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Calhau da Lapa

With majestic cliffs and vistas overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, Calhau da Lapa is a haven for the most intrepid travellers. Discover further activities upon the island within ‘Best Things To Do In Madeira.

Regarding Funchal, peruse ‘What To Do In Funchal‘. Calhau da Lapa remains a veritable hidden treasure, a jewel amidst the myriad splendours of Madeira Island.

But heed caution, dear wanderer! This locale is untamed and indomitable.

Portions of the pathway are slippery, necessitating the employment of suitable footwear and a keen sense of balance.

Furthermore, remain vigilant of the dangers lurking within the slopes, where tumbling stones may threaten to descend at a moment’s notice.


  • Coordinates: 32.664528, -17.029978

Reaching the captivating Calhau da Lapa?

Oh, the Vereda do Calhau. Spanning 1.5 kilometres in length and encompassing a 200-metre elevation change, this breathtaking trail leaves awestruck.

The ocean vistas are nothing short of mesmerizing!

Again, portions of the path are slippery, necessitating suitable footwear and a keen sense of balance.

Fear not, however, if you are disinclined to tackle the trail on foot, an alternative remains arrival by boat!

Embark upon a water taxi from the village of Ribeira Brava, a mere five-minute journey away. From May until early September, numerous vessels operate daily.

First Impression

Upon reaching the culmination of the trail, one cannot help but marvel at the resplendent Calhau da Lapa.

It seemed a film set featuring a pebbled beach encircled by verdant cliffs and a waterfall cascading into the sea.

The mellifluous symphony of waves and birdsong offers a soothing and inviting ambience.

Calhau da Lapa boasts crystalline waters, ideal for swimming and snorkelling, boasting an average temperature of 20°C in the summer and 16°C in the winter.

Diverse marine life, including vividly hued fish, sea urchins, starfish, octopuses, and crabs.

There was but a smattering of individuals present. A few lodgings have been repurposed as accommodation for the more audacious visitors seeking to spend the night in this location.

This small pier valiantly withstood tempestuous ocean waves, persisting through destruction in its various incarnations over the years.

Yet its perseverance is striking. It stands from its ongoing battle against the forces of nature.

To the west, near the coast, we discover the islet of Campanário, its peculiar bell-shaped silhouette lending its name to the parish.


The spectacle of the waterfall is indeed awe-inspiring! The water plummets from great heights engendering an ambience of serenity and coolness.

The sounds emanating from the cascade can assuage even the most disquieted hearts.

What is most astonishing is that the waterfall’s waters impart a pleasant, fresh, as if it were a rejuvenated libation for the senses.

This is possible thanks to the levadas, which convey this clean and limpid water from the lofty island peaks.


There is a fragment of history ingrained within these cliffs.

Indeed, these caverns have safeguarded goods conveyed by ships and serve as a sanctuary for labourers during inclement weather.

Yet times have altered, and now they are transformed into a distinctive holiday destination during summer.

Some caves have been recently refurbished with a modern touch, allowing visitors to slumber by the sea and the waterfall!

Things to do nearby

To make the most of your visit to Calhau da Lapa, explore some fascinating nearby locations:

Fajã dos Padres

We access it by cable car or boat. Here, we sampled exotic fruits such as custard apples, passion fruit and wine produced in Madeira’s oldest vineyard.

You can also lodge in one of the available rural houses or stroll around the estate and admire the plantations.

Miradouro Campanário

A vantage point in the heart of Campanário parish, in Ribeira Brava, offering stunning views of the sea, mountains, and a small bell tower-shaped islet.

The viewpoint’s name is connected to the Portuguese discoveries, as 15th-century navigators passing by Cabo Girão spotted the islet and named it accordingly.

Cabo Girão Skywalk

Europe’s highest cliff, standing 580 meters above sea level.

Here, we relished panoramic vistas of the ocean and the island’s southern coast from a glass observation deck, creating the sensation of being suspended in mid-air.

You can also hike along the levadas traversing Cabo Girão, or try paragliding for the more daring.

Câmara de Lobos

A picturesque fishing village featuring colourful houses and traditional boats called xavelhas.

Here, you can taste poncha, Madeira’s typical beverage made from sugarcane brandy, honey, and lemon juice.

You can also savour other culinary delights: such as grilled limpets, tuna steaks, or skewers on laurel wood sticks.

Or visit the municipal market, where fresh fish, fruits, and vegetables are sold.

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