The city of the island of Madeira, a place where it’s always spring
Funchal is the capital city of the archipelago of Madeira, which sits in an amphitheatre-shaped bay bathed by the Atlantic Ocean on the southern coast of the island, where the city’s port is also found.
The archipelago of Madeira consists of four islands, Madeira, Porto Santo, Desertas and Selvagens but only the first two are inhabited. Madeira, discovered in 1419 by the Portuguese sailors Tristão Vaz Teixeira, Bartolomeu Perestrelo and João Gonçalves Zarco, is today, together with its lively capital, a tourist destination for all seasons: the island offers majestic landscapes of a rare natural beauty and enjoys a mild climate all year round.
Funchal Madeira
Funchal Photo: Copyright © Madeira Promotion Bureau - Duarte Sol
The city of Funchal, which dates back to around 1508, owes its name to aromatic wild fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), funcho in Portuguese, which grew in abundance at the time of the first settlers. It was sugar, however, that ensured the development of a sustainable economy in the city and throughout the island.
Funchal Madeira
Funchal  Photo: Copyright © / Depositphotos
Funchal is the largest tourist, cultural and commercial centre of the archipelago of Madeira and offers various leisure activities including visits to museums or monuments, walks in parks or along the Marina of Funchal, shopping or evening trips to bars and discotheques. The city is filled with history, culture and entertainment, and is also the great tourist hub of the region.
The mountains of Funchal
Funchal stretches along a slope that goes from sea level to the Pico de Areeiro, at 1,818 meters above sea level. The inhabitants of Funchal live in ten characteristic areas: Imaculado Coração de Maria, Monte, Santa Luzia, Santa Maria Maior, Santo António, São Gonçalo, São Martinho, Sâo Pedro, São Roque and .
Pico de Areeiro - Funchal Madeira
Pico de Areeiro - Funchal Photo: Copyright © Madeira Promotion Bureau - DigitalTravelCouple
From its vast green gardens on Largo da Fonte, passing by the Church of Nossa Senhora do Monte and the Interpretation Center of the Railway, Monte is one of the most emblematic areas of Funchal, located at about 580 meters high, which offers a series of experiences exciting, such as cable car rides.
The Funchal Cable Car, in the old town centre, connects Funchal to Monte in about 15 minutes, offering panoramic views from Funchal towards the surrounding Monte mountains, the bay and the valleys around the city. Funchal station is located in Campo Almirante Reis and Monte station in Largo das Babosas.
Funivia a Funchal
Funchal  Photo: Copyright © / Depositphotos
Instead, the Botanical Garden cable car is located in Quinta do Bom Sucesso and connects the Botanical Garden and Monte, crossing the natural landscape of the exotically beautiful João Gomes river with panoramic views as far as the bay of Funchal. The cable car ride covers 1,600 metres, reaching altitudes of between 10 and 100 metres in nine minutes.
The Monte Park or Leite Monteiro Park
The Monte Park, or Leite Monteiro Park, is the highest municipal park in Funchal, at between 543 and 586 metres above sea level, and is filled with native and exotic species, as well as several ancient trees, a fresh stream and paths cobbled with small basalt stones that are ideal for walks.
Funchal Madeira
 Funchal Photo: Copyright © Madeira Promotion Bureau - Andre Carvalho
The subtropical climate, volcanic origin and humidity of the region allows exuberant vegetation and exotic flora to flourish. The Monte Palace Tropical Garden, owned by the José Berardo Foundation, is famous for Madeira native flora. It was designated UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999 and is home to ancient trees and collections of Cycads of African and Japanese origin.
The old town centre of Funchal
In Funchal, between parks and gardens, the blue of the sea and colorful flowers, there are not only cable cars, characteristic viewpoints and fortresses but also some historic districts with museums, churches, markets and squares. The heart of the historic center of Funchal winds its way through cobbled streets, cafes with terraces, restaurants offering dishes to suit all tastes, bars serving poncha (a regional drink made according to the sugar cane tradition) and shops.
