Land of the triangle shaped small houses


City and chief town of the municipality, Santana is probably one of the most emblematic tourist areas in Madeira Island. All is due to the houses where its people used to live in former times, which ended up by becoming the greeting card by excellence of the destination. These houses are thatched with straw and in the shape of a triangle.


Besides, who does not remember the interesting image of the ear of maize suspended on oak-trees, by the houses, drying in the sun? These are later used in the family meals and restaurants, or as seeds for new plantations.


However, Santana owes its name to a chapel in its honour, bearing the name Santa Ana (Saint Ana).

The settlement took place around the year 1550, with people from Braga, from Portugal mainland. For that reason, the local inhabitants have the nickname “Bragados”.

At the beginning of the colonization, the land was allotted amongst noblemen and some bourgeois, with the ownership of plots of uncultivated land. They were bound to clear the land and build houses for people and shelter for livestock.

The civil parish of Santana was established by royal charter on June 4, for a curacy captaincy.

At the time, São Jorge Captaincy installed its headquarters in the Chapel of Santa Ana.

In 1835, Santana became a town, and the chief town of the municipality.


On January 1, 2001, Santana became a city.

Besides the above mentioned information, Santana is also known for its good weather and its rural landscape, and where tradition is still present in the daily life of the city.


Although difficult to access, the land is very fertile, granting the civil parish the ideal conditions for the production of wheat, maize, rye and wine.


Handicraft also has a very strong presence in Santana, particularly articles made of linen, wool, stone and wood.
The most important economic activities in Santana include agriculture, the main subsistence base of the population, trade, services, as well as the hotel and catering industry, with a diversified offer of quality


In terms of tourism, Santana has a lot to see and do namely the levada (water courses) and footpath walks, such as the one from Queimadas to such unique places like Caldeirão Verde or Caldeirão do Inferno. We can also go to Homem em Pé rock, and from there go all the way to the highest point in Madeira Island: Pico Ruivo.


Afterwards, by the sea, there is the wide fajã (flat arable land by the sea), Rocha do Navio, where there are crops of vine and of tropical fruit trees, such as banana trees. Today, a cable car enables an easy access to that beautiful place.


It is never too much to recall that Santana has an historic value in the tourist offer of the Island. For that reason, it was always the civil parish that was most visited by foreign citizens.


Hotel Acciaioli was the fist hotel unit that was established in Santana, in 1850. There was also Hotel Figueira, of a much smaller size. In addition, reference should be made to the boarding house of the widow of Paulino Pinto Correia, the inn of Carlos Moniz Ferreira, and the boarding houses of Joaquim de Freitas and of João Marques de Freitas. But that was in 1938.


Today, Santana has high quality hotel units, such as Quinta do Furão and many rural tourism cottages.


Today, the number of inhabitants is believed to be about 4,500.
The climate is somewhat harsher than in other parts of the Island, both in the summer and winter.



Useful information

Municipal Public Holiday May 25

Area: 93.10 Km2

Bathing Areas: Beaches of São Jorge and Faial civil parishes


How to get there

From Funchal, take the freeway in the direction of Aeroporto (airport) and Machico. Follow the signposts to Porto da Cruz, via the old Estrada Regional 101(regional road). Carry on towards Santana.

You can also make this connection via Poiso, after passing Monte. After Poiso, go down all the way to Riberio Frio. Further ahead you pass Faial, and then turn left towards Santana.

Links relacionados

Especialidades Gastronómicas

Pratos Típicos

Sobremesas e Doçaria Tradicional

Dados Históricos sobre as Freguesias

Caracterização das Freguesias

Reservas e Parques Naturais na Madeira

Levadas e caminhadas

Actividades Tradicionais e Cultura Popular

Visitas, Passear na Madeira

Monumentos Arquitectónicos, Conventos, Igrejas, Capelas, Fortes e Fortalezas

Quintas, Solares, Parques e Jardins na Madeira

Ilhéus, Picos e Miradouros na Madeira

Artesanato na Madeira

Festividades e Eventos na Madeira

Festas Religiosas e Arraiais na Madeira

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