You reach the Curral das Freiras (or Nuns Valley) from Funchal following north the road number 107. Take the tunnel that runs under the Eira do Serrado to reach Curral.
The Curral das Freiras was a shelter where the nuns went when Funchal was attacked by Moorish pirates. The village lies in the crater of an extinct volcano and is surrounded by the highest peaks of the island. Along the slopes you can see the terraces where the locals lay out their vegetable gardens.
Curral das Freiras is also known for its chestnuts, which are offered in all possible variations in local shops. Especially the Ginja, a liquor of chestnuts (or of cherries), is popular. On November 1 the Chestnut Festival is held here.
On the way back to Funchal don't take the tunnel, but rather the old road leading to the Eira do Serrado . The Eira do Serrado (1090 m) is an hotel, restaurant and souvenir shop, but you especially need to go to the look-out where you have stunning views of the Nuns Valley. From there you can also walk down along a zigzag path that brings you a few hundred feet lower.