Things to do in
Santana

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Our most recommended things to do in Santana

Madeira: Full-Day Jeep Tour and Levada Walk

1. Madeira: Full-Day Jeep Tour and Levada Walk

Get picked up from your accommodation or the cruise port and embark on a true adventure around the enchanted island of Madeira. Hop in a well-maintained Land Rover or jeep and head into the Laurisilva Forest in the center of Madeira. Explore a forest known to be the largest surviving laurel forest in the world with over 90% believed to be primary forest. Then walk in the shoes of a Madeiran farmer as you hike along the levadas that criss-cross the fields of sugar cane and other different crops. Learn about how these unique irrigation channels were developed to suit the island's topography and climate. See how levadas like Ribeiro Frio and Referta serve a dual purpose as scenic byways for those looking to explore the beautiful natural landscapes of Madeira on foot.  Make stops throughout the day at viewpoints and villages, including Funchal, Pico Arieiro, Achada Cedro Gordo, and Ponta de São Lourenço. Get dropped off back at your accommodation or the cruise port at the end of the tour.

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

2. 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.

Self-guided Sunrise Hike from Pico do Arieiro to Pico Ruivo

3. Self-guided Sunrise Hike from Pico do Arieiro to Pico Ruivo

Enjoy an affordable and comfortable transfer to Pico do Areeiro to enjoy a sunrise or morning Hike all the way to Achada do Teixeira (10 km). Don't worry about transportation and enjoy pickup and drop-off at your accommodation. Experience the nº 1 hike on Madeira Island, Pico Do Areeiro to Pico Ruivo (PR 1). This concept is specially designed for self-guided hikers, where you have the freedom to walk at your own rhythm. After the sunrise, the hike takes place. You will experience the most amazing views, in the middle of the highest mountains (up to 1800m). The end of the hike and pick-up location is at Achada do Teixeira, in the parking lot area. On the way back to your accommodation, you will pass through the city of Santana, which is famous for its triangular typical houses. It's very important to know that the weather conditions are very unpredictable in this part of the island, so your reservation could be canceled or postponed due to aggressive weather conditions. You will be contacted within 48 hours before the hike.

Caldeirão Verde Hiking Tour

4. Caldeirão Verde Hiking Tour

Walk through the stunning greenery of the Laurisilva forest to the 100m high waterfall Caldeirão Verde. A green cauldron is what you’ll find at the end of this marvellous walk - the waterfall crashing down along intense green rocks. This walk starts at Queimadas, in a lovely forest, from where the levada will lead you through the mountains to the end of the trail: the beautiful Caldeirão Verde. Go through a jungle of vegetation, enjoying great views of the village of São Jorge and the immense mountains that surround this area. Enjoy the silence you can only find when immersed in nature. The only sound you will hear will be waterfalls crashing down. The levada follows the curves of the mountain, in a constantly changing scenery, green walls covered with moist rock faces, constantly dripping with streams of water. Walking from Queimadas to Caldeirão Verde and back will cover around 12 km. On the trail you will encounter short tunnels, where you will need to use a flashlight.

From Funchal: Santana and Pico do Areeiro East Island Tour

5. From Funchal: Santana and Pico do Areeiro East Island Tour

Explore the wonders of Madeira on this guided minibus trip from Funchal to the east side of the island. Visit Camacha, Pico do Areeiro, Ribeiro Frio, Faial, Machico, and more. Enjoy a long stop in the village of Santana to see local life and have time for lunch. Enjoy a great start to the tour by visiting Camacha, one of the most rural and rustic villages in Madeira where folklore is still hugely in practice. Camacha makes Madeira world-renowned for its industry of wicker and cane. The next stop is Pico do Areeiro, the third highest peak on the island with an altitude of 1818 m, where you can take in unbeatable 360-degree island views. Often, rocky formations can be seen to be piercing through the clouds creating one-of-a-kind visuals and photo opportunities. Next, move on to Ribeiro Frio (meaning cold river). Ribeiro Frio is a small village situated in the heart of the Laurissilva forest. It is the largest surviving area of laurel forest in the world and is believed to be 90% primary forest. In this classified UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site, you can enjoy a variety of plants and species in their natural habitat. Get the chance to also observe a trout farm made up (as naturally as possible) of stone enclosures and fresh flowing levada water, set against a backdrop of pure nature. The tour continues to Faial, where you can view the imposing rock of Penha de Águia, which separates Faial from Porto da Cruz. With a lengthy stop at the village of Santana next, you will have ample time for lunch and to see Madeira’s world-famous typical thatched roved triangular houses, painted in happy primary colors. Pass by Portela en route to Ponta São Lourenço, which is situated in the most eastern part of the island. Take in the unique landscape characterized by the fantastic combination of rocks, sea, and nature. Your final stop is the larger city of Machico, the first area of the Island that the Portuguese navigators came across. Later, return round-trip to your pickup location in Funchal. 

East Tour Madeira 4x4 Jipe Tour Santana Typical Houses

6. 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.

Madeira: Half-Day Nun's Valley and Sea Cliff Tour

7. Madeira: Half-Day Nun's Valley and Sea Cliff Tour

Explore some of the most remote places of Madeira Island. Not far from Funchal, and hidden in between high mountains and deep valleys, lie remote villages and hamlets such as Jardim da Serra with its splendid view over the Nuns Valley. You can explore another world by joining this Jeep safari tour, complete with panoramic views and interesting places. You will also enjoy sensational encounters with Madeira's fascinating natural heritage. Your route will pass though Funchal, Fajã das Galinhas, Boca da Corrida, Jardim da Serra, Quinta Grande, Cabo Girão, and Câmara de Lobos. At the conclusion of your enjoyable day out, you will return to your point of origin.

Northeast Madeira 4X4 Tour from Funchal

8. 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.

Madeira: Ponta São Lourenço Hike

9. Madeira: Ponta São Lourenço Hike

Your walk starts at Ponta de São Lourenço car park, and follows a 3.5-kilometer trail to the eastern most point of the island. Along the way it will be possible to enjoy fabulous seascapes, as well as the contrast between the calm south sea and the rough sea of the north. There are short but steep climbs and descends along this magnificent but windy trail, where amazing samples of endemic fauna and flora can be seen. It will be possible to see volcanic rock formations and understand the volcanic origin of the island. After arriving at Cais do Sardinha House, it will be possible to take a break and enjoy a snack. You can also go down to the sea and enjoy the quiet and relaxing coastline, before returning to the car.

From Funchal: Madeira Island Private Jeep 4x4 Tour

10. 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.

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What people are saying about Santana

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 290 reviews

Well worth doing, very knowledgeable driver / guide with plenty of back roads & off the obvious routes taken. 2 walks, both manageable for someone who gets out of breath fairly quickly. Lovely views, clean air. Lunch stop more than adequate, option of a pre booked menu €12 inc wine or do your own thing - sandwich €4 for example. Also stopped at rum distillery.

The trip was perfect. This hike is amazing with jungle vibes, stunning waterfalls and adventurous trails. Our guide was well-prepared and nice, with great knowledge. We had a great time with Jorge and our group. Absolutely recommended.

Guide (long haired guy!) went above and beyond to accomodate us. We ended up getting the most amazing scenery at the top of Madeira and had a blast throughout the day. Very good!

Great trip! Saw very beautiful landscapes and got a lot of impressions and background information. Our guide Spencer was a particular highlight

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