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
Despite a great trip and the opportunity to take a dip in the sea at the foot of Cabo Girao, the dolphins/whales were a no show. However, VMT Madeira offers a free second trip if that happens, which was worth the additional expense when compared to some of the slightly cheaper trips available. I took my second trip a few days later in the afternoon and we were treated to a turtle passing by the boat and a pod of dolphins that swam ahead of the boat for a good 10 minutes. Great trip, great staff and would definitely recommend - the insurance of a second trip is definitely worth it.
Picked up promptly by the guide Francisco and he made us totally comfortable with the other two couples. Exceptional driving skills made the trip relaxing and real fun throughout the day for the six of us. This small country is made up of mountains and rugged coastline that is world class scenery that should not be missed. Would not hesitate to recommend Francisco and his company. Great value.
Sometimes the wait for bus is longer than scheduled but overall good service. The botanical garden cable car ticket I bought from you was NOT for the main cable service. It is a short cable ride beside the gardens. Most disappointing and it wasted time clarifying this. In the end I organised a cab up to the gardens and didn’t use the ticket at all.
Tiago was able to tell us things about the island and plant/animal life that we didn’t know despite this being our 5th visit to the island. The off road part was great fun. The weather slightly thwarted our chances of great views but still a worthwhile and amazing tour. Looking forward to seeing all the photographs.
Sarah was an awesome guide and we really enjoyed our time hiking from Pico do Arieiro to Pico Ruivo. The photos and stories was a highlight of our trip to Portugal and has been the most lovely topic of conversation upon arriving home. Thanks!