Lovely and laid-back, the Madeiran capital Funchal is popular thanks to its warmer climate, impressively lush scenery and delicious local wines. Nestled on the sunny south coast of the island against a backdrop of mountains, its a city full of green and gardens, with flowers in bloom all year round.
Long walks and al fresco dining
The city is small enough to explore on foot, and you could spend hours wandering the narrow, winding streets of the old town centre and discovering the shops, cafes, bars and restaurants. Its a great place for a relaxed holiday of long walks and al fresco dining in the evening. But dont be fooled theres a vibrant nightlife too, with nightclubs open until 7am at weekends.
Top 5 outdoor activities
- Madeira Botanical Gardens - These hillside gardens are home to more than 2,000 different types of plants, plus a collection of parakeets and parrots and you can enjoy great views of Funchal too
- The Lido Promenade - This palm-tree-lined promenade links the Lido suburb with the pebbled Praia Formosa beach and offers delightful sea views
- Monte Palace Hotel Gardens - The hotel is closed, but the splendid gardens are still open and feature two oriental gardens, Buddhist sculptures and stone lanterns.
- Swimming with dolphins - Boat trips to see dolphins and whales are available with Rota dos Cataceos, and you can swim with the dolphins too
- Palheiro Gardens - Home to hundreds of different species of plant from around the world. Look out for the rose garden and the camellias between November and April
Top 5 indoor activities
- The Madeira Story Centre - An interactive museum where you take a virtual journey back in time to learn everything about Madeiras history
- Sé Cathedral - Funchals central point and most visited monument houses beautiful Flemish paintings and a ceiling inlaid with ivory and gold
- Old Blandy Wine Lodge - Take a tour of the winery and learn how Madeira is made
- Mercado dos Lavradores - An indoor market of fresh fruit, vegetables, fish, flowers and craftwork from all over the island
- Funchal Cable Car - Take a ride and view the city from above