Things to do in
Porto da Cruz

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Top sights in Porto da Cruz

Our most recommended things to do in Porto da Cruz

Tour of Eastern Madeira

1. Tour of Eastern Madeira

Immerse yourself in the history of Madeira. Starting with pick-up from the lobby of your hotel, make your way to the Camacha Wickerwork Factory, (Closed at the moment due to Covid). Pass the Eucalyptus and Mimosa forests into the black forest of Madeira overlooking the Christmas pines, into the breathtaking mountains of Pico do Arieiro at 1,800 meters.  Taking the old road of Faial, Santana will be the next stop, where you can see the town's traditional thatched houses and vines. Stop for lunch (not included in the price). After the lunch stop in Santana, continue to Porto Cruz, passing the sugar cane fields. Visit the only steam rum factory in Europe (includes rum tasting) and the village. See the rough black sandy beach popular with surfers. In July and August, enjoy the chance to swim in the famous saltwater pool. Then travel along the North Coast where sugar cane terraces are still visible. See the old capital of Madeira, Machico, where the first Portuguese settlers arrived in the 15th century, before heading to Ponta de São Lourenço, the eastern point cape of the island where the rock formations will astound you. Your tour ends with a drop-off at your hotel. 

Funchal: Madeira Island Group Surf Lesson

2. Funchal: Madeira Island Group Surf Lesson

Join a surf lesson in the clear Atlantic waters off Madeira Island, and learn the fun sport for the first time or hone your surfing skills with an expert instructor. Enjoy the ease of a hotel pickup from Funchal, and be directly dropped off at the best surfing spots on the island. Kick-start your lesson with a warm up and a technical demonstration on the beach before hitting the water to catch some waves. Feel the cool waters beneath your gliding board, and the adrenaline course through you after catching your first wave. Enjoy the top surfing spots for beginners on Madeira Island, including Praia do Seixal, Praia de Machico, and Porto da Cruz, where your instructor will bring you to make sure you get the best experience possible.

From Funchal: Full-Day Madeira Peaks Tour by Open 4x4

3. From Funchal: Full-Day Madeira Peaks Tour by Open 4x4

Begin this full-day 4x4 tour with a pick-up at your hotel in Funchal and travel deep into the southeast of Madeira. You’ll come to Machico town and the line that divides the north and south of the island. Take in breathtaking views of the Eagles Rock from Portela. Drive down, stopping in Porto da Cruz, which is the next must-see point. Visit a sugar cane factory, continue to the Faial coastline and then up to see the typical houses of Santana. These small straw-thatched triangular houses are emblematic of Madeira and intricate in their construction. Head down into the valley and through the forest to Riveiro Frio at an elevation of 1818 meters, the third-highest peak on the Island.

East Tour Madeira 4x4 Jipe Tour Santana Typical Houses

4. East Tour Madeira 4x4 Jipe Tour Santana Typical Houses

Discover more of Madeira with a 4x4 excursion to the eastern part of the island. Travel from Funchal to see sights like Pico do Areeiro peak and Ponta de São Lourenço natural reserve. See how rum is made with a visit to a sugar cane factory. Be picked up from your hotel in Funchal and drive to the Pico do Areeiro to see the views from the third highest peak on the island. Continue to the charming Ribeiro Frio village. Take a leisurely walk to Balcões viewpoint in the lush heart of the Laurissilva forest. Jump back in the jeep and drive through São Roque do Faial parish, Cruzinhas viewpoint, and the mountain village of Lombo Galego. Take the off-road trail Cova da Roda. Pass through Pico das Pedras right in the middle of the Ponta de São Lourenço reserve. Head towards Santana, where you can go get lunch. Visit the Porto da Cruz sugarcane rum factory. Finish with panoramic views of the Atlantic at the reserve.

Northeast Madeira 4X4 Tour from Funchal

5. Northeast Madeira 4X4 Tour from Funchal

Head out from Funchal on a full-day tour of Madeira’s north-east. Leaving the town behind, stop in São Vicente, and take in amazing 360-degree views. Marvel at the contrast of colors from the vineyards. Enjoy a drive along serpentine roads and through forests. Discover the unique scenery of the area from an open-top 4X4 vehicle. Before lunch, visit a water mill and see the traditional thatched houses of Santana. Stop to enjoy lunch in idyllic surroundings, and later visit a sugar cane and rum factory, where you can taste the local rum. Finish your tour in Caniçal, where you’ll have spectacular views of Ponta São Lourenço – the eastern part of the island.

From Funchal: Madeira Island Private Jeep 4x4 Tour

6. From Funchal: Madeira Island Private Jeep 4x4 Tour

Discover the best of Madeira Island with this Jeep safari tour. Customize the route to see the Sea, Mountains, Cliffs, and Laurissilva Forest (North-East part of the island). Leave Funchal in the direction of the village da Camacha where you can visit the basketwork factory. Continue through Vale Paraíso towards Poiso with an altitude of 1412m and climb through the mountains to Pico do Arieiro at a height of 1818m for mesmerizing panoramic views. Then, descend to Ribeiro Frio in the Laurissilva Forest and visit the trout nursery. Continue your adventure along old paths passing Cedro Gordo and Cruzinhas until you reach the Village de Santana to explore the typical straw houses (Colmo). Descend to the village of Faial for amazing views down to the sea and then continue towards Ponta de São Lourenço in the east of Madeira. Finish off with a transfer back to Funchal.

