Curral das Freiras is translated into English as Valley of Nuns. It is quite close to Funchal and you can get there by tour bus or go by car.
There is very nice view platform in Eira do Serrado which offers panoramic views over the valley. So even if you don't want to hike, it is still worth going. Hiking trail that starts next to the view platform takes you down to the valley. It's pretty much going down the whole way. But if you then want to get back to your starting point, it is going up the whole way.
We arrived there quite late in the afternoon. We didn't want to finish in the dark and decided to go half-way down and then back up. There is a picnic spot in the middle of the hike and that we picked as our destination and point to turn around.
The hike description is available here: http://tjwalking-madeira.com/freewalk.html
Viewpoint information is here: http://www.visitmadeira.pt/en-gb/explore/detalhe/-eira-do-serrado-viewpoint
The history of the valley and why is it called as it's called is explained here: http://www.madeira-portugal-guide.com/madeira-en/Curral-das-Freiras-maderia.html
And now a little photo report of the hike.
|Road to Eira do Serrado|
|View down from the platform|
|Hike down to the valley|
|Curral das Freiras village|