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
Explanations were clear, had a great time enjoying scuba diving and exploring unseen realms underwater by looking at different species of fishes. Fishes are not those of coral riffs but for the very beginning, it has been enough and definitely uplifting, appealing, compelling experience. Thank you for this opportunity and would recommend it to everybody because it is really worthwhile, unique and something that everyone should cope with.
The tour is really good and different. We managed to see the island trough the eyes of local people. Tony and Lucy as very nice guides and know their island. I recommend
Sehr engagierte, freundliche Reiseführerin (Studentin aus Deutschland). Konnten viel über die Geschichte erfahren. Die 2 Stunden haben sich gelohnt.
Great trip ! Fully recommended! We discovered top places in west Madeira and learnt a lot of about life in Maderia, history, culture, people
We had an interesting boat trip and were lucky to see not only dolphins, but also a sunfish that is quite rare.