Literally meaning ‘Sun Point’, Ponta do Sol is a southwestern town where you will find more sunshine throughout the year than in any other part of Madeira. The charming area is very secluded and picturesque, where traditional red-roofed houses are stacked up on two sides of a steep, ridged ravine blanketed in verdant vineyards and banana plantations. There are numerous levada-walking opportunities; Levada Do Moinho begins at the top of Ponta do Sol and passes waterfalls deep in to the island’s forested interior, while Levada Nova da Lombada is a path that was used during the early days of sugarcane farming.
Make time to visit the town’s lovely 19th-century church, Nossa Senhora da Luz, the John do Passos Cultural Centre, a tribute to the Portuguese descendant and renowned writer and the pink-hued Zino’s Palace, one of the few romantic-style buildings in Madeira. There’s also a small port and a harbour with a pebble beach, perfect for catching the golden rays, plus a few oceanfront restaurants and supermarkets. Make Ponta do Sol your base for visiting Paúl da Serra, Madeira’s largest and highest plateau with stunning views over the surrounding valley and mountains.