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.
- CurrencyEuro (€)
- Time ZoneUTC (+01:00)
- Country Code+351
- Best time to visitFunchal 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
Other Sightseeing Options in Funchal
Want to discover all there is to do in Funchal? Click here for a full list.
What people are saying about Funchal
Visiting the northern part of the island is like visiting the engine of Madeira. The agricultural terraces, the mountains, the levada and the forest that provide the food and water for Madeirans. We also went to Porto Moniz, it is worth the trip good day or bad day. Our guide made our day pleasant even though when we got to the top of the mountain it was too cloudy to see the view. In Porto Moniz we could not swim the waves were too high; but what a spectacle. The kids (7 and 10) like Porto Moniz and riding in the jeep with the open roof and also the walk along the levada. Thank you to our guide Hugo.
The places visited were interesting, George's commentary was informative and his driving excellent. A very good day out.
Highly recommended. The guide was very knowledgeable and made the guided walk very interesting. I was sorry when it finished. There is a possibility to buy a beautiful book with the history of Funchal, a Fado CG and postcards that can be posted to your home country free of charge!
Our guide was amazing. At the end of our tour I discovered my wallet was missing. He did everything to help and took us to police station. After he insisted we join him for lunch. So helpful because in the end we figured it was stolen when we where up on the glass top with large crowds of people. Thanks again for your help.
...instead saw 3 separate pods of fin whales plus a whole load of dolphins. The crew on the boat were great - clearly knew their stuff and were keen to share their knowledge and experience; they seemed genuinely excited when whales were spotted! It was a bit windy when we went out which did result in wet legs as we were sat by the trampoline nets at the front - the odd wave caught us out! It is worth noting that outside seating (with the best view) is deck cushions: if you are considering this trip and have any balance / mobility issues, you have been warned... Plenty of photo opportunities - even if only for a reverse view of the bay and coastline - but don't forget to look at things with your actual eyes (rather than through a camera) and remember that everyone else on the boat is trying to get the 'perfect shot' as well. We did not use the other facilities on the boat (e.g. bar, WC) but they were there for those who wanted / needed them. All in all - a great way to spend 3 hours!