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Funchal, Portugal

Funchal is the capital and main city of the autonomous region of Madeira on the island of Madeira in the south between Santa Cruz and Camara de Lobos cities.

The city's name comes from the abundance of fennel (funcho) found on the island. It was an important shipping center during the 15th-17th centuries. It is one of the most beautiful cities in Portugal.
Today Funchal is a major tourist town, with hotels, port, and an international airport Funchal Airport (FNC), located in the nearby municipality of Santa Cruz.

Besides the city of Funchal, tourist destinations include Ribeira Brava, Curral das Freiras, Porto Moniz, Santana, the Laurisilvaforest, a UNESCO Natural Site, in the center of Madeira Island and the beaches in Porto Santo island. There is also a passenger gondola lift (Funchal Cable Car),... Read more

Funchal, Portugal

Destination:

Funchal is the capital and main city of the autonomous region of Madeira on the island of Madeira in the south between Santa Cruz and Camara de Lobos cities.

The city's name comes from the abundance of fennel (funcho) found on the island. It was an important shipping center during the 15th-17th centuries. It is one of the most beautiful cities in Portugal.
Today Funchal is a major tourist town, with hotels, port, and an international airport Funchal Airport (FNC), located in the nearby municipality of Santa Cruz.

Besides the city of Funchal, tourist destinations include Ribeira Brava, Curral das Freiras, Porto Moniz, Santana, the Laurisilvaforest, a UNESCO Natural Site, in the center of Madeira Island and the beaches in Porto Santo island. There is also a passenger gondola lift (Funchal Cable Car), that transports people from the lower section of the city to the suburb of Monte and another that runs between Monte and the Botanical Gardens.

The harbor of Funchal was the only major port in Madeira. Since 2007 it has been fully dedicated to passenger transport – cruise ships and ferries – and other tourist-related boats and yachts. In that year all remaining fishing activity and cargo trade was moved to the newly developed port of Caniçal, 12 mi (19 km) to the east. A ferry between Funchal and Portimao, on the mainland, provided by Naviera Armas used to sail weekly, but was discontinued in 2013 due to a dispute over harbor fees. A ferry runs in two hours between Funchal and Porto Santo Island, called the Lobo Marinho. A highway provides access to Camara de Lobos and Ribeira Brava to the west, and Santa Cruz, Machico, and Caniçal to the east. 

Connect

  • Internet Access - There exist various public free Wi-Fi hotspots sponsored by the Madeiran government. One can find such locations by looking for blue and white boards with the Wi-Fi logo on them. A lot of bars and cafes offer Wi-Fi which is usually sponsored by an ISP by the name of "Zon". These are usually password restricted but the owners are usually very friendly in providing them. One of the larger public squares by the name of "Praca do Municipio" for instance has free Wi-Fi. Other locations include Avenida Arriaga (2 x around the Golden Gate Café and the Cathedrale), Praca de Colombo.
  • Post Office - Stamps are rarely available at vendors selling postcards. A post office (CTT Correios) is near the cathedral in the Avenida Zarco and the Rua Calouste Gulbekian near the Casino.

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Funchal, Portugal: Port Information


Cruise liners dock along the quay. It'll take you about 15 - 20 minutes on foot to get to the town center from the port.
There are several shops in the port.
Taxis are available.

Get around Funchal, Portugal


The city center is small enough to explore on foot. Orange city buses can take you around and up to

Monte

(lines 20, 21). Most city buses start from the waterfront area. If you are lucky you can acquire a bus timetable for the local and regional buses starting in Funchal at the tourist information. Timetables and a map are also available.

 

What to see in Funchal, Portugal


  • Jardins Do Palheiro (Quinta do Palheiro Ferreiro Park), Sao Goncalo, Palheiro (about 5km from downtown), ☎ +351 291 793 044. Mon - Fri from 9:00h - 16:30h. The Quinta do Palheiro Ferreiro Park is a typical example of a manor in British colonial style. While the manor itself is private and can't be visited, you can enjoy the public park. On first sight, it looks like an English park, old Platanes form a long alley from the main gate to the gardens. But when you look closer you see all the tropical plants that build the basis, completed by hundreds of plants from all over the world. So around the year, there are always some plants blooming. The main part of the park is formed by several gardens, e.g. a French Garden, a Sunken Garden, the Ladies Garden, a Rose Garden and some more. On the opposite of the main gate is a Tea House, which is connected to the golf course. They serve some good tea, cakes, pastries, snacks, and small lunches. The way back to the main gate is formed by the Camellia Avenue, a flourish firework between end October and March.

