History and modernity by the sea
Located in the southwest region of Madeira Island, this is the longest council of the archipelago, covering around 15% of the total island surface. Its name derives from the former payment stations called “calhetas” that existed since the beginning of the settlement in the island. Products’ rights were charged here, namely over woods or sugar. One of the main attractions of Calheta is an artificial sand beach with Moroccan sands. This beach has a leisure port, a coastal road, hotels and shopping centres. Casa das Mudas is another modernity symbol, an art centre over the sea with a striking architecture, perfectly integrated in the surrounding landscape. In terms of heritage, it is worth highlighting the Main Church of Espírito Santo in Manueline (décor) and Mannerism style, which was built in the 15th century and transformed later, presenting an image of Holy Anna in gilt carved wood. The 15th century Chapel of Nossa Senhora do Loreto with a mudejar ceiling and 16th century Chapel of the Three Wise Men , presenting an altar piece created by the Flemish School, also deserve a visit. As far as nature is concerned, Paul da Serra is a must-see spot, a 1500m high plateau, offering a view over both coastlines of Madeira Island. The panoramic views over the sea provided by Ponta do Pargo lighthouse are also stunning, as well as the viewpoint of Fonte do Bispo with a privileged view over the Laurissilva Forest. In the Rabaçal area, we can marvel at a typical Madeiran forest (laurissilva), while in the civil parishes of Paul do Mar and Jardim do Mar there are excellent fresh fish restaurants, as well as good conditions for diving.