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Things to do in Funchal

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

Our most recommended things to do in Funchal

Madeira: Skywalk, Porto Moniz Volcanic Pools, and Fanal Tour

1. Madeira: Skywalk, Porto Moniz Volcanic Pools, and Fanal Tour

Sail towards the northern coast of Portugal to explore the natural volcanic pools in Seixal, lava pools in Porto Moniz, Cabo Girão, Paul da Serra, and other sights. Swim in the tranquil waters of the pools before exploring the famous Fanal Laurisilva forest. You will depart from Funchal and head towards San Vicente along the north coast. Visit one of the most famous viewpoints, where you can look out to Porto Santo Island in clear weather. You will also be able to see the waterfall resembling a bride's veil, named Veu da Noiva. Next, stop at the natural volcanic pools in Seixal, where you can swim in crystal waters. Also visit Porto Moniz's lava pools and Paul da Serra, the biggest plateau on the island at nearly 1500 meters high. This beautiful place provides stunning views and is an ideal spot for lunch. Visit Fanal, one of the 7 Natural Wonders of Portugal filled with centenary trees. As the last stop, go to Cabo Girão, the highest sea cliff in Europe and the second highest in the world. Try out the suspended glass floor viewpoint. Finally, return to your accommodation. 

From Funchal: Best of Madeira's West Tour

2. From Funchal: Best of Madeira's West Tour

Escape the hustle and bustle of Funchal on a full-day scenic tour of the west of Madeira. Admire the unspoiled natural beauty of the area and visit the charming villages of Câmara de Lobos and Porto Moniz. Following pickup from selected hotels in Funchal, pass through the traditional fishing village of Câmara de Lobos. Continue to Cabo Girão Skywalk, Europe's highest cliff skywalk at 589m. Next, head towards the Ribeira Brava and go north through the deep and narrow valleys of Serra D'Água. Upon arrival at Encumeada, enjoy an incredible view of the south and north coast of the island. Cross a mountain pass, and witness the rugged beauty of the north coast, where Atlantic rollers deposit white surf on the cliffs. Traverse Madeira's highest plateau, and enjoy more spectacular panoramas. Continue to São Vicente on Madeira’s north coast. Visit the beautiful village of Porto Moniz and take 1 hour for lunch, as well as time to admire the volcanic swimming pools. Finish your tour at Paul da Serra to see one of the biggest natural reserves in the world.

Funchal: Dolphin and Whale Watching Catamaran Cruise

3. Funchal: Dolphin and Whale Watching Catamaran Cruise

Discover the natural beauty of Madeira coastline and look for marine life on this catamaran cruise from Funchal. Snorkel through schools of silver fish with high-quality snorkeling gear. Look for dolphins while sipping on a drink purchased from the onboard bar. See dolphins, whales, and turtles playing in their natural habitat. Throughout the year Madeira has different aquatic mammals journeying through its blue waters. Whether you come in summer or winter, the chances are high you’ll see one of these amazing creatures. Stop for a swim during the summer season or catch a glimpse of the world beneath the waves with the provided snorkeling equipment. Relax on deck with a refreshing drink from the onboard bar.

Funchal Bay: Dolphin & Whale Watch Luxury Catamaran Cruise

4. Funchal Bay: Dolphin & Whale Watch Luxury Catamaran Cruise

Spot the dolphins and whales that call Funchal Bay home on this catamaran cruise from Funchal. Snorkel in the crystal-clear waters under Cabo Girão and learn more about the majestic creatures from your expert crew. Arrive at New Marina - Funchal and board a luxury catamaran. Receive some safety information from the experienced crew. Choose to sit in the luxurious interior with comfortable seating and protection from the sun, and lounge chairs or outdoor hammocks. Afterward, sit back and relax as you sail towards the open sea. Although sightings of marine species can not be guaranteed, dolphins and whales are often found in the waters around Funchal. Keep an eye on the movements in the water whilst the crew answers any questions about the variety of species. Continue up to the high cliffs of Cabo Girão, which rise 580 meters above sea level. Anchor the boat at Cabo Girão and immerse yourself in the refreshing waters to explore underwater marine life with a snorkel. Then, sail at a leisurely pace around the Marina of Funchal, and marvel at the fantastic views of Madeira's landscapes. Return to Funchal New Marina for a quick landing process and continue to enjoy your day after the tour.

