With a mix of old and newer houses, seawater pools, beaches, fishermen, surfers, rum production, the eagle cliff, the walk around the old harbour and the grand view towards Ponta de São Lourenco peninsula (where there is a nice hiking trail), Porto da Cruz is well worth a visit.
The village is located between Santana and Machico on the northeast part of the island, so if you are in the area take a stop here.
In Porto da Cruz is one of three sugarcane mills in Madeira. The mill has been in operation since 1927 and is still running in the same way. The mill produces rum of the two varieties Branca and Envelhecida 970 Reserva.
We were at the mill in the middle of April. It is just the right period, when the sugarcanes are harvested and it´s time to start the production of rum. Interesting to follow the process when the sugarcanes were crushed in a big and noisy machine, the juice from the canes were extracted and put into tanks for storage and then finally distilled to strong and nice drops of rum. After the destilling the rum is put into large oak barrels to mature to ge the right taste, look, smell and strenght.
Of course there is a shop next to the mill where you can taste and buy the good stuff.
You can also taste and buy Poncha and accessories for it e.g. the traditional wooden beater named Caralhinho or Mexelote or in English, dick:).
Back in the days fishermen drank Poncha to prevent illness. They mixed some useful things that were good for not getting colds and then Poncha were invented. The most common ingredients are fresh lemon juice, honey and rum made in Madeira.
You can find some recipes and more info at:
We have parked our car in the parking space next to the school in front of the bath and beach in the village. It is also next to the rum mill, just across the small creak.
Last time we were here there were a surfing class practicing in the bay. A bit fun to watch.
Take a look at the massive Eagle cliff to the left.
There is a nice walk if you follow the road from the mill and around the hill/headland. After some hundred meters you come to an old harbour and later on a seawater bath before you enter the village again.
There are a couple of restaurants along the seafront and we can recommend the first one next to the bath. Here you can rest, eat and drink and enjoy the magnificent views.