Top attractions in Funchal
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
- Euro (€)
- Time Zone
- UTC (+01:00)
- Country Code
- 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
Want to discover all there is to do in Funchal? Click here for a full list.
What people are saying about Funchal
I don't give a 5 star rating easily, but Tukxi was simply excellent! First we booked just this tour around Funchal but then we used their services throughout our stay. They were able to tailor make tours for us just as we liked them. They are very knowledgable, they know a lot of trivia and you can simply tell they love their beautiful island of Madeira and want for you to fall in love with it too. And so we did! I travelled with my daughter (9) and we both loved all our outings with Tukxi! I can only recommend that you try this tour first, get the feel of how they work and I can guarantee this tour will not be your last with them!
Amazing experience! Really loved it! Especially our guide, Nelson, was the best, with so much detailed knowledge about the island, the history, every plant and fruit we passed by. He made sure we had an amazing time, crazy off-road, the island, the lunch place (12€ per Person, but BEST value for money), amazing viewpoints, and more. I highly recommend the tour with him! Simply AMAZING!
Great way to get to know Madeira’s nature and history. We went to Rabaçal and the 25 Fountains’ Waterfall but Jorge can take you anywhere in the island. He knows a lot about botanic and he took great pictures of us. I can not recommend it enough!
The ship's crew were very kind and informative. They always took care that everyone in the boat would be happy. But we didn't have luck to see dolphins and wales but we still had very good time with very nice people. I recommend it to everyone!
It was amazing 3 hours on the water - the catamaran was clean, the toilets great, the bar had beer (happy husband) and we saw pilot whales and dolphins (there were even racing us at some point); fantastic morning out, thank you!