The town of Canico is on the southern coast of Madeira and consists of a traditional, old-fashioned village, 18th century church and village square. Yet only 2 kilometres down a vertiginous winding road, you’ll reach Canico de Baixo, a contemporary holiday resort area that comprises of trendy villas and hotels. The word ‘fusion’ best summarises this resort. Here, you can relax on the pebbly shore to the east of the village, go swimming in the lido area or sunbathe on the rocks.
While the pebbly beach lacks the barefoot appeal of the sandy beaches in Santo Porto, this area is a must go for those who are serious about their water sports. Another great activity for energetic vacationers is hiking along the levadas, or aqueducts, and enjoying the wonderful natural beauty of the area.
Canico de Baixo is the area of Canico in which most of the hotels and entertainment of the area are situated. While many of the hotels have in-house food and entertainment, meaning you needn’t venture out to have a good night, there’s plenty to do in the area if you’re in the mood to get out and about. The area is scattered with levadas, or aqueducts, which often wind through lush green wooded areas. There are numerous local companies offering tours of these scenic aqueducts that wind through the mountains. Whether you’re hiking or cycling along the levadas, the views of beautiful green tree-covered areas are well worth the effort.
In Canico town, the inland village features a historic church, as well as plenty of trendy bars and restaurants. Local buses frequently depart to the island’s capital, Funchal, which is known for its hand-crafted goods, temperate climate and excellent wine. Attractions in the area include the Old Blandy Wine lodge - a place to learn about the island’s most famous exported product - a selection of picturesque parks and several lush gardens. There’s also a 15th century cathedral for fans of historical attractions, while at the marina, you can grab a delicious bite to eat at a seafood restaurant.
The beach at Canico de Baixo offers something a little out of the ordinary in Portugal. While many other beach resorts in the country are all about the sandy beaches and sunbathing, Canico de Baixo beach is better suited to active holidaymakers who like to be out on the water instead of spending lazy days on the beach.
The lido area is complete with parasols and a lifeguard. The island’s best scuba diving is on offer at the Garajau National Marine Park, which offers the unique opportunity to swim alongside 65kg grouper fish and witness giant anemones sheltering clown shrimps. With the combination of craggy stone blocks and bars of sand underwater, the conditions are ideal for clear waters, meaning you may be lucky enough to see a monk seal during a regular dive. Canico has a compact, pebbly beach to the east named Reis Magos and further swimming opportunities at the Galo Mar Complex.