Santana

Santana
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The municipality of Santana, located on the north coast of Madeira island, has an area of 96.2 km2 inhabited by about 8,800 people.
The name of this town is due to a primitive chapel dedicated to Santa 'Ana, which gave rise to the present church.
Because the municipality was inaccessible by sea and land, its inhabitants have preserved features that have not suffered outside influences. One example that comes from this isolation is the typical architectural style of their houses with thatched roofs known as “casinhas de Santana” (little houses of Santana).

The tourism sector is currently the main economic resource of this county.

Here, you can visit the Madeira Theme Park and the Natural Reserve of Rocha do Navio. 

In June 2011, the municipality of Santana received the distinction of “Biosphere Reserve” by UNESCO recognizing the richness of an ecosystem where it seeks to reconcile biodiversity conservation and sustainable use. This reserve includes a land component, corresponding to the entire surface of the municipality above sea level and still a marine component, which presents a wide variety of natural and unique human, landscape, environmental and cultural values of local, regional, national and international interest.

In Santana, one finds Biosphere Routes that span over more than 120 km and allow visitors to enjoy the vast natural heritage, contemplate the landscaped surroundings, enjoy nature, meet the cultural richness of the places and engage with the local population. Here you find the pedestrian trails of Vereda do Pico Ruivo, Levada do Rei and Levada do Caldeirão Verde.

Six parishes comprise this county and city: Arco de São Jorge, Faial, Ilha, Santana, São Jorge and São Roque do Faial.

Santana
The name of this town is due to a primitive chapel dedicated to Santa 'Ana, which gave rise to the present church.

This parish has the highest points of the island of Madeira, including Ruivo Peak, Torres Peak and Areeiro Peak.
Faial
This parish created in 1550, which owes its name to a relative concentration of beech, has about 1,600 inhabitants over an area of 22.6 km2.

It is argued by some historians that the Faial parish, together with the parish of São Jorge, was one of the first parishes to be populated on the north coast of Madeira Island.

Faial offers rural tourism accommodation, restaurants, bars and snack bars, mini markets and ATM machines. You can also enjoy the beach area of Foz da Ribeira do Faial, the kart racing track and leisure facilities.
São Jorge
This parish with about 18.3km2 and 1,432 inhabitants; according to some historians, it was, along with the parish of Faial, one of the first parishes of the north coast of the island of Madeira to be populated. Its core was developed from the Calhau de São Jorge area, near the sea, in the early sixteenth century.

In São Jorge one can visit the Cabanas Belvedere, a viewpoint that provides a great view of the Arch of São Jorge and, on cloudness days, one can see the island of Porto Santo.

This location features the Levada do Rei linear trail, where you go and return via the same route. There are tunnels on this route, so a torch is essential. The first part of the trail follows the levada through a forested area and offers spectacular views of the farmland of São Jorge and Santana.
São Roque do Faial
Founded in 1848, the parish of São Roque do Faial has about 700 inhabitants spread over an area of 15.9 km2, extending from the Chão da Ribeira to Areeiro Peak.

Its name comes from the patron of an old chapel, which led to a first church in Chão da Ribeira around 1551, and which in 1883 was washed away.
Here, you find the Ribeiro Frio Forest Park where we can observe, amongst various forest endemisms, a trout farm.

It is also in Ribeiro Frio that we find the beginning of one of the most known and visited levadas in the region - Vereda dos Balcões - a trail that follows the Levada da Serra do Faial along a length of 1.5 km, giving access to the Balcões belvedere, where you can enjoy superb views over the valley of the Ribeira da Metade.
 
Arco de São Jorge
The name of this village comes from the arc shape of the mountains that surround it, and also because it was once part of the parish of São Jorge. The Arco de São Jorge is the smallest parish in the municipality of Santana, covering only 3.5 km2.

In this graceful town you can visit the Rose Garden of Quinta do Arco, a garden that has one of the largest collections of roses in Portugal, with over a thousand different species of roses.

The Museum of Vine and Wine is located at the Experimental Station of Viticulture of Arco de São Jorge. The museum is a live and interactive space, formed by an ancient cellar where recovered items used in viticulture were installed. In addition to the wines, wineries and instruments used for decades to produce wine, visitors can see live the various cycles of the vine, such as pruning, and have access to an explanation of the characteristics of different varieties grown here. Still in the outer area, you can enjoy the gardens, shrubs and trees of laurel and leisure and rest areas that provide contact with the natural wealth and heritage of the parishes.
Ilha
Founded in 1989, the parish of Ilha is the latest of the parishes of the Municipality of Santana. The origin of its name is linked to it being surrounded by water on all sides, thus resembling an island. Ilha has about 250 inhabitants over an area of 15.4 km2.

The wealth of this town is the nature, especially the natural reserves of the Achada do Marques ao Caldeirão Verde, the waterfalls and geological heritage.

Here you can taste the Ponchilha, a local drink.
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