Funchal travel guide

Funchal travel guide - Madeira

Welcome aboard this comprehensive guide to “Funchal travel guide”.
I’m Sarah (or Miss Tatane 😛), a travel enthusiast. I’m here to share my experiences and tips to help you make the most of your trip 😉.

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Funchal travel guide – Must-see places

Funchal is a Portuguese island and the largest city on the island of Madeira (just under 112,000 inhabitants).

Discover Funchal in all its aspects with our comprehensive guide. From its cobbled streets to its panoramic views from the Monte cable car, immerse yourself in the cultural and natural essence of Funchal. Plan your visit with our practical tips to fully enjoy every moment in Funchal.

Must-see places

Funchal town hall

Historical Heritage of Madeira

Funchal travel guide City hall of Funchal

Funchal Town Hall, located in the heart of the capital of Madeira, is an emblematic monument full of history and charm. This magnificent building bears witness to traditional Portuguese architecture and houses the administrative offices of the municipality.

History and architecture

Built in the 17th century, Funchal Town Hall is a remarkable example of the civil architecture of the period. It is distinguished by its white facade decorated with mullioned windows and elegant architectural details. The interior, on the other hand, often retains historic decorative elements that reflect local history and culture.

Activities and discoveries

  • Cultural visit. Enjoy a guided tour to discover the history of Funchal and Madeira through the centuries, as well as the role of the city hall in municipal management.
  • Exhibitions. Sometimes the Town Hall hosts temporary exhibitions that highlight the art, history or culture of Madeira.
  • Municipal Events: Attend local events or official ceremonies that sometimes take place on the square in front of City Hall.

Practical advice for the visit

  • Hours of operation. Monday to Friday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Closed on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays.
  • Access. City Hall is located in the center of Funchal, easily accessible on foot from many points of interest in the city.
  • Guides and information. Tour guides and brochures are often available at the entrance to help you get the most out of your visit.

Why visit Funchal City Hall?

  • Historical architecture. Appreciate the elegance of classic Portuguese architecture and learn about the city’s history through its walls.
  • Centrality. As the focal point of municipal life, City Hall offers you an authentic immersion in local life and culture.
  • Local atmosphere. Enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of the square in front of the Town Hall, ideal for relaxing and observing the daily life of the inhabitants of Funchal.

Mercado dos Lavradores

Funchal travel guide

The Farmers’ Market, or “Mercado dos Lavradores” in Portuguese, is one of the must-see places in Funchal, the capital of Madeira. This colorful and lively market is renowned for its vibrant ambiance and fresh produce, offering an authentic immersion in local culture and gastronomy.

History and atmosphere

Built in the 1930s, Mercado dos Lavradores is a symbol of traditional crafts and commerce in Madeira. It is frequented both by local residents in search of fresh produce and by visitors curious to discover the island’s specialties.

Products and displays

  • Fruits and vegetables. You’ll find an abundance of exotic tropical fruits like Madeira bananas, mangoes, pineapples, as well as locally grown vegetables. Be careful if you take it because once you weigh it, you want to put it all down!
  • Flowers. The market is also famous for its colorful flower stalls, including orchids and birds of paradise, which are symbols of the island.
  • Artisanal products. You can also discover traditional handicrafts such as embroidery, basketry and pottery, which reflect local craftsmanship.

Cultural experience

  • Culinary delights. Don’t miss tasting local specialties like “Bolo do Caco” (traditional bread), “Espetada” (meat skewer) and the famous “Poncha”, a cocktail made with rum and lemon juice.
  • Lively atmosphere. Immerse yourself in the dynamic atmosphere of the market where enthusiastic sellers offer their wares and lively discussions between customers and merchants are an integral part of the experience.

Practical advice for the visit

  • Schedules. The market is generally open Monday through Saturday, but it’s best to check specific times before your visit.
  • Souvenirs and gifts. Take the opportunity to bring home unique souvenirs such as local spices, artisanal products or traditional linen clothing. Be careful, however, of unjustified prices. Prices have really skyrocketed so don’t fall into the trap either!

Why visit the Farmers’ Market?

  • Authenticity. Immerse yourself in the daily life of the people of Madeira and discover local traditions through products and exchanges at the market.
  • Local flavors. Taste the wealth of fresh produce and culinary specialties of the island, while exploring the colorful and fragrant market stalls.
  • Picturesque atmosphere. Enjoy the picturesque and warm atmosphere of the market, where liveliness and conviviality reign throughout the day.

