The municipality of Calheta is located between the south and the West End of Madeira Island and its area, approximately 116 km2, makes it the most extensive of the Autonomous Region of Madeira. About 12,000 people live here.
It is thought that the origin of its name comes from the small bay or cove that serves it as port and that it watched João Gonçalves Zarco when he intended to go ashore. This is the meaning of the word”calheta”.
In this locality lies the center of the Arts “Casa das Seedas”, a project conceived in complete harmony with the surrounding landscape, which presents a vast cultural offer. Exhibitions of a diverse nature, plays, musical performances, conferences and many other events are held here.
Estreito da Calheta
Estreito da Calheta is a civil parish in the municipality of Calheta in the Portuguese archipelago of Madeira.
The characteristic aspect of the town, with similarities to a canyon or deep valley, caused the first settlers to call Straits from the Calheta to the site, being today one of the oldest places on the island.
Among economic activities, agriculture stands out. In this context, the most predominant crops are the vineyard, after the sugarcane had a great implantation, besides the cultivation of potatoes, sweet potatoes, beans, and also of fruit trees.
In its pacatiz, the Strait of Calheta today has a school, an industrial park, a youth hostel, a Civic Center, a health center, a bank and several residential and hotel facilities.
Municipality of Calheta
The municipality of Calheta is the most extensive of all the municipalities of the archipelago, since it covers about 116 Km2, which corresponds to 15% of the total area of Madeira Island.
Situated between the south and the West End of the island, it was one of the first to be populated.
Garden of the Sea
Paul of the Sea
Ponta do Pargo
With a current population of about 11521 inhabitants (2011 census), This County was perhaps the largest number of emigrants sent to almost every corner of the world.
The municipal holiday is celebrated on June 24, St. John’s day, according to the resolution of the Municipal Assembly.
It is during this period that the municipal festivities are held and during a week different activities are dynamized, from exhibitions to concerts and sporting initiatives.
Port of Calheta Recreational
The recently established marina at Calheta reflects a strong focus on tourism in the sea.
Located in Calheta , this infrastructure of high quality , offers a port with capacity to berth 339 boats ( between 6 and 25 meters) , 44 seats for jet skis , waiting berths fueling , ramp varadoura for small craft and space for the Customs Service, Immigration and Borders , Maritime Police and GNR .
Simultaneously , its users can take advantage of a new wide area of green spaces , terraces, restaurants , walkways , kiosks and nautical facilities . All this backed by a self – silo with a capacity of about 300 cars.
Calheta Beach – Yellow sand beach of Calheta
Calheta bet strong improvements in its natural resources and devised an artificial beach whose greatest attribute is based on the yellow sand , brought from Morocco and Figueira da Foz , making it the first and only in Madeira , and is undoubtedly a strong point of attraction .
Located in Calheta , near the marina and a solarium on the order of 7300 meters square and an area of 28,550 meters square , the beach of Calheta much turnout records throughout the year .
This beach offers swimmers beyond its warm waters and clean , a wide variety of nautical activities ( canoeing, hire windsurfers and catamarans ) , support structures such as showers , changing rooms , rental chairs and umbrellas , parking area restoration , lifeguard and first aid station , conditions for which it was awarded the Blue Flag .
Things to do in Calheta
Calheta is a municipality located on the southwest coast of Madeira, Portugal. Known for its picturesque landscapes and beautiful beaches, Calheta offers a range of activities and attractions to enjoy. Here are some things you can do in Calheta:
- Visit Calheta Beach: Calheta boasts a golden sandy beach, one of the few natural sandy beaches on the island of Madeira. Relax on the beach, swim in the crystal-clear waters, or try various water sports such as snorkeling, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding.
- Explore the Calheta Marina: The marina is a popular spot for boat owners and visitors alike. Take a leisurely stroll along the marina, admire the luxurious yachts, and enjoy the lively atmosphere. You can also find several bars and restaurants offering beautiful views of the harbor.
- Visit the Contemporary Art Museum – Casa das Mudas: Located on a cliff overlooking the sea, Casa das Mudas is a modern art museum that showcases contemporary artworks. Explore the fascinating exhibits and enjoy the stunning views from the museum’s terrace.
- Discover the Ethnographic Museum of Madeira: Situated in the old sugar cane mill, the Ethnographic Museum offers insights into the history and culture of Madeira. Learn about the island’s agricultural traditions, handicrafts, and local customs through a variety of exhibits.
