Capital of Madeira Island, Funchal is a city worth a visit! Its regional beauty and its warm inhabitants who like to welcome tourists will seduce you!
In addition to visiting an area that offers one of the most incredible views in Europe, you can contemplate the landscape and the sunrise from the Miradouro da Ponta do Rosto. One of the compulsory stopping places for those visiting this island.
Anyone who arrives in Funchal quickly falls in love with the local nature and its gardens. The Palheiro Gardens are among the most famous due to their location in the hills. But also because of the great variety of plants.
How to get there ?
There is no land link between Madeira Island and the mainland. The most common way to get there is by taking a direct flight from Lisbon to the city of Funchal, where Madeira's Cristiano Ronaldo Airport is located.
The flight from the Portuguese capital lasts only 1 hours, with several options of schedules per day.
Many tourists who visit Madeira also disembark on the island by boat, as it hosts a large number of cruises throughout the year.
What to do in Madeira Island?
This island is a very rich universe! Spectacular scenery provides travelers with pleasure at every turn in the road. The choice of how to enjoy it will depend on the degree of excitement and adventure desired by each.
Walk along a levada or vereda
Madeira is famous for its trails that cross the entire island and allow you to see the exuberant nature of the region up close. There are over 2 kilometers of trails that can be traveled on foot or by bicycle. We can include some that line the canals through which water flows all over the island, called "levadas".
Some levadas are more famous and attract hundreds of tourists every day. Others are intended for pioneers who already know the region deeply.
The common paths (which are not on the banks of the canals) are called "veredas". They lead to spectacular landscapes, such as the summit of Pico Ruivo and Ponta de São Lourenço. Both levadas and veredas offer wonderful experiences.
If you prefer to take trails leading to higher peaks or more spectacular scenery, veredas are more recommended. The most famous of these is the combination of the Vereda do Pico do Areeiro and the Pico Ruivo. It goes through a path that connects the two highest peaks of Madeira.
Another suggestion is the Ponta de São Lourenço trail. There is an 8 km path along the seafront and at the eastern end of the island.
Visit the Ponta de São Lourenço
The Ponta de São Lourenço nature reserve is one of the most spectacular landscapes on the island. Even on the plane, you will get a glimpse of the spectacular landscape that forms with the rocks entering the sea. As you stroll along the Ponta de São Lourenço, you will be able to see the southern and northern coasts of Madeira, as well as the island of Porto Santo and the Desertas Islands.
Another way to see Ponta de São Lourenço is by taking sea excursions. There are many whale and dolphin watching routes that pass through the area. In summer, it is even possible to stop the boat on the outskirts of the peninsula to swim. You can get there by motorboat, catamaran, yacht, and even caravels that replicate ancient ships.
Go to the beaches of Madeira
The Madeira archipelago offers several beaches on different islands and the volcanic formation of the region gives it very special characteristics. The landscape is usually surrounded by mountains or beautiful cliffs.
The white sand we are used to is not the most common thing there. On the island of Madeira there are beaches with large rounded stones, others with very dark sand and some with yellow sand.
Among the most popular beaches on Madeira Island, good choices are Praia Formosa. It is located in Funchal and whose "sand" consists of round stones. The Praia da Calheta and the Praia de Machico, both with artificial sand. The beach of Anjos, with its stone sand and in front of the charming village of Ponta do Sol. And the Prainha, next to ponta de São Lourenço and with dark sand.
Take a walk in the cable cars
Cable cars are also a good option! In addition to the wonderful view they offer, they make for a pleasant walk.
The most popular is the Monte cable car, which takes you from the center of Funchal to the parish of Monte. The journey takes 15-20 minutes, and from the top you can see the whole of Madeira's largest city.
Another route that offers a nice walk is the Fajã do Padres cable car. The steep descent follows the side of the cliff for 300 m and arrives practically at the seaside.
Dolphin and Whale Watching Tour
Madeira Island is in an area rich in marine life and attracts large numbers of dolphins and whales. Almost 30 species are observed in these waters.
If you are a nature lover, do not miss one of the whale and dolphin watching tours. Whales and dolphins can be seen all year round.
Stroll through the center of Funchal
Invest in walking tours so you don't miss a thing. Many streets are reserved for pedestrians, which makes the walk even more pleasant. The historic houses are beautiful and the Portuguese cobblestones complement the local charm.
You will come across beautiful buildings. Among them, the Fortress of São Tiago, the Lavradores Market, the Cathedral of Nossa Senhora, the Palace of São Lourenço and the Municipal Theater Baltazar Dias. Be sure to stop by gardens such as the Parque de Santa Clara and the Jardim municipal do Funchal.
Along the way, along the waterfront, visit the CR7 museum! Have a beer or mulled wine with a view of the sea. Enjoy the boats, ships and sailboats as the sun sets.
Then take a cable car up to Monte, where you can visit the Church of Nossa Senhora do Monte.
It is also worth taking another cable car to get to the Madeira Botanical Garden and continue the tour. The center of Funchal offers several days of sightseeing and the pleasure is to rest.