Funchal travel guide – The 3D museum

An immersive experience in Funchal

The Funchal 3D Museum invites you to a unique museum experience, where art comes to life before your eyes.

Explore a three-dimensional art world

  • Admire murals that pop out of their frames and interact with them to create spectacular optical illusions.
  • Immerse yourself in fantastic settings and take fun photos that will put you in extraordinary worlds.
  • Unleash your creativity by participating in artistic workshops and creating your own 3D works of art.

An accessible and easy-to-find museum

  • Located in the center of Funchal, the museum is easily accessible by bus (lines 3, 5 or 9).
  • To avoid queues, consider booking your tickets online .

A unique experience for the whole family

  • Whether you are an art lover or simply looking for an original activity, the Funchal 3D Museum promises you an unforgettable experience.
  • Captivating entertainment for children and adults, the opportunity to share a moment of complicity and create unique memories.

Funchal travel guide – São Pedro Church

The São Pedro Church in Funchal is a true architectural and spiritual pearl in the heart of the capital of Madeira. Nestled among the cobbled streets and historic buildings of Funchal, this church offers an enriching experience for visitors seeking cultural and religious heritage.

History and architecture

Built from the 17th century and rebuilt in the 19th century after a fire, the São Pedro Church is a remarkable example of Portuguese religious architecture. Its sober exterior contrasts with a richly decorated interior, characterized by baroque altars, gilded wood carvings and traditional azulejos (earthenware tiles).

Cultural visit

  • Artistic discovery. Admire religious artwork and architectural details that speak to Madeira’s history and faith.
  • Spiritual atmosphere. Soak up serenity and contemplation at this still-active place of worship for local worshippers.

Practical advice for the visit

  • Schedules. Open every day but closed between noon and 1 p.m.
  • Respect for places. As with any church, please respect silence and appropriate rules of conduct during your visit. I sometimes see behavior that is more than inappropriate and it really saddens me!

Church of our lady of Monte

Breathtaking View of Funchal

Near the Monte Palace garden, perched on the heights of Funchal and accessible by cable car, you will find the Church of Nossa Senhora do Monte. This church is an iconic location in Madeira, renowned for its votive chapel and spectacular panoramic views of Funchal and the Atlantic Ocean.

Church of Our Lady of Monte

Located near the Monte Palace Tropical Garden, the Church of Nossa Senhora do Monte is an important place of pilgrimage and a tourist site popular for its beauty and religious history. Here’s what you can find out:

History and architecture

  • Baroque architecture. The church features Baroque architecture with neo-classical influences, characterized by its white facade and elegant decorative details.
  • Votive chapel. Inside, you will find a votive chapel decorated with religious paintings and sculptures, where the faithful come to pay homage to Our Lady of the Mount.

Cultural visit

  • Panoramic views. From the church and its surroundings, enjoy stunning panoramic views of Funchal, the port and the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Local Folklore. The church is also associated with local traditions, including Monte’s famous toboggan runs.


  • Cable car. You can access the Church of Nossa Senhora do Monte by taking the cable car from the center of Funchal to Monte, then taking a short walk to the church.
  • Public transport. Local buses are also available to travel to Monte from Funchal city center.

Why visit?

  • Religious heritage. Explore a place of worship rich in history and spirituality, steeped in deep religious traditions.
  • Nature and beauty. Enjoy a unique combination of spirituality and natural beauty, with lush botanical gardens and picturesque landscapes nearby.
  • Cultural experience. Discover an authentic side of Madeiran life and immerse yourself in the peaceful and inspiring atmosphere of this church perched on the heights of Funchal.

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Monte botanical garden

A Floral Paradise on the Heights

The Funchal Botanical Garden is an oasis of greenery and biodiversity located high above the city, offering a tranquil and educational getaway in the heart of Madeira.

What you can discover

  • Botanical collections. Explore thousands of different plants, from colorful tropical flowers to majestic trees and impressive cacti.
  • Greenhouses. Visit the greenhouses which house plants specific to tropical climates, providing a pleasant refuge in all seasons.
  • Panoramic viewpoints. Enjoy great views of the city of Funchal, the Atlantic Ocean and the surrounding mountains from different points of the garden.

