Curral das freiras
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.