Santana (Madeira): The Complete Guide
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.
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. Top help you plan your trip, I have also included an interactive map and practical tips for visiting!
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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.
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
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
| 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)
Location: PR9 Levada do Caldeirão Verde, Santana, Portugal | Distance: 3.30km
Visiting Caldeirão Verde Levada Walk (PR 9)
Queimadas Forest Park & Casa das Queimadas
Location: Parque Florestal das Queimadas, Levada do Caldeirão Verde, Portugal | Distance: 3.30km
Visiting Queimadas Forest Park & Casa das Queimadas
Location: Faial, Portugal | Distance: 3.40km
Vereda do Pico Ruivo (PR1.2)
Visiting Vereda do Pico Ruivo (PR1.2)
Porto da Cruz
Location: Porto da Cruz, Santana, Portugal | Distance: 6.80km
Visiting Porto da Cruz
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 16°C 62°F 6
- February 16°C 60°F 7
- March 19°C 67°F 6
- April 19°C 66°F 6
- May 19°C 66°F 3
- June 21°C 70°F 3
- July 23°C 74°F 0
- August 26°C 79°F 1
- September 23°C 73°F 3
- October 22°C 73°F 7
- November 19°C 66°F 8
- December 18°C 64°F 9
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.