Achadas da Cruz cable car brings you to an isolated coastal area in Northern Madeira

Don’t Miss the Achadas da Cruz Cable Car in Madeira

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Achadas da Cruz cable car brings you to one of the most unique spots in Madeira – Fajã da Quebrada Nova. It’s a tiny place on the northwestern coast of the island that is isolated from the rest of the world by the tall mountain cliffs on one side and the ocean on the other. If you like remote locations and off the beaten path destinations, then this is as good as it gets!

Spectacular, amazing, incredible… no epithets are strong enough to describe this place, our favourite of the hidden gems of Madeira. In fact, it’s so beautiful and so unique that it deserves to be very high on the list of the best places to see in Madeira.

On the other hand, places like this are becoming more and more scarce, so let’s hope that it manages to escape from mass tourism and keep its authenticity, despite the fact that tens of tour busses come to the area daily on their way to the famous natural pools of Porto Moniz that are located just a few kilometres further.

Achadas da Cruz cable car is a true hidden gem of Madeira

 

As we arrived at the tiny village of Achadas da Cruz and followed the signs to the cable car, we had no idea what to expect. It was a windy and rainy day in April and locals told us that despite the season it felt like winter to them. When we saw how tiny the cable car was and then looked down to the beach far below us, we had no intention to go down in such a weather. Furthermore, we had read that the cable car would be closed for lunch and we were there just after noon. All the good reasons not to go down, we thought.

Achadas da Cruz cable car in Madeira

Tiny cable car takes you to an isolated coastal area below

 

While the kids played with the local cats and we were looking at the vertical drop and hardly visible small pebbled beach below us planning to just take a picture and move on, a cable car operator came to us and suggested that we go down. He didn’t speak much English, but assured us that the wind wasn’t a problem and that the opening hours didn’t matter either. And so after some hesitation we decided to give it a try.

For just 3 EUR a little cable car takes you down to what looks like a tiny village by the sea. In fact, it’s not really a village and nobody lives here full time. Some local farmers have a tiny piece of land here and come down to work on their land once in a while. Up to a few years ago only accessible by boat, it feels like one the most remote places in the world.

Looking to explore Madeira off the beaten path - take Achadas da Cruz cable car

We fell in love with this place at first sight!

 

We expected to spend just a few minutes down by the beach, but almost two hours flew by wandering around this beautiful coastline dotted with colourful wildflowers. Apart from a few cats we didn’t see a soul in the tiny houses. Just the pebbled beach, the waves, and incredible nature that makes you feel small and humble. It’s our kind of paradise!

Secluded village in Northern Madeira Red poppy flowers in Madeira Cats are the only permanent residents at Faja da Quebrada Nova that can only be reached by Achadas da Cruz Cable Car in Madeira

 

On the way back up we met a man who has a little ‘vacation house’ as he called it and goes down here every day. He said that only a handful of locals come here daily, a few more people stay here in summer. And when we asked what they do down here, he laughed and said ‘we grow wine and then we drink wine’.

He then added that some people go fishing, some do farming, and in summer it’s also used as a very low key vacation place to swim, fish, and just enjoy life and nature.

Wildflowers on Madeira coast in spring

 

One of the fun parts of taking this cable car is that you have to operate it yourself when you decide to go up. It’s not more than a push on the button, but it’s a small detail that makes the place even more special I suppose. The kids loved it!

Faja da Quebrada Nova in Madeira

 

P.S. It was actually one of our blog’s loyal followers who told us about this hidden gem of Madeira. So now I want to give back by sharing this secret place with you. At the same time I have mixed feelings about it and a fear that too many tourists would ruin it. So don’t tell the whole world about it, but don’t miss this unique place when visiting Madeira. You’ll love it!

Practical information for Achadas da Cruz cable car

  • Location: North of Madeira in Achadas da Cruz village just 10km from Porto Moniz. See also the map here.
  • Opening hours: 10AM to noon and 1PM to 6PM
  • Cost: 3 EUR for adults. Kids travel free.
  • Facilities. There are public bathrooms and a small cafe at the upper cable car station. There are no facilities down by the beach.
  • How much time do you need? Count at least 30min for a visit (we spent almost two hours).

Achadas da Cruz cable car brings you to one of the most unique places in Madeira

 

Comments

  1. Hello,
    I have found your blog accidentally and I am so happy about it! Such a great stories, advices, photos – really enjoy it! And what is most importantly I have found some very useful information about Madeira. But after reading this article I have one question: what about that cable car which you have to operate by yourself? Does it mean that if someone is already at the bottom you have to wait until he comes back or is it still possible to call this cable car from the top? Could you please explain about this a little bit more?

