municipality and city in Madeira Island, Portugal
Europe > Iberia > Portugal > Madeira > Funchal

Funchal is the capital and main city of the autonomous region of Madeira, on the island of Madeira, in its south between Santa Cruz and Câmara de Lobos.

Funchal viewed from Madeira Botanical Garden

UnderstandEdit

The name Funchal (foon-SHAHL, /fũ.ˈʃaɫ/) comes from the abundance of fennel (funcho) found on the island. It was an important shipping center during the 15th–17th centuries. It is one of the most beautiful cities in Portugal.


Funchal
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Source: Wikipedia
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Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
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Get inEdit

By planeEdit

  • 1 Cristiano Ronaldo Madeira International Airport (FNC IATA Funchal Airport, formerly known as Santa Catarina Airport) (about 30 min NE of Funchal, in Santa Cruz municipality), +351 291 520 700, . Once famous for its hair-raisingly short runway ending at a cliff over the Atlantic Ocean, the airport has been expanded to handle all sizes of aircraft. The following airlines fly regularly to Madeira International Airport: TAP Air Portugal, Azores Airlines, British Airways, Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, Air France, easyJet, Finnair, Condor, SAS, Transavia, Binter Canarias, and Jet2.com. Most flights are from mainland Portugal and northern Europe.    

There are several daily flights from most major cities in Portugal (Lisbon, Porto). Flight time from Lisbon is 1½ hours.

Also, there are good connections from London (mostly Gatwick, but also Heathrow) with TAP/Air Portugal and British Airways; its flying time is estimated at 3½ hours.

By carEdit

Funchal is served by highway ER101 which runs along the coast. An easy way to get to the city centre by car is to take exit 11 and head downhill towards Funchal. Continue on this road (ER103) until you pass under an overpass. Immediately on your right is a large parking garage (closed on Sundays). From here it is only a few minutes walk to Mercado Dos Lavradores / Sé Cathedral.

Get aroundEdit

The city centre is small enough to explore on foot. Orange city buses can take you around and up to Monte (lines 20, 21). Giro cards can be bought from the office for €2.20, which are pre-loaded with two journeys, and can be topped up with additional journeys for €1.50 each. A single ride costs €1.90 when bought from the bus driver. Most city buses start from the waterfront area. If you are lucky, you can acquire a bus timetable for the local and regional buses starting in Funchal at the tourist information office. Timetables and a map are also available.

By motorcycle and mopedEdit

Madeira as a small island is very convenient for exploring by riding motorcycles. Funchal is well connected with the rest of the island and there are a lot of hidden gems that could be discovered along the coast roads. Using a moped is a common practice around the island as it’s a lot more convenient. Finding a place to rent a scooter or motorcycle is not difficult and there are several companies, most of them are located within the town centre.

  • Rent a Scooter Madeira. Mostly smaller mopeds and motorcycles. They have a good variety of models and basic equipment is provided with each rental. Helmet provided for the main driver.
  • Riderly. Provide motorcycles for longer and shorter trips with all the driving equipment necessary, such as helmets and gloves.

