Situated on the south coast of the island, Ponta do Sol is currently the county seat, and has about 8,200 inhabitants in its area of 43.3 km2.
Ponta do Sol is considered the hottest municipality of the island; it is also here where the sun shines for more hours.
Economic activity is based on the primary sector, which includes agriculture, predominantly the production of sugar cane, banana, horticulture and floriculture. Another highlight is the traditional trade and hotels. In the municipality there is a company exporting plants.
This municipality has the Paul da Serra, which is distinguished for being the only plateau on the island of Madeira, and this at an altitude of 1,500 m. This site has unique natural features, due to its size and location, as nuclei of indigenous vegetation, wildlife species and migratory birds. In Paul da Serra there are wind turbines that produce electricity in a non-polluting manner.
In this town you can also visit the Ponta do Sol Pier, Lagoa do Lugar de Baixo and the Subtropical Floriculture Centre.
This municipality is divided into the parishes of Ponta do Sol, Canhas and Madalena do Mar.
Ponta do Sol Parish
Ponta do Sol owes its name to the presence of an edge of rock that goes into the sea, and which reflects the sun’s rays.
At historical-cultural level here is the church of Nossa Senhora da Luz, known for its woodcarvings and images, and Lugar de Baixo Palace, which features a romantic style.
Another highlight is the traditional trade and hotels. In the municipality there is a company exporting plants.
The parish of Canhas owes its name to one of its first settlers, João da Canha, who was a squire of the Duke of Viseu, Dom Diogo.
The economic activity of Canhas is based on agriculture. There are still some industries such as blocks, cement and sawmills.
The parish is known for its interesting monuments to Santa Teresa do Menino Jesus, Via Sacra and on the road that leads to Paul da Serra, Senhor da Montanha and Nossa Senhora da Serra. Here we find the Water Clock, built in 1890, which served to regulate the distribution of water.
It also stands as one of the gateways to Paul da Serra, the big and unique plateau of Madeira. A place which is characterized as the main water source that feeds the streams and that gives rise to richer flow of water used for irrigation of the fields.
Madalena do Mar Parish
With about 700 inhabitants, the village of Madalena do Mar is known for its characteristic fishing district, located in the area closer to Ponta do Sol It is said that the village owes its name to a populated farm, which was in this place since the early days of colonization, with a chapel dedicated to Santa Maria Madalena.
For a long time, sugarcane was cultivated on a large scale, and a mill was created to make sugar, which made the place an important centre for the production of sugar. Currently, the land continues to be very fertile for the so-called rich cultures, and the production of banana for export is also quite remarkable. The economy of this parish is based on the Primary sector, with fishing and agriculture, specifically the production of banana.
In this parish we find the Igreja de Santa Madalena, built on the site where there was originally a chapel, constructed by Henrique Alemão, the Knight of Santa Catarina, which according to the tale, was Wladyslaw IV, King of Poland.
Moledos, located in Madalena do Mar, stands out for having a kind of Ensaião (Airchryson dumosum) thought to exist exclusively in this area, among many other species, particularly birds. From here, you can admire the panoramic landscape of the village of Madalena do Mar, where we can glimpse the church, the typical houses, the green vegetation and the sea.