Santana (Madeira): The Complete Guide

Santana, Madeira
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Holger Uwe Schmitt

The seclusion of Santana has preserved its unique identity and authentic characteristics throughout much of its history. If you have an interest in learning about Madeira’s traditions and enjoy hiking, this is an ideal destination for you. The municipality encompasses six parishes, each with its distinct character: Santana, São Jorge, Arco de São Jorge, Faial, Ilha, and São Roque do Faial. However, if your time in Madeira is limited, Santana is the town you should prioritize.

For those planning an extended stay in Madeira, we recommend allocating time for a few hikes, as each municipality offers routes leading to breathtaking locations. Santana has earned the designation of a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, acknowledging its well-preserved biodiversity and dedication to sustainability. This protected area spans both land and sea, acknowledging the local commitment to preserving the natural landscape and the environment. Within this region, you’ll discover over 120 kilometers of trails, featuring remarkable routes like Levada do Rei, Vereda do Pico Ruivo, and Levada do Caldeirão Verde.

Top Tip: The easiest way to visit Santana is by going on a guided tour. I think the Best of the East Tour from Funchal by Lido Tours is the most complete and best-rated tour available.

History of Santana (Madeira)

Santana bears the name of both the municipality and its renowned parish or town, deriving from the chapel of Santa Ana, its patron saint. Subsequently, a church was constructed between the late seventeenth century and the mid-eighteenth century, dedicated to this specific Virgin. A visit to the church reveals a blend of architectural styles accumulated over the years, yet the main altarpiece featuring St. Joachim and St. Ana stands out as truly magnificent.

Established around 1550, the town of Santana maintains certain characteristics reflecting the influence of Portuguese settlers from Braga. Notably, the practice of drying maize plants on rooftops evokes a momentary connection to northern Portugal. As highlighted earlier, the geographical isolation of this town has contributed to its steadfast adherence to traditional customs.

Visiting Santana (Madeira) 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 Santana (Madeira) 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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7 Best places to See in Santana (Madeira)

This complete guide to Santana (Madeira) 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 Santana (Madeira) and is filled with tips and info that should answer all your questions!

Parque Temático da Madeira

Santana, Madeira
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Holger Uwe Schmitt
The Madeira Theme Park, situated in Santana, serves as a recreational haven spanning 7 hectares, with a primary objective of celebrating and preserving Madeiran culture and traditions. Established in October 2004, this park plays a crucial role in showcasing the history, science, and heritage of Madeira. Among its various cultural offerings, the Madeira Theme Park […]
Location: Estrada do Parque Temático, nº 1 Fonte da Pedra 9230-098 Santana Madeira | Hours: 10am to 6pm (Closes Monday) | Price: Adults: €10 | Website | Distance: 1.00km
Visiting Parque Temático da Madeira

Rocha do Navio viewing point

Rocha Do Navio Viewing Point
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Luismiguelrodrigues
Madeira boasts awe-inspiring scenery, marked by its sheer magnificence. The Rocha do Navio viewing point stands out as a fantastic spot offering panoramic views of the landscape, encompassing the rugged coastline and the picturesque islet of Viúva. The island derives its peculiar name from a 19th-century Dutch ship that met its fate along the coastline. […]
| Price: Cable Car: €5 return ticket or €3 one way – cash only | Distance: 1.30km
Visiting Rocha do Navio viewing point

Caldeirão Verde Levada Walk (PR 9)

Caldeirão Verde Levada Walk
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Froth82
The Levada do Caldeirão Verde hike stands out as one of the is one of the , characterized by its gentle incline, lush jungles, and a series of captivating waterfalls. Renowned for its incredible natural beauty, this levada trail has earned its popularity among hikers due to the presence of a stunning waterfall, the enveloping […]
Location: PR9 Levada do Caldeirão Verde, Santana, Portugal | Caldeirão Verde Levada Walk | Distance: 3.30km
Visiting Caldeirão Verde Levada Walk (PR 9)
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Queimadas Forest Park & Casa das Queimadas

