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Funchal, Madeira

Our comprehensive list of the best things to see and do in Funchal, Madeira, will help you find the city’s hidden jewels.

There is something for everyone in this attractive city, from riding the Funchal Cable Car for stunning views to visiting the CR7 Museum and strolling down Santa Maria Street in the old town.

Prepare to enjoy the finest of Madeira by visiting our must-see suggestions.

What are some of the best things to do in Funchal, Madeira?

When is the best time of year to visit Funchal, Madeira?

The best time to go to Funchal, Madeira, for swimming and sunbathing is in September. But spring and summer are also great times to visit. Another great is during New Year’s Eve.

What must-see place is there in Funchal, Madeira?

Cable Car Ride to Monte

The Funchal Cable Car is a must-do activity, providing stunning views of the city below.

The ascent is as delightful as the views. It stops near the tropical Monte Palace Madeira botanical garden. A must-see for its unique oriental gardens and Portuguese tiles.

The Madeira Botanical Garden is another incredible exotic space, a must for any nature lover.

What are the best restaurants and bars in Funchal, Madeira?

The Marina has a variety of seafood restaurants and bars with a view. The centre also has a wide range of traditional and international cuisine options. Our favourites are:

Where can I find traditional local food and drinks in Funchal?

You can find traditional local food and drinks in many restaurants in Funchal. Taberna do Ruel is a great spot. Poncha is the traditional drink, the main thing that Madeira’s fishers “eat”. Try the bar Rei da Poncha.

What kinds of transportation are there in Funchal, Madeira?

• Bus
• Cable car
• Taxi
• Car rental

Do Funchal and Madeira have any beaches? If so, which one is the best?

There are no beaches in Funchal, but Formosa Beach, Ponta do Sol Beach, Calheta Beach (the most popular) and Porto do Seixal are all close by. There are many bathing complexes in the city.

In Funchal, Madeira, are there any places to shop?

There are 3 shopping malls. In the centre, La Vie Shopping has over 70 stores and a supermarket.

There are also many shop options in the old town centre.

Madeira Airport

  • Coordenadas: 32.693956, -16.774952

We begin our journey at Madeira Cristiano Ronaldo International Airport. Once a complicated runway to land on, the new one since 2000 makes it easy for everyone.

From Lisbon to Madeira, with no stops, the flight lasts 1 hour and 45 minutes – from Porto for 2 hours. It takes 25 minutes to reach Porto Santo.
It is in the island’s east, near the city of Santa Cruz – 20 minutes from the centre of Funchal.

The first thing that surprises you when you arrive is how clean everything is in the city – marvellously well-kept and landscaped as if taken straight from a book.

How to go from the airport to Funchal?

From the airport, the quickest way to get to the city is by taxi. The average price is around €25.

Renting a car on the island is the best option if you want to have total freedom without depending on public transportation.

Itinerary of what to see and do in 1 or 2 days in Funchal

Funchal, Ilha da Madeira
Cidade do Funchal

Only one or two days in the city? Here are the top 10 must-see places and activities to do:

1. Take the Funchal Cable Car

The Funchal-Monte Cable Car is the perfect way to see the city. The scenery is breathtaking. An inspiring 20-minute journey that costs €16 (round trip).

The station is in the historic centre, near Parque Almirante Reis. One-way, the price for an adult is €22.5, and it operates from 09:00 to 17:45 (email: info@madeiracablecar.com).

We ride to the traditional neighbourhood that was the refuge of the European elite in the 19th century.

They sought pure and dry air and ease symptoms of diseases such as tuberculosis. They built majestic villas.

2. Monte Palace Madeira Tropical Garden

Monte Palace, Funchal
Monte Palace Madeira

In Funchal, the old property Quinta do Prazer is now the Monte Palace Madeira, one of the prime tourist attractions.

You will find a collection of exotic plants from all over the world. In the centre, there is a lake with elegant swans and ducks.

We see a considerable collection of tile panels from various eras, starting from the 16th century.

They came from palaces, churches, chapels and houses in many Portuguese cities. They depict religious, social and cultural events of the time.

