Porto Moniz, Madeira Island, Portugal

Set high on a hill looking over the seafront, Porto Moniz is a remote coastal town located at the north-westernmost point of Madeira, well sheltered by a narrow peninsula that points toward a picturesque islet called Ilhéu Mole.

Its most interesting characteristic and major attraction for tourists is a system of seawater pools created by the reefs in the coastal lava rocks. Swimming is safe in summer but often dangerous during the winter months.

Located 15 km east of Porto Moniz is São Vicente, a charming agricultural town nestling on an inlet along Madeira’s rugged north coast. Its 17th-century parish church features an impressive painted ceiling of St Vincent blessing the town.

The journey along the coast road to and from Porto Moniz is one of the most breathtaking driving experiences in southern Europe. The road, little more than a corridor cut into the sheer cliffs, dips and rises as it passes through tunnels and overhead waterfalls.