The park is situated on 500 m altitude. Between 9 - 11:30 the park is often crowded by bus tourists, choose the afternoon for a more laid-back visit. Public busses frequently connect Funchal with the park: line 36 or, if you have strong nerves, line 37 for a more spectacular ride.

  • Madeira Botanical Gardens

    (Jardins Botânicos da Madeira), Caminho Meio Quinta do Bom Sucesso (about 3km from downtown). The more than 2000 plants of these hillside gardens, plus the view of Funchal make this one of the major attractions of the whole island. The gardens also feature a collection of parakeets and parrots.
  • Market - Mercado Dos Lavradores, Rua Brigadeiro Oudinot, Down Town (Zona Velha). Mon - Thu 7 - 16 h, Fri 7 - 20 h, Sat 7 - 15h, closed on Sundays and holidays. The historic building with an open patio offers on two levels the fresh fruits and vegetables from all over the island. On the lower level is also a separate hall for the fish vendors selling the freshly caught fishes to everybody. Eat and buy local fruits like the small Madeiran mangos, bananas, philodendres and plenty kinds of maracujas. Taste the offers from vendors. But be careful, they sometimes try to rip you off and selling you over-ripe fruits or some heavy mangos for the (expensive) price of light maracujas. There are also some nice pastelarias and coffee bars in and around the building. Often crowded while rain and when large cruise ships are on the pier.
  • Monte Palace Hotel Gardens. The gardens of this defunct hotel include a Chinese garden, artwork, a small lake, and a variety of flora and fauna.
  • Santa Clara Convent (Convento da Santa Clara), Calçada de Santa Clara 15. Dating from the end of the 15th century, this convent, now a national monument, was founded by João Gonçalves da Câmara. The azulejo tiles are especially notable.
  • São Lourenço Palace (Palácio de São Lourenço), Avenida Zarco. Half fortress and half palace, this construction is a good example of mannerist architecture. Highlights include the Noble Salon (Salão Nobre), the Green Room (Sala Verde), the Audience Hall (Sala de Audiências), and the gardens.
  • Sé Cathedral

    . The central point in Funchal, and its most-visited monument. Commissioned by the king Dom Manuel I through Portuguese explorer Gil Eanes, the cathedral was built between 1493 and 1517. The ceiling is made from local wood.
  • Colegio Church (Igreja de Sao Joao Evangelista), Rua dos Ferreiros, 105. This Jesuit temple, completed in 1647, is a striking building with a stunning interior. Today it is part of Madeira University.

What to do in Funchal, Portugal


Visit the fair/market; old port; jardim; casino.

  • Palheiro Golf Course, Rua do Balacal 29.
  • Funchal Cable Car (Teleférico do Funchal), Almirante Reis. 09:30-17:45. View the city from above in a gondola. The upper station is at Monte, where you can visit the Monte Palace gardens and the church at Monte. Another cable car goes down from this point to the Botanical Gardens. Combination tickets for the ride and attractions are available.
  • Madeira Paragliding Adventures (0 - 4200 Ft), Madeira Mountains. 10:00 - 20:00. Tandem Paragliding flights.

What to eat and drink in Funchal, Portugal


Eat

Funchal has an abundance of good, if not necessarily cheap, eating places. Most places serve traditional Madeiran and Portuguese food, which is well-prepared and well-tasting, but not terribly exciting. One of the most typical dishes and served almost everywhere, is espada com banana, scabbard fish with banana. It is usually served with fresh salad and potatoes. A bit more expensive, bacalhau (dried, salted codfish) is served in many restaurants. One of the more common, and best, varieties is "bacalhau com natas," codfish in cream sauce.

