Funchal travel guide

Funchal Tourism | Funchal Guide

You're Going to Love Funchal

The beautiful capital of the Portuguese island of Madeira, Funchal offers vibrant markets, tranquil gardens, easy access to the island's dramatic interior, historic sights and much, much more. It's a little mid-Atlantic miracle.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Funchal

1. A Wealth of Historic Architecture

Madeira grew rich on sugar, wine and shipping, and it has splendid architecture to prove it. Highlights include the São Lourenço Palace and the 16th century Sé Cathedral, but the whole town is beautiful.

2. Enjoy Some Madeira Wine

A delicious fortified wine, Madeira is the perfect way to round off a vacation meal. Try it at leading wine bars like Blandy's or Beef and Wines.

3. It's a Great Place for Active Vacations

With plenty of nearby golf courses, the chance to paraglide over the valleys, canoe hire from the harbor and mountain biking trails across the island, Madeira is a wonderful destination for energetic travelers.

4. Excellent Art Galleries

Funchal may not be Paris or Venice, but galleries like the Museu de Arte Contemporânea and the Museu de Arte Sacra hold magnificent collections that were acquired by the island's sugar and wine families.

5. Stunning Beaches Not Far Away

Barreirinha, with its saltwater pool, city beaches like Ponta Gorda - with safe swimming for kids - and more distant resorts like Porto Santo make Funchal a fine beach destination.

What to do in Funchal

1. Botanical Garden: One of Portugal's Finest

Madeira's sub-tropical climate makes for a fantastic garden where lush and vibrant plants that are typically only found in greenhouses can grow right in the open. The garden hosts plants from around the world, with stunning displays of color on view almost every month of the year. There are 35,000 square meters of space in the gardens, which boast mountain views as well as a unique collection of rare and endangered plants indigenous to these islands. Over 2,500 different plant species can be found in the Botanical Garden, which also hosts 300 birds.

2. Madeira Story Centre Museum: Step Into Madeira's Past

A relatively new addition to the island's collection of museums, the Story Centre is perhaps the best place to learn about the history of the island. Its artifacts begins far back in the land's volcanic origins and proceeds through its history as a target for pirate raids and on into the present. A number of vibrant illustrations and models depicting the people who left their mark on Madeira make this museum engaging and educational for the whole family.

3. Teleférico do Funchal: The Best View in the City

When most people think of public transport, they don't consider a cable car. Yet that's exactly how residents and visitors of Funchal make their way from the lower section of the city to the highland suburb of Monte. The cable car is a relatively recent addition to Funchal, but it's already left its mark on the inhabitants and visitors. The cable car line is more than half a mile long, with an elevation gain of well over 1,500 feet. During busy season, more than 800 passengers ride in the car each hour. It's one of the highest-rated attractions in Funchal and offers fun for the whole family.

4. Mercado dos Lavradores: An Authentic Workers' Market

The Farmer's, or Worker's, Market was unveiled in 1940 as an architectural masterpiece in the New State style, but when you visit, you'll probably spend your time admiring the wares of the vendors more than the architecture. From fresh fruit and vegetables to unique handicrafts, the market has plenty for visitors to enjoy. If you stay in a hotel or apartment with a kitchen, this is the place to go for fresh fish and other local ingredients.

5. Quinta das Cruzes Museum: One of Madeira's First Museums

This manor museum houses the extensive sliver, filigree, and antiques collection of wealthy collector César Gomes, as well as those of the Czech John Wetzler. Together, these residents compiled impressive stores of porcelain, handcrafted furniture, pottery, marble, and Christian iconography. Even the grounds of the museum are historic, as they housed the first Donee Generals of the islands. Step outside and wander through the archaeological gardens and you won't be let down. The entire property is chock-full of rare and beautiful items from Madeira's rich history.

1. Botanical Garden: One of Portugal's Finest

Madeira's sub-tropical climate makes for a fantastic garden where lush and vibrant plants that are typically only found in greenhouses can grow right in the open. The garden hosts plants from around the world, with stunning displays of color on view almost every month of the year. There are 35,000 square meters of space in the gardens, which boast mountain views as well as a unique collection of rare and endangered plants indigenous to these islands. Over 2,500 different plant species can be found in the Botanical Garden, which also hosts 300 birds.

2. Madeira Story Centre Museum: Step Into Madeira's Past

A relatively new addition to the island's collection of museums, the Story Centre is perhaps the best place to learn about the history of the island. Its artifacts begins far back in the land's volcanic origins and proceeds through its history as a target for pirate raids and on into the present. A number of vibrant illustrations and models depicting the people who left their mark on Madeira make this museum engaging and educational for the whole family.

3. Teleférico do Funchal: The Best View in the City

When most people think of public transport, they don't consider a cable car. Yet that's exactly how residents and visitors of Funchal make their way from the lower section of the city to the highland suburb of Monte. The cable car is a relatively recent addition to Funchal, but it's already left its mark on the inhabitants and visitors. The cable car line is more than half a mile long, with an elevation gain of well over 1,500 feet. During busy season, more than 800 passengers ride in the car each hour. It's one of the highest-rated attractions in Funchal and offers fun for the whole family.