Funchal Madeira
The historic center of Funchal Photo: Copyright © Madeira Promotion Bureau - DigitalTravelCouple
The old town centre of Funchal, Velha da Cidade, features cobbled streets and facades of old houses of great architectural value. In the heart of the centre is the Capela do Corpo Santo, a 15th century chapel. One of the oldest streets in the city, Rua de Santa Maria, is home to local businesses such as the typical Fábrica de Chapéus (Hat Factory) or the Fábrica de Botas de Vilão (Vilão Boot Factory) and this cobbled street leads to Igreja do Socorro church, which offers a wonderful view of the city from the top.
Funchal Madeira
Sao Tiago fortress - Funchal  Photo: Copyright © / Depositphotos
Throughout the historic center of Funchal there are various monuments of historical and cultural value, housed in beautiful buildings. You can visit forts, fortresses, civil, military and religious palaces. The city of Funchal offers various museum highlighting different areas of interest, such as Design Centre Nini Andrade Silva, Museu De Arte Moderna Na Madeira - MAMMA, Museu De Fotografia Da Madeira - Atelier Vicente’s, Museu De História Natural Do Funchal and the Museu Funart. In the Old Town of Funchal, art is also in the streets thanks to the artistic intervention of local and foreign artists (Arte de Portas Abertas), an example of urban culture and art in the city.
The typical 'carros de cesto'
‘carros de cesto’ a Funchal
Typical ‘carros de cesto’ in Funchal Photo: Copyright © Madeira Promotion Bureau - Andre Carvalho
A climb to the hills leads you to discover one of Funchal's most famous attractions: the traditional and typical 'carros de cesto' (sledges), wicker and wooden cars with two to three seats, driven by two drivers dressed in white and with a straw hat on their heads, who use the thick rubber soles on their boots as brakes during a thrilling ride that covers 2 km in about 10 minutes.
The nature of the island of Madeira
The entire island of Madeira features magnificent landscapes of forests, green volcanic mountains, lush flower gardens and the blue Atlantic ocean. Various experiences are on offer among nature. Adventure lovers can go on island hikes to the waterfalls in the Laurissilva Forest, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, or climb to Cabo Girao, at an altitude of 580 metres, which has a transparent glass platform known as 'Skywalk' that offers views of the area of Rancho and Cabo Girão fajãs, as well as panoramic views of Funchal and Câmara de Lobo.
Funchal Madeira
The nature of the island of Madeira Photo: Copyright © Madeira Promotion Bureau - Henrique Seruca
There are many relaxing activities that can be done on the island in the middle of nature such as golf, birdwatching, trekking, excursions by jeep or canoe, parachuting, trail running or climbing and, of course, a dip in the sea or a long boat trip, to observe dolphins, whales and monk seals crossing the seas of Madeira.
In Funchal, access to the sea is guaranteed through the bathing complexes and some pebble and black sand beaches ideal for walking, jogging or strolling such as Praia do Areeiro a Blue Flag beach (next to the Hotel Orca Praia) characterized by black sand and pebbles, with free access and several cafes and restaurants.
Funchal Madeira
Ribeira da Janela in Madeira Photo: Copyright © Madeira Promotion Bureau - Carlos Gouvia
The typical dishes of Funchal
Funchal, like the entire island of Madeira, is abundant with flavoursome dishes. The simple food is rich in local products. Restaurants offer fish and shellfish dishes, such as grilled limpets, octopus and prawns, tuna steaks and fillets of black scabbard fish. Another typical meal is a beef kebab on bay wood skewers, served with fried corn and the typical 'bolo-do-caco', a Madeiran flatbread, with garlic butter.
Funchal Madeira
The beef kebab on bay wood skewers Photo: Copyright © Madeira Promotion Bureau 
Also well known are the homemade couscous, the wheat soup, the homemade bread with sweet potatoes and meat marinated in garlic and wine. Tropical fruits are found in juices and desserts: mango, banana, avocado, soursops and passion fruit are used in puddings, soufflés, mousses and ice cream. Do not miss the traditional honey cake, a symbol of Christmas in Madeira, full of spices, nuts and sugar cane honey. Very famous are also the Madeira tartlets, made with fresh ricotta, to be paired with the 'poncha' drink, based on white rum, bee honey and lemon or the historic wines of Madeira, to be enjoyed with any dish or as an aperitif. . In fact, more than 30 grape varieties are used for Madeira wine and the most famous are Sercial, Boal, Verdelho and Malvasia.
