Last week-end I went on a short break to Porto Moniz, at the extreme northwest of Madeira Island.
This small village maintains the best of Madeira ancient lifestyle: a slow motion mood and a deep human contact with land and landscape. It is the perfect spot to take a breath in front of the ocean and to disconnect with the rest of the world.
The nature is harsh here. The huge mountains of the Laurissilva forest come to join the ocean and created volcanic pools that man enclosed for a safer use. This is where we can swim safely in sea waters despite the brave ocean just outside the pool.
The west and north winds can be quite strong on this side of the island and the light rain is normal even on hot days. Sunny or cloudy, there’s always someone swimming in the natural pools. Open sun is a gift here but when it shows off, you better use a lot of sun protection or you’ll get your skin burned in a short exposure.
Agriculture (the cliffs are full with vineyards protected from the strong sea winds with fences made from the local heather brushwood), fishing and tourism are the main income activities. There are daily tourist buses coming from Funchal to Porto Moniz just for a short sightseeing and lunch at the biggest and oldest restaurant. However, the hotel offer exists (a 4* hotel, a 3* hotel and a few nice guest houses) and you should enjoy staying a few days here if you really need to rest and disconnect from the hush city life.
Local people may seem rude but in fact they’re humble and friendly. They work mainly in the restaurants and accommodation business. Commercial shops are quite basic and the bigger ones are the traditional craft shops, in the seafront promenade.
The local attractions include a small yet beautiful aquarium and a Centre of Live Science where you’ll get to know more about local land and maritime live.
Other than that, there’s not much to do other than swimming, walking and reading with this magnificent view as scenario.
I’m a local but I always feel like I am discovering a new world inside Madeira when I go to Porto Moniz.
Don’t miss it when you visit Madeira.