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: 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: 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.
Streets of 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: 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.
- Historical Travel
Not just for wrinklies
Favorite thing: 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.
Colorful island of flowers
Favorite thing: Madeira and Funchal are really the island and town of flowers.
Nearly every winter we visit Madeira and we are always surprised again about the many flowers and flowering plants.
Fondest memory: Coming from home with a nude garden and then arriving in this paradise of colours and flowers.
- Hiking and Walking
Art in the streets
Favorite thing: Walking around in Funchal is a real joy, the beautiful mansions, sometimes a bit neglected, but also this has its charm.
I enjoyed the nice decorated and designed pavements in the streets and squares and the many sculptures in the parks and along the avenidas and streets. These sculptures on the picture we pass every day at our walk into town.
- Arts and Culture
Old Town Reflections ;-)
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.
Ponta do Garajau and Ilhas Desertas
Favorite thing: 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.
- Sailing and Boating
Mountainwalk or ride
Favorite thing: Taking one of the roads uphill in Funchal you will be very soon in a wonderful green landscape of forests, valleys and mountains.
In this area are also some nice walking paths.
From nearly every place you will have breathtaking views at the town deep down with the ocean at the background.
So when you go up, do look back.
- Hiking and Walking
- Road Trip
Ribeiras in town
Favorite thing: The city of Funchal is intersected by deep ribeiras, coming from the mountains and leading to the ocean.
At some places in town the in- and outcoming roads are following the sides of the ribeiras. Driving a car, it is not always easy to find your way in town, when you are at the wrong side of the ribeira and have to be at a destination at the other side.
Some ribeiras are deep and wide enough to have a lot of green like flowering trees.
Parks, gardens and green
Favorite thing: Funchal is a real green garden city.
There are a lot of small and large parks everywhere in town and many streets have nice flowering trees. Around the houses, estates and hotels you see also very nicily designed gardens with abundant sub-tropical trees and plants. I think the climate and the soil are really suitable for the most beautiful and fast growing gardens.
We are always surprised how much the plants have grown, when we return after one year. A real paradise for gardeners and landscape architects, like me.
Favorite thing: 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.
If you need medical assistance in Funchal.
Favorite thing: If you are in need of medical assistance in Funchal then there is a good little clinic right by the cathedral called "clinica da se" where you can go and get examined pretty much right away.
I have been there a couple of times with clients when working as a tour leader in Funchal and there was never any long lines we had to wait in.
And they speak pretty good englih there and are quite service minded.
The adress of the clinic is: Rua dos Murças, 1st and 2nd Floor.
It's located one block from the cathedral in a small side street but there is a street sign pointing towards the clinic, so you should be able to locate it easily.