Funchal is the capital of the island of Madeira and the autonomous region of Madeira with the islands of the archipelago. It is the only major city on the island. It is a port of call with its beautiful bay and is surrounded by mountains, it became mainly a destination for cruises. It owes its name to the fennel (‘funcho’ in Portuguese), it grew in abundance at this location when the island was discovered. Along the narrow streets of the old centre, the stands of fruits, parks and cobblestone squares, lined discrete palaces and baroque churches, remind the richness of Portuguese heritage. Funchal’s attractions can be visited on foot as the Sé Cathedral which is one of the monuments of style Manueline which is still on foot with its cedar inlaid ivory and gilt ceiling, fort São Lourenço, Columbus Museum, Santa Catarina Park, the residence of the Governor, the town square, the Jesuit college with its baroque church with a pretty facade of black lava enhanced marble, the episcopal Palace (18th century), which houses a Museum of art sacred as also other parks, museums and churches. The fortress of São Tiago is one of the most colorful corners of the old town, now it is the Museum of Contemporary Art of Funchal. You can also find an elegant restaurant inside.
Don’t miss the ‘Dos Lavradores’ market, you can buy a wide variety of exotic flowers, local crafts, tropical fruits, vegetables and fresh fish.
On the promenade by the sea to the port, you will have beautiful views of the coastal area and you will find several cafés near the marina to enjoy good traditional coffee.
In the east of Funchal, you will find the fishing village with its narrow cobbled streets which many bars and popular fish restaurants.
If you like plants, visit the botanical gardens, a fantastic garden with more than 2,000 species from around the world. It is 3 km from the town, at 300 m altitude. The discovery of the surrounding residential area is almost a must if you go there on your own. Many lookouts provide beautiful views of the city. Here you will find benches, tables, for a little rest because the elevation of the park is 100 m and it can be tiring with hot weather.