Câmara de Lobos Madeira island
Vila de câmara de Lobos

Câmara de Lobos is a city and the county seat of the parish, on the south coast of the Madeira Island. The municipality of Câmara de Lobos has about 35,000 inhabitants spread over an area of 51.82 km2.


The name of this parish comes from the fact that at the time of the discovery of the island loads of sea lions were sighted at that cove that still retains the same configuration. Currently these animals appear only occasionally on the south coast of the island, with a colony preserved in the Desert Islands.
The main economic activities of the parish are fishing, agriculture with emphasis on banana production, trade, services and industry.
Câmara de Lobos foi o primeiro local onde habitou João Gonçalves Zarco, o navegador que descobriu a ilha, entre 1420 e 1424. Esta foi a primeira povoação criada na Madeira pelo próprio João Gonçalves Zarco, sendo elevada a freguesia em 1430.
Câmara de Lobos was the first place where João Gonçalves Zarco, the navigator who discovered the island lived between 1420 and 1424. This was the first settlement established in Madeira by João Gonçalves Zarco himself, which became parish in 1430
This land of fishermen, whose main expertise is the fishing for black scabbardfish, owes its fame to the fishermen who paint the bay with their picturesque and very distinctive boats – the Xavelhas. The former British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, painted this exceptional portrait when he visited the island on 8th January 1950.
The historical heritage of the village of Câmara de Lobos features the Igreja de São Sebastião, built in the sixteenth century, the chapel of Nossa Senhora da Conceição founded in the fifteenth century and rebuilt in the eighteenth century, the former convent of São Bernardino built in 1425, and the Lime Kiln integrated in tourism project in the Salinas area.
Here you can climb to the islet of Câmara de Lobos a cliff overlooking the sea that resembles an island which is home to much of the fishing population of this locality. This space has recently been refurbished and adapted to cultural activities, with a beautiful garden, providing magnificent views of the city, the sea and the surrounding area, including Cape Girão.

Besides the parish of Câmara de Lobos, there are another four parishes that belong to this municipality: Curral das Freiras, Estreito de Câmara de Lobos, Jardim da Serra and Quinta Grande.


Câmara de Lobos Parish

The historical heritage of the village of Câmara de Lobos features the Igreja de São Sebastião, built in the sixteenth century, the chapel of Nossa Senhora da Conceição founded in the fifteenth century and rebuilt in the eighteenth century, the former convent of São Bernardino built in 1425, and the Lime Kiln integrated in tourism project in the Salinas area.
Here you can climb to the islet of Câmara de Lobos a cliff overlooking the sea that resembles an island which is home to much of the fishing population of this locality. This space has recently been refurbished and adapted to cultural activities, with a beautiful garden, providing magnificent views of the city, the sea and the surrounding area, including Cape Girão.
Besides a tour of the city centre, it is advisable to climb to the Pico da Torre in order to see the particular configuration of the bay. In the centre of Câmara de Lobos there are bars and renowned restaurants, where you can enjoy typical drinks like Poncha, and savour the gata, a fish caught in the waters around Madeira and allowed to dry in the same place. Therefore, sometimes, in a certain area at the entrance of the city, there is a strong odour in the air derived from the drying process.


Curral das Freiras Parish

Curral da Freiras is the largest parish in the municipality of Câmara de Lobos, covering 25.07 km2, with about 1,700 inhabitants. This parish has a unique location on the island of Madeira, situated in a deep valley, which resembles the crater of a volcano but which owes its appearance only to heavy erosion.
The name of this parish comes from a curious situation that is believed to have occurred around 1560. When the nuns of the Convent of Santa Clara fled from the Lutheran French pirates who invaded the island and sacked the city of Funchal, they found this place hidden in the mountains to be the ideal shelter.
Curral da Freiras, is one of the few places on the island that is not visible from the sea and so it is more protected and of difficult access. Still nowadays there is only one access by car, by a winding road from Funchal.
Nowadays, the town bases its economy on agriculture and also small shops, restaurants and hotels. As to its cuisine, the predominant use of the chestnut, the most characteristic of the locality, specifically the chestnut soup. It is precisely by enjoying the typical production of chestnuts, that there is the “Chestnut Festival” which takes place once a year, on 1st November.
The Church of Nossa Senhora do Livramento is the unique historical heritage of Curral das Freiras. Built in the nineteenth century, this church was subject to important works in the early twentieth century, where side altars were built in honour of Nossa Senhora do Livramento and Sagrado Coração de Jesus, and also the high altar of the church.
On the way to Curral das Freiras one finds the Eira do Serrado Belvedere which is a must stop. At this viewpoint, situated at an altitude of 1,095 meters, we have a great view of the parish of Curral das Freiras and all the mountains that surround it.