    1. Author

      Hi Rūta,
      This cable car actually starts at the top and goes down to the beach. At the top station there is an operator. He sells tickets and sends you down.
      It’s when you want to come back up that you have to go and sit in the cable car on your own and then push the button to close the door. It will then leave, normally. I seem to recall that you can also call an operator if you have a question, but it’s really straightforward. Just a push of the button. 🙂
      If the cable car is not there, you just have to wait till it comes (there are two gondolas, so every time one goes up, the other one automatically comes down. Don’t worry about it – it’s really simple.
      Enjoy the trip!

      1. Thank you for your answer. I am soo waiting for our trip! But now I have another question (maybe can I ask you here?) : we would like to visit some other places you write in your post here https://fullsuitcase.com/madeira-hidden-gems/ and to do some hikes from https://fullsuitcase.com/best-hikes-madeira/ and I’m just curious if it is possible to reach all this places/starting points with a small car? I mean all these steep hills – will a small car like Toyota Yaris, Nissan Micra or other car from the same group manage to do this (we will be two persons in total)?

        1. Author

          We had a regular car, not the smallest though, and it was ok. Some parts inland are very steep, but the roads are regular paved roads. The size of the car doesn’t matter that much as long as it’s powerful enough to negotiate some very steep climbs. I have no idea how those smallest rental cars handle it, but car rental was so cheap in Madeira, why not rent a somewhat bigger car if you’re worried… You can check for best prices here.

  2. Today we were more lucky and cable car was open (and to be sure I phoned to them beforehands)
    We spent there almost 2 hours, kids absolutely loved this place 🙂
    Only thing which confused me in your info is that kids go for free as they asked 3 eur as well for kids (5,7,10).

    1. Author

      Hi Guna, glad you enjoyed it! It’s still one of my favourite places in Madeira.
      As for the ticket price for the children, I assume they changed the rules. No idea, but 3EUR doesn’t sound unreasonable to me. Still definitely worth it, don’t you agree?

      1. All the best for 2019! Wish you lots of nice trips this year!
        Complitely agree that its worth to go to Archadas da Cruz – we absolutely enjoyed!
        Overall I was positively surpised that the prices in Madeira are very reasonable and even found some local fruit shops where all the sorts of maracujas where cheaper than on the touristic routes.
        And big thanks for hiking tips, we did even the Pico Areiro to Pico Ruivo and our 5&7 year old girls did it as well (our kids are we’ll trained).
        Last year we did Corsica hikes. If you haven’t been there- to my mind it’s worth to go, we did Corsica during easter holidays (we like to travel off high seasons) and it’s cheap to fly with AirCorsica from Charleroi. The prices on the island are more expensive than in Madeira, but the cheap flight options and just 2h flight bit compensates!
        I am not huge fan of travelling twice to the same destinations,but went to Corsica once more on september to complete GR20 (for the time beeing without kids,but will definitely go back with them once they will be ready).

        1. Author

          Hi again, Guna. Thanks for your feedback on Madeira and the tips for Corsica.
          We have been to Corsica, several years ago. It was nice, some places very nice even, but somehow we didn’t love it… Maybe we’ll give it a second chance on day if the flights are now cheaper, as you say. It was crazy expensive to fly there back when we went.
          Happy travels!

  3. Hi, i was there 2 days ago and unfortunately bad luck as the cable car was not operating (not sufficient power to close the doors properly as the station downhills operates on solar power if I get it correctly).
    But now reading your story, will try to go back next week and maybe will have more luck!

  4. Hi Jurga
    Thank you for your great blog about our “beautiful” calhau.
    I am one of the operators of the cable car and would just like to correct some mistakes.
    Firstly our operating hours are from 8am to 12pm, closed for lunch between 12pm and 13pm for lunch then reopens 13pm till 18pm.
    I may just add that the hours might change from January 2019? NO lunch closure as well as longer trading hours for the summer months.
    I can also add that we now have 2 operators who speak ENGLISH fluently.
    Thank you again for your great blog, I hope this information was helpful.

    1. Author

      Thanks for sharing this info, Juvenal. Feel free to let us know how the opening hours will be in 2019, it can be helpful to our readers.

  5. Dear Jurga!

    I am so glad you talk about this place. Me and my other half booked an airbnb by the shore for our first holiday with our baby girl . We fell in love with the view and raw beauty we saw on photos… Cannot wait to see it in real life next week!

    warm regards,

    Bernadett

    1. Author

      Hi Bernadett, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. Such a beautiful place. Have a wonderful trip to Madeira.

  6. Hello! I live in Madeira Island and my parents live in Achadas da Cruz and i have to agree it is a Hidden gem..thanks for visiting and leaving a great statment of what you saw..we apreciate it.. 😉 🙂 hope you enjoyed your stay in our beatiful island.. kind regards 🙂 😉

    1. Author

      Thank you for your kind comment, Angela. We loved Achadas da Cruz so much – for sure one of the most special places in Madeira.

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