Budget

  • Bar Beer Garden, Estrada Monumental, Arieiro. Recommended dish is Picado (beef steak served with chips). The normal size should be enough for 2 persons. The bigger size could serve 3 - 4 persons.
  • O Castelo Dos Hamburguers, Rua da Carreira, 306. This place sells only 3 types of hamburgers: normal, special, and super. Also, try their smoothies.
  • Indian House, Rua da Carreira 144, ☎ +351 291 241 653. M–Sa 11:30–15:30, 17:30–22:30; Su dinner only. Quality Pakistani and Indian food with plenty of vegetarian options. Meat also offered for a few Euros more.
  • Pingo Doce. The chain of department stores also has a restaurant in its more bigger stores. Two notable ones are in Dolce Vita (Mall) and Anadia Shopping Centre. These restaurants serve lunch and dinner offering various Portuguese dishes and is sold by weight. In Funchal especially, they also provide their dinner menu and their entire bakery catalog for half-price after 21:00.

Mid-range

  • Il Basilico, Rua de Leichlingen, 7, Promenade (Funchal), ☎ +351 291 708700. Daily, 12:30-15:00 and 19:30-22.00. Italian restaurant. À la carte lunch and dinner served inside and on the terrace. Children's menu. Reservation recommended.
  • Doca do Cavacas (Estrada Monumental, Ponta de Cruz). Fish restaurant.
  • Japanese Restaurant (2nd floor, Monumental Lido Shopping).
  • Olives, Rua Brigadeiro Oudinot, nº 2 - 3rd floor (level) (a few meters from the left of the city market), ☎ 291 223 165NOCC, e-mail: barestaurant.olives@gmail.com. Monday-Saturday, 12:00-24:00. Small restaurant, centrally located close to the city market, in an iconic building (Edifício Oudinot), with one terrace with view to the port. Small menu with 10 fish and 10 various meat dishes, and a side vegetarian/vegan menu. Portuguese (Mediterranean)-influenced contemporary European kitchen, author cuisine. Excellent house wine and other good wines. Nice interior around an Art Deco-influenced staircase, friendly staff.

Splurge

  • Les Faunes, Estrada Monumental 139 (In Reid's Palace Hotel), ☎ +351 291 71-71-71. Top quality French restaurant.
  • Il Gallo D'oro, The Cliff Bay Hotel Estrada Monumental, 147, ☎ +351 291 707 700. Daily, 08:00-10:30, 19:00-22:00. First Michelin Star restaurant on the island. Mediterranean gourmet cuisine. A jacket and tie required for gentlemen. Reservation recommended.
  • Xôpana Restaurant, ☎ +351 291 20 6020. Choupana Hills Resort and Spa. Award-winning restaurant at the Choupana Hills Resort, with a magnificent view over Funchal and world-class food and wine.

Drink

Not the party capital of the world: most bars are very quiet, except during a football match.

  • Bar Amazónia, Rua de São Filipe 19. A pleasant little bar.
  • Café do Teatro, Avenida Arriaga Ed. Teatro Municipal Baltazar Dias.
  • Chameleon Disco-Bar, Rua Imperatriz D. Amelia Nº119 (in front of the Carlton). Café and bar with a tropical atmosphere. Karaoke on Mondays and Tuesdays, live music on Thursdays, and ladies' night on Sunday.
  • FX Bar, Largo das Fontes 39.
  • Madeira Casino. The only casino on the island. Designed by Oscar Niemeyer.
  • Hole in One Madeira, Estrada Monumental 238 (in the hotel district), ☎ +351 291 765 443. daily 11:00–02:00. If you require an Irish pub.

Shopping in Funchal, Portugal


Flowers & fruit (check with the ship if they can be brought abroad).

The island is world-famous for its wines. Several stores offer varying selections.

Safety in Funchal, Portugal


Funchal is usually a very safe city. However, as in any other places you go, common sense is required. 
Of course, crowded places don't mean you'll get robbed, but be careful as sometimes there are pickpockets there. Beware the pickpockets there and don't go to abandoned dark alleys.

Language spoken in Funchal, Portugal


Portuguese is the official language. English is widely understood, especially in tourist places. 

LOCAL TIME

8:39 pm
August 18, 2019
Europe/Lisbon

CURRENT WEATHER

22.37 °C / 72.266 °F
sky is clear
Tue

22.1 °C/72 °F
sky is clear
Wed

22.05 °C/72 °F
sky is clear
Thu

22.18 °C/72 °F
sky is clear
Fri

22.62 °C/73 °F
sky is clear

LOCAL CURRENCY

EUR

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1 CAD = 0 EUR

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