SeeEdit

 
Jardins Do Palheiro: The Sunken Garden
  • 1 Quinta do Palheiro Ferreiro Park (Jardins do Palheiro), São Gonçalo, Palheiro (about 5 km from downtown), +351 291 793 044. Mon - Fri from 9:00h - 16:30h. The Quinta do Palheiro Ferreiro Park is a typical example of a manor in British colonial style. While the manor itself is private and can't be visited, you can enjoy the public park. On first sight it looks like an English park, with old Platanes forming a long alley from the main gate to the gardens. But when you look closer you see all the tropical plants that build the basis, completed by hundreds of plants from all over the world, so all year round there are plants blooming. The main part of the park is formed by several gardens: a French Garden, a Sunken Garden, the Ladies Garden, a Rose Garden and some more. Opposite the main gate is a Tea House, which is connected to the golf course. They serve some good tea, cakes, pastries, snacks and small lunches. The way back to the main gate is formed by the Camellia Avenue, a flourish firework between end October and March.
    The park is situated on 500m altitude. Between 9 - 11:30 the park is often crowded by bus tourists, so choose the afternoon for a more laid-back visit. Entrance fee 10,50€
    Public buses frequently connect Funchal with the park: line 36 or, if you have strong nerves, line 37 for a more spectacular ride.
  • 2 Madeira Botanical Garden (Jardim Botânico da Madeira), Caminho Meio Quinta do Bom Sucesso (about 3 km from downtown). The more than 2000 plants of these hillside gardens, plus the view of Funchal make this one of the major attractions of the whole island. The gardens also feature a collection of parakeets and parrots.    
  • 3 Mercado Dos Lavradores (Peasants' Market), Rua Brigadeiro Oudinot, Down Town (Zona Velha). Mon - Thu 7 - 16 h, Fri 7 - 20 h, Sat 7 - 15h, closed on Sundays and holidays. This historic building, with an open patio, offers, on two levels, fresh fruits and vegetables from all over the island. On the lower level is a separate hall where fish vendors sell fresh-caught fish. Eat and buy local fruits like the small Madeiran mangos, bananas, philodendres and plenty kinds of maracujas. Taste the offers from vendors. But be careful, as some may try to rip you off and sell you over-ripe fruit, or some heavy mangos for the (expensive) price of light maracujas. There are also some nice pastelarias and coffee bars in and around the building. These are often crowded when it's raining, and when large cruise ships are on the pier.
 
Mercado dos Lavradores: In the patio
  • 4 Monte Palace Hotel Gardens. The gardens of this defunct hotel include a Chinese garden, artwork, a small lake, and a variety of flora and fauna.
  • 5 Santa Clara Convent (Convento de Santa Clara), Calçada de Santa Clara 15. Dating from the end of the 15th century, this convent, now a national monument, was founded by João Gonçalves da Câmara. The azulejo tiles are especially notable.
  • 6 São Lourenço Palace (Palácio de São Lourenço), Avenida Zarco, +351 291 202 530. Half fortress and half palace, this construction is a good example of mannerist architecture. Highlights include the Noble Salon (Salão Nobre), the Green Room (Sala Verde), the Audience Hall (Sala de Audiências), and the gardens.
  • 7 Sé Cathedral. The central point in Funchal, and its most-visited monument. Commissioned by the king Dom Manuel I through Portuguese explorer Gil Eanes, the cathedral was built between 1493 and 1517. The ceiling is made from local wood.
 
Sé Cathedral
  • 8 Colegio Church (Igreja de São João Evangelista), Rua dos Ferreiros, 105. This Jesuit temple, completed in 1647, is a striking building with a stunning interior. Today it is part of Madeira University.
 
Interior of Colegio Church
  • 9 IBTAM Museum (Núcleo Museológico do IBTAM), Rua do Visconde de Anadia. Museum of the Institute of Embroidery, Tapestry and Craftsmanship of Madeira. The exhibits give some idea of the tradition of embroidery in the island in the past centuries
  • 10 São Tiago Fort. Built in 1614 to defend the city from pirate attack, the fort today houses a small contemporary art museum.

DoEdit

  • Visit the fair/market, old port and gardens.
  • 1 Madeira Casino (Casino da Madeira), Avenida do Infante, +351 291 140 424. 15:00-3:00 (Su-Th), 16:00-4:00 (M-F). The only casino on the island. The building's unusual shape was designed by Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer. Casino da Madeira offers table games such as Texas Hold 'em, blackjack, baccarat and American roulette (with 0 and 00) and slots. Outside of gambling there is the Palm bar, the Rio casual restaurant, the formal Bahlia restaurant and the Copacabana nightclub that hosts live musical performances (just like the Barry Manilow song). Note that the premises have dress code that forbids sandals, flip-flops and sports wear. Free parking and Wi-Fi for patrons.    
  • 2 Palheiro Golf Course, Rua do Balacal 29.
  • 3 Funchal Cable Car (Teleférico do Funchal), Almirante Reis. 09:30-17:45. View the city from above in a gondola. The upper station is at Monte, where you can visit the Monte Palace gardens and the church at Monte. Another cable car goes down from this point to the Botanical Gardens. Combination tickets for the ride and attractions are available.
  • Football: Funchal has two pro soccer teams:
    • 4 CS Marítimo (2 km west of the old town). They play in Primeira Liga, the game's top tier. Their home ground Estádio do Marítimo has capacity 11,000.    
    • 5 CD Nacional (4 km northeast). They were relegated in 2021 and play in Liga2 the second tier. Their home ground Estádio da Madeira has capacity 5500.    
  • Madeira Paragliding (0 - 4200 Ft), Madeira Mountains. 10:00-20:00. Tandem Paragliding flights.