Activities and services

  • Education and awareness. The garden offers guided tours and educational activities for visitors of all ages, providing opportunities to learn about local and global flora.
  • Cafe and shop. Relax in the garden café or explore the boutique for unique botanical souvenirs and local products.

Useful information

  • Hours of operation. The garden is open every day of the year from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (7 p.m. between May and October).
  • Access. You can access the garden by tuk-tuk, taxi or bus from the center of Funchal. Parking is available nearby for motorized visitors.

Why visit the Funchal Botanical Garden?

  • Nature and relaxation. Enjoy a peaceful getaway in a beautiful natural setting, ideal for relaxing and recharging away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
  • Education and exploration. Learn about botany and conservation while discovering fascinating plant species from around the world.
  • Photography and inspiration. Capture unique moments and photograph the natural beauty around you, with breathtaking scenery in every corner of the garden.

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Cristiano Ronaldo CR7 museum in Funchal

Funchal travel guide

The CR7 museum is much more than just a football museum, it is a tribute to one of the most famous athletes in the world. Whether you’re a fan or just curious like me, the CR7 is an essential step.

History and concept

  • Inauguration. The museum was opened in 2013 to celebrate the achievements of Madeira native Cristiano Ronaldo.
  • Collection. The museum houses an impressive collection of Ronaldo’s personal items, including his trophies, jerseys, shoes and memorabilia from his sporting career.

Exhibitions and experiences

  • Trophies. Explore the prestigious trophies won by Ronaldo throughout his career, including his Ballons d’Or and other major honors.
  • Videos and interactivity. Discover videos and interactive presentations that chronicle the defining moments of Ronaldo’s career, as well as information about his personal life and his philanthropic commitment.

Useful information

  • Location. The museum is located in the heart of Funchal, close to the marina, easily accessible on foot from many hotels and tourist sites.
  • Hours of operation. The museum is open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Gift shop. Take advantage of the souvenir shop to take home exclusive items related to Cristiano Ronaldo and the CR7 Museum.

Why visit the CR7 museum?

  • Football fan. For fans of Cristiano Ronaldo and football in general, this is a unique opportunity to experience the life and career of a living legend up close.
  • Popular culture. The museum offers a fascinating insight into Ronaldo’s modern celebrity and global influence as a sportsman and popular icon.
  • Family attraction. Suitable for all ages, the CR7 Museum is an entertaining and educational experience, ideal for families and sports fans.
  • I would like to visit the museum and go there by tuk-tuk.

Monte palace tropical garden

Monte Palace Tropical Garden in Funchal is a botanical haven offering a unique combination of exotic plants, artwork and panoramic views, set in a picturesque setting above the city.

History and concept

  • Creation. The garden was developed around the famous Monte Palace Hotel, showcasing the biodiversity of Madeira as well as species from around the world.
  • Transformation. Formerly a stone quarry, the site has been transformed into a spectacular garden by the José Berardo Foundation.

Highlights of the Garden

  • Botanical collections. Explore an impressive variety of tropical and subtropical plants, including rare species and ancient trees.
  • Works of art. Admire contemporary sculptures scattered throughout the garden, integrating art with the surrounding natural beauty.
  • Lake and waterfalls. Enjoy panoramic views of a large lake and waterfalls, creating a peaceful and serene atmosphere.

Are these the same gardens? No

The Monte Palace Tropical Garden and the Funchal Botanical Garden are different.

Funchal Botanical Garden

  • Location. Located on the heights of Funchal, the Botanical Garden focuses mainly on the endemic flora of Madeira as well as botanical collections from around the world.
  • Function. It is a space dedicated to conservation, botanical research and education, with a vast variety of rare plants and species.

Jardin tropical Monte Palace

  • Location. Also on the heights of Funchal, near the Monte Palace Hotel, this garden is distinguished by its vast landscaped gardens, waterfalls and lake.
  • Function. In addition to botany, it includes artistic elements with contemporary sculptures and temporary cultural exhibitions.

Why visit the Monte Palace tropical garden?

If you’re looking for a getaway that combines natural beauty and contemporary art, Jardin Tropical Monte Palace is ideal. It offers a visually spectacular experience with its waterfalls, sculptures and panoramic views, while the Funchal Botanical Garden is more focused on conservation and botanical education.

Faja dos Padres cable car in Madeira

The Fajã dos Padres cable car in Madeira is a unique experience providing access to one of the most picturesque and unspoiled places on the island, offering stunning views and direct access to a small, isolated enclave on the south coast.