- Explore the Levada Walks: Madeira is famous for its levadas, ancient irrigation channels that have now become popular walking trails. Calheta provides access to several levada walks, such as the Levada Nova and the Levada do Paul da Serra. These trails offer beautiful natural surroundings and opportunities to witness the island’s lush vegetation.
- Visit the Engenho da Calheta: This traditional sugar cane mill showcases the history of sugar production in Madeira. Take a guided tour to learn about the milling process, see the machinery in action, and taste the locally produced sugar cane honey (mel de cana).
- Go Hiking in the Surrounding Mountains: Calheta is surrounded by stunning mountains and peaks, making it an ideal destination for hiking enthusiasts. Explore trails like Pico Ruivo, Madeira’s highest peak, and Rabaçal, known for its picturesque waterfalls and lush vegetation.
- Enjoy Watersports: Calheta’s location on the coast offers excellent conditions for various watersports. You can try activities like surfing, bodyboarding, and jet skiing. There are rental shops and surf schools available for those who want to learn or rent equipment.
- Taste Madeiran Cuisine: Calheta is home to several restaurants that serve authentic Madeiran cuisine. Don’t miss the opportunity to try local dishes like Espetada (grilled meat skewers), Bolo do Caco (traditional bread), and Madeira wine, which is produced in the region.
Calheta Events 2023
Four musical concerts will take place in emblematic places of Madeira Island, with the purpose of decentralizing the festivities and reinforcing the entertainment offer, as part of the Flower Festival programme.
Date: 11/05/2023 – 14/05/2023 (17:00)
This Endurance race combines an adventure in Madeira with the best of Mountain Biking! In the “Bike Camp Experience” athletes will camp each day in places of spectacular beauty.
Date: 16/05/2023 – 20/05/2023
Festa da lapa (limpets – very popular mollusc in Madeira) is a recent event that aims to bring together locals, tourists and all those who would like to taste this traditional delicacy.
The sunny village of Paul do Mar (fishing village) puts on the colours of the so-called “Arraiais” for three consecutive nights, hosting musical bands and local business stalls where you can taste the typical flavours. The “Lapas” (limpets in Portuguese), of course, are the main ingredient!
Date: 14/07/2023 – 16/07/2023 (15:00)
Concerts in the Vineyards
A series of musical concerts taking place in different locations in the region, in a winery and in sunset settings, to be held after the peak of the heat, when the aromas intensify. It includes live musical performances and tasting of fortified wines produced on site.
Access is restricted to a limited number of spectators.
Date: 09/09/2023 – 17/09/2023
Christmas Traditional Nights
True Madeiran Christmas traditions are displayed in different places all over the island on different dates. The best known is the market night at the Mercado dos Agricultores in Funchal on the 23rd of December.
Date: 01/12/2023 – 23/12/2023
What is Calheta?
Calheta is a municipality on the southwestern coast of Madeira, Portugal. It's known for its beautiful landscapes, sandy beaches, and warm climate.
What is there to do in Calheta?
In Calheta, you can visit the sandy beaches, explore the marina, hike the local levadas (irrigation channels), visit the Sugar Cane Factory and Museum, and enjoy water sports like sailing and fishing.
How far is Calheta from Funchal?
Calheta is approximately 33 kilometers west of Funchal, the capital of Madeira. It's about a 30-minute drive.
Does Calheta have a beach?
Yes, Calheta is one of the few places in Madeira with sandy beaches. The sand was imported from Morocco to create two beautiful artificial beaches.
What restaurants are in Calheta?
Calheta has a variety of restaurants offering local Madeiran cuisine, seafood, and international dishes. Some popular choices include Restaurante Onda Azul and Restaurante Convento das Vinhas.
Are there any hotels in Calheta?
Yes, there are several hotels and guesthouses in Calheta, including the modern Saccharum Hotel Resort & Spa and the charming Quinta Alegre.
How can I get to Calheta?
Calheta is easily accessible from Funchal by car, taxi, or bus. There are regular bus services between Funchal and Calheta.
What is the weather like in Calheta?
Calheta enjoys a warm, subtropical climate. It's one of the sunniest places in Madeira, with mild temperatures year-round.
What is the Casa das Mudas Arts Center?
The Casa das Mudas Arts Center, located in Calheta, is a contemporary art museum known for its architecture and stunning sea views. It hosts various exhibitions, concerts, and workshops.
Is Calheta worth visiting?
Absolutely! With its beautiful beaches, cultural attractions, and outdoor activities, Calheta offers something for every traveler.