Tucked in a forgotten southwestern corner of Madeira you will find the tiny coastal settlement of Jardim do Mar, meaning Garden of the Sea.
We highly recommend this village if you are looking for a quiet and remote-feeling place, away from the hubbub of Funchal, while also staying on the sunny side of the island. It has a delightful atmosphere and truly counts as a hidden gem in Madeira.
Hidden among banana plantations, it feels a bit like an island inside the island!
Jardim do Mar (population: approx. 200) is easy to reach, taking only a minor detour from the main ER101 road, yet it still feels quite secluded due to being only reachable by tunnel. It occupies its own little nook along the coast, making you feel like you’re in your own little paradise.
Something we love about Jardim do Mar is that it’s almost entirely car-free. You can leave your car at the village’s public car park and then walk the narrow cobblestoned alleys to reach your accommodation.
Where to stay in Jardim do Mar
We stayed at Maktub Guest House, a family-run guesthouse with a kind of soul and atmosphere that reminded us of guesthouses we’ve stayed in South America.
The rooms are all adjacent to a central garden with grapevines, flowers and mango trees, while another floor provides limited dorm-style accommodation for budget travelers. They are listed on Airbnb and take reservations directly.
If you’re looking for a B&B or self-catering holiday home, there are about a dozen options. One of the most charming we saw was Cecilia’s House.
Things to do in Jardim do Mar
While there isn’t much to do in this small village itself, it’s only a 10-minute drive to Calheta Beach, one of the rare few sandy beaches on the island.
It’s also just a 5-minute drive to Paul do Mar, a slightly larger settlement where you can eat some catch of the day at the local restaurants, surf, or take a dip into the ocean at a small pebble beach adjacent to the pier.
A fantastic hiking route starts in Jardim do Mar and ends in Paul do Mar. It’s about 5km long and somewhat challenging, as it goes up the cliffs before descending back down to Paul do Mar.
The PR20 hiking route up to a viewing point at Prazeres also starts in Jardim do Mar but at the time of writing this trail was sadly closed. When PR20 is open again, you can combine the PR20 and PR19 routes for a challenging hike from Jardim do Mar up to Prazeres and down to Paul do Mar.
Eat & drink
- The place to go in Jardim do Mar is Joe’s Bar, a friendly place with a garden where both locals and tourists will sip on Poncha or enjoy the piri piri espetadas. You really can’t miss it as it’s where everyone in the village goes. We practically went here every night!
- It’s only a 5-minute drive to Pukiki, a Hawaiian tiki-style cocktail bar.
- Maktub Guest House serves breakfast to guests but also non-guests. Their Garden Bar is open from Sunday to Friday – 9am to 12pm.
- More restaurant options can be found in nearby Paul do Mar.