Nestled in a steep valley between the main highway and the coast, the village of Calheta boasts two golden sand beaches. The nearest supermarket can be found across the street from the beach. Deep sea fishing and/or whale and dolphin watching can be enjoyed from Calheta harbor. Arrangements can be made for you, or you can head down to the marina to explore your options.
In years past, Calheta was a customs post for sugar exports. Stop by the Engenhos da Calheta (Mon-Fri 8 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat-Sun 9 a.m.-6 p.m.), still a working rum distillery. You can see the old collection of stream-powered cogs and wheels, used to grind, press and extract the juice from the raw cane. Just next door is the village church, Igreja Matriz which dates back to the 1430, though it was mostly rebuilt in 1639.
Dramatically perched on the clifftop to provide a magnificent view of the sea, the art centre of Calheta can be found. It has become Madeira's leading exhibition space, hosting shows devoted to international and national artists. In contemporary style, its grey interlocking cubes are half built into the cliff. It has been open since 2004.. To explore Calheta, simply follow the signs found at the roundabout on the main highway.
Calheta is an administrative region in the South West of Madeira and covers an area of 115 sq Kilometres and eight villages.