BuyEdit

Flowers & fruit (check with the airline/ship if they can be brought abroad).

The island is world-famous for its wines. Several stores offer varying selections.

EatEdit

Funchal has an abundance of good, if not necessarily cheap, eating places. Most places serve traditional Madeiran and Portuguese food, which is well-prepared and tasty, but not terribly exciting. One of the most typical dishes and served almost everywhere, is espada com banana (scabbard fish with banana). It is usually served with fresh salad and potatoes. A bit more expensive is bacalhau (dried, salted codfish), which is also served in many restaurants. One of the more common and best varieties is "bacalhau com natas" (codfish in cream sauce).

BudgetEdit

  • 1 Restaurante Beer Garden, Estrada Monumental 462, +351 291 764 377, . M–F 11:00–18:00, Sa Su 11:00–17:00. Recommended dish is Picado (beef steak served with chips). The normal size (€10) should be enough for 2 persons. The bigger size (€13) could serve 3 - 4 persons.
  • 2 Castelo dos Hambúrgueres, Rua da Carreira, 306, +351 291 756 616. This place sells only 3 types of hamburgers: normal, special, and super. Also try their smoothies.
  • 3 Barreirinha Bar Cafe, Largo do Socorro, 1 (just east of the Fortaleza de Santiago, on the water, where R. de Santa Maria meets Largo do Socorro.), +351 291 627 418. 07:00–00:00. While many affordable cafes in Funchal have similar prices on burgers and tostas, Barreirinha also offers plenty of outdoor tables overlooking the ocean. Relaxing yet hip atmosphere. Occasional live bands or DJs. €2.60 tostas, €5.50 burgers, €2 poncha.
  • 4 Indian House, Rua da Carreira 144, +351 291 241 653. M–Sa 11:30–15:30, 17:30–22:30; Su dinner only. Quality Pakistani and Indian food with plenty of vegetarian options. Meat also offered for a few euros more. veg entrees €8.

Mid-rangeEdit

  • 5 Il Basilico, Rua de Leichlingen, 7, Promenade, +351 291 708700. Daily, 12:30-15:00 and 19:30-22.00. Italian restaurant. À la carte lunch and dinner served inside and on the terrace. Children's menu. Reservation recommended.
  • 6 Doca do Cavacas, Rua da Ponta da Cruz 66 (off Estrada Monumental, Ponta de Cruz), +351 291 762 057, . Tu-Su 12:30–00:00, closed M. Seaside fish restaurant.
  • 7 Olives, Rua Brigadeiro Oudinot, nº 2 - 3rd floor (level) (a few meters from the left of the city market), +351 291 223 165, . Monday-Saturday, 12:00-24:00. This small restaurant is close to city market, in an iconic building (Edifício Oudinot), with a terrace overlooking the port. It has a small menu of contemporary, author's cuisine, Portuguese (Mediterranean)-influenced dishes. There are ten fish dishes, ten meat dishes and a side vegetarian/vegan menu. Serves an excellent house wine and other good wines (from €12.50 house bottle). It has a pleasant interior, with an Art Deco-influenced staircase. The staff are also friendly. plates from €9 to €16.50 (mains)..

SplurgeEdit

DrinkEdit

 
Madeira Casino

Not the party capital of the world: most bars are very quiet, except during a football match.

SleepEdit

BudgetEdit

During low season (winter) prices may drop significantly, e.g., from €50 to 35. Time around Christmas is high-season.

