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Cottage Country

“In a cottage in a wood, a ‘Quinta’ and its gardens stood”

Chilling out in your own garden space… Casas Valleparaízo makes you feel at home.

On the outskirts of the upland village of Camacha, Casas Valleparaízo is the ideal accommodation if you want a bit of peace and quiet. Hansel & Gretel would be absolutely enchanted with this place! This former estate with its charmingly cute cottages is front-cover fodder for ‘House & Garden’ magazine. We ambled through the arboretum with owner Sophia and I just couldn’t get over how adorable the cottages were. In the 1950s, Sophia’s parents developed the Quinta within an existing, large apple orchard. Camacha is famous for its apples and pears. “People would come to the big house to buy the fruit,” she informed us.

The ‘Big House’ was the original accommodation at Casas Valleparaízo

Fifty years on and Sophia and her brother now run the 50-acre property as a rural treat for discerning holidaymakers. It was their father’s idea to turn the family estate into a holiday retreat in the early 1990s. At the time, this type of accommodation was unique in Madeira. Now, holistic alternatives to hotel accommodations are increasingly popular. Within Casas Valleparaízo, there are now nine lovely cottages for holidaymakers looking to spend time in special, secluded surroundings. “People enjoy the privacy of their own house & garden,” Sophia told us. “There are paths to the river and nearby Levadas,” she continued. Levada da Serra do Faial passes right through the property so you can step out of your cottage and start walking. “You can walk all the way to Monte if you like,” Sophia continued, “which would take about 5 hours. There are also several shorter walks, for instance, following the Levada towards Camacha.”


“A profusion of colour through most of the year”

Besides the adorable cottages, the gardens and arboreal specimens of Casas Valleparaízo cast another spell. Madeira is, after all, the ‘Garden Isle’ so you can imagine how prolific the plants here are. Sophia’s father carved each of the cottage spaces out of dense woodland. “There are still plenty of trees but we’ve planted over 250 different species of shrubs and flowers.” It’s a profusion of colour throughout the year.


Sophia’s sister Filipa, whom we also met on arrival, bakes fresh bread every day which is available to guests at a modest price. They can also supply you with a ‘Welcome Pack’, a bottle of red wine, water, milk, tea, coffee, sugar, jam, butter, ham, cheese and bread. If you book in advance, Filipa can even prepare an evening meal, delivered personally to your cottage door.

Casas Valleparaízo’s kitchens come fully equipped.

The original ‘digital nomad’! Casas Valleparaízo is ideal for a bit of peace & quiet


“He has three girlfriends,” she told me.

As we arrived at our accommodation, I noticed a peacock under a bush. “He has three girlfriends,” she told me. “If he has less, he becomes bad-tempered.” I know the feeling! Left to our own devices, I set up my laptop on the wicker table on our cottage lawn. It was 6.30 pm and far too nice to go indoors. The peacock was now preening himself on our roof, keeping an eye on proceedings.


One thing to note about Camacha and Madeira’s other upland villages; it can get quite cool at night. Nothing a roaring log fire and sip of Madeira won’t fix…

It’s quite easy to get settled into cottage life here in Camacha. There’s a Continente Supermarket only a two-minute drive away and the cottage kitchen comes fully equipped. If you want to eat out, there are a half dozen good restaurants only minutes away. After our home-cooked dinner, we settled in for the evening. There’s no television in the cottages but good internet connection which is all you need.


“Nothing a roaring log fire and a sip of Madeira wine won’t fix!”

The resident peacock bids us goodbye!

One thing to note about Camacha and Madeira’s other upland villages; it can get quite cool at night. Nothing a roaring log fire and a sip of Madeira wine won’t fix! But I did wake up around 2 am and finally figured out why there were electric heaters in each of the bedrooms. For more information on booking Casas Valleparaízo, visit

David J. Whyte


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