Madeira: Full-Day Vereda do Larano Hiking Tour

7. Madeira: Full-Day Vereda do Larano Hiking Tour

This walk connects Machico to Porto da Cruz from an old footpath once used by the local people to move from one place to another to do business. The walk starts in the Levada dos Maroços, so the first part of the route is easy walking along a Levada followed with Mimosa trees and agricultural lands. After enjoying the fantastic views over Machico city, go up a trail to reach the viewpoint of Boca do Risco, where a superb view awaits you over the Atlantic Ocean as well as the Ponta de São Lourenço, the Penha d’Aguia and, if the weather permits, the Porto Santo Island.  After a short stop to refresh, continue your walk towards Porto da Cruz by a coastal path with fascinating views where you can observe some endemic specimens of Madeira. The route is quite narrow and vertiginous, being slippery during the wetter months, that’s why this trail is recommended for people used to hiking on mountains. On your way to Porto da Cruz, you can see one of the most iconic rock formations in Madeira, Penha D'Aguia, so prepare your camera to immortalize this moment in a photograph. After your walk, stop at the center of Porto da Cruz. Here, you will see a famous sugar cane mill where they extract juice from the sugar canes to be added to the brandy "aguardente” or to your typical honey cake.

Madeira: Private North Island Tour

8. Madeira: Private North Island Tour

Begin your tour by heading north along the old roads and admire the breathtaking scenic views of the sea along the way as you travel through north east Madeira. You will arrive at Santana next, home of the island’s famous thatched houses that have existed here for many years, having become synonymous with Madeira. Continue the tour onto Faial and stop by a local viewpoint to marvel at the majestic landscape of the valley, then head to Porto da Cruz and learn about the emblematic sugarcane mills here that are still in operation today. Visit a stunning viewpoint in Ponta de São Lourenço next and see the separation between the north and south of the island. The final stop of the tour takes you to Pico do Facho to relax in front of the incredible views across the bay of Machico, the first city of Madeira.

Madeira: Private Half-Day Guided Gardens Tour

9. Madeira: Private Half-Day Guided Gardens Tour

Embark on a half-day tour dedicated to the Madeira's gardens, one of the island's greatest treasures. Visit the Monte Palace Tropical Garden and be impressed by its beauty and diverse culture. See traces of Portugal's history since the reign of its first king, D. Afonso Henriques. Wander through the Monte Palace, which occupies an area of 70.000 square meters and houses an exotic collection of plants from different regions in the world. Watch swans and ducks floating on the lake as well as peacocks and chickens walking freely in the main areas of the property. Visit the museum inside the palace that houses a unique collection of minerals and gems.  The tour ends in the Botanical Garden, founded in 1960 by a Madeiran Botanist. Find more than 2500 species of plants from different parts in the world, all brought together in the “Garden of the Atlantic.”

Madeira: Jeep 4x4 Old Forest Safari Tour with Pico Arieiro

10. Madeira: Jeep 4x4 Old Forest Safari Tour with Pico Arieiro

Explore Madeira Island in a unique and active way on this Land Rover 4x4 trip. Prepare to see breathtaking views, visit hidden places that you can’t reach by yourself, and collect memories you’ll never forget. Visit the Laurissilva Forest and Pico do Arieiro. Start your trip by departing from Funchal in the direction of Camacha Village, where you can visit the basketwork factory. Then, continue through Vale Paraíso towards Poiso with an altitude of 1412 meters. Climb through the mountains to Pico do Arieiro, Madeira’s third-highest peak at a height of 1,818 meters. This is one of the most beautiful places in Madeira, with unbeatable views of the island. Stay here for a while and walk around. Later, descend to Ribeiro Frio and reach the Laurissilva Forest to visit the trout nursery. Continue the adventure along old paths passing Cedro Gordo and Cruzinhas until you reach the Village de Santana where you’ll get to visit the typical straw houses (colmo). After this stop, descend to the village of Faial with views down to the sea, then continue towards Ponta de São Lourenço in the east of Madeira. This part of the Island is much drier and arid, but with a unique beauty due to its cliffs and colors. End your trip with drop-off back in Funchal.

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What people are saying about Porto da Cruz

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 423 reviews

Had a great experience. We had 2 seats at the back of the car. Maybe not very comfortable, but only us 2 could stand while we were driving of road. The rest of the passengers had to seat. Breathtaking views. Day gone very quickly.

The weather conditions were not great for beginners but the instructor was really patient and helpful. I didn’t manage to catch any waves but it got me hooked. Will definitely try it again

Lucy was a fantastic guide and all the activities were fantastic. you must add this tour to your to do list.

Very pleasant drive with the car and a nice travel companion who took care of everything.

We have seen much more than we expected. Highly recommend!