Explore Ponta do Sol to discover a charming town filled with red-roofed houses, quaint cobbled alleys and historic architecture. Meaning “sun point,” Ponta do Sol is said to receive more sunshine throughout the year than any other part of Madeira.
The town was once primarily an agricultural centre and has a long history of prosperous sugar cane production. Today, Ponta do Sol is filled with lush banana plantations. Banana cultivation may be the backbone of the area’s economy, but new restaurants, bars and hotels are appearing steadily as Ponta do Sol’s repute as a holiday destination grows.
Take a look inside the town’s lovely 19th-century church, Nossa Senhora da Luz. Notice the biblical scenes painted on its wooden ceiling, the green ceramic baptismal font and gorgeous 17th-century tiles.
Walk down Rua Principe Dom Luis I and look for the John do Passos Cultural Centre. This facility honours the esteemed 20th-century American writer whose grandparents lived in the Ponta do Sol. The town is proud of its connection to this great writer, known for his U.S.A. trilogy novels. Spend some time in the cultural centre learning about the writer read some of his work in the library, browse artifacts in the exhibition dedicated to do Passos and see if there are any events on in the auditorium.
Go for a swim at the town’s main beach, Ponta do Sol Beach. Although this modest beach is covered with grey stones rather than sand, it’s an enjoyable place to take advantage of Ponta do Sol’s consistently mild weather.
Head up the hillside of Lugar de Baixo to see Zinos Palace. Originally built in the 19th century, this Romanesque building is considered to be an important example of Madeira’s historic architecture. After being abandoned for decades, the palace was renovated in the early 21st century and now hosts meetings, parties and other events.
Make Ponta do Sol your base for visiting Paúl da Serra, Madeira’s largest and highest plateau. At an altitude of 4,593 feet (1,500 metres), you can see stunning views over the surrounding valley and mountains.
Ponta do Sol is located on the southwestern coast of Madeira. It can be reached in about 30 minutes by car from Madeira’s capital, Funchal.