Ribeira Brava (which means wild stream) is a municipality on the southwest coast of the island and includes the parishes of Ribeira Brava, Campanário, Tabua and Serra de Água. Using the two-lane motorway, it is located about 20 minutes from the centre of Funchal. It has many street cafés and shops and is certainly a good place to spend a few hours taking in the sights and sounds. One of the main events in the municipality are the St. Peter's festivities, at the end of June, which give the streets a lively atmosphere, full of colour and music, and include a traditional folklore dance with swords.
The parish has made enormous progress in the last few years and has geared itself up to tourism. Many facilities keep the locals 'local', such as Madeira Sports Centre, a multipurpose complex with two football fields, an athletics track, a futsal field, tennis and paddleball and squash courts, as well as a covered sports field for basketball, handball and volleyball. The stadium holds over 2,300 people and is mostly used for football matches. Besides this, the long sunshine hours on the west coast also attract many bathing fans, who choose the Ribeira Brava beach complex or Calhau da Lapa for a couple of hours of dolce far niente.
Ribeira Brava was one of the first parishes of the island and was inhabited early in the island’s history. Writers think that its name came from the wild (Brava) river (Ribeira) that used to flow in this area and, when the rain falls heavily, occasionally it still does.