Achadas da Cruz is one of the hidden gems in Madeira that will leave a lasting impression on you. So make sure you include it in your Madeira itinerary. Spectacular cliff views, a relaxed walk along the water, a fun cable car ride, small terraces and summer cottages and much more. All in all it is a small paradise that will have you believe that you are almost on your own in a beautiful corner of the world. Hope i have piqued your interest, so read along to know more about the ins and outs.
Achadas da Cruz, the town by itself is just any regular town. We didn’t really spend any time exploring the town but just drove through it to reach the cable car station. The signs for the teleferico(cable car) are very well sign posted in the town. This was our last stop on our road trip from Porta da Cruz to Porto Moniz and we reached the cable car in the afternoon. The sun was shining bright and we liked what we saw from the viewing platform at the cable car station. A cable car ticket to Quebrada Nova costs just 3 Euros, pretty nifty deal for enjoying a ride along a sheer drop of 450 mts and it includes the return of course. We were told that for the return back we had to sit in the car and then press the green button ourselves to make our way back up. Hmm, operating a cable car myself… that thought got me excited, much like a kid.
This place in the north-western corner of Madeira is always a bit windy so our cable car ride was definitely exciting. But its not very scary either unless you have a fear of heights. We only felt the full force of the wind once we got out of the cable car. As we turned the corner from the station, we were immediately awestruck by the shimmering blue waters cradling the rocky beach, the towering cliffs behind us and the relentless wind lashing at us. We walked further along the curved cemented path which was hugging the beach and the wind seemed to take a breather.
It was extremely peaceful and quiet while we were there, with just a handful of people. Immediately a sense of calm and happiness washed over us much like the waves that were lashing at the rocks on the beach. Sridhar was really enamoured by the wind swept beach and he decided he just wanted to sit down for a while and take all the action in before exploring the rest of the place. The only downside was that to enjoy this you also had to bear the summer sun. There was no possibility to sit in the shade on the beach, but hey you can’t have it all. Madeira is known for its mild weather throughout the year and it was precisely this fact that attracted us to visit this gorgeous island in the first place. But when we visited the summer temperatures were around 28 C and even the locals complained that this was not a normal phenomenon in Madeira.
I on the other hand was more keen on exploring first and taking some pics. So i stayed the course on the the path and started doing what i love, taking loads of pics and just getting lost. From the top, the whole place looked like a small village or hamlet. But in reality there are only a few summer cottages and some barns here but nobody lives here permanently. Most of the summer cottages are also very simple and rustic with some terraces for gardening or low-key farming. The locals just come here during the summer to enjoy the beach, swim and fish in the sea or make wine and drink it and enjoy the sun. It definitely felt like the perfect place for a summer break.
After Sridhar was almost drenched by some of the big waves, he decided to join me on my expedition as well. We explored some of the narrow back alleys and imagined what it would be like to live in a place that felt so remote. At one point while wandering around, we ended up in what looked like some one’s backyard with no path leading out of it. So we backtracked a bit and joined a bigger path and wandered some more. We also saw some houses that seemed more well equipped and the lucky owners enjoying their summer haven. We still had to keep time so that we reached our destination at a decent time. So with a tinge of sadness we left this place and made our way back up to the cliff top.
I would strongly recommend you to take the teleferico ride at Achadas da Cruz and spend some time at Faja da Quebrada Nova. Even though it is very close to other popular places like Porto Moniz it doesn’t get as much tourist traffic, mainly because the tour buses don’t stop here. So its only the independent travellers that make their way here. Secluded pieces of paradise like these are more and more difficult to find these days and i hope Achadas da Cruz continues to remain so!
Practical tips for visiting Achadas da Cruz cable car
- Free parking is available near the cable car station
- The cable car ticket costs 3 Euros for a return trip
- There are toilet facilities near the top and bottom of the cable car station. You are better off using the toilets at the top as it is maintained better
- You will need to keep aside at least 30-45 minutes for this visit. We happily spent more than 2 hours here.
- There is small shop near the cable car station at the top where you could buy some refreshments.