Holidays to Santa Cruz take you to an away-from-it-all spot in Madeira. But with a waterpark, a kid-friendly beach, and easy access to the capital Funchal, you won’t be short on things to do.
A quiet spot
As resorts go, this one’s a bit of a charmer. Set on Madeira’s east coast, Santa Cruz is a small, colourful place where whitewashed churches relax between the green hills and the Atlantic Ocean. There’s a real laidback vibe, but the island’s livelier capital, Funchal, is only 15 minutes' drive away.
Like most of Madeira, Santa Cruz doesn’t really go in for sand. The place has whipped up the next best thing, though – a manmade pebbled area that comes with a generous handful of sunloungers. And backing it up, there’s a pretty, palm-lined promenade with plenty of restaurants.
A natural setting
Just outside town, there’s a network of levadas – or mini-canals – that criss-cross the island. Walks along these watery paths take you through countryside filled with laurel trees, over mountains and under waterfalls. Most of the routes are pretty easy, so you don’t need to be a hardcore hiker to pick up the trail.
Daytrips to Funchal
Hop in a set of wheels, and you can be in Funchal in 15 minutes. The cobbled old town here's home to 15th-century buildings and an easy-on-the-eye cathedral. And the hilly capital's really big on gardens – you’ve got tonnes to nose around, with exotic flowers, lakes and waterfalls dotted among them. From one, there’s even a cable car ride up to the village of Monte – with a traditional wicker toboggan on hand to get you back down again.
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