Porto da Cruz

Village in Santana (Madeira)

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 to descend the steps below the church to the harbour, a rewarding panorama awaits. On one side, the towering rock of Penha d’Águia captivates, while on the other, steep cliffs and terraced slopes of Pico da Coroa create a stunning backdrop.

The harbour itself features a beach composed of large boulders, complemented by a small promenade.

Praia da Lagoa & Swimming Pools

Continuing westward along the promenade, a grassy knoll leads to another stony beach, Praia da Lagoa often used by surfers. Praia da Alagoa, was inaugurated in 2004 and consisted of improving the existing black-sand beach by building new sea accesses, two swimming pools (one for children and one for adults), a sundeck, restaurant area, WC and changing rooms.

Porto da Cruz Church

The village’s prominent landmark is a massive modern church, adorned with statues of saints along one external wall, although its architectural style might be considered ghastly by some. It was built after the destruction of the old church of Nossa Senhora de Guadalupe which was demolished in 1961 and still protects some decorative Baroque elements of the former church.

Companhia dos Engenhos do Norte

Adjacent to the beach, the Companhia dos Engenhos do Norte, a rum distillery recognizable by its distinctive brick chimney, offers a glimpse into its history with ancient machinery and giant wooden barrels.

Built in 1927 and equipped with 19th-century machinery, Engenho do Norte holds a historical significance that dates back to the 16th century. This period was pivotal for Madeira as it emerged as one of the world’s renowned sugar producers, earning sugar the moniker of ‘white gold.’ Remarkably, even in contemporary times, sugar cane remains a pivotal crop for the island.

Functioning as one of the three old mills still active in Madeira, Engenho do Norte can be aptly described as a living museum. Beyond showcasing machinery from the Industrial Revolution era, visitors have the opportunity to witness the production of sugar cane brandy, or rum, using original methods. This immersive experience allows for a journey back in time, providing insights into Madeira’s rich history and its enduring connection to sugar production.

Fortim do Porto da Cruz

The ruins of this fort, which was built in the late18th century, stand on a small headland. The building still has some tough, grey stonework in the door and window frames, although the walls have been destroyed by decay and acts of vandalism.

The Porto da Cruz appears in our Complete Guide to Visiting Santana (Madeira)!

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Visiting Porto da Cruz

Address: Porto da Cruz, Santana, Portugal
Duration: 1 hours
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