From the harbour you have a nice view at the Ponta do Garajau at the east side of the town, forming the eastern end of the bay of Funchal.
At a distance of 30 KM from the coast you can see the Ilhas Desertas, three small rocky islands of together 20 KM. The islands are not inhabited.
They told me, that the local people can forecast the weather in Funchal by looking at the situation at the Ilhas Desertas.
Funchal is wonderfully located at the southern side of the Madeira Island.
The first settlers in the 15th century choose this location at the wide bay, naturally sheltered by the surrounding mountain slopes, as their port and settlement.
Nowadays Funchal, the capital of Madeira, has more than 120.000 inhabitants.
The houses are built on the gentle slopes around the bay. From here you have at many places nice views at the town with its harbour.
I enjoyed also from the other side the view at the mountain slopes, especiallly at night with thousands of lights, sitting on my balcony downtown.
If culture is your thing, then you really should take the time to visit some of our wonderful museums, monuments and art galleries. On show you will find work by names that are famous within Portugal and beyond.
This pot was considered by guiness contest in 2000 the tallest pot in the world.
Favorite thing: It is a pleasure to wander the cobbled streets of Funchal, to visit wonderful gardens, to shop local items or international branded goods in the many stores. Or simply to soak up the magic of the pleasant avenues in the old city centre. Don’t forget to buy some of Madeira’s famous embroidery work.
Favorite thing: Funchal was declared a city on the 21st of August 1508, by means of a letter from D. Manuel I. Funchal is the main commercial, cultural and tourism centre for all the Madeira archipelago. Funchal was certainly the first settlement following the occupation of the islands in 1430.
Favorite thing: Strolling around the harbour area is very pleasant. There are numerous cafes here and the ex-Beatles yacht , the Vagrant, is moored here as a restaurant. You could have an elegant lunch here or a snack in one of the boat cafes alongside it.
Favorite thing: The President of Madeira resides in Funchal. By all accounts he is a very nice man and well thought of, having done much to improve the country - they seem to have an abundance of schools and hospitals here! Also the road network is constantly improving with new roads and tunnels being built to improve commuting time for the locals. A trip over to the north of the island takes about 50 minutes now as opposed to the former 5 hours via twisting mountain roads. The downside is that Madeira is slowly but surely turing into swiss cheese with all holes being drilled into its hillside!
Fondest memory: Madeira suffers from microclimate - the clouds virtually always stay on the high peaks and can suddenly drop their vapour on unsuspecting tourists - like us! The up side is wandering around the old town when the sunshine returns and getting a nice reflection of the fishermen's chapel - reputed to be the oldest such building in Funchal.
Favorite thing: The streets of Funchal are quite ornate with balconied houses and the black and white stone patterned ground everywhere - all different dsigns. They were quite uneven at times though with tree roots and with the pattern deceiving your eyes you had to watch where you walked!
Favorite thing: A lovely tree-lined promenade runs from the commercail port of Funchal right down to the fortess at the other end. Soon the commercial port will be moved to the next town down the coast which I will imagine will allow for greater expansion of the harbour for the tourists.
Favorite thing: The harbour in Funchal is a bustling place with numerous watercraft waiting to take tourists on trips along the coast or on fishing trips. Many cruise ships dock here too - a favourite pastime seems to watch them enter and leave the harbour.
Madeira is not a huge island and almost half of its population lives in its capital Funchal. The city is divided into3 main zones:
the hotel zone on the outskirts of the city,
the eastern sector of the old town with its many restaurants
thirdly the commercial centre itself with the shops and harbour.
I always thought that Maderia was for the older generation, and the prospect of going made me think that I was getting old, rubbish she says, yes there are many fabulous gardens to sit in and watch the world go by, but there are plenty of shops, bars , cafes and even a casino, we went just after Christmas and the decorations were still up, they were great, its a must for any age, I cant wait to go back. Just one thing it is rather hilly, but not in the centre.
Fondest memory: Watching the Oriana dock..............WOW what a sight with its 14 decks it was awesome.
Also the live Nativity Scenes, with lambs and donkeys and lots of other animals, you just wouldnt get that in the UK Brilliant.
Fondest memory: The first time we went to Madeira, we found a lovely little shop in which we bought gifts for family and friends. The proprietess was nice to us, offering us Madeira, and going beyond what most shopkeepers do. I took a photo of her with my husband. When we returned to Madeira two years later, my husband walked into the shop, up to the counter and placed the photo on the counter in front of the woman, saying Do you recognizr this woman?' She gasped and replied, 'Why, that's me.' We had a lovely return visit and some more Madeira wine.
Favorite thing: In Monte village, get in a sledge and be guided down steep cobbled streets by locals who do this mad thing as an occupation! :) Since the XIX century! :)