Santa Cruz (Madiera): The Complete Guide

Santa Cruz-Madeira
CC BY-SA 2.0 / Vitor Oliveira

Santa Cruz spans an area of 81.5 km² and is home to 43,005 residents, organized into five parishes. The village of Santa Cruz, one of the island’s oldest settlements, dates back to the early fifteenth century. Established on June 26, 1515, the municipality attained city status on August 2, 1996.

In terms of architectural heritage, notable structures include the Santa Cruz Parish Church, initiated as a small chapel in 1533 by King Manuel I, featuring a Gothic portal. The Caniço Parish Church, founded in 1536, and the Chapel of Consolation, initially from the sixteenth century but later renovated in the eighteenth and twentieth centuries, showcase intricate woodwork, silver religious artefacts, and various religious imagery. The Santa Isabel Chapel, constructed in the early eighteenth century, boasts a splendid golden altar. Other historical churches include the Mercy Church from the sixteenth century, the Lady of the Conception Church from the early seventeenth century, the “Nossa Senhora dos Remédios” Church from the late seventeenth century, and the Gaula Parish Church, erected in the mid-eighteenth century, housing significant liturgical vessels, including a fifteenth-century processional cross.

Santa Cruz also boasts enchanting beaches, such as Praia das Palmeiras, a rocky shoreline offering a spectacular sunset view for a relaxing day. Machico Beach provides an alternative with imported sand from Morocco for those averse to rocky shores. Prainha Beach, though featuring black sand, is a delightful option for those unbothered by its unique texture.

For panoramic views, the Pico do Facho serves as an excellent vantage point. Weather permitting, and with optimal visibility conditions, one can behold the Island of Porto Santo and catch a glimpse of Madeira’s highest peak, Pico Ruivo.

Visiting Santa Cruz (Madiera) for the first time and wondering what are the top places to see in the city? In this complete guide, I share the best things to do in Santa Cruz (Madiera) on the first visit. To help you plan your trip, I have also included an interactive map and practical tips for visiting!

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1 Best places to See in Santa Cruz (Madiera)

This complete guide to Santa Cruz (Madiera) not only tells you about the very best sights and tourist attractions for first-time visitors to the city but also provide insights into a few of our personal favorite things to do.

This is a practical guide to visiting the best places to see in Santa Cruz (Madiera) and is filled with tips and info that should answer all your questions!

Penha d’Águia

Faial, Madeira
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Holger Uwe Schmitt
Boasting incomparable grandeur, Penha d’Águia stands as one of the most significant geological symbols in the archipelago of Madeira. Situated between Porto da Cruz and Faial within the municipality of Machico, this colossal formation is a genuine natural monument. Its sheer size, nearly 600 meters in height, makes it an unmistakable landmark, dominating the landscape and […]
Visiting Penha d’Águia

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Best Time to Visit Santa Cruz (Madiera)

Madeira experiences a subtropical climate characterized by warm summers and exceptionally mild winters, ensuring abundant sunshine year-round. The optimal period for the highest temperatures is typically between August and September, although the sub-tropical climate ensures sunshine throughout the entire year, making winter months equally appealing to visitors.

August stands out as the hottest month, boasting an average daily maximum temperature of 27°C and an average low of 21°C. In contrast, February marks the coolest month, featuring an average daily maximum of 18°C and an average low of 14°C.

When considering sunshine and rainfall, June emerges as the driest month, recording 0 mm of rainfall and basking in 30 days of perfect sunshine. On the other hand, April claims the title of the wettest month, receiving 36 mm of rainfall spread across 3 days.

For beach enthusiasts, the prime time extends from June to October when sea temperatures consistently average 23°C or higher, providing an ideal environment for beach enjoyment.

Average Temperatures in Santa Cruz (Madiera)

  • January 20°C 7
  • February 19°C 7
  • March 20°C 6
  • April 20°C 6
  • May 21°C 3
  • June 23°C 3
  • July 24°C 0
  • August 26°C 1
  • September 25°C 3
  • October 24°C 7
  • November 21°C 8
  • December 20°C 9