One of the most breathtaking views of Funchal is definitely from the top of Pico do Arieiro. It's one of the highest peaks of Madeira, which will provide you with a stunning panorama of the island and a dramatic view of the clouds rolling over the hilltop. Put on your hiking boots and climb up the summit, or simply go by car.
More than 100,000 exotic plant species from all over the world, black and white swans from Australia, and multiple ponds and lakes. Monte Palace Tropical Garden is one of the most impressive sights of Funchal. In this tropical garden you can find the Monte Palace Museum which houses exhibitions featuring artefacts from a diverse range of international cultures.
Interested in the history of Funchal but don't have enough time? This is the perfect place for you. The Madeira Film Experience is a 30 minute audio-visual journey that takes you through 600 years of the incredible history of the island. You can experience the lives of the Madeirans during the wars, revolutions, victories, and so much more. Get your popcorn ready and enjoy the film experience!
Ever wondered what it would be like to stand in the (football)shoes of one of the most gifted athletes in the world? The museum devoted to Cristiano Ronaldo offers just that. Take a look at the trophies, Ballon d'Ors, fan correspondence, and even an interactive timeline of the life of Ronaldo. If you feel like it, you can even take a picture with a digital version of him.
Imagine yourself on a catamaran, drifting on the sea while watching dolphins jump and whales swimming by in the clear, blue water. VMT Madeira arranges all sorts of trips where you can experience all activities possible by catamaran. There is even a sunset trip, which gives you the most stunning view of the setting sun over the Atlantic Ocean.
What better way to discover Funchal from high above than whilst gliding down the mountain in a cable car. From departure to arrival, you will experience the green slopes, mountains, and even the amphitheatre of Monte and Funchal. The view is even more spectacular with the blue Atlantic in the background. Don't forget to pack your camera and capture this stunning adventure.
Curious about the history and the present of Madeira? The Madeira Story Centre tells the island's history starting from the volcanic origins and attacks of ferocious pirates to the alluring travel destination that it has become. The museum provides exhibitions in chronological order for you to fully experience the history and culture of Madeira. There is even a terrific restaurant situated inside the museum.
Portugal is known for its beautiful Roman Catholic art spanning many centuries. The earliest pieces date back to the 15th century and include woodwork, silver and gold artefacts, and even furniture with wooden engravings. There is also the occasional painting by a Dutch, French or Flemish artist.
If you want to experience one of the most colourful streets of Funchal, you have to visit Rua de Santa Maria. If you walk down the narrow street, you will be in awe: the doors are plastered with the most amazing paintings you can possibly find. There are about 200 doors/paintings along the street.
If you want to experience spectacular views of Funchal, visit the Santa Catarina Park. No matter where you gaze, you will see the tree species from all over the world, the bay to Ponta do Garajau, statues of Christopher Columbus and Henry the Navigator. You can even experience a religious ceremony by attending the Santa Catarina Chapel.
The Funchal Natural History Museum has more than 41,000 specimens that you can admire. Fish, terrestrials and maritime reptiles, plants, minerals, you can discover all of these and much more in this museum. It will surely enhance your knowledge about the history of nature.
During the mid-17th century this impressive, beautiful building was built by a noble Portuguese family. Nowadays it houses the original collection of decorative art by the collector of Madeira, César Filipe Gomes. There is Portuguese furniture dating back to the 17th century, Oriental and European porcelain items, and a beautiful chapel located in the garden.
Two men dressed in traditional white cotton clothes and hats, pushing a two-seater wicker sledge on wooden runners. That's the way people used to travel the streets of Madeira. It takes 10 minutes to glide 2 kilometres down with an average speed of 48 kilometres per hour. It's a huge touristic attraction; the exciting experience if certainly worth the wait.
This museum will take you on an electrifying trip through the history of electricity generation on the island. In the basement you can find huge diesel generators which were used in the past, and upstairs there are all sorts of electricity-related interactive exhibitions.