Funchal: Sunrise Hike from Pico do Arieiro to Pico Ruivo

5. Funchal: Sunrise Hike from Pico do Arieiro to Pico Ruivo

Experience the most amazing natural scenery as you walk from mountain to mountain on a hike from Pico do Arieiro to Pico Ruivo. Walk at your own pace with total freedom as you enjoy the fantastic views. Start with pickup from your accommodation in central Camara de Lobos, Funchal, or Caniço. Before your hike, receive instructions from your host regarding schedules and where you will pass by. The day before the hike, you will receive the exact pickup time and a weather forecast, in order for you to be as prepared as you can be. On the way back to your accommodation, pass through the city of Santana for close-up views of the traditional triangular homes.

Madeira: Best of the East Tour from Funchal

6. Madeira: Best of the East Tour from Funchal

Discover the diverse landscapes of Madeira on a day-long tour. Wander charming towns, enjoy panoramic views and learn about the area from your expert guide. Depart from the meeting point at Funchal's Lido or take advantage of a free hotel pick-up in selected areas. The first stop is at the beautiful viewpoint of Terreiro da Luta, located a few kilometers outside Funchal. Next, drive toward the mountain of Pico do Arieiro. At an altitude of 1,818 meters, the third highest peak on the island offers breathtaking views. Once you've been to the highest drivable peak in Madeira, head back down through the forest on the way to the coast. Admire some of Madeira's emblematic straw-roof houses, pass pretty villages and get stunning seascape views. Arrive at the very eastern point of the island for some superb panoramas of the north and south coasts. Discover the popular start point for the levada walks, Ribeiro Frio, on the northern slopes of the island. See interesting trout pools and original vegetation. Madeira was once completely covered by laurissilva forest, a relic from prehistoric times. Stop for lunch in Santana, characterized by its small, thatched triangular houses. Past Portela go towards Ponta de São Lourenço, situated in the eastern part of the island. This is a place where a fantastic combination of rocks, sea, and nature combine. The last town to be visited is Machico, a viewpoint where you can look over the bay and the golden sandy beach.

Madeira Island: Caldeirão Verde Levada Walk

7. Madeira Island: Caldeirão Verde Levada Walk

Caldeirão Verde means green cauldron in Portuguese and well describes the environs of this 6.5-kilometer walk. This half-day levada walk takes you through the highest area of Santana. A levada is an aqueduct or irrigation channel that is unique to the island of Madeira. This is without doubt one of the most beautiful levadas on Madeira. Located in the Laurissilva forest the highlights of the trail include fantastic views of São Jorge and a series of tunnels of natural basaltic rock. Start out in the emerald green Queimadas rainforest and enjoy scenic views over villages as you follow alongside the winding levada and through 5 short natural tunnels. When you arrive at Caldeirão Verde you’ll marvel at the majestic waterfall.

From Funchal: Dolphin and Whale Watching Catamaran Cruise

8. From Funchal: Dolphin and Whale Watching Catamaran Cruise

Go green with the #1 dolphin and whale watching experience in Madeira Island! Cruise on our brand new purpose-built eco-friendly catamaran and enjoy a comfortable cruise along the south coast of Madeira Island. Watch out for wonderful whales and dolphins jumping and splashing nearby. When sea life arrives our electric engines engage for silent emission free cruising which helps keep the cetaceans very happy! On this tour we will sail a few miles out of Funchal looking for all kinds of wildlife such as dolphins, whales, turtles and endemic birds. We often spot these animals jumping and splashing nearby and it’s always a great sight that never gets old!! Our certified guides will provide you with informative commentary and fun facts about the cetaceans and different species that you may find on your trip and in Madeira Island. On our way back, we sail close to the coast passing by many points of interest such Cabo Girão where you will enjoy stunning views of one of the highest sea cliffs in the world! Camara de Lobos Bay – a traditional fishing village; the world famous Reid’s Hotel where Winston Churchill used to stay during his visits to Madeira Island and much more! You will be able to sit back and take in the beautiful views of the south coast of Madeira Island. Magic Dolphin Eco is the only purpose built catamaran for dolphin and whale watching in Madeira Island. It was carefully developed to assure our passengers a safe, comfortable and unforgettable cruise! It is the only ecological catamaran with hybrid-electric engines for dolphin and whale watching, making it the best experience not only for our guests, but also for our beloved cetaceans! Bar service (2x) with drinks and snacks available; Toilets (2x) on deck wheelchair accessible; Two decks for better sightseeing; Fantastic upper deck providing 360° panoramic views! Great bridge deck shade area; Large nets and sea life observation area; Seating for everyone inside and out; Fast Catamaran – up to 20 knots; Modern safety construction 2022; Stable and comfortable cruising. We are one of very few companies to work with professional sealife spotters on land, providing the best possible chances of seeing them in their natural habitat and high quality observation! We are all about responsible dolphin and whale watching, and love sharing our knowledge with you! Join us and observe sealife the right way, in the wild! Note: The cetaceans in Madeira are wild and free, and it is simply not possible to guarantee their sighting. We observe cetaceans every day, however not always every trip. We will always do our best to find them, however if you are unlucky we will do our best to make you happy! Note: Please arrive to our office in Funchal Marina 30 minutes before departure. If you miss the boat, you will be refused a refund. Note: Cancelations/ Booking Changes must be made 24h prior to departure time.

