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Cottage Country

Updated: Jul 1, 2023

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

Chilling out in your own garden space

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.

As we ambled through the arboretum with owner Sophia, I couldn’t get over how adorable the cottages were. In the 1950s, Sophia’s parents developed the Quinta within a 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.

Fifty years on and Sophia and her brother now run the 50-acre property. 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 accommodation are increasing in popularity.

Within Casas Valleparaízo there are nine lovely cottages for holidaymakers looking to spend time in special, secluded surroundings. “People enjoy the privacy of their own house & garden with plenty of room to relax,” Sophia told us. “There are paths to the river and nearby Levadas,” she continued. “You can walk all the way to Monte if you like - 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’ of the Atlantic so you can imagine how prolific the plants are. Sophia’s father carved each of the cottage spaces out of dense woodland. “There are still plenty of trees but we’ve also planted over 250 different species of shrubs and flowers.” It’s a profusion of colour through most of the year.

Daily Bread

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 a ‘Welcome Pack’ with 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.

Friendly Fauna

“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.

Roaring Fire

It’s quite easy to get settled into cottage life here in Camacha. There’s a Continente Supermarket only a twominute 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 which is all you really need these days.

One thing to note about Camacha and Madeira’s other upland villages; it can get quite cool at night.

Chilly Nights

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

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 due to the cold. I eventually figured out there were electric heaters in each of the bedrooms. You’ll need them! Either that or a hot water bottle!


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