Câmara de Lobos


Discover the charming seaside town of Câmara de Lobos in Madeira. Winston Churchill’s favorite town.

In Câmara de Lobos you will see a beautiful traditional village by the sea with colorful fishing boats, cobbled streets, a seaside promenade, a beach, and a lot more which we invite you to discover in this post.

Câmara de Lobos is Winston Churchill’s favorite town.

For us, this place was one of the highlights during our trip to Madeira. Besides, it is located near Funchal, which makes it very convenient to visit.

Key Takeaways from a visit to Câmara de Lobos

Historic Fishing Village: Câmara de Lobos has its roots as a traditional fishing village.
Winston Churchill’s Inspiration: The town is famous for being a favored spot of Winston Churchill. He visited Madeira in the 1950s and spent time painting its stunning landscapes, particularly the bay of Câmara de Lobos.
Scenic Beauty: Câmara de Lobos is surrounded by breathtaking landscapes, including dramatic cliffs, lush green hills, and the expansive Atlantic Ocean.
Accessibility: Câmara de Lobos is easily accessible from Funchal, making it a popular day trip.

Here is a glimpse of what Câmara de Lobos looks like:

Câmara de Lobos. Madeira, Portugal

It is believed that Câmara de Lobos is the initial landing point of Portuguese explorer João Gonçalves Zarco. It is the area where he landed in 1419.

And this is where the first colony was established. Câmara de Lobos became a parish in 1430, with an economy based on fishing, agriculture and wine production.

The municipality was created in 1835. In 1994, it became a town and no longer a village.

Câmara de Lobos harbour

When you arrive, the first thing you will see is the natural cove with crystal clear waters, colorful boats, black basalt rocks, a small white lighthouse, and a giant mural… The viewpoint when arriving from Funchal is stunning!

There is a small pebble beach near the port. However, if you plan to swim or sunbathe, we recommend the other beach at Praia de Vigaro (here).

Enjoy the promenade along the harbor. You will most likely see the elderly locals playing some card games in the morning by the seafront.

Câmara de Lobos

As you head towards the lighthouse, look back towards the town and you will see the terraces covered in banana plantations.

The real Câmara de Lobos fishing boats are distinctive, they are called “Xavelhas”. Proud fishermen paint them. A few very old traditional boats are still in the harbour, which adds to the charm of Câmara de Lobos.

Câmara de Lobos, Sea lion mural

One of the most photographed places in Camara de Lobos is the seal mural. It is massive and made from recycled materials. It was created by the Portuguese artist Bordallo II, as part of a project for World Oceans Day.

According to him, he creates images of the victims of pollution, using what destroys them.

3. Explore the old town, our favorite part at Câmara de Lobos in Madeira

Câmara de Lobos old town

Wander through the old town with its charming atmosphere and many traditional restaurants.

The streets around the port have cobblestones, colorful decorations, and plants that add to the beauty of the scenes. Take your time to walk around.

4. Visit the Capela de Nossa Senhora da Conceicao

Capela de Nossa Senhora da Conceicao at Câmara de Lobos

Right next to the port there is a small chapel. Don’t confuse it with the church. This is the Fisherman’s Chapel, Capela de Nossa Senhora da Conceicao.

The exterior is quite neutral, with white walls and brown stones. But step inside and discover rich ornamentation, including paintings and a painted ceiling. It was founded in the 15th century and rebuilt in the 18th century.

5. Take a look at the church Igreja Matriz de São Sebastião

Igreja Matriz de São Sebastião in Câmara de Lobos

The main church in the village is Igreja Matriz de Sao Sebastiao. From the outside, it is a typical black and white Madeiran church, built between the 17th and 18th centuries.

Inside, the style is baroque with 3 naves, gold chandeliers and wooden sculptures. Worth taking a look.

6. Explore Jardim do Ilheu

Câmara de Lobos - Portugal

Between the port side of and the beach side, you can see what is called the “Camara islet”. It is actually a rocky hill.

It has been transformed to attract more tourists to Câmara de Lobos. Today it is a beautiful garden where you can enjoy beautiful views of the cliffs, the beach, the town, and the top of the church with its typical orange roof.

At the end of the garden is the boat “Coroa do Ilheu”. It was placed here in 2019 to commemorate 600 years since the discovery of Madeira.

7. Relax at the beach Praia de Vigaro

Best things to do in Câmara de Lobos

To the west of the town, once you pass the lighthouse and continue along the seafront, you will reach the area of ​​Praia de Vigaro where you will find a pebble beach and a museum.

The main beach in Camara de Lobos is Praia do Vigário. This pebble beach is free to access.

Previously, it was used by fishermen to prepare their equipment for black scabbard fishing and to dry clothes. Now it is mostly a tourist beach.

8. Visit the Museum of Imprensa da Madeira

Just above the beach is the MIM, Museu de Imprensa da Madeira, a museum about the history of printing. It’s a fairly large museum, given its niche subject. More information here.

