Legend and facts


Machico stands out due to an historical factor: it was the first place where Gonçalves Zarco and Tristão Vaz Teixeira, official discoverers of Madeira Island, first landed in 1419.


However, just like in other places full of legends, the origin of Machico also has its own tale.

Sometime before the official discovery, Robert Machim and his beloved Ana d'Arfet found shelter where today lies Machico. According to this legend, the parish of Machico, chief town of the municipality and city, was one of the settings of this tale 


The legend tells the story of an Englishman named Machim, who fell in love with an English damsel, of a higher social class: Ana d´Arfet, who lived in Bristol, in England.


Since the girl’s parents did not want the wedding between the two lovers, they decided to run away, in a ship that was going to France. However, the winds changed the route of what had been expected to be a short journey, and they went all the way to the Island. If this account is true, then the Island was not called Madeira then, for the simple fact that it had not been discovered yet.


According to the legend, the girl, feeling ill went ashore with Robert. However, the ship was dragged by a storm. Ana died. Some say that Machim died, some say that he did not.


According to this latter version, Machim was imprisoned by João Zargo, who watched the seas of Algarve. He was then taken to Prince Henry, to whom he gave the coordinates of the Island, which he would later “discover”.


Truth or not, the fact is that the name of this municipality seems to derive from a corruption of the name Machim.


Officially, the settlement of Madeira Island began in 1420. And it is around that time that the decision was made to divide the Island into two captaincies: Machico and Funchal.

The settlement was made by Portuguese and Africans.


Machico became the headquarters of the captaincy of Tristão Vaz Teixeira.

The Mother Church, from the 15th century, is considered the most important monument in the city.

The graciousness of the bay and the deepness of the valley, make Machico a true celebration of beauty and nature.


Besides the busy fishing port, the main economic activities of Machico also include a lot of trade and services. In addition, there are numerous high quality hotel and catering units.


Today, Machico has about 12 thousand inhabitants in an area of 67.71 km2.

Climate is somewhat variable, but temperatures are very stable all year round.


Useful information

Municipal Public Holiday October 9

Area: 67.71 Km2

Bathing Areas: Machico city bay and Prainha, in Caniçal


How to Get There


From Funchal, take the freeway in the direction of Machico (Funchal-Aeroporto-Machico). You can also choose to go via the old Estrada Regional 101 (regional road). In any case, you must follow the signposts.

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