Funchal travel guide. Funchal is a Portuguese island and the largest city on the island of Madeira (just under 112,000 inhabitants). Its population is approximately the same as Ajaccio in Corsica . It benefits from a Mediterranean climate (hot and dry in summer/mild in winter). It is located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Its sister Lisbon is a must-see.
Funchal travel guide: must-see places
Funchal town hall:
Historical Heritage of Madeira
If you’re passionate about culture during your stay in Funchal, don’t miss the city hall, a neo-Gothic historical monument built in 1903. Its remarkable architecture makes it a must-visit destination.
To get there by public transport, opt for bus lines 1, 2, or 8, which will drop you off nearby. Tickets can be purchased directly from the driver or at the transport company’s ticket outlets.
Once there, marvel at the richly ornamented facade and sumptuous interiors. The impressive entrance hall features crystal chandeliers and marble walls.
The City Hall of Funchal is a fascinating historical site that unveils the history of this Portuguese city on the island of Madeira. A guided tour is recommended for an enriching experience.
In summary, if architecture and history fascinate you, Funchal’s City Hall is a must-visit. Accessible by bus and easy to locate, this historical monument promises a unique and memorable experience. Join us for a captivating journey into Funchal’s past!
Mercado dos Lavradores
Funchal travel guide
I was delighted by the Mercado dos Lavradores in Funchal during my visit to Madeira. This lively and colorful market is a sensory feast, brimming with fresh products such as fruits, vegetables, flowers, fish, and meats. You’ll be amazed by the beautifully presented stalls and Madeira’s local specialties, including wine and honey. Its famous architecture, adorned with blue and white tiles and wrought-iron arches, is a true visual delight.
To get to the market, you can take a bus or a taxi to Funchal, then walk a few minutes to the market. I highly recommend visiting the market in the morning to fully enjoy this unique sensory experience.
Funchal travel guide – The 3D museum
An immersive experience in Funchal
The 3D Museum of Funchal offers a unique immersive experience in the city of Funchal on the island of Madeira. It revolutionizes museum visits by providing interactive three-dimensional exploration of its artworks.
To get there, bus lines 3, 5, or 9 will take you close to the museum. Tickets can be reserved online, which is recommended to avoid long queues.
Once inside, dive into a world of 3D art, where artworks come to life before your eyes. You can interact with them, have a unique sensory experience, and even create your own artworks.
This groundbreaking museum offers an unforgettable artistic exploration in Funchal. Accessible by bus and easy to find, it invites you to discover art from a new perspective. Don’t miss this three-dimensional artistic adventure!
Funchal travel guide – São Pedro Church
This historic church is located in the lively district of Funchal and boasts exceptional architecture with an elegant interior. Visitors can admire beautifully restored murals, carved wooden ornaments, colorful stained glass, and statues representing the church’s saints.
Known for its classical music concerts held throughout the year, it’s a unique opportunity for visitors to experience Portuguese and international classical music while admiring the church’s beauty.
To reach São Pedro Church, visitors can take a bus or taxi from the city center of Funchal.
Monte Palace Church
Breathtaking View of Funchal
Near the Monte Palace Garden, perched on the heights of Funchal (accessible by cable car), the church awaits you, but you’ll have to climb a few steps to savor its splendor!
Inside, admire the magnificent ceiling and paintings. This church is rich in history, housing the tomb of the last Emperor of Austria, Charles I. From this location, enjoy a breathtaking panoramic view of the city and the port of Funchal.
If you prefer to explore Funchal in a tuk-tuk with a local guide, it’s an ideal option to discover the history, culture, and attractions. You’ll traverse the 15th-century old town and make stops at several viewpoints, including Socorro and Villa Guida. A memorable experience awaits!
Monte botanical garden:
A Floral Paradise on the Heights
Monte Botanical Garden, perched on the heights of the city, is a true floral Eden, spanning 80,000 square meters. It houses over 2,500 varieties of plants and flowers of stunning beauty. Whether you’re a gardening enthusiast or simply seeking serenity and splendor, this garden is definitely worth a visit. Additionally, you can explore a museum to deepen your knowledge of different plant species.
If you’re a flower lover, I also recommend exploring the Miracle Garden in Dubai, a breathtaking and unparalleled experience of beauty.
