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Discover Santana in Madeira
A quick overview
What to see? Santana Madeira houses, beaches, hiking trails, Parque Temático da Madeira, and many restaurants with traditional food.
Costs? Most things are free.
Where? The village is on the northeastern coast of Madeira.
Worth it? If you like nature, then YES! And cute houses!
What is Santana and where is it located
Santana is a small village in the north of the Portuguese island Madeira. Madeira can be reached by plane from Lisbon or Porto; flights usually take under 2 hours. From the airport in Santa Cruz, it takes around 20 to 30 minutes to drive there. There are also a couple of bus services from the airport to Santana in Madeira, and the travel time takes 40 minutes to one hour. From Funchal, the journey will take approximately 40 minutes by car. There is also a bus service between Funchal and Santana, and the trip will take roughly 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Things to do in Santana in Madeira
There is plenty to see and do in and around Santana. As a matter of fact, it’s a fantastic and pretty central location to discover the island if you rent a car. Let’s have a look at all the highlights you’ll find in Santana in Madeira.
Santana houses Madeira
Santana is primarily famous for its traditional houses! The typical houses are often called thatched roof houses and are cute as a button! So don’t forget your camera! Several picturesque houses are located in the centre of Santana, and colourful flowers surround them. The historical buildings date back to when Madeira was discovered in the 15th century. The colourful houses were tiny but indeed brought a lot of comfort. The A-shaped constructions are mostly made from wood and wicker and finished with a thatched roof. The triangular shape makes this fairy tale scene complete!
Unfortunately, only a few traditional houses are left in the northern part of Madeira, but thankfully, we get a glimpse of the past in Santana. Also, Madeirans no longer live in the traditional Madeira houses, but it’s a must-see attraction on the island! There is a free car park across the road, and it’s only a 2-minute walk to the Madeira houses. You can also enter the traditional Santana houses for free, but you might like to buy some souvenirs here or drink a Poncha! It’s the perfect place to purchase gifts like honey cakes and handmade products.
Parque Temático da Madeira
Would you like to know what the interior was like of these traditional houses? Then you can head over to the nearby Parque Temático da Madeira. You can enter several homes and learn much more about the typical palhaças. You’ll discover that the A-shaped houses usually contained two floors; a ground floor and an attic. A small kitchen included an oven to make bread and was used for cooking. Bread is still made at Parque Temático da Madeira, and you should try some fresh baked ´Bolo de Noiva´! Or discover the traditional Madeiran handcrafts during the workshops that are given. Throughout the year, there are many events in the theme park, and you can spend some time discovering the lake and the gardens.
Opening times are:
January 1st to March 31st – Closed on Monday – 9 AM to 6 PM
April 1st to October 31st – Closed on Monday – 10 AM to 7 PM
November 1st to December 31st – Closed on Monday – 9 AM to 6 PM
Adults € 10,00 per person
0-3 years free
4-5 years € 2,00
6-14 years € 6,00
65+ € 6,00
Some attractions have additional costs
Hikes around Santana in Madeira
Many people travel to the Portuguese island of Madeira to enjoy nature and hiking. Around Santana in Madeira are multiple routes available, and many are suitable for young children. The best walking app to download before coming to the island is WalkMe Madeira. You get access to all hikes on the island for a small fee! An excellent walk to do is the PR9 Levada do Caldeirão Verde (the Green Cauldron). It’s an easy walk, mostly with flat terrains, and the return journey is around 11.8 kilometres long. You’ll need about 3-4 hours to complete this hike. You’ll get spoiled with lush green hills, many waterfalls, and the Caldeirão Verde at the end of the route. It really looks like a green cauldron! At the start of the walk, you’ll discover Parque Florestal das Queimadas with a traditional Madeira house and gardens. Bring a headlamp with you, as some parts of this hike go through tunnels!
Another popular route is Um caminho para todos. It’s a short 4-kilometre hike that is very suitable for kids. There is also the opportunity to extend your walk to Caldeirão Verde, and Caldeirão do Inferno. Other walks and points of interest in nature are Levada da Silveira, PR18 Levada do Rei, the Aguage Waterfall, and Miradouro de Santo António.
Teleférico da Rocha do Navio
For a mesmerising view along the coast, you can take a trip on the Teleférico da Rocha do Navio. The cable car offers fantastic views over the Nature Reserve of Rocha do Navio, which is located between Ponta de São Jorge and Ponta do Clérigo. Rocha do Navio means ship’s rock, and the name refers to the sinking of a Dutch ship in the 19th century. The 5-minute journey will offer you a breathtaking view of the coast! With clear weather, you’ll be able to see as far as Ponta de Sao Lourenço! Upon arrival, you can explore the gardens and the so-called fajãs. Sometimes the cable car is closed for maintenance, so check beforehand! Otherwise, it’s open from 9 AM to 1 PM and 2 PM to 5 PM.
