Funchal
Educational Activities

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Our most recommended Funchal Educational Activities

Funchal: Old Town Walking Tour

1. Funchal: Old Town Walking Tour

Meet your guide at Jesuit's College of Funchal, Madeira University to begin this 2-hour guided walking tour of Funchal. Learn how the history of Madeira and Funchal shaped the city centre as you visit the most important points of interest. Travel down the 19th century public walkway between the Municipal Theatre and the Cathedral, where sugarcane was first planted in Madeira, during the 15th century. Explore the city’s medieval heart dating from the Golden Age of Sugar and discover the beautiful 17th century religious monuments. Visit the ruins of the old Pilory Square and other remnants from past floods and the area damaged by the Great Fire of Funchal in 1584. This tour helps to support students at the University of Madeira who are facing financial difficulties.  

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Madeira: Dolphin and Whale Watching Tour from Funchal

2. Madeira: Dolphin and Whale Watching Tour from Funchal

Climb aboard a comfortable catamaran for a relaxing trip along Madeira's south coast from the Marina do Funchal. Look for dolphins and whales (and even turtles) playing in the cold waters of the sea. During the summer months, stop to swim below the cliffs of Cabo Girão, one of the highest sea cliffs in the world. A qualified crew will provide detailed information in various languages about the species of cetaceans (dolphins and whales) you see. In the event you don’t spot any whales or dolphins you will be offered a 2nd trip. Get historical and technical information from your crew for a truly unique experience.

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Madeira: Scuba Diving Experience

3. Madeira: Scuba Diving Experience

Your scuba diving adventure will begin with a short theory lesson about the practice of diving before doing a trial dive in the shallow waters of the swimming pool.  Once you feel comfortable and know how to handle the equipment, you’ll be ready for the real deal. Your diving instructor will take you for an exhilarating dive out in the sea to explore the spectacular underwater world of Madeira. The dive itself will last about 45 minutes at a maximum depth of 12 meters. At the end of the tour, you’ll receive a certificate of participation to make your next underwater adventure an absolute breeze.

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From Funchal: Full-Day Madeira Peaks Tour by Open 4x4

4. From Funchal: Full-Day Madeira Peaks Tour by Open 4x4

Begin this full-day 4x4 tour with a pick-up at your hotel in Funchal and travel deep into the southeast of Madeira. You’ll come to Machico town and the line that divides the north and south of the island. Take in breathtaking views of the Eagles Rock from Portela. Drive down, stopping in Porto da Cruz, which is the next must-see point. Visit a sugar cane factory, continue to the Faial coastline and then up to see the typical houses of Santana. These small straw-thatched triangular houses are emblematic of Madeira and intricate in their construction. Head down into the valley and through the forest to Riveiro Frio at an elevation of 1818 meters, the third-highest peak on the Island.

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Desertas Islands Full-Day Catamaran Trip from Funchal

5. Desertas Islands Full-Day Catamaran Trip from Funchal

On this full-day catamaran trip to the Desertas Islands you’ll sail along the south coast of Madeira Island. On arrival you’ll disembark in clear waters onto a beach of volcanic origin, where you’ll have a chance to enjoy a swim. Covering an area of 12,586 hectares the Natural Reserve of the Desertas Islands comprises all islands and islets (Ilhéu Chão, Deserta Grande, Bugio, and adjacent islets) and all of the surrounding marine area. It has been designated a nature reserve for over 25 years, and is now internationally known for its monk seal conservation efforts. Today this protected area can be visited by sea. Deserta Grande is the only island where visitors can disembark, and you’ll enjoy a guided walk to the conservation center to learn about the monk seal protection efforts and also about endemic flora and fauna.

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From Funchal: São Jorge Valleys Levada Walk

6. From Funchal: São Jorge Valleys Levada Walk

Get back to nature on a levada walk through the beautiful valleys of São Jorge, and hike through the rainforest of Madeira to experience a profusion of herbs and medicinal plants. Learn about the healing properties and ancient remedies of the native flora. Walk through, or behind, a waterfall to discover a paradise on earth. Experience the peace and quiet of a landscape that will take your breath away.

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From Funchal: East Coast of Madeira Tour

7. From Funchal: East Coast of Madeira Tour

The tour heads first to Camacha for a visit to the largest outlet on the island for wicker products where demonstrations of wicker weaving can be seen. Continue uphill by heading for Pico do Arieiro for tremendous views over a succession of knife-edge ridges and sheer cliffs. At an altitude of 1,818 meters, it is the third-highest peak in Madeira. Continue your journey downhill through small terraces lining the road before you reach the Laurissilva Forest, one of the most beautiful natural treasures of Madeira. This forest is about 20 million years old and was classified a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999.  The next stop is at the charming village of Santana, a picture of domestic and agricultural prosperity known for its traditional stone houses with steep, triangular-shaped thatched roofs. Traditionally people lived in these ingenious structures and you can discover how spacious the A-frame buildings are when you visit one. Next, drive down the north coast to the rural village of Porto da Cruz, home to the only functioning sugar mill in the north coast. This small village has a maze of alleys and, as well as a beautiful sea promenade, the former warehouses are being converted into cafes. Lastly, take in Praia de Machico, a beautiful bay with an uncommonly shaped valley that looks as if a balcony overlooks the sea and the mountains. The sugar cane crops and its mills made it very important for Madeira’s economy until the 17th century. The eastern side of the bay is dominated by Pico do Facho’s 320 meter peak, named after the beacon that used to be lit here to warn residents of approaching pirates. Heading home, enjoy views of the coast and enormous Madeira junipers trees which have become quite rare over the years.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Funchal

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What people are saying about Funchal

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 982 reviews

Carlos was an amazing guide. He was very knowledgeable and patient with our questions about the island. The pace of the tour was amazing, we had enough time to cover all the main spots of the East without feeling rushed. The views on the way to the destinations were equally amazing. Highly recommended! Thank you for the wonderful day!

We had the tour with Amelie. It was very impressive and informative. You can get more information on the private tour. I can really only recommend it. Thank you very much for that.

Fantastic in all ways, really recommend this trip! One full day of adventure, & we were lucky to experience all kind of weather & different climate zone.

Very good tour with a professional tour guide. Highly recommended!

Very informative and compact. Thanks again to Amelie.