Cristiano Ronaldo CR7 museum in Funchal
Funchal travel guide
During my trip to Funchal, I discovered the famous Cristiano Ronaldo CR7 Museum, a popular tourist attraction. This must-visit showcases an impressive collection of memorabilia and trophies from the player, including Ballon d’Or awards, signed jerseys, and shoes worn during his most memorable matches. Sports enthusiasts can also enjoy interactive exhibits and exciting football-themed photos. To access the museum, you can take a taxi or bus from the center of Funchal. The CR7 Museum is a unique experience not to be missed for football fans and Ronaldo admirers.
Monte palace tropical garden
During my stay in Funchal, I explored the Monte Palace Tropical Garden, a must-visit for nature lovers and garden enthusiasts. You can stroll through its picturesque alleys, admire exotic plants, waterfalls, and ponds inhabited by colorful carp. The garden also houses a remarkable collection of ceramic sculptures from Asia and Africa, as well as a mineral museum. To reach this garden, you can take a cable car from the center of Funchal. It’s a floral and cultural experience not to be missed during your visit to Funchal
Faja dos Padres cable car in Madeira
The Faja dos Padres cable car is a must-visit attraction for visitors to Funchal, the main city in Madeira. This cable car offers a panoramic journey along the south coast of the island, with breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean and the surrounding mountains. During the cable car ride, you can admire the lush forest of Madeira and the secluded Faja dos Padres beach, which is only accessible by boat or cable car. Once at the bottom, you can relax on the beach, enjoy local dishes at the restaurant, or explore the botanical gardens in the area. Access to the Faja dos Padres cable car is easy from the center of Funchal.
Funchal travel guide
The beaches of Funchal
Located just a 20-minute drive from the city, Machico Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Madeira. It offers stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, and you can enjoy the crystal-clear water and golden sand while soaking up the warm Madeira sun. To reach Machico Beach, take bus number 113 from the center of Funchal (approximately a 40-minute journey). There are also plenty of restaurants and bars nearby to savor local specialties.
This beach is a true hidden gem with its crystal-clear waters, fine sand, and stunning natural surroundings. Nearby rock formations and caves provide a visual spectacle, making it perfect for kayaking and snorkeling. To access Prainha Beach, you can take bus line 155 from Funchal. Alternatively, you can rent a car and follow signs to the beach. Please note that reaching the beach can be a bit challenging due to its cliffside location, but the effort is well worth it for nature and tranquility lovers.
Praia dos Reis Magos:
Offering stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and a serene and relaxing atmosphere, this sandy beach is perfect for swimming, relaxing, and sunbathing. It provides all the necessary amenities, including showers, toilets, and rental umbrellas. If you’re looking for a peaceful and picturesque beach in Funchal, Praia dos Reis Magos is the ideal choice.
Praia da Ponta Gorda:
Nestled in Funchal, on the island of Madeira, Praia da Ponta Gorda is a paradise with crystal-clear waters and fine sand, providing breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean. You can reach it by taking bus lines 3, 10, or 13 or by driving and parking nearby. This beach is perfect for families and friends, featuring picnic areas, volleyball courts, showers, toilets, and water activities like diving and kayaking. It’s a perfect place to create unforgettable memories.
The best things to do in Funchal
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 historical sites to explore. Here is my selection of the 4 essential neighborhoods to discover.
History and Charm. Let yourself be charmed by the cobbled streets and colorful buildings of Old Funchal. This historic quarter 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.
Nightlife and Vibrancy. São Martinho is a modern neighborhood with a lively nightlife. You’ll 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 options nearby if you prefer to drive.
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 ocean views.
Panoramic Views and Culture. Monte is a neighborhood perched on the hills of Funchal, offering panoramic views of the city and the ocean. You can take the historic funicular to reach it from the city center or go by car. In addition to panoramic views, you’ll find botanical gardens and the Monte Palace here.
Practical information. Funchal travel guide
*No need for a passport; ID card is sufficient.
*Life is relatively inexpensive in Funchal.
*If you want to know the best time to visit, take a look at the weather.
Getting around in Funchal:
Funchal travel guide
You will find various means of transportation:
*Bus: Several companies provide connections to major tourist destinations.
*Tourist bus (see all activities to book online).
*Taxis: You won’t have trouble finding them.
*Boat: Very useful for island tours (recommended) and excursions.
*Car rental: I’m checking the car rental rates in Funchal.
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.
MTT wishes you the most beautiful of stays, and enjoy your time!