Once an important shipping center in the 15th century, it is now considered one of the most beautiful cities in Portugal. It gets its name from the abundance of fennel found on this tourist island, and much of its original wealth comes from the Madeira sugar cane known as "white gold." Its comfortable temperatures, renowned wines, and unique crafts make it a premier tourist destination connecting both the old and new world cultures. Visitors enjoy an easy time with walkable streets and 111, 000 friendly locals who are ready to offer a smile and a helping hand.
Location: Inside the Coastal Valley
Funchal's geography on the south coast of Madeira Island is quite unique, featuring a valley perfectly shaped to create a natural amphitheater. The gentle slopes at the coast once provided the perfect shelter for early settlers. The Savage Islands are also a part of the municipality, a group of islands turned into a large nature reserve. Its subtropical climate provides almost steady temperatures year round.
Culture: Culinary Experiences and Folklore Music
There is no lack of different choices for food and libations in this capital city. With the coast offering fish of all kinds, such as White Marlin and Spearfish, local dishes contain some of the best cooked fish around. Pastries also contain local ingredients, including molasses. Wine is locally made with a choice of sweet or dry. Music is very popular with locals too, using unique instruments, such as the machete and rajão. Catholic faith is deeply rooted here, and the Holy Trinity Church is one of the island’s most popular churches.
Activities: Sports, Unique Tours, and Gardens
Watching sports, such as surfing, basketball, and football is a major pastime in Funchal with many playing recreationally as well. World-famous football player Cristiano Ronaldo was born in this very city. Golf has become a popular way to relax and unwind for guests. For those who want to tour the city, there are some fun options. Paragliding through the mountains can be exhilarating, and cable cars allow for a view from above as well. Another huge draw is the many botanical gardens that visitors frequent. A daytrip to the UNESCO Natural Site Laurisilva Forest, some 30 kilometers north of Funchal, should be on the itinerary of any visitor to the “Flower Island.”