Holidays to Santa Cruz take you to an away-from-it-all spot in Madeira. But with a waterpark, kid-friendly beach, and easy access to the capital Funchal, you won’t go short on things to do.
A quiet spot
As resorts go, this one’s rather a charmer. Set on Madeira’s east coast less than 2 kilometres from the airport, Santa Cruz is a small, colourful place where whitewashed churches sit relaxing between the green hills and the blue sea. There’s a very laid-back vibe here, but the island’s livelier capital, Funchal, is only 15 minutes down the road.
Like most of Madeira, Santa Cruz doesn’t really go in for sand. The place has whipped up the next best thing, though – a manmade pebbled area that comes with sunloungers. And backing it up, there’s a pretty, palm-lined promenade with plenty of restaurants.
A natural setting
Just outside town, there’s a network of levadas – or mini-canals – that criss-cross the island. Walks along these watery paths take you through countryside filled with laurel trees, over mountains and under waterfalls. Most of the routes are pretty easy, so you don’t need to be a hardcore hiker to pick up the trail.
Daytrips to Funchal
Fifteen minutes and you’re in Funchal. The cobbled old town here is home to 15th-century buildings and a cathedral. And this hilly place is really big on gardens – you’ve got lots, with exotic flowers, lakes and waterfalls. From one of them, there’s a cable ride up to the village of Monte – with a ride on a wicker toboggan to get you back down again.
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