Discovering Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz is a small resort on the stunning island of Madeira and is a wonderful place to base yourself if you want to have access to all of the isle’s top attractions while staying somewhere peaceful.
It’s located just a short drive outside of the capital Funchal – and is within easy reach of the airport – so you’re never far from the hustle and bustle of the city’s streets. Santa Cruz itself is quiet and lovely to explore, with its cobbled streets, whitewashed buildings and pretty church – look out for its interesting clock tower.
There’s a regular market held close to the seafront, while you’ll also find a number of local restaurants where you can sample some of the tasty local cuisine.
However, there is more here than just a charming village, with the coast never too far away from any of Madeira’s settlements. As with much of the rest of the island’s shoreline, it is rocky and characterised by steep cliffs, so rather than soaking up the sun on a beach, you can work on your tan by one of the pools near Ribeira de Boaventura.
Lidos, as these outdoor swimming pool complexes are known, are popular in Madeira because of the sheer cliffs that line much of the shore. As well as having somewhere to cool off from the heat of the sun, these spots provide amenities like showers, changing rooms, toilets and food stalls.
If you’re desperate to get into the sea, there is a small, sheltered bay closeby, where you can get in and out of the water safely. Remember that the water around Madeira gets deep very quickly, so only go in for a dip if you’re a confident swimmer.
For those looking for a few thrills and spills on a day out, the Aquaparque, which is near the lido, is a great option. There is a range of water slides here, as well as two pools, one of which is reserved for children, and a lazy river.