What to Do in Santana Madeira Island: 5 Must-Try Activities for Unforgettable Experiences

If you’re planning a trip to Madeira Island, you must include Santana in your itinerary. This charming destination is renowned for its stunning natural beauty and unique cultural experiences. In our article, we will explore “What to do in Santana, Madeira,” and present five must-try activities that will make your stay unforgettable.

Discover why Santana is such a special place and how to make the most of your visit, all while enjoying Madeiran hospitality. Let’s embark on this exciting journey to uncover what makes Santana a hidden gem of Madeira Island.

1. Visit the Madeira Theme Park

The Santana Theme Park is undoubtedly one of those places you cannot afford to miss when visiting the stunning Madeira Island. Located in the municipality of Santana, this playful and cultural space covers an impressive area of 7 hectares, intending to celebrate and value the rich culture and traditions of Madeira.

One of the most striking features of this park is its division into four distinct thematic areas, each representing fundamental elements of nature, history, culture, and the island’s traditions.

Furthermore, the Santana Theme Park offers a variety of attractions and facilities that ensure a day filled with fun and discovery. One attraction that should not go unnoticed is the “Fantastic Journey.” It is a 4D film that narrates the fascinating history of Madeira Island from its early discovery days to modern times. This film combines real images with animations and special effects that engage the senses of the viewers.

The Santana Theme Park also maintains a dynamic schedule with temporary exhibitions, concerts, conferences, and educational activities suitable for all ages. This diversity of events and attractions makes the park an ideal place to visit throughout the year.

2. Explore Santana’s Levadas

what to do in santana madeira

When it comes to discovering the true essence of Madeira Island, one cannot fail to mention the Levadas. These famous irrigation channels are an integral part of the island’s landscape and culture, and in Santana, you have the opportunity to explore them uniquely.

Furado Levada: This is a Levada that follows along the northern coast of Madeira, offering spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean. The trail is relatively easy, making it suitable for hikers of all experience levels.

Caldeirão Verde Levada: One of Madeira’s most iconic Levadas, the Caldeirão Verde Levada is renowned for its lush and stunning landscapes. Additionally, its name derives from a natural “caldeirão” at the end of the trail, surrounded by towering cliffs and covered in dense vegetation. The walk along this levada provides a glimpse into Madeira’s laurel forests and is a truly magical experience.

3. Discover the Local Culture

When it comes to immersing yourself in Santana’s rich local culture, the experience is truly unique. In this region of Madeira Island, you’ll find a delightful fusion of traditions, festivals, music, and cuisine that reflects the Madeiran spirit. Here are some ways to explore this vibrant culture:

– Folk Music and Dances: Madeira’s folk music is a captivating auditory experience, and Santana offers several opportunities to enjoy it. Moreover, local groups regularly perform at events and festivals, providing visitors with an authentic immersion into traditional sounds. Folk dances, often accompanied by colourful costumes, are an essential part of celebrations and reflect the island’s unique cultural heritage.

– Local Gastronomy: Santana’s cuisine is a true celebration of local flavours and the diversity of ingredients available on the island. Also, trying typical dishes is a fundamental part of cultural exploration. I highly recommend tasting the “bolo do caco” (a typical Madeiran bread) and the “espetada” (grilled meat skewers), which are delicious regional specialities. Additionally, don’t miss the chance to try “poncha,” a traditional Madeiran beverage made with sugarcane brandy, honey, and lemon juice.

4. Explore Santana’s Houses

what to do in santana madeira

Madeiran Traditional House in Santana, Madeira Island

Santana’s houses are indeed a true gem of the municipality, and they stand as an iconic symbol of Madeira Island. Additionally, these houses, famously known as “casinhas de Santana,” exhibit a unique triangular shape and are covered with thatch, a natural material used for roofing. Furthermore, they represent an authentic example of Madeiran rural architecture, showcasing an intelligent adaptation to the local climate and resources.

This peculiar construction style is believed to have originated in the 15th century when the first settlers arrived on the island. At that time, wood was abundant on Madeira Island, and they obtained thatch from the cultivation of cereals like wheat and rye. Using thatch had several advantages, including providing insulation against cold and humidity.

The houses in Santana featured two distinct floors. The ground floor accommodated the living area, including the kitchen and bedrooms, while the attic served as storage for agricultural products like seeds and flour. The houses’ facades were painted white, with red and blue details adorning the base and window frames.

Santana’s houses are more than just architectural structures; they are a cultural and historical heritage of Madeira Island, representing the identity and creativity of the local people. Madeirans revere and cherish these houses as a symbol of a bygone era and a way of life.

5. Rocha do Navio Natural Reserve

Established in 1997 to safeguard its natural, scientific, and cultural riches, the Rocha do Navio Natural Reserve on Madeira Island in the municipality of Santana is a notable ecological sanctuary. Moreover, this marine haven is renowned for hosting the critically endangered Mediterranean monk seals, which use the area as a refuge and food source.

Encompassing an area of 1710 hectares, it stretches along 6259 meters of coastline between Ponta do Clérigo and Ponta de São Jorge and includes two remarkable islets, Rocha das Vinhas and Rocha do Navio.

Visitors can explore this natural treasure by descending to the Fajã da Rocha do Navio, a flat area featuring agricultural fields and typical Santana houses. They can access it either via a cable car or an old footpath, which presents historical and cultural information. Also, offers a spectacular view of the sea and cliffs with their impressive waterfalls. Rocha do Navio, where nature and history come together to create a unique experience, holds great ecological and cultural significance in Madeira.

What to Do in Santana Madeira: Conclusion

Santana, situated on Madeira Island, is a charming destination filled with natural beauty and unique cultural experiences. Furthermore, by exploring Santana’s Houses, the Thematic Park, Levadas, local culture, and the Rocha do Navio Natural Reserve, you will immerse yourself in the essence of this region and create unforgettable memories. Santana is a hidden gem that blends history, culture, and hospitality, making your visit to Madeira Island truly special. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore this enchanting destination.

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