We love rocky places, and even more so when it’s surrounded by the sea and it’s warm and sunny. One of the rockiest and sunniest spots in Madeira must be Fajã dos Padres, a small coastal village hidden from the rest of the island by a sheer cliff wall, reaching 600m tall at the highest point.
We made a visit to this village which is more like a small farming hamlet with no more than several houses and fruit orchards growing mangoes, papayas and other tropical fruits.
There are three options to get to the place: by boat, by a cable car, or by a single vertical lift attached to a cliff face, going 250m in each direction. We took the last option because it was the first one we found, but I’m glad, because I think it’s the most interesting way to go. The Kid said it reminded her of Charlie and the Glass Elevator.
At the bottom, it was suddenly so quiet. You immediately sense that you’re in a remote piece of land. We strolled among the mango trees (not in season, unfortunately), and found a cafe by a pebble beach. Like anywhere else in Madeira, the beach is entirely devoid of sand, but the water is beautifully aquamarine clear, even though the current is too strong for The Kid to swim in. We sat in the sun, listening to the soothing sound of lapping pebbles (must be one of my favourite of all existing sounds), while Hubby braved a swim (and later hurt his muscles because the current was indeed strong). There are several other visitors, but there’s enough space for everyone to walk around and feel you’re the only one. I could imagine coming back to Madeira and stay in one of the farm houses here for several days.
When we felt a bit hungry, we sat by the cafe, and had some cold ice tea, grilled limpets with garlic bread. The Kid refused the limpets because they looked like little aliens, and I have to say she had a point, as they do resemble some alien larva (but they’re delicious, give them a try if you haven’t).
The walk back to the lift involved a little uphill hike. While the lift takes most of the distance, it is attached to 180 steps of stairs on either side, so it may not be suitable for smaller children, older people or one with disability.