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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- Best time to visit
- 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
As the island is very quiet at present I benefited from a one to one guided experience (actually two to one as a trainee was tagging along). That apart, my young female guide was knowledgeable, engaging and very open to my various (sometimes off-topic) questions and filled in the gaps in my limited knowledge if the island and its history most effectively. Always best to take a tour like this to better understand the place you’re visiting, and as a bonus, personal gratuities are politely declined with the suggestion that a donation to support student activities is preferred .
I had an amazing time, I was lucky enough to be the only booking so I had a private yacht tour and snorkelling! The doplhins are wild so that day we were unlucky and I was invited to try again. Next time they came and played around the boat there must have been 50 or more I couldn't believe my eyes!
Experience was fantastic! Such a great day out. Tony our guide was superb - couldn’t ask for much more. We had a great lunch stop too, with Tony recommending some lovely food from the well priced menu. 100% recommend this trip. Thanks Tony!
The tour with Lucy was great. She told us lots of useful tips and interesting information about Madeira. She is lovely person at it was pleasure to go for a tour with her. We saw many beautiful parts of Madeira thanks to her.
Tony, our guide, was so informative that we booked another tour the next day. Cannot thank him enough! Would not consider using a different company and have already recommended him for further bookings.