Jardim do Mar

Jardim do Mar is not actually listed in our guide book, but our guide book has picked the most touristy spots on the island, only, so we are happy to leave the guide a bit behind.  Why exactly Jardim do Mar became a destination, we cannot say. But lunch time was approaching, we weren’t hungry and decided to go somewhere close for a stroll first.

Literally translated, Jardim do Mar means “Garden of the Sea”. It is a small village — as the name gives away — located by the sea. Yet there is a certain level of steepness to it.

What we like the most is that it appears untouched by tourism: in stark contrast to for example Ribeira Brava, Jardim do Mar does not seem to focus its existence around hotels and beach restaurants. There is the occasional B&B, and there is the occasional other camera-carrying tourist around, but if villages can have an attitude, I would interpret Jardim do Mar’s as sleepy and indifferent to our presence. Madeira is not a specifically pushy place, yet this feels refreshing.

The place isn’t big, but it is peaceful. We walk down narrow alleys that bring us from the centre to the sea, walk around the shoreside of the village, dip our feet in the Atlantic and return back by little plots of land and houses. We follow the water system upwards; it trickles nicely down along the sides of the narrow streets. When it is not seen, it can be heard underneath us. I am fascinated by an underground garden we walk over.

It isn’t a place to visit if the purpose is excitement (except for surfers, maybe). But It is a place to visit if you want a peaceful stroll to simply get a feel for local life, away from the areas tailored to cater for tourists.

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