Santo da Serra

Church of Santo António da Serra

Santo António da Serra (usually shortened to Santo da Serra) is a pleasant village and curiously-divided parish on a high plain above the municipalities of Machico and Santa Cruz, between which the parish was partitioned. The village itself is a textbook example of linear development along a road running from ER107 in the west to the Hotel PortoBay Serra Golf in the east. It is perhaps best known for its golf club which is home to the Madeira Island Open. 

The village has a church dating from 1857 - which is in Santa Cruz - and a well-kept cemetery a few metres away which, by virtue of the historical partition, falls within Machico. The area is traditionally agricultural and the village is home to an agricultural market. There is also a petrol station and various shops, restaurants and other services as well as a municipal car park. 

Quinta do Santo da Serra

More unusually, there is a large and attractive public park, known variously as the Parque Blandy (after the family that once owned it), the Quinta do Santo da Serra or the Quinta da Junta (it was purchased by the then regional administration in 1975, initially as a holiday home for the regional governor). The park is not well signposted - the only clue to its existence is a set of modest wooden gates near the health centre with a brass plate advertising the site as being part of the Património da Madeira. At the farthest end of the park is a viewpoint looking out towards Machico, Ponta de São Lourenço and Porto Santo. The park also contains the Centro Florestal da Macaronésia (Macaronésia Forestry Centre) which provides information and exhibitions regarding forestry conservation in Madeira. Peacocks wander around the park, though the domestic animals that were once kept there seem to be gone. It's a popular place for a picnic and for children to play.

Quinta do Santo da Serra

In the immediate vicinity, there is a significant number of large and well-tended country estates - mostly invisible from the road. More interestingly, there are a number of walking routes that pass through or close to the village, making it a convenient point of arrival or departure.

Around 2km to the west, there is access to a (now) isolated section of the Levada da Serra do Faial which offers a walking route via the Levada do Furado to Ribeiro Frio and via the Levada da Portela to Portela and beyond.

To the south, the Vereda do Alvoredo provides access to the Levada dos Tornos and the Levada Nova do Santo da Serra.

Getting there

From Funchal, you can drive via Camacha; there's also a road from Machico. Parking should not be a problem. 

You can take a levada walk from Ribeiro Frio (around 14km) or Portela (around 7km).

HF interurban bus 77 runs a few times a day from the cable car terminal and takes best part of an hour depending on the route it takes. SAM run buses (route 20) with connections in Machico to/from Funchal, the total journey is roughly an hour and a half (30-45 minutes between Santo da Serra and Machico). If you're going to Funchal, it's cheaper on the direct HF bus; if you travel by SAM, the driver will sell you a through ticket to Funchal but you need to show it to the new driver when you change in Machico who will give you a second ticket - you need to keep both in case of an inspection.