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This seaside town has been the second most important centre since the first settlers arrived in Madeira, but as Funchal developed due to its location and harbour, Machico lost much of its influence and became a tranquil agricultural town.

The Mother Church, from the 15th century, contains fine paintings, decorated tiles, Manueline stone-masonry and a Gothic south portal with marble pillars.

Also worth visiting are the Chapel of Miracles, rebuilt in 1815, the fountain of São Roque and the forts of Nossa Senhora do Amparo and São João Baptista (17th century).

Around Caniçal, the predominant green and wooded scenery of the island gives place to drier land of a yellowish hue which contrasts with the deep blue sea. It was once the centre of the whaling industry, but now the waters around Madeira have been declared a marine mamal sanctuary, and it is forbidden to kill whales, dolphins and seals. All there is now is the Whaling Museum, but Caniçal remains a colourful and busy fishing port.

Ponta de São Lourenço, the easternmost tip of the island, shows cliffs rising 180 metres above the Atlantic in an arid landscape without trees and only wild flowers growing in some hollows.

Nearby, Prainha is Madeira's only beach with white sand (other beaches in the island have dark sand or pebbles).

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