A relaxed parish on the southeastern coast of Madeira Island, Canico was awarded its city status in 2005. While it is connected to Funchal’s urban sprawl, the Portuguese resort holds its own as a prime location.
Canico is a city of two parts, with the old Canico town overlooking the newer resort of Caniço de Baixo from its hilltop position. While the bustling resort of Canico de Baixo, or Lower Canico, buzzes with chic hotels and restaurants, Upper Canico is a haven of history and culture.
Originally named for the long, thin canes that used to grow in the area, Canico still has plenty of green spaces for tourists to take in. The whole town is conveniently located near the capital of Funchal and is surrounded by lush countryside perfect for walking.
While the island has a Mediterranean climate despite being in the Atlantic, the area is affected by the Gulf Stream, which means that it has rather mild temperatures all year round. This is great for British tourists trying to escape one of our nation’s typical winters, but also makes the summers more tolerable. On average, temperatures will range about the 20°C mark, with it hardly ever dropping too low, even in winter.
Madeira is not known for its sandy beaches; instead, Canico has a stretch of pebbled beach called Reis Magos to the east of the town. In particular, the vista from the main promenade is worth seeing, with the seafront only a short distance from a number of the larger hotels. If this doesn’t float your boat, you can choose to hang out at the Galomar Bathing Complex, a manmade lido with lifeguards, a saltwater pool and a bar.
This sun-kissed parish is also part of the Garajau Natural Reserve, which is Portugal’s only protected sea reservation. This means that you can easily enjoy the colourful sea life found here while snorkelling and scuba diving in the clear waters on cheap Canico holidays. Along with diving, there are also hiking and mountain bike tours, which take advantage of the luscious surrounding landscape.
More aquatic fun can be found at the Aquaparque water park or on the sandy beaches of nearby island Porto Santo.
One of Madeira’s most well-known sites is the Garajau Natural Marine Park. Protected for its incredible natural beauty, the clear water and amazing marine life make it an unmissable scuba spot for all dive enthusiasts. Those who are more comfortable on dry land can hit the nearby golf course, hire mountain bikes or go exploring the levada walks – routes following the irrigation channels that wind through the mountains collecting rainfall.
The old town of Upper Canico is where you’ll find remnants of the town’s history, in the 18th-century church, old village square and atmospheric streets. The Quinta Splendida is one of the resort’s most popular hotels, located in the grounds of an old mansion with some beautiful botanical gardens that are open to both guests and the public. More sightseeing is only 15 minutes away in atmospheric Funchal.
There is a number of top-ranked golf courses in the area, such as Palheiro Golf Club, which are great if you want to play a few holes in stunning surroundings.
For Brits on cheap Canico holidays, there are numerous dining options available that offer a wide range of culinary delights. For example, Central Restaurant provides a number of Brazilian dishes, whereas La Terraca has more traditional Portuguese fare.
For a local taste, you could try Espetada. This dish consists of large chunks of beef, which are rubbed with salt and garlic before being skewered and cooked over wood chips or hot coals.
Canico has a number of quiet bars in which to enjoy a cooling beverage with friends, and many also offer food. However, with Madeira’s capital Funchal only a short distance away, the parish makes a great base for weekend excursions.