Initially built as a fortress in the 16th century, this big building was used as a defensive place but also as a palace. It was the central and decisive point in many political and military events, with a very rich history.
Neglected in the beginning of last century, it was used as a base to a revolution in 1931, and, classified as a national monument in 1943 it is now used as the residence of the Minister of the Republic.
The old centre of town is marked by a pillory, sent to the island in 1468 by king Manuel I. The streets changed with time, but the pillory remained. It was being recovered from the damages of the flooding when we were there.
There is no good beach in Funchal. A few artificial constructions allow access to the sea, but sand is something that I didn't see. A few small pebble areas are used as beaches, and the least bad may be S. Tiago, by the fort, with showers.
The most famous of the many gardens in Funchal is the tropical garden of Monte palace. Property of one of the richest locals it is the base of Berardo foundation, being open to public visit a museum and the garden.
The centre of the area called Monte is the fountain square, a place where everybody gathers, after parking in the few slots in the area. Street souvenirs vendors surround the small fountain in marble, built as a small chapel in the 19th century.
Rivalling the wonderful private gardens in the palaces of Monte, this small park is also very beautiful. With several local and exotic plants, the main attraction is a lake with the map of the island engraved in the rocks.
A Baroque church from the 18th century, with a long staircase, is a good sightseeing point over the bay. It has some interesting golden pieces, and the tomb of Charles Habsbourg, emperor of Austria, dead in Madeira during the exile. Nearby is the starting point to the sliding baskets.
One of the highlights in Funchal is the descent from Monte to the centre, in a sliding basket controlled by two men. The speed is high in some places, but the descent is safe, though some turnings demand great effort from the men. It is not cheap, but people don't care, and continuously we see a truck unloading the baskets collected at the end to enter the line.
Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption is the central point in Funchal and its most-visited monument.
The late 15th-century cathedral (it was built between 1493 and 1517) is one of the few sbuildings that survives virtually intact since the early period of colonization of Madeira.
Santa Catarina is overlooking the harbour. It's main entrance is opposite the Rotunda do Infante.
Santa Catarina covers 36,000 sq. metres in area. It has a formal central lawn area, a network of pathways and numerous flower beds.
Tropical and sub-tropical flowers, shrubs and trees collected from all around the world have been brought to Funchal to be planted here.
Here you can see the iconic Bird of Paradise flower, the national flower of Madeira.
Santa Catarina Park is daylly open at 7:30 in the morning and are due to close daily at 9:00 in the evening.
Get the sea-trip on the Brig Santa Maria de Colombo - a replica of Columbus' flagship caravel. This trip takes only three hrs but it's really unforgettable experience.
You will see gorgeous sea cliffs and beautiful nature around the town, while at the same time feel the history on this hospitable brig.
The Brig Santa Maria de Colombo (also known as the Madeira pirate boat) does dolphin tours twice a day.
The Santa Maria is known as the most photographed boat in Madeira.
Enjoy the breathtaking views of Madeira's south coast!
Boarding takes place at the harbour, 30 mininutes before departure.
From 10h30 to 13h30, Everyday.
From 15h00 to 18h00, Everyday.
Adults = 30,00 Euros; Children (under 12) = 15,00 Euros.
On all their trips crew include a special touch of Madeira. Madeira honeycake and famous Madeira wine are offered for free to all guests.
Crew was very friendly and attentive. I happy to see on their website that some guys are still working on the brig. For person who adores see but has to work in the office it seems like a best posible job in the whole world :).
In 2010 a project was started in the old part of funchal where they have let young local artists paint the doors.
Before the project was started many of the old houses were falling a little to bits and some of the facades were not looking the best, but this project has really kicked some life in the old part of town and given it color and life without destrying the old atmosphere.
The project is still runnning and you might very well see young people busy creating new art projects on the doors in the old part of Funchal while you are there.
In my personal opinion this is a really cool project where you make the town prettier while giving the local young artists a chance to show the outside world their skills.
A delicious area in Funchal, in the old city, with houses remembering a small village, only with the touristy commerce calling us back to reality. There's a small old chapel with the same name, but only the facade is original
Built in the 17th century, this church evidences the transition from the European Mannerist style to Portuguese Baroque. It gives a strong sensation of wealth and richness, with dense gilded decoration, large paintings and tiles contrasting with the simple external look.
It is located in the centre of the city.