Funchal

Funchal viewed from Madeira Botanical Garden

Funchal is the capital and main city, of the autonomous region of Madeira, on the island of Madeira, in the south between Santa Cruz and Camara de Lobos cities.

The city's name comes from the abundance of fennel (funcho) found on the island. It was an important shipping center during the 15th-17th centuries. It is one of the most beautiful cities in Portugal.

Get in

Funchal Airport (IATA: FNC) is in nearby Santa Cruz, sometimes known as Madeira international/Santa Catarina/Funchal. Once famous for its hair-raisingly short runway ending at a cliff over the Atlantic Ocean, the airport has been expanded to handle all sizes of aircraft. There are several daily flights from most major cities in Portugal (Lisbon, Porto). Flight time from Lisbon is 1 1/2 hours. Also, there are good connections from London (mostly Gatwick) with TAP/ Air Portugal and British Airways; its flying time is estimated at 3 1/2 hours.

Funchal is served by highway ER101 which runs along the coast. An easy way to get to the city centre by car is to take exit 11 and head downhill towards Funchal. Continue on this road (ER103) until you pass under an overpass. Immediately on your right is a large parking garage (closed on Sundays). From here it is only a few minutes walk to Mercado Dos Lavradores / Sé Cathedral.

Get around

The city centre is small enough to explore on foot. Orange city buses can take you around and up to Monte (lines 20, 21). Buy a giro card from the office for €2.20, it is already pre-loaded with two journeys and can be topped up with additional journeys for €1.50 a piece. At the bus driver you pay €1.90 for a ride. Most city buses start from the waterfront area. If you are lucky you can acquire a bus timetable for the local and regional buses starting in Funchal at the tourist information. Timetables and a map are also available.

See

Jardins Do Palheiro: The Sunken Garden

The park is situated on 500m altitude. Between 9 - 11:30 the park is often crowded by bus tourists, choose the afternoon for a more laid-back visit. Entrance fee 10,50€ Public busses frequently connect Funchal with the park: line 36 or, if you have strong nerves, line 37 for a more spectacular ride. Palheiro Gardens

Mercado dos Lavradores: In the patio
Sé Cathedral
Interior of Colegio Church

Do

Visit the fair/market; old port; jardim; casino.

Buy

Flowers & fruit (check with the airline/ship if they can be brought abroad).

The island is world-famous for its wines. Several stores offer varying selections.

Eat

Funchal has an abundance of good, if not necessarily cheap, eating places. Most places serve traditional Madeiran and Portuguese food, which is well-prepared and well-tasting, but not terribly exciting. One of the most typical dishes and served almost everywhere, is espada com banana, scabbard fish with banana. It is usually served with fresh salad and potatoes. A bit more expensive, bacalhau (dried, salted codfish) is served in many restaurants. One of the more common, and best, varieties is "bacalhau com natas", codfish in cream sauce.

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Drink

Madeira Casino

Not the party capital of the world. Most of bars are very quiet. No decent Irish bars. Some think the best bar is Glorias Latino.

Sleep

Budget

During low season (winter) prices may drop significantly, e.g., from €50 to 35. Time around Christmas is high-season.

Mid-range

Splurge

Go next

Porto Santo - A wonderful quiet beach community, Porto Santo is a small island on the North-East of Madeira can be reached by either boat or plane. It is well worth a visit for it's nice small restaurants, it's long beach, and the Christopher Columbus house.

Connect

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Tuesday, June 30, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.