The philosophy of this restaurant is that the best flavours can only be forged by the freshest ingredients. This might well be the number one reason why this restaurant is immensely popular with locals. They praise the grilled sirloin steak and the black scabbard with prawns. End with one of their amazing desserts and you will be satisfied all through the night!
Restaurante Armazém do Sal is housed inside a 200 year old building which used to be a salt warehouse. The restaurant stays true to traditional Madeiran dishes, and even has a Gastronomic Tour of Madeira Island, which is inspired by the coast, mountains and seasonal products.
Waiters dressed as Schubert and Chopin, violins and pianos echoing in the background and dishes inspired by classical music. Like the name suggests, this restaurant focuses on the classical age of music. Try the "Beethoven", which is carpaccio, or the "Cavalli", fish soup.
Restaurant O Tasco has been known for keeping their dishes authentic and staying true to their Madeiran roots. This is one of the reasons why the locals keep coming back and ordering the barbecued sea bass with boiled potatoes, accompanied by a glass of wine from Madeira.
If you feel like dining at a Michelin-starred restaurant, no need to search anymore. Il Gallo d'Oro has been awarded 2 Michelin stars, and one of the reasons is the impeccable Iberian and Mediterranean cuisine they offer. They combine regional products and turn them into new and innovative dishes. Try the Portuguese scarlet shrimp, which is recommended by locals.
Travel all the way to India without ever leaving Funchal when you dine at Sabor da India. Whether you are a fan of spicy, medium or mild, there are plenty of dishes to choose from. A few examples are the fish madras, chicken korma or vegetarian dishes. Book a table in advance, since this restaurant is very popular.
The owner and staff of Real Canoa always greet you with a warm smile at their charming Portuguese cuisine restaurant. From steaks to sea food, the restaurant has a broad variety of local dishes. Some dishes are prepared on a sizzling hot stone right in front of you - talk about a spectacular presentation.
Take one peek into Boho Bistro and you'll see the style of cuisine that this restaurant offers: traditional fusion. The restaurant's philosophy is that it's important to stay true to your traditional roots, but also to keep innovating. Locals recommend the spicy scallop tartar.
It might take you a while to pronounce the name of the restaurant, but do not let that deter you from locating it - it is well worth the effort. Tasca Literaria Dona Joana Rabo-de-Peixe is known for their seafood dishes, cooked with prime quality, fresh ingredients. Patrons recommend the crab salad and mussels.
The Ritz Madeira is one of the oldest restaurants of the entire island, and it has not lost touch over the years. They are not just famous for their live cabaret shows or Saturday Night Dances, but also make incredible Italian gelato (of which there are an incredible 32 flavours).
Meet the restaurant which combines the best meat of New Zealand and local Madeiran wines. Besides beef, there is also a wide variety of fresh seafood, soups and salads. It's best to make a reservation before you visit Beef & Wines, the restaurant has a limited amount of tables and is quite popular.
Time for some sushi, time for Shu.aka. Freshly prepared traditional and fusion sushi is being made right before your eyes. They don't have a huge amount of dishes, but extra care is put towards perfecting the ones they do offer. You can also book full menus and pick from a few options for those.
Local ingredients combined with age-old tradition, that's what O Calhou is all about. They honour the Mediterranean culture by creating dishes such as bruschetta, eggplant stuffed with tomatoes, and a variety of pasta dishes. You can find the cafe next to the Cathedral of Funchal.
Inside the Casino de Madeira you'll find one of the coolest bars on the island, Copacabana. It's known for its popular DJs, who will spin the up and coming world hits for you. If you are looking for a good time, terrific drinks and an amazing night with your friends, search no further and visit Copacabana.
After a sunny day, it's time to move your feet on the dance floor. The music genre of the club is mostly house, although they have themed nights where they change the style of music. There are plenty of drinks on the menu to choose from, so be prepared to spend your entire night at Vespas.
