Porto da Cruz

The little fishing village of Porto da Cruz is a charming spot on the northeast coast. While sights are few, the town still makes a pleasant day trip from Funchal, hanging out at one of the bustling cafés or restaurants that are gathered around the attractive little harbor. At its western end there’s a great seawater swimming pool right on the seafront, which is popular in summer. Take the seafront promenade past here for an attractive walk to the Companhia dos Engenhos do Norte, a working rum distillery—you can peer inside to look at its giant wooden barrels used to store the aguardente liqueur. This firewater, a sugarcane brandy, can be tasted at any bar in the village. It's far more palatable when tasted as part of the island's famous cocktail, poncha, mixed with honey and lemon juice.

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