Funchal is the capital of Madeira’s Archipelago, and it has several attractions worth visiting during your trip, some of them unique to the destination.
If you are planning to visit Madeira, put these spots on your list of “places to visit and things to do”:
1.Mercado dos Lavradores (Farmers Market)
Take a trip through the sounds, colours and flavours of this emblematic market – one of the main meeting points, between locals and tourists, located in the old town in Funchal. It sells all kinds of regional products and delicacies: fruits, vegetables, flowers, fish, meat, herbs, handicrafts, wines or dry fruits. There are also some cafés where you can taste the famous pork marinated in wine and garlic sandwiches (carne vinha d’alhos), or the typical queijadas” (cottage cheese tarts).
It is open daily (except on Sundays), from 7am in the morning, when the first customers arrive, looking for the freshest products, especially on Fridays.
2.Monte Palace Tropical Garden
With around 70,000 m2 of area, the Monte Palace Tropical Garden is much more than a simple garden – it is a place that inspires tranquility. As the name implies, it is located at the top of the city, Monte (Mount).
Its luxuriant vegetation allows us to learn about plants from the 4 corners of the world. It is worth paying attention to the South African cycas and exclusive area dedicated to the Laurissilva Forest.
The mystical Oriental Gardens are another particularity of this place. Here you can find various pagodas, Buddhist sculptures, red bridges and ponds, where Koi fish and swans swim. You can also see several tile panels and the Museum of African Sculpture. An area, entitled “Secrets of Mother Nature”, displays hundreds of fascinating minerals.
A Madeiran toboggan ride on the famous basket sledges is also one of the highlights of any visit to Monte (and you cannot do this ride anywhere else in the world)!
Their use started in the 19th century to facilitate the quick transport of people travelling from Monte to Funchal centre. The drivers, “Carreiros do Monte”, drive the basket sledges (made of wood and wicker), with the help of ropes and the traditional boots (Botas de Vilão), with rubber soles. The downhill ride is a lot of fun and runs about 2 km, through steep and picturesque streets. Learn more here.
3.Funchal Cable Car – Monte
One of the best ways to get to know Funchal is through a cable car ride. Thanks to the orography of the city, in the shape of an amphitheatre, the aerial views (sea, houses and brook) are unforgettable. The trip starts at Funchal’s old town and arrives at Monte in about 20 minutes. Learn more about the cable cars of Madeira, here.
4.“The Art of Open Doors” – Old Town
The art depicted on the doors of Rua de Santa Maria is one of the must-see attractions in Funchal. Here you can find cafés, restaurants and bars, whose doors were painted by local and foreign artists. This movement began in 2011 and has rejuvenated this historic area. It attracts many locals and visitors, looking for art, gastronomic experiences and nightlife.
The CR7 Museum is one of the most visited attractions in Funchal, thanks to the notoriety of the Madeiran soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo. It is located in the city centre, next to the well-known Hotel Pestana CR7. Next to the museum, you can also find his famous statue. If you want to know more about the museum, click here.
The list of attractions in Funchal is huge, you will surely find many others during your visit to Madeira. If you wish to find more places to visit in Madeira, you can also visit our site. Follow us through Instagram @visitmadeira or check our Facebook page. Share your experiences and show us what you liked best with the #madeiranowordsneeded