Welcome to Funchal

Located on the southeast coast of the island in a picturesque bay, Madeira’s capital, Funchal, lies between the deep blue of the ocean and the lush green of the mountains and most of our featured hotels are situated in or just above Funchal, close to everything this colourful working city has to offer.

When to visit

Funchal is blessed with a subtropical climate and year-round sunshine. The temperature here rarely drops below 15 degrees, and the sea temperature remains in the 20’s from June to October. Sun-seeking guests may prefer to travel between August and September, when the average temperature is around 23°C, whilst those looking to explore the city will likely find the cooler climate of the winter months more comfortable.

Forte de Sao Tiago, Funchal

Forte de Sao Tiago, Funchal

Experience Funchal

We’re delighted to highlight a few holiday experiences to enhance your visit to Funchal. Simply confirm at the time of booking or prior to travelling.
For further details and prices of escorted group tours and private tours, to visit some or all of these places of interest, please ask our Personalised Travel Team about pre-bookable experiences and excursions on 0800 008 7288.

We highly recommend…

 Interesting local shops

Search out the quirky Livraria Esperanca for a vast selection of books,
historic Fabrica de SantoAntonio for honey cakes and
Patricio & Gouveia for the finest handicrafts.

Sunday Market and Garden (half day)

Visit the charming village of Santo da Serra, its gardens, lined with camellias, and the many and varied stalls of its busy Sunday Market. En route stop at Ponta do Garajau, famous for its natural park and impressive Cristo Rei, Christ the King, statue. Travelling back, enjoy panoramic views over Machico Valley.

 

From £25 per person

West Island Tour (full day)

A whole day to view the spectacular scenery for which Madeira is renowned. Take in the vineyards and scenic village of Camara de Lobos, en route to the highest sea cliff in Europe at Cabo Girao. Head north to Sao Vicente via the stunning seascapes of Encumeada. After lunch in Porto Moniz, climb 1600m to the Paul da Serra plateau.

From £40 per person

The Caves of Sao Vicente (half day)

Explore Madeira’s south western coast and taste a local rum and honey poncha in the scenic village of Serra de Agua. Enjoy a multi-media visit to the caves of Sao Vicente, a centre of volcanism. The village’s recently restored centre is one of Madeira’s most picturesque locations.

From £25 per person

Folklore Show (evening)

Enjoy typical Madeiran cuisine and warm-hearted hospitality at one of the island’s many traditional restaurants. During a dinner of espetada, skewered beef, delight in the displays of local folklore dancers and the sounds of fado singers. An informal evening of fun, good food, company and tradition.

From £30 per person

Palheiro Gardens and Levada Walk (half day)

The gardens of Quinta do Palheiro are currently owned by the Blandy family and were originally laid out in the 18th century. They are a fascinating combination of new planting and the original themed gardens. A visit to the Jasmin Tea House is preceded by a gentle and scenic walk along one of the island’s man-made irrigation channels.

From £30 per person

East Island Tour (full day)

Enjoy the magnificent views from Pico do Arieiro, Madeira’s third highest peak, before enjoying a visit to a trout hatchery and a leisurely walk from Ribeiro Frio to Balcoes. Take lunch and visit vineyards in Santana, famous for its traditional thatched-roof houses. Later visit the island’s original capital Machico.

From £45 per person

Out and about

A short walk from the port is the old part of town, interesting to meander through during the day and excellent to visit in the evening when cafes and restaurants spill out onto the streets allowing you to enjoy al fresco dining. During the day the streets and old squares of Funchal are alive with flower sellers, and with the blue sea in front, the greenery of the mountains behind, and the pavements a mass of vibrant colours of arum lilies, birds of paradise and amaryllis flowers, you can wander for hours. There is interesting 16th-century architecture, a smattering of worthwhile museums, botanical gardens, the famous Old Blandy Wine Lodge and, if you love to shop, you can easily while away a morning or afternoon in the designer shops or at the colourful local market which is well worth a visit.

Funchal enjoys a café culture for people-watching by day, turning to a livelier bar culture at night, and nowhere is this more pronounced than in the Old Town’s Rua de Santa Maria; one of Funchal’s oldest and the most colourful of streets. Relaxed evenings can be spent in one of the town’s great restaurants or listening to traditional Portuguese fado music at Arsenio’s or Marcelino’s. There are also several nightclubs, with the younger crowd heading for Trap, live bands performing until late at Copacabana at the Casino, and Marginal and Jam catering for all music tastes. Vespas with its modern dance music is Madeira’s largest club, for Latin rhythms seek out Gloria Latina, and Qasbah Live Music & Cocktails and Scat Funchal Music Club & Restaurant both host live music performances.

Good to know

Funchal, as with many capital cities, can suffer from busy traffic at certain times of the day and car parking in the centre can sometimes prove difficult; fortunately many of our featured hotels offer courtesy transport to and from the centre of the capital, saving guests from the stresses of parking in the busy streets.

Luxury hotels in Funchal

Les Suites at The Cliff Bay

Funchal

  • Ideal for Families
  • Recommended Spa
  • Outdoor Infinity Pool
  • Courtesy Shuttle to Funchal Centre

Belmond Reid's Palace

Funchal

  • Romantic Hotel
  • Ideal for Families
  • Recommended Spa
  • Good for Golf

Quinta Jardins do Lago

Funchal

  • Boutique Hotel
  • Heated Outdoor Pool
  • Romantic Hotel
  • Courtesy Shuttle to Funchal Centre

Funchal musts

Cable car to Monte

A must-do during your stay in Funchal is to travel up in the cable car to Monte. The journey takes 15 minutes and there are wonderful views on the way up and from the top.

Monte toboggan

Originally designed to carry freight down the three-mile slope between Monte and Livramento, Monte’s famous wicker baskets were re-engineered at some point in the 19th century to accommodate seating for a couple of passengers. Each wicker carriage is controlled by two conductors in traditional dress who push, pull and brake as required. The simple braking mechanism consists of the boots, with car tyre tread for soles, worn by the conductors.

Funchal by double decker

Join an open-top bus tour visiting Funchal’s most impressive historical sights. Board and alight at any of the stops along the route allowing you the freedom to explore Funchal’s attractions at your own pace.

Lido Promenade

The coastal promenade is lined with palm trees and bordered by splendid gardens, and links the Lido area with the pebbled Praia Formosa beach at the western end of Funchal. Along the promenade there is a good range of restaurants and bars such as Qasbah and Scat with occasional live music as well as swimming pools, including Lido, Doca dos Cavacas and Ponta Gorda.

The Casino

The Casino da Madeira offers slot machines, gaming tables, Black Jack and Roulette and is also home to the Palm Bar, Copacabana night club, Rio Restaurant and the Bahia Restaurant, and shows are staged weekly with song and dance from Broadway and West End musicals.

The Botanical Gardens

With fantastic views overlooking Funchal and the ocean from its great vantage point on the Quinta do Bom Sucesso estate, the Botanical Gardens is home to almost every plant that grows on Madeira alongside specimens imported from the Azores, the Canaries, the Cape Verde Islands and South America.

Twin centre

Ask our travel consultants about combining a stay in Funchal with a visit to Porto or Lisbon.
See our dedicated Portugal brochure for further multi-centre suggestions.