Texts by the editorial staff of Avion Tourism Magazine
Source texts, photos and videos: Copyright © Madeira Promotion Bureau
Visual and photos: Copyright © / Depositphotos
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Tourist Board

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Where to sleep in Funchal
FUNCHAL MADEIRAFunchal  Foto: Copyright © / Depositphotos
Funchal offers endless possibilities to stay in structures equipped with the best services.
To find the ideal hotel and the best offers, you can do a search by stars but also by neighborhoods or places of interest.
Hotel by stars, divided by the type of services offered:
Neighborhood hotels
Where to go in Funchal
Monuments and churches in Funchal
Legislative Assembly from Região Autonoma da Madeira
The Gothic-style building with Mudejar-style alfarje ceilings was commissioned around 1519 and underwent various modifications during the 17th and 18th centuries. From 1982 to 1987 it was restored by the architect Chorão Ramalho and in the courtyard, next to the chapel, was placed a statue of the Madeiran sculptor Amândio Sousa entitled "Trilogy of powers".
Baltazar Dias Municipal Theater
Since 1888 the Baltazar Dias Municipal Theater has promoted artistic events: theater, cinema, music and dance, becoming a point of reference in the cultural landscape of Madeira and a stage for the main cultural events of the city. The theater is located on Avenida Arriaga and features ceilings painted with decorative elements from the Romantic era, while the booths are decorated with gilded carved wooden Greek theater masks.
Palazzo di São Lourenço
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Palácio de São Lourenço
This fortress, located in a strategic point of defence in Madeira, in Avenida Zarco, is the largest example of civil and military architecture of the island. Its construction began in the first half of the 16th century and was completed in the Spanish dynasty that reigned in Portugal from 1580 to 1640. It then became the residence of the Donatary Captains of Funchal and the Captain-General Governors until the establishment of the constitutional government in 1834, when it had a residential function.
Portas da Cidade
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Portas da Cidade (City Gates)
The Portas da Cidade are the old city gates dating back to 1690, which closed Funchal’s defensive walls. In 2004, following celebrations for the 500th anniversary of the city, the gates were moved to their current position in Largo dos Varadouros 4. Archaeological remains of the ancient walls surrounding Funchal can be seen in different areas of the city such as Rua D. Carlos I.
Fortezza di São João Baptista
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Fortaleza de São João Baptista
The São João Baptista Fortress dates back to the second half of the 17th century and is located at 111.50 metres above sea level in Rua do Castelo, a street crossing Calçada do Pico. Originally the fortress was used as the city’s gunpowder store; later it housed workshops.
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Fortaleza de São Tiago
The São Tiagos Fortress, built to defend Funchal from pirate attacks, was constructed around 1614 by Jerónimo Jorge and completed by his son Bartolomeu João. The engineer Tossi Columbina, who designed the port of Funchal, concluded the works between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
Chiesa di Nossa Senhora do Monte
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Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Monte
The Church of Nossa Senhora do Monte (Our Lady of Monte) was built on the foundations of a fifteenth century chapel but was destroyed in 1748 by an earthquake. Completed in 1818, the church is Madeira’s most important pilgrimage site, particularly on 15th August, the day of Our Lady of Monte, the patron saint of the city of Funchal. It is situated at the top of a steep staircase and its facade has two towers and a churchyard with views over Funchal.
Cattedrale Se do Funchal
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Sé Catedrale do Funchal
Sé Cathedral, in the centre of Funchal, was commissioned during the reign of King Manuel and inaugurated in 1514. The architectural beauty of the cathedral is linked to its Moorish and Romanesque-Gothic styles. The facade, divided into three sections, has a Gothic doorway in the centre made of Cabo Girão stone. Inside, the ceiling is made of wood from the island and seventeenth-century gilded works feature architectural details of the Manueline period.

