a car and what to do. There are few pools, we went to the main ones – on the left. Even though it is made by nature but you still have to pay 1.50 Eur to get in and use showers, wc, lockers and so on. During the days that waves are big it might be closed for the safety reasons. And I understand it now, as there is a point that pool connects with the ocean and waves are splashing with a big power! Everyone tries to catch the waves splashes on them but you have to be prepared for a strong hit. But it is super fun and you should do it! (if the waves are big enough for that) The water was super cold – only 18 degrees, but we managed to swim and even enjoy. 😀 They also have many restaurants so you can find a good deal for lunch. As in previous places there was only one restaurant that means a high prices. The further from the pools the lower the prices. 🙂
Ribeira da Janela
On the way back we stopped in this beautiful town with amazing viewpoint. It was starting to rain so we managed to see the rainbow. It is very common to see one as it might rain in one side and be sunny on the other side of the island. There is also levada in ribeira da janela but it was too late to take it. It is one of the long ones so you need at least half a day only for that.
There are many ways to go back to the south of the island but the best is to take a tunnel and not the mountain road. Especially with rain and dark… In this case you have to drive until Sao Vicente and take a road to Funchal and after go to whatever town you are staying. Also, the biggest market we found except the Funchal was in Calhera. Pingo doce – you can find everything you need and prices are reasonable.
I hope it was useful for you and you will enjoy Madeira same as we did.