Estreito de Câmara de Lobos

Estreito de Câmara de Lobos is a parish with about 10,300 inhabitants spread over an area of 8.14 km². According to some authors, the origin of its name is due to its geographical characteristics – a ravine in a narrow valley. However, some say the name derived from a particular site or place, which was once the original name of the Strait. With time, it eventually extended to the surrounding land and later designate the entire parish.
The historical heritage of the parish of Câmara de Lobos is mainly constituted by the Church of Nossa Senhora da Graça. This church built in the eighteenth century, has a great architectural wealth, featuring its chapel and its main body with blue and gold carvings. On 15th August there is a festivity in honour of Nossa Senhora da Graça, the largest pilgrimage in this parish.
When we speak of Madeira wine we have to mention the parish of Câmara de Lobos. Its connection to wine production is so important, that the location changes colour twice a year when the vast areas of vineyards have green or purple leaves. In its honour every year in the summer, there is the “Festa das Vindimas” (Harvest Festival), considered as the most important cultural and promotional event of this parish. This festival has great musical entertainment, with music bands and folk groups, and also with allegorical parades, crushing of grapes and a display of the parish activities.
At gastronomic level, the espetada (meat on a spit) dish is regarded as having been originated on this parish. It is said that, in the 50s, an owner of a small bar, later transformed into the restaurant “As Vides”, broke that secular tradition by introducing the espetada as gastronomic specialty in his bar. The other restaurants on the island would eventually follow making this one of the most typical dishes of the island.
Another point of interest in this locality is the North levada, which can be accessed from Estreito, in Calvário. This is a starting point for a walking tour through this waterway, which carries water from the north of the island to the municipalities of Ribeira Brava and Câmara de Lobos.
Despite the most characteristic economic activity of this parish being the agriculture, where the culture of the vine assumes a relevant role, Estreito de Câmara de Lobos features a large commercial development.


Jardim da Serra Parish

Featuring an area of 7.10 km² and 3,311 inhabitants, Jardim da Serra is the youngest parish in Madeira, elevated to this category in March 1996.
According to some authors, the name Jardim da Serra, derives from Quinta Jardim da Serra, built on this site in the nineteenth century, by Henry Weiteh. Quinta Jardim da Serra had a sumptuous garden which became known as Jardim da Serra. Thus giving rise to the so called ‘quinta’ (estate), and currently, to the territory occupied by the parish of Jardim da Serra.
This parish features fertile land for the cultivation of cherries. This is the only place on the island where this red fruit grows and, therefore, there is an annual celebration in its honour which attracts thousands of people.
This parish is home to the Boca da Corrida Belvedere that, situated 1,000 meters above sea level, provides a great view of Curral das Freiras and several volcanic peaks. We can also find here the Boca dos Namorados Belvedere, much visited by tourists, which affords a great view of the southern part of the parish of Curral das Freiras, where there is a footpath that provides pedestrian access to Curral das Freiras.
The economic activity of Jardim da Serra is characterized by agriculture, horticulture, floriculture and a quality hotel since 2003.


Quinta Grande Parish

The parish of Quinta Grande is located on the south coast of Madeira, and has about 2,200 inhabitants over an area of 4.19 km2. The name of this parish of Quinta Grande is due to an extensive property that the Jesuits had in that place and in which they settled, and that over time, would eventually cover the locality.
As cultural heritage, one can visit the Parish Church of Nossa Senhora dos Remédios, the chapel of Vera Cruz and the Chapel of Nossa Senhora de Fátima.
In this parish we find Cape Girão, the highest headland on the coast in Europe and the second highest in the world with 580 meters of altitude. The Cape Girão Belvedere affords an extraordinary panoramic view from Câmara de Lobos to the Bay of Funchal, with the blue sea as a backdrop. At the bottom of Cape Girão there are fajãs with cultivated land, which you can access through a wonderful boat ride or by cable car.
Besides these points, highlighted also to Quinta do Pomar and the Fajã dos Padres belvedere, which you can descend to by lift to go to the beach, have a meal or enjoy the rural tourism.
The main economic activity of this parish is, still today, agriculture.
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