Table of contents:
- Capital of Madeira
- Things to do
- Events andevents
- Sights of Funchal, Madeira
- Day Trips
Madeira Island is one of the most beautiful tourist destinations in Europe, visited by thousands of travelers year after year. It not only offers a year-round summer climate and wonderful fauna and flora, but is also one of the safest holiday destinations in the world. The main city of Madeira Island - Funchal, located in its southern part - offers many interesting places to visit and attractions.
Capital of Madeira
The city of Funchal is located on the south coast of the main island, decorating the slopes of the Massif Central, which descend to the ocean. Here you can see abundant plant life supported by volcanic soil and eternal spring climate, as well as three lush flower gardens where you can relax and enjoy nature.
Two of them can be reached by cable car, which will take tourists to the Monte area. And to go down the slope, one can choose morehigh-speed option, driving through the streets on a wicker sleigh. The city is teeming with whitewashed colonial architecture.
When Portuguese navigators set foot on the island of Madeira in 1419, they were convinced that they had arrived in the Garden of Eden. Madeira's consistently warm weather and lush volcanic mountains with tropical flowers and gardens attracted European settlers, whose influence gave rise to much of what the island is now known for: Madeira wine, poncha (a traditional drink made from distilled sugar cane, honey and lemon), and handicrafts.
Today, the streets of Portugal's cosmopolitan city (Funchal in Madeira), paved with black and white mosaics, delight tourists with a large promenade and old-fashioned shops, restaurants and cafes located in buildings with terracotta roofs.
Although most of the attractions are close to the pebbly shores of the Atlantic Ocean, some of the most significant places in the city are located high above sea level. You can take the cable car up to the peaks that rise above the harbor for a bird's-eye view of the island, as heavenly from above as it is from below.
Things to do
In addition to stunning views, renowned cuisine and relaxing walks, Funchal has an endless array of activities to choose from for the more energetic traveler. These are Levada walking and mountain hiking, sailing and dolphin and whale watching, scuba diving and big game fishing, canyoning, surfing and paragliding.
Funchal hosts many interesting events and activities. These are fascinating carnivals, and a wonderful flower festival, and stunning bright light shows of the Atlantic Festival. Christmas and New Year holidays, as well as many other parades, cultural and sporting events, there is always something going on here.
Sights of Funchal, Madeira
Funchal is the most picturesque and cleanest capital in Europe. Today's city is very different from the days of dill cultivation and pirate days. Tourists can leave the winter scenery of their home country behind and enjoy a fabulous vacation at a stunning year-round summer resort.
Sights of Funchal (Madeira, Portugal) will help you make a choice in favor of a holiday in this part of Europe:
Rua Santa Maria. This attractive cobbled street runs along a corridor of houses with painted doors. It was one of the first in Funchal and has its roots in the 15th century and is now a shopping and dining destination. In 2010, the street was hit by floods, and as part of the redevelopment, the city launched the Art of Open Doors project. Thus, now frilly and bright doors, painted with true craftsmanship, enliven the route
- Funchal Cathedral in Madeira. In the city's cathedral, you can go back to the Portuguese Age of Discovery. This building was built at the dawn of the 16th century using many tons of pyroclastic stone quarried from the rocks of Cabo Girao in the southwest of the island. If you look at the roof of the bell tower, thenyou can see that it is covered with classic glazed tiles.
- Monte cable car. One of those inevitable sights in Funchal in Madeira is the cable car that takes tourists to the top of Monte, located at an altitude of 600 meters above sea level. This gondola lift began operating in 2000 and replaced a defunct railway that ran 4 km uphill and was closed in 1943.
- The Monastery of Santa Clara. Another rare look at 15th century Madeira. This monastery was founded by João Gonçalves da Camara, who was the second captain-major of Funchal. During his reign, the Madeira archipelago experienced economic and social development through the sugar trade. The monastery testifies to these changes, and its history dates back to 1492, when it was a place for the daughters of the local nobility. Santa Clara functioned until the dissolution of the monasteries in 1834.
- Jesuit College. The Municipal Square (Praça do Município) with its volcanic fountain is one of the most impressive city scenes in Funchal. It is surrounded by the City Chamber and the amazing Jesuit College. It is a stunning 16th century building with Renaissance and Baroque architecture. The Jesuits were suppressed in the Portuguese Empire in 1759, so since then the college has served several different functions: the headquarters of the invading British army, the Portuguese military base, and now the main building of the University of Madeira.
Regardless of the taste and preferences of tourists, in Funchal in Madeira (you can see the photo of the city in the article), everyone will find something that will interest him. From beautiful parks and gardens with exotic flowers, seascapes with blue oceans and high cliffs, to rural settlements in quiet valleys and beautiful mountains.
- Gardens of Palheiro Ferreiro. One of the many benefits of Madeira's constant spring weather is that such gardens can bloom all year round. The outstanding Palheiro Gardens are located in a colonial-style estate. They are broken around a private house, and about 3,000 species of plants from all over the world are planted in them. Among the many flowerbeds and sculpted hedges are a rose garden, a sunken garden, Camellia Avenue, a French garden, a Women's garden, and a tea room. At the end of winter, a preview of the European summer is available to tourists with wisterias as well as exotic plants such as proteas already in bloom.
- Monte Palace Tropical Garden. Another botanical garden runs through 7 hectares of terraces, where exotic plants alternate with waterfalls, and architectural flourishes resemble a Japanese pagoda. The path through the gardens is adorned with stunning, amazing Portuguese azulejo tiles produced in the 15th and 16th centuries. And in the Japanese garden, there are tiled panels telling about the history of trade between Portugal and Japan. At the Monte Palace Museum, you can see an exhibition of African art on the upper floors, while below is a collection of minerals with 700specimens collected from the mainland of Portugal, South and North America and Africa.
- Madeira Botanical Garden. In Monte you can take the second cable car to the Botanical Garden. This terminal is within walking distance from the top station in Monte. The second cable car also allows you to take a very scenic ride through the João Gomez river valley. Like much of Funchal, the garden sits on a hillside. Unfortunately, wildfires in 2016 destroyed the orchids. But there's more to discover: scenic views of plantations of tropical and subtropical fruits such as papaya, avocado, coffee and sugarcane, creative topiaries and a wide range of succulent plants.
Funchal in Madeira is a day trip destination for adventure. There are companies offering 4 x 4 car rides and paragliding. Or you can drive yourself along the scenic road to Curral das Freiras, a village perched on the walls of a canyon, or try to take a walk along the windy headland in São Lourenço at the extreme eastern point of Madeira.
At the same time, the interior of the island is woven with water channels known as levadas, which carry water from areas with high rainfall to dry farmlands.
Pico do Arieiro, Madeira's third highest peak, is another easy day trip from Funchal. Tourists without cars can choose from dozens of companies offering bus or car rides ontop. The clear view is all the way to the island of Porto Santo, 50 km to the north.