Paul do Mar, Calheta region: perfect for Trail Running and Orientation!
Paul do Mar is a parish in the municipality of Calheta in Madeira in Portugal.
The population in 2001 was 885. It is 3 km from Calheta and about 1 km from Fajã da Ovelha. Calheta has an important art centre (Casa das Mudas) and the typical facilities that you would expect in a small town. The main activity in Paul do Mar is fishing and agriculture, particularly, banana-growing.
Paul do Mar has shops, a small supermarket, bars, restaurants, a patisserie/bakery, a school, Catholic church, a health centre, a bank, a football ground, a four-star hotel and a range of self-catering holiday houses and flats.
In 2001 Paul do Mar was one of the venues for the World Surfing Championships and is also a renowned spot for whale and dolphin watching.
From the capital Funchal follow the Fast road (‘via rapida’) to Ribeira Brava, then follow the signs to Ponta do Sol, Madalena do Mar,Calheta. At the Calheta marina roundabout go straight on and then descend to Jardim do Mar and Paul do Mar.
Its easy to get around Paul do Mar as its one of the flattest villages in the region between mountains and the ocean. Most people walk along the ocean front to move between the different quarters of the village. But, its great for cycling and rollerskating too! If you want to drive there is plenty of free parking all along the front and the best place to park near the harbour is next to the large church which you cannot miss because of its height.
See the bodyboarding and stand-up surfing. Paul do Mar was one of the venues in 2001 for the World Surfing Championships
See and walk the PR19 Caminho Real do Paul do Mar walk up a valley with a waterfall to Prazeres 400 metres above. Start at the harbour. It takes about an hour.
See Engenho da Calheta a museum and a sugar cane processing factory in the Calheta district of Madeira.
There are two mills for crushing the sugar cane. The waste or bagasse falls down a chute and is removed by a conveyor belt below the mills.
Some of the machinery is 200 years old and steam powered.
The museum and factory with a cafe is situated about half-way down the hill between the Calheta Marina roundabout outside the two tunnels and the ocean front road next to the white sand beaches of Calheta district.
Buy and eat ‘lapas’ the fish in seashells that live on the rocks on the beach of Paul do Mar. Traditionally they are fried in garlic and beer a lager is recommended to be drunk with them
When visiting a historic fishing village such as Paul do Mar eating fresh seafood is a must. Eat ‘lapas’ the fish in seashells that live on the rocks on the beach of Paul do Mar. Traditionally they are a snack, a starter to a meal fried in garlic and beer, a lager is recommended to be drunk with them. The other favourite fish dish is ‘espada’ the ugly but, delicious black scabbard fish which lives thousand of metres below the ocean surface.
Whilst in Paul do Mar village the traditional drinks are the soft drink ‘Brisa Maracuja’ a fizzy drink made only in Madeira from passion fruit. Passion fruits grow in Paul do Mar. The local lager which has won international awards ‘Coral’ and of course Portuguese and Madeiran red, white and Rose wines which can generally be bought by the glass or by the bottle with or without a meal. By the way, a ‘bica’ coffee is a standard expresso and a ‘Chinesa’ is a Cappucino coffee.
In Paul do Mar there are all types of accommodation from a four star hotel  to private holiday homes such as Sunny House West.
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