Porto Moniz seems to have fallen from above into the northern sea and has long been famous for its natural swimming pools and its pure, beautiful scenery.
If you are travelling from Funchal, expect to be away during most of the day. Take your time to appreciate one of the most spectacular routes along the north coast, from Santana to Porto Moniz, located in the most northwestern point of the island.
It is believed that the name Porto Moniz is connected to Francisco Moniz, one of the first settlers and husband of one of the grand daughters of Gonçalves Zarco, who discovered the island.
The municipality includes four parishes: Achadas da Cruz, the smallest in terms of area and population; Seixal, the largest parish in area; Ribeira da Janela, the smallest in terms of density; and Porto Moniz parish, with the highest number of inhabitants and popular for its swimming pool complex and free access natural pools (Piscinas Naturais do Cachalote), a true delight to all visitors — surrounded by large and small lava rocks nestling in the sea, they are filled by the tide with crystal-clear water. If the weather is not so great for a swim, take time to visit the 'Living Science Centre' (Centro de Ciência Viva) and the Madeira Aquarium. Other great ways to discover this municipality include a picnic in Fanal, contemplating the Laurel Forest in the green valley of Chão da Ribeira and taking photos in Seixal with ‘Véu da Noiva’ waterfall in the background.
Wine growing and fishing are economically significant activities for the Porto Moniz region. So take a moment to enjoy some of the fish and shellfish of the north coast, and don’t forget to try the grilled limpets! Every summer there is a popular cattle fair in Santa with several agricultural material and products, and offering several recreational activities, which is also a good opportunity to experience a bit more of the local culture.
If you continue your trip from Porto Moniz on the road to Paul da Serra, a 1,600 m-high plateau, be prepared for spectacular sceneries!