Things to Do in Santa Cruz, Portugal

Whether you’re visiting on a day trip or staying longer, there’s no shortage of fun things to do in Santa Cruz. Embrace the chilled vibe in this coastal city that’s home to family fun, wildlife encounters and tasty food.

Browse boutiques and shops that showcase the local culture in downtown Santa Cruz. Shop for organic gifts and peruse the shelves of Bookshop Santa Cruz.

Cascata do Aveiro

Visiting the beautiful Cascata do Aveiro is one of the best things to do in Santa Cruz. This amazing waterfall is definitely worth the visit, especially when you go during the summer!

You will find it at the end of the road in Maia. I really recommend that you stay there for at least half an hour to hear the water falling and observe nature together with the ducks in the Little lake.

Also, you should visit Dig Gardens, a cute garden store that sells a wide range of plants, pillows, kitchenware and jewellery. It’s a great place to buy souvenirs for your family and friends. If you’re a big fan of surfing, don’t forget to watch local surfers catch some waves at Steamer Lane, the beach that was used as a filming location for Chasing Mavericks! And don’t forget to take a stroll along West Cliff Drive for stunning views of the ocean. This is the perfect spot for a romantic stroll!

Piscinas da Maia

A trip to Santa Cruz wouldn’t be complete without visiting the classic seaside amusement park. Take a ride on the hair-raising Giant Dipper roller coaster or delight in the sights of the Looff Carousel, a beautiful attraction featuring 73 hand-carved horses.

If you’re traveling with kids, visit the Roaring Camp Railroads, a logging town replica from the 1880s that offers an hour-long ride through the redwood forest. Pet a shark at the local aquarium, say hello to a King Snake at the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History across from Seabright State Beach or watch the surfers catch some waves at Steamer Lane.

To fill your belly, head to Abbott Square Market to sample a range of culinary treats from local businesses. Eat Baja style fish tacos from Snap Tacos or try fusion tacos with a twist, such as Magical Animal (ginger glazed pork belly and homemade kimchi). You can also find tasty oysters, lobster rolls and chowders at All Aboard or a poke bowl that combines Hawaiian and Asian flavors at Poke It.

Ermida de Nossa Senhora de Fatima

With an average of 300 days of sunshine a year, Santa Cruz attracts local and international surfers. Known as the birthplace of mainland surfing, the town is home to a museum dedicated to the sport.

Visit the Centro de Interpretacao Ambiental Dalberto Pombo, an interactive centre that showcases a series of stuffed animals endemic to the island and migrating species. You can also check out Casa dos Fosseis, which features a collection of marine fossils that date back millions of years.

To get to Ermida de Nossa Senhora de Fatima from Santa Cruz Damaia, take a train ride on Comboios De Portugal. The journey takes around 29 minutes and tickets cost $1 – $3. Download the Moovit App to see detailed schedules and get step-by-step directions. This will help you plan your trip. Moovit is available for Android and iOS devices. Alternatively, you can visit the official website of Comboios De Portugal. This website provides train schedules, ticket prices, and other information.

Forte da Prainha

For a unique day trip, head to the old fortress on Praia da Rocha beach. This 16th-century attraction provides a stunning backdrop to take photos, and it’s also an excellent spot to spot marine wildlife, including seals and birds.

There are plenty of other fun things to do in Santa Cruz, from petting a shark at the local aquarium and taking a ride on the historic Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk to visiting Monarch Grove to see thousands of monarch butterflies flitting around the natural preserve. There are also many family-friendly attractions, like the Natural Bridges State Park where you can walk beneath a natural arch, or the Roaring Camp Railroads where kids can pet a King Snake and ride the Giant Dipper roller coaster.

Moovit makes it easy to find and explore all the best places in Santa Cruz, including the top things to do and the top things to see. Download the Moovit App for free and get step-by-step directions for Bus, Train or Metro routes that pass through your location.

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