Gaula was granted the rank of freguesia in 1558 and its name may derive from Amadis de Gaula.
The population in 2001 was 3092, its density was 437.3/km² and the area is 7,07 km². It is located about 8 km NE of Funchal and about 8 km SW of Machico.
The main industry are agriculture. Fruit trees are planted around Gaula. Gaula is surrounded with several streams and the land is sloped mainly at the 20° to a 30° angle. Farmlands and pastures dominate Gaul while the forests and some grasslands and barren lands cover the rest of it. It is connected with a road linking Funchal and Machico and a small road linking to Camacha and Santo António da Serra. The Atlantic Ocean is to the southeast. The mountains are to the northwest.