“…passing by a turn made by the land, they entered a beautiful cove in the beach, where they saw a beautiful and delightful valley covered by trees, where on land they found some old logs blown down by the weather, from which the captain ordered a cross to be made, which was then raised to the top of a tree, giving the name Santa Cruz to the place, where later a noble village was founded.”
Gaspar Frutuoso, 16th cent.
Located on the south coast of the island of Madeira, with an area of 95.9 km2, the municipality of Santa Cruz includes five parishes: Caniço, Camacha, Gaula, Santa Cruz (municipal seat) and Santo António da Serra. This municipality has demonstrated an ever-increasing growth in terms of population, economy and tourism, and is therefore a location worthy of an obligatory stop.
When you visit Camacha, be sure to see the wide variety of works of art made out of wicker. Because the climate here is a little cooler and more humid, the planting and cultivation of willows was a success, and served as the basis and raw material for the manufacture of objects in wicker, such as baskets, furniture, animals and other decorative pieces.
Since the municipality lies along the coastal strip, local gastronomy is enriched with the tremendous variety of fish and seafood. Grilled limpets, snails, wrasse, red sea bream, hake and grouper are recommended favourites. Other specialities include cornmeal with fava beans and maize cakes cooked in kale leaves. Among the beverages, try the cider from Santo da Serra, made from apples.
Nature and activities:
The municipality of Santa Cruz has a variety of offerings for those who love the sun and beach: Bathing Complex at Palmeiras Beach in Santa Cruz, the Waterpark in Santa Cruz, the only one in the region, and the Complex at Reis Magos Beach in Caniço. Santa Cruz, specifically Santo da Serra, was the cradle of golf in the archipelago of Madeira. The Santo da Serra Golf Club was built here in 1937, being redesigned in 1991 by golf course architect Robert Trent Jones, who designed a new golf course with 27 holes. The Madeira Open, a tournament included in the PGA European Tour, is held every year at this golf course. In Caniço, at Garajau, there is a diving centre open to the lovers of this sport. Dives are organized to give the visitor a view of a new world, the underwater world, with its diversity of species and colours, an activity that shouldn’t be missed. The Garajau Nature Reserve in the same area, where various sea species are protected, is also worth mentioning.