Funchal: Whale and Dolphin Watching Speed Boat Tour

9. Funchal: Whale and Dolphin Watching Speed Boat Tour

Start with a short briefing from your biologist guide, which will provide information on the various types of wildlife you will search for on the tour. Set out in a speed boat with a capacity for 12 people. Admire the beautiful coastline of the island of Madeira while searching for various marine species. With a skilled crew, embark on a search for various species of dolphin and whales which are found in the waters surrounding the island. You are guaranteed to catch sightings of cetaceans while on the tour. If any species are not found, you will be offered a second trip for free.

From Funchal: Nuns Valley, Monte and Sleigh Ride Tour

10. From Funchal: Nuns Valley, Monte and Sleigh Ride Tour

Depart Funchal and journey to the Pico dos Barcelos to experience one of Madeira's unique viewpoints. Get a breathtaking view of all points of the island, before making your way up to Eira do Serrado. Admire the surrounding chestnut trees and eucalyptus plants of the natural wonderland. The ancient footpaths are still used by locals and tourists, and the narrow road and tunnels can still be seen.  From an altitude of 1,094 meters above sea level, see across to the Nuns Valley. Isolated from the rest of the island, the Nuns Valley is surrounded by lava rock and takes its name from the nuns that once inhabited the valley as they fled from pirate attacks during the 16th century. Try some traditional chestnut cake and pastries only found in the region, along with different traditional liquors. Then, go to Monte, one of Madeira´s old tourist stops, and visit the church where the tomb of the Emperor Charles I of Austria can be found.  Add a little adventure to the day and enjoy an unforgettable 2-kilometer toboggan ride down the old road of Livramento, where the bus will pick you up at the bottom.

Available activities

  • Whales, dolphins, & more
  • Madeira mountains & nature
  • Exploring Madeira
  • Jeep tours & adrenaline activities
  • Exploring Funchal
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Frequently asked questions about Funchal

What are the best day trips and excursions from Funchal?

The best day trips and excursions from Funchal are:

Porto Moniz

What are the most popular museums and exhibitions in Funchal?

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

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 23,423 reviews

This was an amazing tour, you get to experience a wide variety of different things throughout and our guide today was awesome and very funny as well, he taught us a bit about the farm land, plants, landscapes etc, and took us to see the most breathtaking views, natural pools that were gorgeous and very refreshing, and my favorite part, the off road experience! It was exhilarating and crazy in the best way possible, it had been raining all week so our group ended up getting stuck in the mud but it added to all of our experiences, we all had a bit of a laugh together about it and our “rescue” was very quick, we were back on our way in no time, but our tour guide handled this very well and kept everybody on a positive note, afterwords he even got us all a glass of Poncha to make up for our little bit of lost time. All in all I had a fantastic day and would absolutely do this tour again in a future visit and would highly recommend to anybody planning to visit as well!

We have had a lovely day touring the East coast. Our driver and guide Oscar was very knowledgeable explaining everything in both English and German to his passengers. He is a competent driver and we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend him and the tour to other guests at our hotel.

The tour is perfect for cruise tourists, as they pick you up and drop you off directly in front of your ship. The guide gave very interesting information and was fluent in German. Can fully recommend

An experience that everyone should have. Not only is it a lot of fun, the impressions and experience are unique. Francisco was super nice, explained everything very precisely. Wonderful nature.

Crew are very friendly, great knowledge about dolphins, luckily we managed to spot 3 bottlenose dolphins today!! Recommended.