Funchal, Madeira Islands, Portugal

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Type of place: Seaside
Natural surroundings: Island, Mountains, Sea
Things to do: Art, Camping, Casino, Cinema, Cruise, Fishing, go-cart, Museum, Pub/Bar, Restaurant, Theatre
Sports to do: Basketball, Cycling, Football, Golf, Gym/Fitness, Hiking/Walking, Paintball, Parachuting, Sailing/Boating, Swimming, Tennis, Water skiing, Windsurfing



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Introducing this place:

Funchal is not only the principal city of Madeira Island but it also holds the honor of being the capital of Madeira Autonomous Region of Portugal. The name Funchal is said to derive from the fact that an abundance of fennel was produced in this area in the past. There are almost 150,000 inhabitants in Funchal. Other key towns like Camera De Lobos, Santa Cruz, Machico and Ribeira Brava lie adjacent to Funchal. The city of Funchal has been the capital of Madeira for the past five centuries.

Introducing this place Introducing this place

Sightseeing:

Funchal is a beautiful and panoramic city with there are many attractive tourist sites. While in Funchal for a tour you can visit the following places:


CULTURAL
Sé Cathedral: This is the most famous feature of Funchal. This regal cathedral was built between 1493 and 1514 by Gil Eanes and it bears testimony to the rich heritage.
Museum of Sacred Art: Contains extensive collection of Flemish Paintings. You can see various rare historic pictures of Funchal.
Vicentes photography museum: which is the photographic museum of the city. The museum is named after Funchal’s first renowned photographer Vicente Gomes da Silva. Last but not the least is the 
Museum of Natural History: Which has its own library and small aquarium, next to São Pedro church.
Church of São Pedro: This is one of the most famous and historic churches of Funchal which is famous for its beautiful tiled interiors and its vaulting arches and domes.
IBTAM Museum: The museum centre of the Madeiran Institute for embroidery, tapestry and handicrafts is a non-pompous and discreet look at the role and economy of three areas of handiwork still practised today in Madeira: that is, embroidery, tapestry, and handicraft work - especially wickerwork. The centrepiece of the museum is the collection of valuable 19th and early 20th century embroidered cloths and decorative pieces.
Colombo Square: This square in unique in Funchal. Recently restored you can find here The City of Sugar Museum that serves as a retrospective on the history of Funchal guided along the central theme of sugar - the industry that helped shape the early vestiges of Funchal, and Madeira.
Sissi Statue: Another interesting chapter of madeirian past - the Austrians.
Forte São Tiago: At the eastern end of the promenade along the coast in the quarter Socorro lays the Forte S. Tiago. You can also walk through the Zona Velha, the old town with small and low houses, to reach the fort. The last years there are more and more craft shops, bars and restaurants along the mainstreet in Zona Velha.
The fort has nice small watchtowers and sentinel boxes from the 17th century.
The fort is open for the public and it's nice to have a look at the towers and courtyards.
Colombo Statue: Colombo's statue can be found at Santa Catarina park next to the chapel.
Convent Santa Clara: The Convento de Santa Clara or the monastery of Santa Clara is the oldest monastery of the island (1452).
Old Town: The old neighbourhood of Santa Maria is where the settlement of the island started more than five centuries ago, in the area today known as the Old Town. Its narrow streets are paved with cobblestones and lined with the ancient facades of the picturesque houses.
Madeira Wine Museum: These are the oldest Madeira Wine cellars adjacent to the old convent of the order of St. Francis. Here one can admire letters, documents, books, objects and machinery of the old times. There is also a video on the Madeira Wine History and, obviously an opportunity to taste and buy our fortified wines.
Zarco Statue: You'll find Joao Goncalves Zarco statue at Avenida Arriaga in front of Portugal Bank.
City Market: At the ground floor is a big fish hall, where they sell fresh fish. The fish comes directly from the ocean around Madeira island.
Monte Church: The church of Nossa Senhora do Monte is built in the 18th century at the place of a chapel from 1470. T
Adegas s francisco: Former monastery of St Francis - now a Wine Lodge owned by Blandy's.
Contemporary art museum: In the Forte de S. Tiago.
São Pedro church: : It is worth to have a look inside the Sao Pedro church. The walls have blue-white azulejo-tiles. The gilded candelabra are ornated with crystal garlands. Richly decorated and gilded are also the altars and the balcony. In the ornated niches you can see statues. There are so many ornaments and decorations to see, that it's difficult to absorb all.
Town Hall Square: The Praca de Municipio, like the pedestrian streets, also a nicily decorated pavement in black and white. The fountain at the square has an obelisk of black granite with a globe and cross at top. The three most important buildings at the square are the Camara Municipal (townhall), the Museu de Arte Sacra and the Colegio Church.
Carmo church: Built in the mid 18th century and subsequently altered, this church has some beautiful golden altar vessels imaginatively wrought in the styles of the 17th and 18th centuries.
São João Batista Fort: Located in the district of Sao Pedro some 111 metres above sea-level, the Pico Fort occupies an area of 2,750 square metres.
Municipal Theatre: Located on Avenida Arriaga, the Municipal Theatre Baltazar Dias has remarkable architectural balance despite the size of this building. It has large windows and a beautiful entrance with tiled floors and eleven arched doors.
Frederico de Freitas museum: This is an impressive exhibition of different collections including azulejo tiles, religious sculptures, old prints, cups, teapots, furniture and ceramic objects.
São Lorenço Palace: This palace has been much altered down the years. It has a crenulated castle tower on the east side, typical of the Manueline period, the first half of the 15th century. Its sculpted stones are also typical of this era. The three bulwarks facing north were built during king Philip's reign. 
Eletricity museum: Did you know, that until 1950 the Island of Madeira had no electricity apart from the Greater Funchal area! There is a detailed overview of the process on the groundfloor of the Museum of Light. Upstairs is an exibition of the way we get our global energy supplies, an interactive playground and room for temporarely exibitions.
NATURAL
Madeira Botanic Garden: This is a must visit place if you are contemplating a tour to Funchal. The picturesque Madeira Botanic Garden which is locally known as Jardim Botanico has an amazing display of local flora. It is a beautifully landscaped and terraced garden which provides delightful and panoramic views.
Pico dos Barcelos: At 1,207 feet, this peak provides an excellent view over Funchal.
Quinta das Cruzes garden and mansion: The botanical of Quinta das Cruzes is wonderful. You can read the signs and see that the plants and trees come from all over the world, like the juniperus virginiana from Florida, the gigantic fern, feto arboreo from Australia, the strelitzia augusta from South Africa, a chorisia from Brasil and a palmtree from Java.
Magnolia Park: Quinta Magnólia Park, with tennis courts, squash courts and an olympic size swimming pool.The park itself has a large number of fully grown trees and many flowers. You have to find your way a bit, but you will hear a stream flowing by. If you follow the path next to the small stream you will have the opportunity to see lots of beautiful wilde flowers. You can walk along that stream until almost in the city centre.
Savage Islands: If you are nature buff you can also visit the Savage Islands or the Ilhas Selvagens which is an exotic natural reserve 160 km south of Funchal.
Porto Santo Islands: If you are into tropical beachs with long white sand, you can go on the ferry in Funchal port bay to Porto Santo Island, good wheater specially on Summer with very gentle locals. A peacefull place to visit while in Madeira.
Jardim Botanico: This beautiful garden has delighted visitors since 1960. It houses more than 2000 exotic plants from all continents. The garden also serves as a conservation centre, and many plants suffering the risk of extinction are being studied there.
Santa Catarina Park: South of the Avenida do Infante is the parque de Santa Catarina. In the park is the chapel (capela) of Santa Catarina, built in 1425 by the wife of Zarco and replaced in the 17th century. In the park is a lake with black swans, a playground for kids and cages with different kinds of birds.It's nice to walk around or sit down for a while in the park. The most striking of the park is the splendid view at the port and marina of Funchal.

