Things to do in

Funchal

From historical wine cellars, shopping, and unique museums, Madeira’s capital has something for everyone.

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7 things to do in Funchal

Historically an important port city in Portugal, Funchal is one of the largest cities in the country. Visitors will delight in the fact that Christopher Columbus himself, was one of the early settlers in Funchal. Take a tip from the explorers of years past, and discover Funchal today!

  • Cathedral of Funchal

    1. Cathedral of Funchal

    Inside the Gothic cathedral of Funchal you'll find a statue of Pope John Paul II. The cathedral, built in the fifteenth century, is a remarkable piece of Funchal history. Metalwork of Portugal is renowned and the silver processional cross in the cathedral is a premier example.

  • Pico do Arieiro

    2. Pico do Arieiro

    For the best views of Funchal take a day trip to Pico do Arieiro. The drive up is tree-lined and picturesque, even on cloudy days. We recommend going early in the day to beat the tourist traffic.

  • Jardim Botânico

    3. Jardim Botânico

    A sampling of local flora and fauna like you won't see anywhere else. Experience the region's cactus, grasses, and flowers at the Jardim Botanico. The perfect post lunch afternoon activity, the garden is great for families and children as well.

  • Teleférico do Funchal

    4. Teleférico do Funchal

    The botanical garden runs a cable car system, Teleférico do Funchal, that let's you enjoy panoramic views of the vast landscape beneath your toes.

  • 5. Convento de Santa Clara

    The beautiful Convento de Santa Clara is a church full of soothing charm. Visitors are requested to speak quietly as they admire the three chapels: one for the nuns, one for the novices and one for the people.

  • Old Town

    6. Old Town

    The Old Town of Funchal is a fun neighborhood to hang out in. You'll find nightlife and crowds bustling at night, just along the cable car lines. It is a vibrant quarter that is fun to stroll around no matter the time of day.

  • 7. Monte Toboggan Run

    Don't worry, you won't be on your stomach as you toboggan down to Funchal from Monte; instead you'll find yourself in a wicker chair that glides smoothly. The entire ride is just ten minutes long and you reach speeds up to 48 kilometers/hour!

Frequently asked questions about Funchal

What top attractions are a must-see in Funchal?

Planning Your Visit

  • How to be safe in Funchal

    Funchal is known to be a relatively safe city. However, in some areas near the cable car lines, Old Town, and especially in crowded evening spots it's important to take precautions against pickpockets.

  • Where to Eat in Funchal?

    Don't miss the local fare in Funchal. Sample Portuguese and Madeiran cuisine while you visit Funchal. Top hits include espada com banana, a typical dish served at most restaurants, stars scabbard fish with banana, accessorized often by potatoes and salad. A less adventurous local dish we recommend is bacalhaus com natas, which is cod in cream sauce.

  • How to Get Around Funchal

    You'll be pleased to learn that the city center of Funchal is quite walkable. If you want to venture further, we advise hopping on a local bus. Fares are quite reasonable and a round trip ticket is under five euros.

Good to know

  • Language
    Portuguese
  • Currency
    Euro (€)
  • Time Zone
    UTC (+01:00)
  • Country Code
    +351
  • Best time to visit
    Funchal is a good choice for a vacation any time of the year as it never gets too cool. However, the summer months are the warmest and most humid. March through December is considered to be most pleasant.

Other Sightseeing Options in Funchal

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What people are saying about Funchal

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 11,665 reviews

Highly recommend Lido Tours for this walk and our excellent guide for the day. From Funchal we drove for 30 mins before stopping at a supermarket to use the toilet (the last chance) and to buy lunch if needed. Then after 15 mins drive we reached the walk. This route is busy and popular, but still beautiful. The walk begins high up where it is cooler so bring layers. Most of the walk is downhill or flat when doing it on this route. On the way to the fountains there is only 2 uphill climbs, around 60 steps up and then a further 100+ steps right before the fountains. On the way back there is just 57 steps down and then up again and the whole route back is flat as you go back through a tunnel and get picked up there instead. The guide was excellent at keeping a steady pace and giving lots of information about the nature and history with regular stops. As someone with a low fitness level it great and I never felt left behind. Be aware if not cutting through the tunnel its much harder!

With a choppy sea ahead the ride out to sea was like a rollercoaster ride. We were on the third row and felt all the bumps but it was great fun. Sitting at the back is better for those with a bad back though. The boat does provide a poncho if you are getting wet. Its a fantastic way to see the island and we got to watch planes landing from sea. After a while we came across a pod of pilot whales and they were beautiful. The marine biologist on board gave a huge amount of information and it was great to learn a lot about these dolphins.

We booked a second tour with True Spirit as we enjoyed the first so much. This was a half day tour with Diogo who was also friendly, informative and fun. We were lucky to have great weather the whole morning, getting to see incredible views along our journey and at the main sights. The off roading was fantastic and with great views and lots of nature and wildlife to be seen. Love how ethical this company is too, with Diogo picking up any rubbish he saw on the way

Carlos our guide was lovely and drove carefully on the very curly roads!!. Scenery brilliant. Toboggan ride great fun. Wish we didn't have masks on for the photos!!!

A truly memorable experience. We were lucky to see dolphins, pilot whales, and the icing on the cake was a group of fin whales within 50 yards of our craft.