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Estreito de Câmara de Lobos
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Estreito de Câmara de Lobos
Madeira Wine Land
When talking about Madeira wine, you have to inevitably recall Estreito de Câmara de Lobos. The connection of this civil parish to the production of wine is so close that the place changes colour twice a year, when the vast extensions of vineyards have their leaves green or purple.
According to some, the name Estreito (narrow) de Câmara de Lobos is owed to the geographic characteristic: a canyon on a narrow valley. However, there are also those who believe that the name comes from a given place or location that, as a whole, had been formerly called Estreito. In time, the term would end up by including the surrounding areas, until it would later designate the whole parish.
The parish was probably established in 1509, date when settlement started.
The historic heritage of Estreito de Câmara de Lobos is basically constituted by the church of Nossa Senhora da Graça and by its chapels.
Besides the religious buildings, the parish is a compulsory passing point for very important tourism destinations such as Boca dos Namorados, Boca da Corrida and Quinta do Jardim da Serra. These places belonged to Estreito until 1996; afterwards they became part of the newly founded Jardim da Serra.
The parish has other points of interest, such as Levada do Norte, which you can access from Estreito, at Sítio do Calvário. This is a starting point for a hike through this water-course, that conveys water from the north of the island to the municipalities of Ribeira Brava and Câmara de Lobos.
In terms of gastronomy, the espetada (meat on a spit) is known as having originated in this parish. Apparently, in the 1950s, the owner of a small bar – which later was turned into a restaurant, "As Vides" – broke a century-old tradition by introducing the espetada as a gastronomic specialty in the bar.
In no time, the other restaurant owners in the island followed him. Today espetada is one of the most typical dishes in Madeira.
The parish of Estreito stands out from the others in the island for its great commercial development. The most characteristic activity is agriculture, where vine growing assumes an important role.
Every year, in the summer, "Festa das Vindimas” (harvesting festival) takes place, which is considered to be the most important cultural and promotional exhibition of the civil parish of Estreito de Câmara de Lobos.
This festival was first organised in September 1963, by what was then called Delegação de Turismo da Madeira – today’s Direcção Regional de Turismo (Regional Directorate of Tourism).
After a few years interval, the harvesting festival returned to Estreito, in 1979, as part of the festivities held in Funchal by Secretaria Regional do Turismo e Cultura (Regional Secretarial for Tourism and Culture).
Musical entertainment constitutes an important part of the festival, with the presence of groups, bands and folk groups. In addition, there are also allegoric parades, wine pressing gatherings and an exhibition of the parish’s activities.
Religious festivities also assume a great importance in this civil parish, such as the one in Nossa Senhora da Graça parish church, held on August 15.
Climate is very pleasant throughout the year, with average temperatures above 15ºC (59ºF), in the summer.
However, higher up, the remaining seasons are not as mild.
How to Get There
To get to Estreito de Câmara de Lobos from Funchal, you need to follow the freeway towards Ribeira Brava (Funchal - Ribeira Brava). When you arrive at Câmara de Lobos, you must exit and follow Estreito. Take the Estrada Regional 101 (regional road) and go up, following the road-signs.