Holidays to Caniçal take you to a dinky fishing village in Madeira for sea views and plenty of old-world charm.

Stunning setting

This relaxed fishing village on Madeira’s east coast dishes up some truly dramatic landscapes – rocky cliffs plunge into the sea, while the untouched surrounding countryside makes for some top-class hiking. Wander through the village itself and you’ll find a smattering of seafood restaurants and a busy fishing port, plus a quirky museum that showcases the town’s past as a whaling centre.

Nearby beaches

Sandy beaches are few and far between on Madeira, but you’ll find one just 10 minutes' drive from Caniçal, in Machico. Golden grains have been shipped in to create a wide beach with plenty of room for tanning. There’s a shedload of things to do here as well – beach volleyball, football, diving and watersports are all on the menu. In Caniçal itself, there’s a teensy, dark-sand beach – Prainha – plus a pebbly stretch in the Quinta do Lorde complex.

Close to Funchal

When you want to up the tempo a bit, Madeira’s capital, Funchal, is a half-hour drive away. Make a beeline for the tree-lined Avenida Arriaga – it’s chocker with smart boutiques and pavement cafés, and is prime people-watching territory. The 15th-century old town is also worth a wander, and if you’ve got a head for heights, hop on the cable car and zip up to the little village of Monte – it’s perched 2,000 feet above the city.

At a Glance

  • Jump in to the Piscinas do
  • Spend a day in Funchal
  • Poke around the Whale Musuem