We love the stunning Funchal bay views surrounded by mountains.

When visiting the botanical garden, a ticket costs €12.5 (children under fifteen do not pay.) 

A ticket costs €12.5 per adult. Garden visiting hours: from 9:30 to 18:00 (email info@montepalacemadeira.com).

If you can visit!

3. Madeira Botanical Garden, Visit Funchal

Jardim Botânico da Madeira, roteiro para Visitar o Funchal

Another must-see attraction in Funchal is the Madeira Botanical Garden (Jardim Botânico da Madeira, formerly property of the Reid family), one of the most charming places to visit.

The Madeira Botanical Garden contains over two thousand species of plants from all over the world, but the majority are indigenous to the Azores, Cape Verde or the Canary Islands (Macaronesia).

When visiting the space, a ticket costs €7.5 (2023). Open every day from 9am to 6pm. From the centre of Funchal, take bus 31. It’s a ten-minute ride.

Throughout the Madeira Botanical Garden, we see plants labelled with their scientific names, common names, families and places of origin, arranged in several important collections.

4. Nossa Senhora do Monte Church, see Funchal

Igreja Nossa Senhora do Monte, Funchal, Ilhada da Madeira

The Funchal cable car takes you to the Church of Our Lady of the Mount, built in an ancient chapel. The entrance is free.

Adão Ferreira, the first man born in Madeira, built the chapel in 1470, dedicating the temple to Our Lady of the Incarnation.

The plaque in the current temple dates back to the 18th century. Damaged by an earthquake. Rebuilt in the 19th century. The main religious festival of the city takes place here (between the 14th and 15th of August).

Emperor Charles I of Austria, who died in the city, rests in the church. The temple is only 500 meters away from the Monte Palace Madeira botanical garden.

5. What to do in Funchal? Madeira Toboggan Ride!

Carros de Cesto de Vime, Monte, Ilha da Madeira
Funchal, Cars Basket, Madeira, Portugal

Near the temple, we see a group of men dressed in white suits at the foot of the wooden basket. They offer a trip back to the centre. The vehicle is unusual and dates back to the 19th century…

We descend in a kind of wooden basket (wood and wicker), serpentine down the hill, “sledge” pushed by 2 skilled Monte Carriers.

We arrive in the suburb of Livramento after travelling for two kilometres in ten minutes. The trip costs €30 (2 people).

6. Visit the Cathedral of Funchal, Madeira Island

Sé do Funchal, Ilha da Madeira

There are many tourist attractions in the centre, and we find the Funchal Cathedral in Largo de Dom Manuel I.

Don’t just stick to the exterior: see the magnificent wooden ceiling, beautifully well-preserved. The entrance is free.

During the Age of Discoveries, the cathedral was the largest diocese in the World: S. Tomé and Príncipe (Africa), Goa (India), and S. Salvador (Brazil) were under its leadership.

They built the temple by order of Dom Manuel I of Portugal (15th century), monarch and master of the Order of Christ.

The settlement of Funchal begins under the rule of the Order of Christ (successors of the Templars in Portugal) and Prince Henry the Navigator.

7. Visit the CR7 Museum

Museu CR7, Hotel Pestana, Madeira Island

The Statue of Cristiano Ronaldo, Pestana CR7 Funchal and the CR7 Museum are close to the marina in Funchal. It has waxworks of Ronaldo, who was born in the city, and photos and videos that show his career.

It opens Tuesdays to Saturdays, from 10:00 to 17:30.

A ticket costs €5 (children under nine do not pay). When visiting, you will see all the youth and professional trophies won by Ronaldo at Real Madrid, Manchester United and Juventus.

Next to it, is the Pestana CR7 Funchal hotel. From the port, in front, busy ferries depart for Porto Santo (a 2-hour trip and costs €60).

Funchal – New Year’s Eve

A great time to visit the city is during New Year’s Eve.

In Funchal, the firework show lasts around 8 minutes. They divide it between various locations, including the Amphitheater, including a space on Porto Santo Island.

