“Do you ever dream of being transported to the ‘perfect spot’, somewhere where you can totally relax and get away from it all? I think I’ve found it!”
This is one of the best places I’ve stumbled upon. And if you come to Madeira, you really
must plan to stumble upon it too!
Fajã dos Padres is only reachable by boat or cable car and a world apart from the usual day excursions you find on Madeira. I’m not disrespecting all the other wonderful places to visit on these islands but this one’s special for sure!
We sailed in on the ‘Pilar de Banger’, an elegant Turkish schooner about 23m in length and the ideal way to float into this ‘dream day’. En route, we were escorted by a posse of Atlantic dolphins and pilot whales.
Fajã dos Padres has been an idyllic escape since it was developed into a Quinta (farm) by Jesuit priestsn the 1700s. Today, it’s still a working farm brimming with organic grapes, mangoes, avocado and exotic fruits such as papaya, pitanga, passion fruit, pineapple, pomegranates and of course, bananas.
The small bay and fertile strip of Fajã is run by Emanuel Jardim Fernandes and his wife, Isabel, the granddaughter of the man who originally purchased the place from the Jesuits back in 1921. Basically, it’s a long strip of highly fertile, south-facing land protected by cliffs to the rear and a crystalline Atlantic to the fore. Surely, this is like the Garden of Eden.
There’s even a Madeira wine cellar and perhaps one of the best lunch restaurants on the islands. We started in the wine cellar (who wouldn’t) taking a tour with Isabel.
Madeira Malvasia wine otherwise known as ‘Malmsey’ is the sweetest form of Madeira with twice the residual sugar as the island’s other fortified wines such as Sercial or Madeira Verdelho.
Restaurant Fajã dos Padres
Isabel treated us to an aperitif or two before we made our way to lunch. The restaurant in Fajã dos Padres makes the most of the products from the vegetable garden along with local meat and of course, the freshest of fish. We started with Grilled Limpets and Salted Tuna. The best dish is probably the Black Scabbard Fish with Mango - at least it was my favourite.
Chef also served up his own salted octopus recipe with Curry à la crème. Absolutely delicious!
I’d say this is amongst some of the best food on the island.
If you really want to get a major dose of this place, there are nine cottages to rent, wonderful old buildings that have been developed over the generations. Some of these were former homes of settlers, others served as barns, and a warehouse. Nowadays they are simple yet comfortable accommodations that really let you experience the essence of this place.
With the abundance of vineyards and orchards all around, your own homegrown organic fruit and vegetables can be delivered daily to your door. If you really don’t want anything to do with the outside world for a spell at least, they’ll even arrange a grocery shopping delivery service.
Paradise Opening Times
The restaurant is only open from 10am till 6pm for Day Visitors and until 10pm for Cottage guests. If you do just come for the day, bring your appetite, swimming costume and make the most ofthis wonderful paradise. . You can sunbathe by the pier or simply sit in the restaurant loungers until it’s time to go home.