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People and Culture:

The city of Funchal itself has 100,000 residents. The people of Funchal like other Portuguese counterparts are tradition loving and warm. Their friendly nature makes this beautiful city more attractive to tourists from round the world. Funchal is the native city of some famous personalities. The young people in Funchal are in general outgoing and the city itself is pretty much developed to the Ocidental culture.

LOCAL CUSTOMS

Traditional clothes: The dress, still regularly worn by flower sellers, is smart and colourful. The women wear a red woollen skirt decorated with green, blue and yellow stripes, along with an embroidered red waistcoat over a white blouse. The men sport a baggy white shirt and knee length trousers tied with a red sash. A carapuca, like a skull cap with a stalk. and a cape thrown over the shoulder, may also be worn, along with light coloured leather boots with a red stripe.
Madeira Wine: Madeira wine is a fortified wine made at the island with the same name, which is prized equally for drinking and cooking. The maturing of the wine is peculiar and characteristic, because the wine needed to survive long voyages over sea and was subjected in buildings called estufas. It's also deliberately exposed to air, causing to oxidize. Due to this practice the wine has a very characteristic flavour.
Flower Sellers: In the streets around the cathedral flower sellers with their traditional costumes can be seen selling their exotic blooms like the popular Bird of Paradise flower.
Santana Houses: Take time out to go the north of the island to Santana to see the houses that are only found there in Santana.


FAMOUS PEOPLE


Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro:  Portuguese footballer who plays as a winger for English Premier League club Manchester United and the Portuguese national team.
Fátima Lopes: Portuguese fashion designer.

People and Culture People and Culture People and Culture People and Culture People and Culture

Things and Sports to Do:

You won’t have any dearth of activities in Funchal. It is a fun place to be in your holidays in Funchal will be activity filled and entertaining.

SPORTS

Football: Funchal being the native place of football ace Christiano Ronaldo is not wonder that football will be the popular sports of Funchal. If you are a true blue football buff then you can enjoy some riveting football games and Portuguese Premier League matches in Funchal. You are also able to make nautical and extreme sports due to the natural aspects of the island. Since scuba diving to parachutte.

