Madeira's almost five-century-old capital is said to have been named 'Funchal' because of the abundance of fennel (funcho) that was growing there.
Funchal is located in a unique and very beautiful area. The amphitheatre of Funchal city begins at the harbour and rises almost 1200 metres high on gentle slopes. This provides a natural shelter and was what once attracted the first settlers.
The harbour and climate combined with an excellent geographical position allowed Funchal to have a rapid population growth.
Today Funchal is a very modern city with over 104,000 inhabitants. The city can easily be explored by foot and no matter where your hotel is located (as long as it is in the Funchal tourist area) you will find no difficulty in walking into the city centre to delight at its sights and sounds.
Probably the most central point is the Sé Cathedral. Built between 1493 and 1514 by Gil Eanes it represents one of Madeira's numerous treasures.
Porto Moniz is the most northwestern point of the island and it is also one of the most magnificent.
Porto Moniz has some wonderful volcanic rock pools available for public swimming. Thise undoubtedly the natural bathing pools is a main attraction of this village. They lie between bizarre lava rocks and are filled by the tide with crystal clear water.
When travelling from Funchal, you should plan to be away for most of the day.
Bus will pass by Cabo Girão (Europe's highest sea cliff, at 580m) and continue the trip along the coast to Ribeira Brava.
From Ponta de Sol yu will begin your ascent to the plateau of Paúl da Serra( at 1400m). Descent to Porto Moniz, where you may admire the natural pools.
There you will have lunch.
Price: 45,00 € -Lunch included.
Visit Porto Moniz and experience one of the most breathtaking sceneries on the island.
Enjoy sea trip on the magnificent replica of Christopher Columbus’s Flag ship, which you probably have seen at TV documentries including Discovery Channel - "The quest for Columbus".
Do you love to see the sail's up? - they try use the sails whenever possible!
You will also enjoy Madeira wine - they offer it for free to all guests, - and even have a swim at Cabo Girão.
Experienced crew of The Santa Maria are very nice and friendly, and a touch of history will make your trip much more enjoyable than just a regular boat ride.
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.
The cable car at Achadas da Cruz (Porto Moniz area) is an attractive and modern means of transport making the connection between Achadas da Cruz and the beach.
With a hight about 500 metres above the see level you have access to superb views. Be aware that the cable car can be intimidating for those who are affraid of hights. Down there you can walk in a long path near the sea. It also has a small beach but the place is a bit windy and the water can be agitated so I recommend you to be carefull especially because the access to the sea is trought rocks.
Don't be surprised if you see farmers coming up with their crops. Many locals have their lands down there and to facilitate their access was one of the main reasons that led to the installation of this cable car.
The cable car opens everyday between 10.00 and 18.00 hrs.
"Curral das Freiras" is a small village in a valley. The road is sometimes narrow and scary but the view from the road and from "Eira do Serrado" is great.
Rent a car and drive around or join a tour! Don't miss the northern part of the island, such as stunning Porto Moniz!
Even if you're not into walking at all, do walk from Ribeiro Frio to Balcoes (only a short distance) and be amazed!
Madeira's capital is a friendly city with a relaxed atmosphere. Yes, it has sold out to tourism, but it remains pleasant.
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Estrada Regional 111, Sitio do Campo de Baixo, 9400-015, Portugal
Good for: Solo