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
The tour was a good introduction for the city. I had such a good time riding the tuk tuk hearing what Diego talked about Madeira. I booked another half day tour to other part of Madeira, such as the tropical garden and east part of the island. Diego was quite cheerful and full of stories. I enjoyed listening about local culture and history. To be honest I had no idea what he looked like as both of us were wearing masks during both journeys.
We had a beautiful and unforgettable experience. Hugo was our guide and he is extremely knowledgeable and friendly. He is also an excellent driver which is required for this trip as you go off-road. He speaks perfect English and went above and beyond to make our day pleasant. Due to COVID there was only us booked in the tour and he didn’t cancel which is a great customer service. I would definitely recommend this.
A great day out where we explored the west of the island with Lucy, the best tour guide ever. She told us about the fauna of the island, the traditions and much more. Lots of stop offs to take pictures, refreshand of course swim in the natural pools.
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!
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!