The adventure of being a Portuguese #Madeira 3
Let’s dive into our final day adventure in Madeira: an island full of majestic natural landmarks, beautiful mountain trails, and spectacular omnidirectional panoramic views of paradise. Today, we will focus on less popular places, which in one way or another are separated from the tourist hotspots on the island, but don’t fall behind in beauty or uniqueness.
Miradouro da Garganta Funda
Garganta Funda Waterfall is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Madeira. Located in Ponta do Pargo on the west coast, it is a bit off the beaten track, but definitely worth a visit – especially during the winter season when water actually flows from the waterfall (I visited in November). You should keep in mind that during the dry summer months there is a possibility that water will not flow.
The height of the Garganta Funda waterfall is 140 meters, which is quite impressive! Along with the beautiful views of the rocky walls and the great overall experience here, it has become one of my favorite places in Madeira. But what makes this place even more special is that if you continue on the trail for another 5 minutes, you will reach impressive cliffs with stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean.
Natural pools in Porto Moniz
Porto Moniz is a charming little town located in the northwestern part of Madeira. This place is isolated from the rest of the island and the town survives only as a fishing port, specializing in whaling. But the main focus of this place is certainly the natural swimming pools, which CNN listed as one of the 52 best beaches in the world in 2018.
These natural swimming pools have been formed over thousands of years by the cooling of volcanic lava. They form small pools that fill with clear, flowing, salty ocean waters. The landscape around the pools is unique due to the panoramic view that one has over the beach and the rocks (The place reminded me a lot of the hot volcanic basins in the Azores, which you can read more about here).
The recreation area is approximately 3217 m2, while the swimming area is 3800 m2 with a depth of 2 meters, which stores about 7600 m3 of seawater. The average annual water temperature is between 20 and 21ºC. In addition, the beach has parking, changing rooms and bathrooms with lockers, a bar that is open during the summer months, first aid station, sunbeds and umbrellas for rent. The pools are open all year round from 9 am to 5 pm in winter and from 9 am to 7 pm in summer. The charges are symbolic.
Teleférico das Achadas da Cruz
It is time to talk about our most extreme experience in Madeira. We were made aware of it by chance after seeing a worn-out billboard on the side of the road that advertised the cable car of Achadas da Cruz. The Achadas da Cruz cable car will take you down the slope of a huge rock with a 500-meter drop to the coast, which is located in the most isolated place of Madeira, the village of Fajá da Quebrada Nova.
Nestled on the northwest coast of the island, the small area here was once home to hundreds of residents who took care of their livestock and crops. Today, many of the small, traditional homes have been uninhabited for years, making them a unique and unusual place to visit.
You may ask what is so extreme about all of this? Well, this is the steepest cable car in Europe, with a slope of 98% to start with.
Once you reach the bottom of the hill, you will find yourself at the northern end of the coast with a photogenic bay with pebbles and rocks. You can go south on a nice path that takes you through the village and the rest of the beach area, along stunning views of the high cliffs.
During the walk here, we found that several plots are still cultivated by locals, with vineyards and garden products for local consumption. However, many of the gardens seemed abandoned. All this showed a different light of Madeira: more authentic and untouched by mass tourism. After the walk south, the return trip can be on the same path to the cabin lift or through the ecopath, which is located next to the lift, and lasts 2:00 hours and is 4.5 km long.
Paradise Madeira, that’s what I will call this place. After spending three amazing days here, full of adventures, amazing and unique views, and created a bunch of memories. I am lucky to have had the opportunity to discover the beauties of the island and I strongly recommend lovers of this type of tourism to seriously consider Madeira as their next destination. It may be a small piece of land, but it has an abundance of charm and beauty, eagerly awaiting to be seen by real adventurers.
Thank you for being part of this adventure. I hope you enjoyed the series of materials and that I was able to ignite your desire to visit Madeira one day. If you want us to experience this adventure together again, we can go back and look again at: