Breathtaking Scenery of Mountains and visiting the Unesco Nature Reserve (Laurel Forest) coming down to the North Coast visiting Villages.
On the East Madeira Tour we head for Camacha. The road is lined with hydrangeas and in summer, with blue blossom of the agapanthus. Camacha sits on a high plateau on the northeast of Funchal. At Camacha you will visit “O relogio”, the largest outlet on the island for wicker products and nobody will pressurize you to buy. Demonstrations of wicker weaving can be seen in the basement . Camacha is also the first place were soccer was played in Portugal in 1875 and the birthplace for the folclore dancing.
Pico do Arieiro
We continue our Madeira East Tour uphill heading for Pico Arieiro, 1818m (5965 fts). It is the third highest peak in Madeira. As you climb, the green woodland gives way to bare rock. There are tremendous views over an endless succession of knife-edge ridges and sheer cliffs. Cotton-wool clouds hang in the valleys. After leaving the peak Arieiro, heading next destination, we enjoy the enormous Madeira junipers tree which has become quite rare over the years.
Leaving the mountain we drive down in to the Madeira Laurissilva Forest. Ribeiro Frio is a delightful spot set in the Laurissilva forest This Forest was classified in the World Heritage by UNESCO in 1999. Here the fresh clean cold water of the Ribeiro Frio (meaning cold river) is channeled into series of deep pools to create a small trout farm. Ribeiro Frio is the meeting point of several levada walks.
We continue our journey to a beautiful and quiet hillside village of Faial, which takes its name from an evergreen shrub, the wax myrthe (faia in Portuguese), that grows in this region . This North coast village is located at the foot of Penha de Aguia, a sheer – sided rocky cube, means Eagle Rock. It rises to 590mts (1936 ft).Under the new bridge is Madeira’s only karting track. This village of Faial has a pretty church which stands up high. Depending on which day you do this trip we will either stop for lunch here or in the previous village.
Our next stop is to a charming village called Santana. Presenting a picture of domestic and agricultural prosperity. The predominant colour is the greens of the terraced fields and the hay meadows, interspersed by apple, pear and cherry orchards, dotted among the haystack are triangular thatched buildings, used by local farmers as cow sheds. Traditionally people lived in these ingenious structures. You will discover how spacious the Santana ´A` framed buildings are, when you visit one.
Continuing to Portela, at a height of 670m (2000 ft) is a small community with just a few houses, which marks the watershed between the South and North of the island. There is a delightful view of Porto da Cruz; the houses can be seen spread thinly across the narrow mountain ridge leading down to the north coast. The Penha d’Aguia is its most marking feature, between Faial and Porto da Cruz.
Machico bay was the first place where Zarco and Tristão Vaz Teixeira landed. With its uncommonly shaped valley, it looks as if a balcony overlooks the sea and the mountains, in a municipality with great abundance of water. The sugar cane crops and its mill activities, made it become very important for Madeira’s economy until the 17th century. The eastern side of Machico bay is dominated by Pico do Facho, a 320 mts high peak named after the beacon (facho) that used to be lit here to warn residents of approaching pirates.