Village in Santana (Madeira)
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 for nature lovers. It attracts tourists interested in exploring the island’s natural beauty, with various levada walks starting in the region. The village reflects the rich cultural and historical heritage of the island. Visitors can explore the local architecture, traditions, and the laid-back lifestyle of this rural community.
Faial is accessible by road and is located not far from Santana, a municipality known for the Santana houses and the Queimadas Forest Park.
The parish is also home to Montado do Sabugal, an area of remarkable natural beauty within the Madeira Natural Park.
Discover the Chapel of Nossa Senhora da Penha de França, a small chapel with a single nave hewn from red volcanic rock. Erected in 1685, it is believed to have provided shelter for slaves from the Canary Islands. The Parish of Faial initially had its first church situated on the banks of the Ribeira, but it succumbed to the river’s waters. In the late 18th century, a new church was constructed farther from the river. This particular church was captured in a watercolour drawing by Andrew Piken dating back to 1842. Regrettably, the church faced a fire in 1960, leaving only the exterior walls intact. Subsequently, a modern church was erected on the same site to continue the parish’s religious heritage.
Fort of Faial
The Fort of Faial, is more of a viewing area adorned with remnants of old cannons, but splendid panoramic views.
Miradouro do Guindaste
The Guindaste viewpoint offers a stunning view over the coastal line of the north coast of Madeira. It is the ideal place to admire the beauty of the Atlantic Ocean that bathes the island. The viewpoint has two glass bottom decks pointing towards different sides. From glass the feel of ocean below can be had. View is great on both side. Although, it is possible to walk around and have more magical view of the Atlantic and Madeira island. The straight cliffs and blue water of ocean generate a spellbinding view.
Faial Bathing Complex (pool and private access to beach)
Presently, it boasts a contemporary swimming complex that includes a natural swimming pool, a restaurant area, a bathhouse, a playground, and an expansive solarium. Additionally, the complex provides space for sand sports, making it suitable for international championships in football, handball, and beach volleyball, along with a multi-purpose field for various other activities. Adjacent to the Ribeira do Faial Bathing Complex, there is a karting track for additional recreational options.
Penha de Águia or Eagle’s Nest
Penha de Águia or Eagle’s Nest is the large rock that separates the two towns of Faial and Porto da Cruz. The 400-meter climb to the top of Penha de Águia gives you stunning views over Porto da Cruz and all the way to São Lourenço, the most eastern tip of the island. More information about a circular walk around the eagles nest can be found on the Penha d’Águia page.
The Faial appears in our Complete Guide to Visiting Santana (Madeira)!
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