How to reach Santana
The easiest way to reach Santana in Madeira is by car. That goes for the entire island if you like to explore the less visited places. You can rent cars from the airport, or in Funchal. Spend some time with the traditional houses in Santana, but if you like hiking, you’ll easily spend an entire day in the area. Check the below prices to discover Madeira and its unique roads. You’ll find many tunnels, waterfalls, hairpins, and coastal routes!
Also, if you don’t want to rent a car, you can visit Santana on a guided tour. Tours leave from Funchal and usually last a full day. Check the below selection to discover Santana with a group! A tour to Santana is often combined with other points of interest to see many places in one day. Perfect if you don’t drive or if you’re strapped for time! Tours often include a hike plus a visit to Ribeiro Frio, Pico do Arieiro, North Mills Distillery, Ponta de São Lourenço, and Santana.
Map of Santana Madeira including points of interest
Santana Madeira weather
The climate in Madeira is pretty even throughout the year. In the summer, it’s warm and humid. The winters are a little colder, and it might rain more. The weather in Madeira can change multiple times a day, so layers are advisable. Check the forecast to prepare for your trip to Santana in Madeira fully.
Where to eat in Santana in Madeira
Many restaurants in Santana offer traditional dishes such as Espetada Madeirense, Filete de Espada with banana, Prego no Bolo do Caco (steak sandwich), trout, lapas (limpets), and Picado. Some recommendations are Caldeirão Verde, Marcel`s Bistro, and Estrela Do Norte.
A visit to Restaurante Calhau de São Jorge is a must for those who love an exclusive, but affordable meal! Many dishes on the menu are smoked and are a creative twist to the traditional Madeiran and Portuguese kitchen. Are you here during the day? Then you get to enjoy the three pools outside the restaurant! Sunbeds and umbrellas are for rent, and use of the pool is entirely free.
Enjoy a € 20,00 discount on your next meal! Reserve your table with the code 8362E39E on TheFork.
Hotels in Santana Madeira
Santana in Madeira offers hotels and apartments for all budgets. From Santana, it’s easy to explore the rest of the island, and you’ll stay in a tranquil area close to nature. For a luxury stay, check out Hotel Quinta do Furão, including a spa! Or discover the nearby Pestana Quinta Do Arco, including luxury pools. Below you’ll find the complete list of hotels in Santana Madeira!
When you visit Madeira, you’ll see images of traditional houses pop up. Therefore, a holiday to Madeira is only complete with a visit to Santana on the island’s northeast side! Besides the picturesque buildings, there is plenty to do in the area. Enjoy the wild nature of Rocha do Navio, visit Parque Temático da Madeira, discover the Fortress of Faial or hike the many levadas in the area. If you stay in Funchal and don´t have enough time for a trip to Santana, you can also visit Monte Palace Madeira in the capital. There is one small Santana house to see here, but this one cannot be visited from the inside. However, you´ll enjoy lush gardens with many unique flowers and plants and a stunning city view.
Check this post for more activities and sights in Funchal!
omg those thatched houses are ridiculously beautiful and wowza that they are set in such a stunning, mountainous location! I LOVE the idea of hiking in this gorgeous region (and we’re heading to Portugal this September)
Thank you so much for sharing!
Amazing! I`m sure you´re going to have a fabulous time in Portugal!
Wonderful and detailed post. A unique little location with much to see and experience.
Thank you for your kind words, Marilyn!
Madeira sounds like a great outdoor adventure of a trip. The A frame homes are very cool.
It sure is an amazing spot to visit!
I’d love to visit Madeira and see the cute houses and explore the area. Thanks for the inspiration.
Anytime Sharyn, thanks!
Never heard about those cute houses before. And loved this entire article! Thanks for sharing.
Thank you Saskia for your kind words!
That house looks like something from a fairytale! Madeira looks amazing!
It sure is! Thanks for your comment Alexa!
My cousin is going there in April. I will share this. Thanks
Thanks, Lori! I´m sure your cousin is going to love it!
Such cute houses. I would go to Madeira just to see those houses. Although the nature is also beautiful so there’s more than one reason to go to Madeira.
The food is fantastic too! Madeira is a little paradise!
I am visiting Madeira next week and can’t wait to see these beautiful houses. Thanks for all the good tips, especially on the layering, I have heard that it can quickly get pretty cold up in the mountains.
Oooooooh amazing! Let me know if you need any tips, as the Madeira guide isn´t entirely online yet.
I can’t wait to visit Portugal again in the fall!
Lovely! It`s a beautiful time of year to visit! Let me know if you need a hand with the planning!
I’ll be in Madiera later this year! I can’t wait, definitely saving this for later. Thanks!
Oooooh, you´ll love it for sure! Enjoy!
The traditional houses of Santana are so adorable. I wish there were few where visitors could stay overnight.