Reveillon no anfiteatro do Funchal
Coisas para ver em Funchal, Reveillon, ilha da Madeira

It is one of the most significant tourist attractions, internationally recognized in 2006 by the Guinness World Records book as the World’s Largest Fireworks Show.

Visit Funchal During the Flower Festival (Festa das Flores)

Another good time is during the Flower Festival, held along the Sea Avenue. The Festival usually takes place at the end of April and beginning of May.

On the cars, cheerfully decorated with flowers, hundreds of dancers pass through the streets of Funchal.

8. Santa Catarina Park

Parque de Santa Catarina
Parque de Santa Catarina, Madeira

In the centre of Funchal, near the marina, Santa Catarina Park is a beautiful garden of indescribable charm. With many trees and a wide variety of flora and fauna. The entrance is free. In the summer, opens from 7:00 to 21:00.

It’s an excellent place for relaxation, with a snack bar and a small lake with an island where swans rest.

It rewarded us with a magnificent view of the bay, especially pleasant on sunny days.

9. Farmers Market (Mercado dos Lavradores), Funchal

Mercado dos Lavradores - Interior
Mercado dos Lavradores, Madeira, Portugal

Visit the local farmers’ market, Mercado do Lavradores, a burst of colours and fragrances impeccably presented.
Politely, the merchants offer delicious samples of fruits and dates.

Of course, the Madeira banana is very famous. There is a wide variety of notable plant species, such as purple passion fruit, Annona, Pitanga and Tamarillo.


Monday to Friday from 07:00 to 19:00.

Saturdays from 07:00 to 14:00.

10. Santa Maria Street – Old Town of Funchal

Rua de Santa Maria, Funchal, Ilha da Madeira
Santa Maria Street, Madeira Island

Venturing into the Funchal Old Town, we reach the friendly Santa Maria street with painted doors.
It is ancient (15th century), one of the first streets. Currently, home to delicious taverns and the most typical Funchal locals.
In 2010, the Street got hit by floods. They started this art project of painted doors (Arte de Ports Abertas).

Complete Tourist Guide, Things to See and Do

Got some extra days to explore Funchal? Then check out all the must-see treasures in the city!

Itinerary in the Center of Funchal

On Avenida Arriaga, we find the Monument to João Gonçalves Zarco, featuring a sword and the confident stance of a knight. He played a role in Portugal’s expansion along the North African coast.

  • Coordenadas: 32.647941, -16.909787

At just 28 years old, he was one discoverer of the island of Porto Santo (3 years after the taking of Ceuta in North Africa) and Madeira.

His nephew was the first European to reach Guinea-Bissau. Zarco became captain of Prince Henry, in charge of the part that included Funchal.

Golden Gate Grand Cafe

  • Coordenadas: 32.647930, -16.909670

Visit the iconic Golden Gate Grand Cafe near the statue. In the early 20th century, artists and Funchal financial elite would gather.

Today, it’s a beautiful cafe and restaurant with classic decor and a cosy atmosphere. We can purchase delicious cakes and ice cream at reasonable prices.

São Lourenço Palace

  • Coordenadas: 32.6471702; -16.9120021

Visit the distinct white facade of São Lourenço Palace located 80 meters away on Zarco avenue. Built by King Dom Manuel I.

Most of the structure dates back to the annexation of Portugal by the Spanish crown in the late 16th century. The salon holds many treasures. Three rooms house the Military Museum of Madeira with old artillery pieces.


Blandy’s Wine Lodge – Madeira Wine

Just 50 meters from the Zarco Statue, we discover the oldest wine cellars on the Madeira archipelago at Blandy’s Wine Lodge (Arriaga avenue).

  • Coordenadas: 32.647802, -16.910596

The oldest bottle is from 1908, a Bual that was 77 years in cask. Charles Blandy bought the property in the mid-19th century. Before that, it was a Franciscan monastery (17th century).

There are 4 types: dry, semi-dry, medium sweet, and sweet. The dry and semi-dry ones are served as starters. The rest are good with sweets and desserts.

In the museum, we see a letter from Sir Winston Churchill, a happy fan of the Madeira Wine.