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With houses built on the side of a hill, an attractive bay and a mountainous backdrop, Funchal has one of Portugal’s most beautiful settings. The coastal city is the capital of the island of Madeira and combines a modern beach resort with hundreds of years of history. Surf, tour ancient buildings and sail the ocean to see whales and dolphins.
The town is named for the bright yellow fennel (funcho in Portuguese) that grew here when the Portuguese settled the area in the early 15th century.
Funchal’s natural beauty isn’t confined to the coast and surrounding mountains. Spend a few hours in the sunken, rose and French gardens of Jardins de Palheiro. Stroll through Jardim Orquidea’s miniature jungle filled with varied orchid species. Enjoy thousands of blooms at the Madeira Botanical Gardens.
Explore the historic buildings of the old town area. Admire the stained-glass windows, baroque altars and gothic arches of the 16th-century Sé Cathedral. Amble along cobblestone streets lined by old buildings, some dating back to the 15th and 16th centuries. Visit the Museo Municipal for its natural history exhibits. Gaze at the collection of Turkish and North African decorative tiles at the Frederico de Freitas Museum.
Ride the cable car up to Monte, a small village 1,804 feet (550 meters) above sea level. When you want to come back down to Funchal, ride a toboggan. These resemble large wicker baskets and are pushed down the steep roads by drivers.
Walk along the promenade from the city center to the Praia Formosa, a collection of beaches. Venture farther out to sea on a dolphin- and whale-watching trip or take a boat cruise along the coast.
As Madeira’s capital city, Funchal has good transportation links. Madeira Airport is 13 miles (21 kilometers) away. With Funchal’s mild subtropical climate, its beaches, gardens and historic sites can be enjoyed year-round.
Funchal has a reputation as an excellent destination, with no less than 125 Funchal hotels that are bookable through Expedia.
Make reservations for the Belmond Reid's Palace or the Hotel Royal Savoy, a couple of the more upscale hotels that the island offers. At the cheaper end of the accommodation spectrum are the highly popular Residencial Monte Verde and the A Casa do Caseiro.
Open yourself to everything there is to see and do and go home with the greatest souvenir of all — fond memories of your magnificent adventure!
Funchal has loads of things to do. Here are our recommended options to get you going:
For a complete list of activities, check out the Funchal things to do page.
*Savings based on all vacation package bookings with Flight + Hotel on Expedia.com from January through December 2017, as compared to price of the same components booked separately. Savings will vary based on origin/destination, length of trip, stay dates and selected travel supplier(s). Savings not available on all packages. For Free Flight or 100% Off Flight deals, package savings is greater than or equal to the current cost of one component, when both are priced separately.