Caniçal lies on east of Madeira, between Ponta de São Lourenço and Machico, surrounded by mountains on the west and by the Atlantic Ocean on the north and south.
As a result of the dryness of the land and scarceness of the water its dwellers turned to the sea and it became one of the most important fishing ports of the island. From 1941 to 1982 Caniçal’s population lived on commercial whaling of which the Whale Museum is the only reminder. Currently they catch mainly tuna fish, caught in Madeira between May and September.
Caniçal is since 2006 home of the trade port of the island.
Caniçal is particularly known for its tiny sandy beach, called “Praínha”; the formations of calcium carbonate, also known as calcite which immortalised the roots of the plants that once populated the area, called “Calcários da Piedade”; and the festival of Our Lady of Mercy, patron saint of the local fishermen, celebrated on the third weekend of September, which highlight is a colourful and unique boat procession, a very interesting ancient tradition that attracts locals and visitors to this charming and picturesque village.
Paula Camacho (Official Tourist Guide)
Photo Courtesy of Lina Pestana