This place has been described by the locals as having the best cocktails in Funchal, or even on the entire island of Madeira. The barmen are more than happy to provide you with a new and innovative cocktail. The DJ is known to entertain the audience with a range of music that isn't only focused on the current hits. A great night is guaranteed!
Fan of sports, or just in the mood to watch a game? Moynihan's Bar has beer, drinks and loads of TVs where you can watch your favourite team win or lose. The bar also serves classic British dishes such as fish and chips, and bangers and mash. Go on and get yourself a pint of Guinness!
Environment-friendly drinks, interior design and even paint. This bar thrives on the fact that everything is organic, which you can certainly taste when you sip one of their cocktails, such as the mojito. At night the Mini Eco Bar transforms into an eclectic and buzzing dance venue.
One of the main shopping attractions is the Mercados dos Lavradores, or the Farmers Market. You can find local, exotic fruits and vegetables and spices that fill the building with a fragrant aroma. A trademark of Mercados dos Lavradores are the women who sell their products whilst wearing traditional and colourful Madeiran costumes.
If you want to buy something in Funchal that was definitely produced on the island, go for an item by the embroidery company Bordal. Craftswomen create the embroidered linens directly in the shop, where you can often see the women at work. They have over 40,000 drawings, which they use for patterns of their linens.
Handmade, original and of great quality all fit the description of the pieces of ART by Alex & Alex. They sell paintings, jewellery, leather goods and everything that you could possibly dream of. Everything is made by the owners, which gives the items that little bit of extra character.
Wonderful and unique jewellery, that's what you can find at Charlotte's CM Studio. The owner creates all of the bracelets, necklaces and glass beads by herself, that's why each piece of her collection is unique. The pieces are known for their bright colours and impeccable quality.
This shop will fulfil all the wishes you've ever had pertaining to alcoholic beverages. Pérola dos Vinhos doesn't only sell alcohol, but also offers wine tastings in the designated tasting room. Besides the traditional Madeira wine, you can buy lots of other types of liquor as well.
The best place to feed your inner-chocoholic is Ua Cacau. They have dozens and dozens of different kinds of chocolates and flavours that you could possibly dream of. The favourite flavours of return customers are rose and black pepper, pistachio with caramel and salt, and dark chocolate with ginger.
Portugal can be visited visa-free for up to 90 days by citizens of Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, Israel, UAE and most countries in America. If you are unsure whether or not you need to apply for a visa, we recommend contacting the embassy or consulate in your country. International (non-Schengen) travelers need a passport that is valid for at least 3 months after the end of their intended trip in order to enter the Schengen zone. Citizens of Schengen countries can travel without a passport, but must have a valid ID with them during their stay.
Madeira is known for its warm Mediterranean climate, which means that temperatures are high all year round and never drop below 14 degrees. If you are a sun-worshipper, visit during July and August - the temperature is around 25 degrees. If you are planning to do a lot of hiking and other physical activities, visit the island during April and May. Later in time it could be too hot to enjoy hiking, and after summer it can get quite rainy. During spring you can see beautiful gardens at their best.
Madeira has one airport, Aeroporto da Madeira. It's located 20 kilometres from the city centre. Shuttle You can take the shuttle, the aerobus, which departs from the Arrivals area to Formosa Beach and the city centre (the trip will take 30 minutes). It will stop by a lot of hotels, and can be used every day of the week. Usually the aerobus departs every 45 minutes, be sure to check the schedule for the exact routes and times. Tickets can be bought when entering the bus. Taxi You can also take a taxi, they are located in the Arrivals section on the ground floor. On weekdays, the prices of trips from the airport increase by 20% if it's between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. Travelling with baggage comes at an extra fee.
The Horários do Funchal bus service is a collection of busses which will take you all over Funchal. There is also the Linha Eco, environmentally- and wheelchair-friendly mini busses. They haven't got specific stops, but you can hail them down and board anywhere in the capital. You can recognise them by their yellow colour. They operate from Monday to Friday, from 8 am until 8 pm, and Saturdays from 8 am until 2 pm. Tickets can be purchased on board.