Casa Das Queimadas
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Patrice78500
The Queimadas Forest Park is located in Santana. It is a gem of extraordinary natural beauty, home to lush laurel forests, breath-taking waterfalls, and a diverse array of flora and fauna, the park draws in visitors from around the globe. The park is the starting point of the PR 9 – Caldeirão Verde Levada Walk and […]
Location: Parque Florestal das Queimadas, Levada do Caldeirão Verde, Portugal | Caldeirão Verde Levada Walk | Distance: 3.30km
Visiting Queimadas Forest Park & Casa das Queimadas
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Faial

Faial, Madeira
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Holger Uwe Schmitt
This pretty village earned its name from the beech trees (Faia in Portuguese) that once flourished within its boundaries. Since its establishment in 1550, Faial has consistently relied on agriculture, a livelihood that has thrived due to the fertility of its soil. The village is nestled in a verdant landscape, making it an attractive destination […]
Location: Faial, Portugal | Distance: 3.40km
Visiting Faial

Vereda do Pico Ruivo (PR1.2)

Vereda Do Areeiro At Pico Do Cidrão, Madeira
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Ximonic (Simo Räsänen)
The PR1.2 Vereda do Pico Ruivo Hiking Trail begins and end in Achada do Teixeira has a length of 2.8 km (2.8 Km + return) with a duration of 1 hour 30 (one way and return), which allows access to the summit of the highest point of the island of Madeira, Pico Ruivo. Commencing from […]
| From Achada do Teixeira: One-Way Transfer to Pico do Arieiro | Distance: 5.80km
Visiting Vereda do Pico Ruivo (PR1.2)
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Porto da Cruz

Porto Da Cruz, Madeira
CC BY-SA 2.0 / Tony Hisgett
Perched dramatically on the north coast, Porto da Cruz stands out as one of the most spectacularly situated fishing villages. It not only boasts breath-taking views but is also known for its lively atmosphere. Additionally, it serves as a convenient starting point for the dramatic coastal path leading to Machico via Lorano. For those willing […]
Location: Porto da Cruz, Santana, Portugal | From Funchal: North Coast Day Trip | Distance: 6.80km
Visiting Porto da Cruz
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Best Time to Visit Santana (Madeira)

The best time to visit Santana on Madeira is from January and April through December. In this period you have a pleasant temperature and almost no precipitation. The highest average temperature in Santana is 23°C in August and the lowest is 17°C in February. The maximum water temperature is 24°C and the lowest water temperature is 18°C.

The Lemon Festival (Festa do Limão) is an annual celebration held in May in the town of Santana, specifically in the parish of Ilha. Local farmers take pride in showcasing their lemon products, and numerous stalls offer a variety of cakes and traditional dishes featuring this essential ingredient. Ilha parish contributes around 90 tonnes of lemons annually, accounting for approximately 25% of the island’s total production. The festivities also include the “Festa do Despique,” featuring improvised folk music accompanied by traditional instruments.

Average Temperatures in Santana (Madeira)

  • January 17°C 6
  • February 17°C 7
  • March 19°C 6
  • April 19°C 6
  • May 19°C 3
  • June 21°C 3
  • July 23°C 0
  • August 26°C 1
  • September 23°C 3
  • October 22°C 7
  • November 19°C 8
  • December 18°C 9

How to get to Santana (Madeira)

Santana is situated almost due north of Funchal, approximately 32 km away, and a short distance west of Faial. To reach the village from Funchal, you can take either the Horários do Funchal bus #56 or the Carros de São Gonçalo bus #103, with a travel time of approximately 75-90 minutes, the #56 being the faster option.

If traveling by car, the fastest route follows the coastal road, taking approximately 40 minutes. Alternatively, a drive through the interior would extend the journey to around 1 hour.