4. Mercado dos Lavradores: An Authentic Workers' Market

The Farmer's, or Worker's, Market was unveiled in 1940 as an architectural masterpiece in the New State style, but when you visit, you'll probably spend your time admiring the wares of the vendors more than the architecture. From fresh fruit and vegetables to unique handicrafts, the market has plenty for visitors to enjoy. If you stay in a hotel or apartment with a kitchen, this is the place to go for fresh fish and other local ingredients.

5. Quinta das Cruzes Museum: One of Madeira's First Museums

This manor museum houses the extensive sliver, filigree, and antiques collection of wealthy collector César Gomes, as well as those of the Czech John Wetzler. Together, these residents compiled impressive stores of porcelain, handcrafted furniture, pottery, marble, and Christian iconography. Even the grounds of the museum are historic, as they housed the first Donee Generals of the islands. Step outside and wander through the archaeological gardens and you won't be let down. The entire property is chock-full of rare and beautiful items from Madeira's rich history.

Where to Eat in Funchal

If you want great food to accompany your fortified wine, Funchal delivers. Fantastic local eateries include the pan-European specialists Restaurante Mozart, Portuguese seafood masters O Tasco and Il Gallo d'Oro, the only Michelin-starred restaurant on the island. Prices vary, but meals should come to about EUR20.

When to visit Funchal

Funchal in June
Estimated hotel price
€21
1 night at 3-star hotel
Funchal in June
Estimated hotel price
€21
1 night at 3-star hotel

Most tourists arrive during Funchal's summer season between late June and late September. However, don't discount spring, when the Flower Festival shows off the island's famous, and dazzling, blooms.

Data provided by weatherbase
Temperatures
Temperatures
Average
Celcius (°C)
Data provided by weatherbase

How to Get to Funchal

Plane

Funchal Airport has plenty of connections to European airports. From there, take the Aerobus (EUR5, 30 minutes).

Car

If you are picking up a vehicle at the airport, take the VR-1 highway and then the ER103. It should take around 20-30 minutes.

Bus

Aerobuses run from Funchal Airport, and routes across the island are provided by Rodoeste and SAM.

Airports near Funchal

Airlines serving Funchal

United Airlines
Good (2,813 reviews)
Lufthansa
Good (2,103 reviews)
KLM
Good (345 reviews)
Delta
Excellent (3,024 reviews)
British Airways
Good (1,399 reviews)
Turkish Airlines
Good (1,307 reviews)
SWISS
Good (450 reviews)
Qatar Airways
Good (1,185 reviews)
Emirates
Excellent (922 reviews)
Iberia
Good (906 reviews)
Air Canada
Good (1,356 reviews)
Austrian Airlines
Good (278 reviews)
TAP AIR PORTUGAL
Good (533 reviews)
Finnair
Good (683 reviews)
Ryanair
Good (1,647 reviews)
Scandinavian Airlines
Good (435 reviews)
LOT
Good (335 reviews)
Vueling
Good (376 reviews)
easyJet
Good (555 reviews)
Azul
Excellent (282 reviews)
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Where to stay in Funchal

Zona Velha - The 600 year-old heart of the city, Zona Velha is where you'll find the Cathedral and major attractions like the Museum of Sacred Art.

Popular Neighborhoods in Funchal

São Martinho - Occupying most of western Funchal, São Martinho has some gorgeous gardens as well as an extraordinary cemetery that is full of Art Nouveau concoctions.

São Roque - A hillside neighborhood with it's own distinct feel, São Roque has some great eateries, like Restaurante Miradouro, which offers fabulous views of the harbor below.

Where to stay in popular areas of Funchal

Most booked hotels in Funchal

Sentido Galomar - Adults Only
Excellent (8.9, Excellent reviews)
€95+
Hotel Riu Madeira
Excellent (8.8, Excellent reviews)
€104+
Four Views Oasis Hotel
Excellent (8.7, Excellent reviews)
€66+
Pestana Carlton Madeira
Excellent (8.3, Excellent reviews)
€97+
Hotel Roca Mar
Excellent (8.3, Excellent reviews)
€55+
Pestana Casino Park
Excellent (8.1, Excellent reviews)
€84+
See all hotels

How to Get Around Funchal

Public Transportation

Buses run to all of Funchal's suburbs. To ride them, you'll need to purchase a rechargeable Giro card for EUR2.20. After that, single tickets cost EUR1.50.

Taxi

If you need a taxi in Funchal, expect to pay around EUR2.70 for the meter drop, then EUR2 per mile after that.

Car

Car rental options in Funchal include Europcar, Rodavante and Hertz, and daily rates can be as low as EUR10.

The Cost of Living in Funchal

Shopping Streets

The best place to shop is the Mercado Dos Lavradores (particularly for flowers). You can buy fine wines at Blandy's Wine Lodge, while the Dolce Vita shopping mall offers a wide range of international brands.

Groceries and Other

Supermarkets in Funchal include Pingo Doce and Continente, where you can expect to spend around EUR2.30 on 12 eggs.

Cheap meal
€7.57
A pair of jeans
€82.42
Single public transport ticket
€2.14
Cappuccino
€1.18