NIGHTLIFE

Funchal is a great place to let your hair down and some real fun with your friends. There is no dearth of nightclubs and bars in Funchal where you can relax with a drink after sundown.

Vespas, Jam and Marginal: Most famous nightclub in Madeira is Vespas, in this days the discoteque combines itself with the other two discoteques next to it (Jam and Marginal). You can hear all kind of night music here. In Jam the music mood is rock and roll and classics.
Kool: Comercial music in a 3 floored nightclub.
Copacabana, Chameleon and Mexicano: For thoose who enjoy latin music this three discoteques offer that kind of music and ambient.
Teatro cafe: A fashionable pub and coffe in the city center next to the theater.
Number 2: A famous bar between the locals where you can drink the traditional Madeira alcoholic drink, poncha.

OTHER ACTIVITIES

Levada Walks: if you like the nature ou should try to do a Levada, it's the most famous thing in Madeira. Levadas are courses of water that used to serve the villages in the old times. Now they are turistic attractions where you can contemplate the amazing views of Madeira Island.
Beach: There are a lot of private and public beaches in Funchal. Almost all of them with vulcanic rocks. They are really popular especially during the summer with the famous hot waters of this Island.
Bowling: You can go bowling in Caniço shopping center, taking the highway of Funchal.
Casino: There's only one Casino in Funchal open every day, the place also has a nightclub, copacabana and some shows.
Madeira cable car: The Madeira Cable Car or Teleferico operates between Funchal and Monte. There are 41 cabines and the modern system can handle a maximum of 800 passengers an hour. Normally we visit Monte by car, but walking along the promenade and looking at the cabines going up and down, we decided to take the cable car uphill.
Santa Maria Boat and Catamarans: In the Marina of Funchal you can book different kinds of boattrips. Near the pier are several booking stalls. You can do half-day, full-day trips or cocktail cruises in the evening. It is possible to see dolphins or turtles on these trips. There are also companies at the marina, who offer deep-sea fishing trips. If you like to book an half-day trip on the Santa Maria, a replica of the antique wooden ship of Columbus, you have to go to the port, west of the marina.
Poças governador: If you like adventure and would like to enjoy natural pools in the city, then this is your place to visit. It's quite hard to climb down the rocks to reach the area. But it's worth it. Fantastic natural pools and 22ºC water

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Things and Sports to Do Things and Sports to Do Things and Sports to Do Things and Sports to Do Things and Sports to Do

Restaurants and Shopping:

SHOPPING

You can shop in the city center on the commerce areas or in the big shopping malls that Funchal has: Madeira Shopping, Forum, Dolce Vita between other small ones where you can find cheap or designer clothers everywhere.

RESTAURANTS

You can find tipical Portuguese food and also the Madeira food like the traditional "Espetada" and drink "Poncha'' almost at every corner of the city center. There are specialized restaurants like Italian, Indian, Chinese, Japanese and other restaurants spread all over the city.

FAST FOOD

You can find the bigger Fast food brands apread around Funchal and specially in the shopping centers: MacDonalds, Burger King, Pizza Hut etc

 

Restaurants and Shopping Restaurants and Shopping Restaurants and Shopping Restaurants and Shopping Restaurants and Shopping

Accomodation:

HOTELS

Funchal is a mainly turistic city. So it offers a lot of diversity since the higher prices to the more affordable.

Transportation:

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

You can take a cab in funchal to any place you want. There's only two varieties of prices in the taxis, daylight price and night price. The start price for a taxi in funchal at night is 3€.
The bus ''Horarios do funchal'' is probably the best way of traveling around the city center. They have stops everywhere and go time to time. Be aware that on holydays and sundays the bus timetable changes and they don't pass by so often. There's also specialized busses for tourists and sightseeing.

PRIVATE TRANSPORTATION


There are a lot of places where you can rent cars in Funchal to meet the city or the rest of the Island. Be sure you are aware of the vulcanic nature of the island, so you should expect inclined roads now and then.

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Geography and Climate:

Funchal is situated in an exceptional geographical feature. Funchal lies in an island where thee natural geographical features encircle it in such a way that they form almost an amphitheatre round the city. This round semi ring of highlands which encircle Funchal begins at its harbor and gradually rises 1200 meters high in a sloping manner. This gentle slope forms a natural shelter for the city of Funchal.

Funchal is one of the few places on the earth which can boast of really pleasant weather which is neither too hot nor too cold. In the summer months of July to October the average maximum temperature of oscillates round 24 degrees C. However the temperature can soar up to 33 C when ‘Leste’ or the hot wind coming from the Sahara desert blows over the city for a few days. In the winter months of November through March the average temperature is approximately about 4 degrees C.

Geography and Climate Geography and Climate Geography and Climate Geography and Climate Geography and Climate

Economy, Prices and Living Standard:

Funchal is a very modern city with lots of modern amenities like posh hotels, clean roads and modern transport facilities. However it the fact remains Funchal has a historic past and its old road and alley along its huge population which often cause huge traffic snarls which can sometimes be quite confusing. This does however mean that traffic congestion in the centre on the rush horus. The people of Funchal are friendly and simple. Tourism is a major industry of Funchal.



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