Caniçal lies on the eastern coast of Madeira, between Ponta de São Lourenço and Machico, surrounded by mountains to the west and by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and south.
As a result of the dryness of the land and scarceness of the water its dwellers turned to sea and it became one of the most important fishing ports on the island. From 1941 to 1982 the population of Caniçal lived on commercial whaling of which the Whale Museum is the only reminder. Currently, they catch mainly tuna, caught in Madeira between May and September
Since 2006 Caniçal is the main 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 fossilised the roots of the plants that once populated the area, called “Calcários da Piedade”.
The festival of Our Lady of Mercy, patron saint of the local fishermen, is celebrated on the third weekend of September. The highlight of the festival 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