Madeira’s second-largest town is home to a beautiful swimming beach and a lovely old quarter, as well as a network of numerous scenic walks.
Machico is set in a graceful crescent-shaped bay, surrounded by green terraced slopes. Enjoy a few days of relaxed sightseeing in Machico’s idyllic setting and explore the pleasant seafront promenade that borders a town of narrow cobbled streets and whitewashed houses.
According to local legend, Machico was discovered in the 14th century by a pair of lovers who eloped from their home in Bristol. The couple were shipwrecked in the Bay of Machico after their ship was thrown off course during a storm. Both lovers died, but the ship’s crew managed to escape on a raft and brought news of the island to Portugal. The explorer João Gonçalves Zarco then claimed Madeira in 1420.
Be sure to see the Capela dos Milagres (Chapel of the Miracles). The original church, supposedly founded on the site of the lovers’ graves in the 15th century, was destroyed in a flood. The current structure, built in 1815, features a lovely rose window within its façade and a nave decorated with frescoes.
Take a look at the beautiful blue-and-white tiling found inside the Capela de São Roque. This small chapel was built in the 16th century to honor St. Roch, who is said to have saved the people of Machico from a plague.
Go for a swim at Praia de Machico, one of Madeira’s most popular beaches. Arrange a diving excursion to the nearby marine reserve or just relax in the warm sands. Go for a walk down the lively promenade and stop for a drink at a beachfront bar.
Don’t miss Miradouro Francisco Alvares Nobrega, a belvedere with panoramic views over Machico Valley and Ponta de São Lourenço. Enjoy more scenic vistas at Pico do Facho, another well-known viewpoint named for the beacon (facho), which was once lit here to warn the city of approaching pirates.
Machico is located in the eastern part of Madeira. It’s easily accessed by bus from Funchal, which is located 19 miles (30 kilometers) away.