  • 1 Residencial Monaco, Rua das Hortas 14 (5-minute walk from the bus stop "Anadia Shopping Centre" for buses entering Funchal: Walk toward the sea and turn right onto R. Fernão de Ornelas. At the end of the street, at the taxi station, turn right onto R. do Carmo. After the Carmo church, R. das Hortas will be on your left.), +351 291 241 031, . Simple and somewhat cramped rooms but very clean and with a low price. Double rooms with private ensuite bathroom around €18–25/night depending on season. Located in the historical center, so ideal if you don't have a car.
  • 2 Residencial Melba (Melba Pension), Azinhaga da Casa Branca 8 (Lies in Western Funchal), . 12 rooms.

Mid-rangeEdit

  • 3 Quinta Da Casa Branca, +351 291 700 770, . An old quinta converted into a boutique design hotel, set in the heart of Funchal, among colourful gardens.
  • 4 Quinta Perestrello Heritage House, Rua Dr Pita 3, +351 291 706 700, . A small hotel, One adult €33 per night and breakfast (special offer low season), 37 double rooms, located near Reid's Palace. 24-hour reception.
  • 5 Hotel Monte Carlo, Calçada da Saúde 10. Beautiful, old hotel with a great view over the city of Funchal. Directly near the Convent St. Clara. Reasonable priced and not directly in a desiganted tourist district. Lots of good and affordable restaurants nearby.
  • 6 Hotel Porto Santa Maria (PortoBay Hotels & Resorts), Avenida do Mar e das Comunidades Madeirenses 50, +351 291 206 700, . Just in front of the sea and the city harbour, in Funchal's Old Town, near Cable Car, Forte de São Tiago and Mercado Lavradores.
  • 7 Hotel Porto Mare (PortoBay Hotels & Resorts), Rua Simplício dos Passos Gouveia 21, +351 291 703 700, . One of the three hotels in the resort Vila Porto Mare, near Lido´s promenade, tropical gardens with more than 400 specimes, five pools, four restaurants, sports and spa.
  • 8 The Residence (PortoBay Hotels & Resorts), Rua de Leichlingen 7, +351 291 708 700, . One of the three hotels in the resort Vila Porto Mare, near Lido´s promenade offers a wide selection of carefully furnished and fully equipped apartments. The Residence apartments combine views over the ocean with tropical gardens.
  • 9 Suite Hotel Eden Mar (PortoBay Hotels & Resorts), Rua do Gorgulho 2, +351 291 700 700, . One of the three hotels in the resort Vila Porto Mare, near Lido's promenade, kitchenette, tropical gardens with more than 400 specimes, five pools, four restaurants, sports and spa. Totally refurbished in 2009.

SplurgeEdit

ConnectEdit

  • Internet Access - There exist various free public Wi-Fi hotspots sponsored by the Madeiran government. One can find such locations by looking for blue and white boards with the Wi-Fi logo on them. A lot of bars and cafes offer Wi-Fi which is usually sponsored by an ISP called "Zon". These are usually password restricted but the owners are usually very friendly in providing them. One of the larger public squares called "Praca do Municipio", for instance, has free Wi-Fi. Other locations include Avenida Arriaga (2 x around the Golden Gate Café and the Cathedrale) and Praca de Colombo.
  • Post Office - Stamps are rarely available at vendors selling postcards. There is a post office (CTT Correios) near the cathedral in the Avenida Zarco and the Rua Calouste Gulbekian, near the Casino. Postcards to EU countries are €0.72 (June 2015).

CopeEdit

  • Nivarte Barber/Hairdresser, Rua das Hortas 1, Unit 102 (Piso 1) (Very short walk from the center of Funchal, near the Carmo church. Enter the nondescript building at the beginning of the street and go up one flight of steps.), +351 958 747 709. Quality and inexpensive haircuts for both men and women. One of the barbers, Paolo Silva speaks English, and gives the best hot towel shave on the island. under €14 for men's haircut.

Go nextEdit

  • Porto Santo — A wonderful quiet beach community, Porto Santo is a small island on the North-East of Madeira can be reached by either boat or plane. It is well worth a visit for it's nice small restaurants, it's long beach, and the Christopher Columbus house.
  • Anywhere else on the island of Madeira — Numerous guided day-tours around the island offer pick-up from Funchal hotels. In addition, Rodoeste buses connect Funchal to points westward, and S.A.M. buses connect to points eastward.


This city travel guide to Funchal is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.