9. Walk at Caminho do Calhau

Madeira - Câmara de Lobos

To the east of the port towards Funchal, there is a staircase to reach the elevated promenade: Caminho do Calhau

The trail offers beautiful views of the harbor, boats, town, cliffs and hills. We really enjoyed the outlook from this side of town. Once you’ve climbed the stairs, it’s an easy paved path past the waterfront houses.

10. Forno da Cal

Not far away you will see a strange old building. This is Forno da Cal.

This lime kiln was built in 1874 to produce lime. It was restored several times during the 20th century but ceased its activity in the 70s.
Residents complained about the smell and the smoke. Processed lime has started to be imported.

Today, it is considered a local heritage.

11. Enjoy the best view of Câmara de Lobos at Churchill’s viewpoint

Best things to do in Câmara de Lobos

Winston Churchill is associated with Câmara de Lobos.

Reopening after World War II, Madeira’s Reid’s Palace Hotel invited Mr Churchill for a holiday in 1950. He agreed and came with his wife. They took a car from Funchal to Câmara de Lobos and Churchill fell in love with this charming town.

He then found his favorite spot and started painting, a place that is now known as Churchill’s Viewpoint. It sits just above the harbor on the east side.

He was supposed to stay longer in Madeira, but had to leave after just 12 days due to the general election in England. But after that, the locals did everything to include Churchill in the marketing of Câmara de Lobos. There is also a statue of Winston Churchill at near the harbor.

Other things to see nearby

Now that you’ve explored Câmara de Lobos, continue your visit to the surroundings area. There are lots of things to see.

Câmara de Lobos

First, you can drive for a few minutes up to higher ground and reach the Miradouro da Torre. A viewpoint that offers a magnificent view of the city with its orange roofs and its port.

Even from here, you can see how colorful the boats are!

View from the cliff at Cabo Girao

The Cabo Girao Skywalk is Madeira’s most famous viewpoint. Here, the cliffs reach 589 meters. The highest in Europe! Incredible, isn’t it?

A transparent platform was built recently to appreciate the height.

Cabo Girao, is one of the main highlights in Madeira. Make sure to check it out during your trip on the island.


Câmara de Lobos

Faja do Padres is one of the 7 cable cars in Madeira. As you may have read already, Madeira is famous for its many cable cars around the island. Due to the landscape and very high cliffs, taking a cable car is sometimes the only way to reach certain places.

Faja do Padres is one of the most touristic and for good reason. After taking the cable car down the beach, you can access a beautiful garden and restaurant.

The view from the cable car is also stunning. Perhaps even more than in Cabo Girao

You can book several circuits including the visit to the gardens and the fruit tasting. See the official website.

Hiking Levada do norte

Levada do Norte is a beautiful hike that starts just below Cabo Girão (here we added a pin for the start of the hike, which is not easy to find). After going down the stairs take a left and follow the levada.

Levada do Norte offers incredible views of Madeira but you will also be able to explore the local farmers and the many plantations along the way. We walked for about 1 hour and then turned back. However, Levada do Norte is one of the longest levada hikes in Madeira with 65 kilometres in length and several tunnels. It crosses most of the island.

MADEIRA ISLAND . Doca do Cavacas

Doca do Cavaca is one of the natural pools in Madeira where you can swim in sea water surrounded by lava rocks. This natural pool is located on a small point next to the large beach of Praia Formosa.

The lava rocks have been modified to allow visitors to walk and bathe in them.

Best hotels in Câmara de Lobos

One of our favorite hotels in Madeira is actually located in Câmara de Lobos: Pestana Churchill Bay. This old fish market was transformed into a gorgeous hotel right by the harbor. The location is perfect, the hotel is stunning and they have an amazing rooftop pool overlooking the sea.

Best hotel in Câmara de Lobos

Another fabulous boutique hotel is Pestana Fisherman Village. This hotel is located in the picturesque historic center.

The hotel offers several living rooms, a library, a cloister, a patio with a water mirror, and a terrace with a panoramic swimming pool on the rooftop.

Câmara de Lobos

By car

If you are driving in Madeira, which is by far the best way to explore the island, then it would be fairly easy to get to Câmara de Lobos from Funchal. Count about 15min to drive there.

If you do not have a car, you can also consider taking a taxi.

By bus

You can take Bus Line 7 from Funchal to Camara de Lobos. However the best and most economical way to visit Funchal and its surroundings such as Camara de Lobos is by joining the Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour! You can buy your bus ticket here.

Câmara de Lobos

No wonder why Winston Churchill fell in love with Câmara de Lobos. This town full of charm is a must-see in Madeira. Its proximity to Funchal makes it an easy place to visit as well.

After renting our car, Câmara de Lobos was the first place we visited. What a great start to exploring Madeira!

For more information on things to do in Madeira check out THE 30 BEST THINGS TO SEE IN MADEIRA.

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  1. Currently on holiday in Camara de lobos [penstana fisherman village hotel] found your blog [?] really helpful….will visit the palace gardens whilst in Funchal!
    Thank you and well done!

    1. Hi Neil, thanks for your comment, glad you enjoy it! Indeed fisherman village hotel is really cool ! Enjoy your trip in Madeira 🙂