Location and access

  • Location. Located on the south coast of Madeira, near Ribeira Brava, the Fajã dos Padres cable car offers a scenic journey from the sea to a cliff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Access. To get there, you can take the cable car from the departure station near the sea, where a short ride takes you to Fajã dos Padres.

Unique experience

  • Panoramic view. Enjoy spectacular (and when I say spectacular, I mean my words carefully) views of the ocean and coastal landscapes throughout the cable car ride.
  • Natural enclave. When you arrive in Fajã dos Padres, discover a little unspoiled paradise with a pebble beach, terraced gardens and a peaceful atmosphere far from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Activities and services

  • Restoration. Enjoy authentic local cuisine at Fajã dos Padres’ restaurant, which uses produce grown on site.
  • Hiking. Explore the walking paths which wind through the terraced gardens and offer stunning coastal views.

Useful information

  • Schedules. The cable car generally operates daily, with schedules adjusted according to tourist seasons. It is recommended to check times before your visit.
  • Activities. In addition to hiking and relaxing on the beach, you can also take guided tours to learn about the history and nature of Fajã dos Padres.

Why take the Fajã dos Padres cable car?

  • Nature and relaxation. Offers a tranquil getaway in an unspoiled natural setting, ideal for relaxing and recharging.
  • Cultural experience. Discover a part of Madeira less frequented by tourists, while enjoying local cuisine and exploring local agricultural traditions.
  • Photography. Capture breathtaking views along the cable car ride and from Fajã dos Padres.

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The best beaches

The beaches of Funchal


During my visit to Funchal, I had the chance to discover the beautiful Machico beach, just 20 minutes drive from the city. This beach, one of the most popular on the island of Madeira, offers a breathtaking view of the Atlantic Ocean. I savored the crystal clear water and golden sand while basking in the warm Madeira sun.

To get there, take bus number 113 of the Rodoeste company from the center of Funchal (around 40 minutes journey). Near the beach you will also find many restaurants and bars where you can taste local specialties. Take advantage of this heavenly getaway to relax, swim and explore the natural beauties of Madeira. An unforgettable experience awaits you on Machico Beach.

Prainha Beach

This beach turned out to be a real little corner of paradise. Its crystal clear waters are ideal for swimming, while its fine sand invites relaxation. However, what really sets this beach apart is its unspoiled natural environment.

The nearby rock formations and caves provide an exceptional visual spectacle. I thoroughly enjoyed the kayak exploration and snorkeling. If you are planning to visit Prainha Beach, access is convenient by bus via line 155 from Funchal. For more flexibility, you can also rent a car and follow the signs to the beach.

It is important to note, however, that access to the beach can be a little demanding due to its location on a cliff. However, the effort is well worth it, as Prainha Beach is one of Madeira’s hidden treasures, offering a unique experience for lovers of nature and tranquility. Don’t miss this opportunity to discover this preserved haven of peace.

Praia dos Reis Magos

This fine sand beach offers breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean and a serene and relaxing atmosphere.

To get there, you can take VR1 by car or bus line 155 from Funchal city center. The bus ride only takes 20 minutes.

Praia dos Reis Magos is perfect for swimming, relaxing and sunbathing. There you will find all the necessary amenities, including showers, toilets and parasols for rent.

If you are looking for a quiet and picturesque beach in Funchal, Praia dos Reis Magos is the ideal choice. Its crystal clear waters and panoramic view of the Atlantic Ocean make it one of the most beautiful beaches in Madeira. Enjoy this corner of paradise during your next stay!

Praia da Ponta Gorda

Praia da Ponta Gorda, a paradise beach nestled in Funchal, on the island of Madeira. Its crystal clear waters and fine sand offer a breathtaking view of the Atlantic Ocean.

To get there by bus, you can take lines 3, 10 or 13. If you prefer to drive, parking is available near the beach.

Praia da Ponta Gorda is a great place to relax for families and friends, with picnic areas, volleyball courts, showers and toilets. Adventure seekers can also enjoy water activities like diving and kayaking. A perfect place to create unforgettable memories.

What to do in Funchal?

Funchal travel guide – The best activities 💞

Where to stay?

Where to stay in Funchal

The best areas to stay on Madeira Island

Funchal, on the island of Madeira, is full of picturesque neighborhoods and historic places to explore. Here is my selection of the 4 essential districts to discover.

