São Vicente

São Vicente
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The municipality of São Vicente is located on the north coast of the island of Madeira, and has about 6000 inhabitants spread over an area of 78.70 km2.
São Vicente is an area characterized by green nature and abundant forest, modelled by volcanic forces and erosion in its beautiful slopes. One of the most representative symbols of the picturesque town of São Vicente is the small chapel built inside a basalt rock at the mouth of the stream that runs through the town.

Their predominant economic activity is based on the primary and tertiary sectors, particularly in agriculture and services, with emphasis on tourism.

In the heart of São Vicente one finds the Indigenous Garden, with an area of 2,200 m2, where dozens of species of local flora are represented.

The Museum Centre Rota do Cal (Lime Route) situated in this parish, is composed of a pedestrian trip that takes about 30 minutes from the quarries of limestone extraction to the museum.

From the Encumeada Belvedere, in Ribeira Brava, we have magnificent views of the mountain range that crosses Madeira and various areas of São Vicente, namely the Laurel Forest.

In the parish of São Vicente there is an extensive area of Laurel Forest. The importance of laurel is due to both its representation in terms of diversity of species of flora and fauna and the respective state of conservation. The Laurel Forest was classified as a Natural Heritage Site of UNESCO in 1999.

This municipality is divided into the parishes of Bonaventura, Ponta Delgada and São Vicente.

São Vicente
The village owes its name to São Vincent possibly due to the fact that when the first settlers of this northern area descended through Encumeada and toward the São Vicente valley they found numerous crows flying over the valley, and remembered the Spanish martyr, called Saint Vincent, whose remains were defended by one of those birds.

In the heart of São Vicente one finds the Indigenous Garden, with an area of 2,200 m2, where dozens of species of local flora are represented. This publicly accessible location features many species of laurel and some other species typical of the cliffs on the seaside.

Here you can find the caves and the volcanic center of São Vicente an authentic journey into the heart of the island a location that features evidences of the volcanic activity which was the base of its origin.
The parish of Boaventura was separated from the parish of Ponta Delgada in the year 1836. The origin of its name is not clear, but it has had this name since mid-sixteenth century.

This parish is situated in mountainous terrain, regarded by many as a true sanctuary of nature. It is known for its amazing valleys, crossed by several rivers and has been sought due to the calmness it affords. Its economy is based mainly on agriculture, but also on small trade, services and tourism.

Boaventura has many levadas such as Achada Grande, Grande Levada, which extends its irrigation to Ponta Delgada, Faias, Achada dos Alves e Pastel and Achada or Serrão. All these levadas originate in the Moinhos stream. Here you can still see basalt structures with curious shapes as the “chimney” and the “Carapita”.
Ponta Delgada
Ponta Delgada is a parish since 1552. Covering an area of 8.8 km2.

The origin of its name is due to the ‘narrow tip of land, that goes into the sea contrasting with the tall cliffs and so it became Ponta Delgada' according to Gaspar Frutuoso in the book “Saudades da Terra”.

Its economy is based on agriculture, small shops and services, and tourism.

This parish is home to the Dr. Horácio Bento de Gouveia House-Museum. This house of traditional civil Madeiran architecture, dating from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries belonged to Horácio Bento de Gouveia, teacher, journalist and writer of an extensive collection of literary work was born. A variety of antiques and objects connected to the writer during his professional life are on display here.

On the first weekend of September in Ponta Delgada there is a big arraial (outdoor festivity), in honour of Santíssimo Sacramento, best known as “arraial do Bom Jesus”. Pilgrims from all over the island come to this festivity. This is one of the largest and most traditional festivities of Madeira.

Here we find the Bathing Complex of Ponta Delgada which offers excellent conditions for bathers with two saltwater swimming pools, solariums, bar, spa and first aid services.
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