The largest municipality on the island of Madeira occupies an area of approximately 116 km². One of the most sought after artificial sand beaches is located in Calheta. It is also in this municipality that the Arts Centre 'Casa das Mudas' is located. This masterpiece by architect Paulo David was nominated for the 2005 Mies van der Rohe European prize for contemporary architecture.
Apparently the name Calheta was given for the small inlet that serves as its harbour and which welcomed the discoverer João Gonçalves Zarco in his arrival to the municipality. There are eight parishes that make up the municipality of Calheta: the Arco da Calheta, Calheta, Estreito da Calheta, Fajã da Ovelha, Jardim do Mar, Paul do Mar, Ponta do Pargo and Prazeres.
In addition to its beautiful scenery, this area offers great hiking trails and great beaches to visitors. Among the beaches, the Jardim do Mar pebble beach is considered by surfing enthusiasts to be the best 'point break' in Madeira.
Calheta is also famous for producing the best brandy of the island. This is an essential ingredient for making the “Poncha” - a traditional drink of Madeira. You can taste the brandy in the distillery of the Engenho da Calheta, where you can also learn about the production process.