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West Side Madeira


Calheta, 10 km from Madalena do Mar, is a pretty village in a steep valley. A promenade connects the old part with the new area that has grown around the marina.

  • Coordinates: 32.721202, -17.179429

Calheta became a town in 1502, governed by Zarco’s sons. Later it became a customs post for the export of sugar until its decline in the 19th century.

The town, with its impeccable gardens, lies on the eastern bank of a stream. On the way up to the main church, the Igreja do Espírito Santo. It dates back to 1430 but was rebuilt in the 17th century.

  • Coordinates: 32.723085, -17.176998

The exterior is run-of-the-mill, but its Moorish-inspired ceiling is worth a look. If you’re interested in finding out how rum is made, nearby is the Sociedade dos Engenhos da Calheta.

The distillery is just below the church, and their rum is used in the Poncha drink. You can understand their production process and taste the cane brandy and a delicious honey cake.

  • Coordinates: 32.722786, -17.177349

Calheta beach has calm waters, with bars at each end. The beach sand was brought from Morocco and Figueira da Foz. Don’t forget the sun cream.

  • Coordinates: 32.720364, -17.178526

We find the Porto de Recreio da Calheta, a harbour from where you discover boat trip services to watch dolphins.

A few metres distant is the 5-star Resort Sacharum (rua da Serra d’Agua). There is a buffet restaurant, four bars, an indoor pool, and two outdoor pools. Elegant accommodations with spacious balconies and comfy beds are available.

  • Coordinates: 32.716743, -17.168626

Under a hill, 2 km from the beach, you’ll see MUDAS – Madeira Museum of Contemporary Art (Estrada Simão Gonçalves da Câmara, number 37) by award-winning architect Paulo David. It has a beautiful view of the Calheta coast.

  • Coordinates: 32.723626, -17.180376

Its galleries consist of hundreds of art pieces from the 1960s (20th century) to the present day. Its collection has artists such as António Areal, José Escadas, Helena Almeida and Manuel Baptista. In the middle of the building is the Mudas Arte & Sabor restaurant.