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Bus hop-on hop-of to Funchal
Panoramic tour of the city of Funchal to discover museums, cathedrals, gardens, markets and much more with audio guide. Information and reservations:

Museums in Funchal
Museum of Modern Art of Madeira - MAMMA
The MAMMA, which opened in 2021 in Estrada Monumental (Largo da Paz), is an innovative museum among Funchal’s artistic-cultural scene and displays about 300 works of art including paintings and art installations based on 5 elements: Water, Air, Earth, Fire and Spirit. Designed by the Madeiran artist Rui Sá, the collection offers a new vision of art in the new millennium.
Design Centre Nini Andrade Silva
The Design Centre Nini Andrade Silva is situated in Estrada da Pontinha in the fortress of Nossa Senhora da Conceição, previous residence of João Gonçalves Zarco, a Portuguese sailor and coloniser of the archipelago of Madeira. The permanent exhibition is part of the private collection of Nini Andrade and explains the history and culture of Madeira. In addition to the permanent area there is a shop and restaurant.
Madeira Story Centre
The Madeira Story Centre is located in Rua D. Carlos I and is a unique space for learning about the history of the island from its volcanic origins to the present day. It is the ideal place for beginning a tour of the island of Madeira to discover more about the history and culture of the archipelago.
Henrique and Francisco Franco Museum
Francisco Franco was one of the greatest Portuguese sculptors of the 1920s and one of the most sought-after authors for the official statuary of the Estado Novo (New State). The museum displays a large collection of oil paintings, drawings and engravings by the brothers Henrique and Francisco Franco.
Museo Palazzo Monte
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Palazzo Monte Museum
The museum is part of the Monte Palace Tropical Garden and is located in Caminho do Monte 174, in the uptown of Funchal. The Palazzo Monte Museum exhibits sculptures and minerals from all over the world. The sculpture collection, "African Passion", offers over 1000 pieces of contemporary Zimbabwean sculpture from 1966 to 1969.
Museo CR7
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CR7 Museum
Funchal is the birth town of Cristiano Ronaldo and the CR7 Museum is the place where the famous footballer has decided to display and share his numerous trophies. At the entrance of the museum is a statue of Cristiano Ronaldo, the work of the contemporary sculptor Ricardo Velosa.

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Tours and excursions in Funchal and surroundings
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Whale and dolphin watching by catamaran departing from Funchal
Excursion to the Madeira coast aboard a catamaran departing from Funchal to spot dolphins, whales and turtles. Crew, snorkeling equipment at (in summer at the Cabo Girão promontory) and bar on board. For more information and reservations: whale and dolphin watching by catamaran departing from Funchal.
Isola di Madeira
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Madeira Island East Tour from Funchal
With an expert guide, 1 day tour departing from Funchal to discover the eastern part of Madeira. First stop: Terreiro da Luta viewpoint a few kilometers from Funchal. Continue to the top of Pico do Arieiro at 1,818 meters above sea level, the third highest peak on the island, then cross the forest on the road to the coast. Lunch in the village of Santana characterized by small triangular houses with a thatched roof. Then travel to Penha d'Águia in Porto da Cruz, Ponta de São Lourenço, in the eastern part of the island between rocks, sea and nature. Visit to Machico, the belvedere to admire the bay and the beach. For more information and reservations: Madeira Island East Tour from Funchal.
Funchal slittino
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Funchal old town tour by tuk tuk with traditional 'carros de cesto' (sledges)
Monte Village private tuk tuk tour with traditional 'carros de cesto' (sledges) down the hill to Livramento. In the center of Funchal, visit the Old Town to admire: the painted doors in the streets of Santa Maria, the Church of Our Lady of the Monte, the cobbled streets, the facades of the old houses in Rue de Santa Maria. For more information and reservations: Funchal old town tour by tuk tuk with traditional 'carros de cesto' (sledges).
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