Old Funchal

History and Charm. Let yourself be charmed by the cobbled streets and colorful buildings of Old Funchal. This historic district is easily accessible by bus or car from your accommodation in Funchal. You can even walk from the city center if you prefer a peaceful stroll.

Saint Martin

Nightlife and Liveliness. São Martinho is a modern neighborhood with a lively nightlife. You will find plenty of restaurants, bars and nightclubs to keep you entertained throughout the night. It’s easily accessible by bus from your accommodation, and there are public parking lots nearby if you prefer to drive.

Santa Maria

Sandy Beaches and Relaxation. Enjoy the sandy beaches and crystal clear waters of Santa Maria. This coastal neighborhood is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the ocean views.


Panoramic View and Culture. Monte is a neighborhood perched on the heights of Funchal, offering panoramic views of the city and the ocean. You can take the historic funicular to get there from the city center, or you can go by car. In addition to the panoramic view, you will find botanical gardens and the Monte Palace.

Practical information

Practical information – Funchal travel guide

Funchal, the enchanting capital of Madeira, is a destination rich in history, culture and natural beauty. Here is some practical information to plan your visit.


  • Airport. Funchal Airport (Cristiano Ronaldo Airport) is located approximately 20 minutes by car from the city center. Taxis and shuttle services are available to reach Funchal from the airport.
  • City transportation. Funchal is well served by public buses, taxis and car rental services. Taxi rides are generally affordable for getting around the city quickly.

Practical advice

  • Language. Portuguese is the official language, but English is widely spoken in tourist areas.
  • Cash. The Euro (EUR) is the currency used in Madeira. Credit cards are generally accepted at most establishments.

Temperature and climate

  • Soft climate. Madeira enjoys a subtropical climate, with mild winters and pleasantly warm summers. Temperatures are generally mild all year round, making it an ideal holiday destination at any time.

Getting around?

Getting around in Funchal

Funchal travel guide

In Funchal, getting around is quite easy thanks to various means of transport that cover the city and its surroundings. Here are the main options for exploring Funchal and its surroundings:


Benefits. Funchal is a pleasant city for walking, especially in the historic city center where the streets are paved and pedestrianized. It’s a great way to discover the little details and charms of the city at your own pace.

Points to note. Some streets may be sloped, so be prepared to walk on varied surfaces.

And bus

Bus network. Funchal has a well-developed public bus network.

Benefits. Buses are affordable and offer a convenient way to get around. They operate regularly throughout the day.

Tickets. Tickets can be purchased on board the bus or at newsstands. Make sure you have cash change.

Tourist bus

Explore the lush landscapes of Madeira and the sights of Funchal.

In taxi

Availability. Taxis are easily available in Funchal, especially in tourist areas like the waterfront and the city center.

Benefits. Taxis are fast and comfortable. They are ideal for direct journeys to specific destinations or for traveling with heavier luggage.

Prices. Taxi fares are regulated and meter-based. Make sure the meter is enabled from the start.

Monte Cable Car

Destination. The Monte Cable Car is a popular attraction in Funchal, offering panoramic views of the city. It connects the center of Funchal to Monte.

Benefits. In addition to being a means of transportation, the cable car offers a unique tourist experience with spectacular views.

Tickets. Tickets are available here.

Car or scooter rental

Options. It is possible to rent a car or scooter in Funchal, giving you complete flexibility to explore Madeira at your own pace.

Points to note. Be sure to check local driving rules and driver’s license requirements if you plan to rent a vehicle.

Practical advice

  • Planning. Before you travel, check bus schedules and check routes to optimize your travel.
  • Security. Funchal is generally safe for pedestrians and travelers, but be aware of intersections and traffic rules.
  • Language. Most taxi drivers and bus drivers speak Portuguese and often also English, making communication easy.


Funchal travel guide – Homosexuality

“No LGBT bars”

There are no LGBT bars in Funchal, but it is a gay-friendly island, and all the bars I visited were very welcoming. Two women holding hands do not pose any issues. Progress has been made since 15 years ago when attitudes were different. The world is evolving!

My partner and I have always received a warm welcome, and the men I met there were not bothered. It feels similar to Lisbon, where the LGBT community is very present.

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MTT wishes you the most beautiful of stays, and enjoy your time!

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