Top attractions in Funchal
Historically an important port city in Portugal, Funchal is one of the largest cities in the country. Visitors will delight in the fact that Christopher Columbus himself, was one of the early settlers in Funchal. Take a tip from the explorers of years past, and discover Funchal today!
Inside the Gothic cathedral of Funchal you'll find a statue of Pope John Paul II. The cathedral, built in the fifteenth century, is a remarkable piece of Funchal history. Metalwork of Portugal is renowned and the silver processional cross in the cathedral is a premier example.
For the best views of Funchal take a day trip to Pico do Arieiro. The drive up is tree-lined and picturesque, even on cloudy days. We recommend going early in the day to beat the tourist traffic.
A sampling of local flora and fauna like you won't see anywhere else. Experience the region's cactus, grasses, and flowers at the Jardim Botanico. The perfect post lunch afternoon activity, the garden is great for families and children as well.
The botanical garden runs a cable car system, Teleférico do Funchal, that let's you enjoy panoramic views of the vast landscape beneath your toes.
The beautiful Convento de Santa Clara is a church full of soothing charm. Visitors are requested to speak quietly as they admire the three chapels: one for the nuns, one for the novices and one for the people.
The Old Town of Funchal is a fun neighborhood to hang out in. You'll find nightlife and crowds bustling at night, just along the cable car lines. It is a vibrant quarter that is fun to stroll around no matter the time of day.
Don't worry, you won't be on your stomach as you toboggan down to Funchal from Monte; instead you'll find yourself in a wicker chair that glides smoothly. The entire ride is just ten minutes long and you reach speeds up to 48 kilometers/hour!
Funchal is known to be a relatively safe city. However, in some areas near the cable car lines, Old Town, and especially in crowded evening spots it's important to take precautions against pickpockets.
Don't miss the local fare in Funchal. Sample Portuguese and Madeiran cuisine while you visit Funchal. Top hits include espada com banana, a typical dish served at most restaurants, stars scabbard fish with banana, accessorized often by potatoes and salad. A less adventurous local dish we recommend is bacalhaus com natas, which is cod in cream sauce.
You'll be pleased to learn that the city center of Funchal is quite walkable. If you want to venture further, we advise hopping on a local bus. Fares are quite reasonable and a round trip ticket is under five euros.
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- Funchal is a good choice for a vacation any time of the year as it never gets too cool. However, the summer months are the warmest and most humid. March through December is considered to be most pleasant.
Things to Do in Funchal
Top Attractions in Funchal
Cities in Portugal
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What people are saying about Funchal
Once in a while, on holiday you book a day out. Most times, if you’re lucky, they’re mildly memorable. But this 4x4 tour was truly exceptional. There were three reasons for this: 1) Madeira’s mountainous terrain is made for off-roading 2) The itinerary was literally unique, and 3) our guide David was worth the price of admission alone. This was a day out with a surprise around every corner (so many corners!) David knows his stuff and was an endless source of energy and fun. He drove us up ravines, down valleys and through stunning landscapes straight out of Jurassic Park. It was truly exhilarating and yet we felt safe and looked after all the way. Highlights included swimming in a lunar-like swimming pool, visiting a hobbit ‘inhabited’ wood, stepping out onto the sheer drop of the skywalk and, of course, the adrenaline fuelled-thrill of hurtling down Madeira’s mountains with David whooping just as excitedly and childishly as we were. Bravo. Do yourself a favour and don’t miss out!
This trip was amazing and all thanks to Nelson, the best guide we ever had! So please if you do it, ask for him! He will take time to take you to the most beautiful and original places from Madeira, not the typical touristical placea! We took time for us to take pictures everywhere in every viewing point he showed us, brought us to a very nice and quiet restaurant with good food and then in the afternoon to a place where we could drink the poncha! We were also not swimming in the most crowded natural pools in Pt. Moniz but in more “unknown” ones! The landscape and the safari ride and his driving skills were also THE BEST! All in all an AMAZING experience! Thank you Nelson!!
Most amazing experience ever. Great host named Gill who was very informative and very helpful knew so many things about the island such interesting facts. The 4x4 ride was fantastic never experienced anything like it before. Great time in the local bakery and resturant. We swam in the most beautiful places and saw so much on the tour definitely recommend it :)
The tour with Lucy from Secret Tours was super nice. We had a wonderful weather and enjoyed our time very much. Lucy was full of energy and fun and shifted between languages to make all the travellers understand. The tour manual did not mention bringing a bathing suit (I did bring one) so some people were not prepared for it. That's a shame :(
Brilliant tour guide; friendly, helpful, full of knowledge about the island, able to answer all my questions! Brilliant view from the mountains And nice walk at the top. However, as an off roading experience I was slightly underwhelmed. If your seeking an adrenaline rush perhaps quad bikes are more for you!