Cascading across the dramatic slopes of Madeira’s volcanic coast, Funchal is blessed with consistent sunshine, balmy temperatures and a fascinating array of diversions. From afternoon tea on a shaded terrace to cable car rides to the madness of the Monte Toboggan that hurtles downhill over the smooth ancient cobbles on wooden runners, Funchal’s vibrant character abounds.
Dramatic and genteel, modern and ancient, Funchal is a city of contrasts.
Things to do
Wander the city’s elegant streets and marvel at sparkling white pavements, dotted with grey volcanic stones that form a kind of city-wide mosaic. Take time to admire the beautiful 15th-century Cathedral and abundance of fine 18th-century houses. Or venture beyond the city by car and cruise the astonishing autoestradas that hug the ups and downs of the extreme terrain.
From the enclave of your boutique hotel, you can enjoy an unmatched richness of flowers – especially during the Flower Festival in late April. There are also sub-tropical valleys, shimmering green banana groves and some of the world’s highest sea cliffs to fill an exclusive escape.
FOOD & DRINK
Fine dining infused with the character of the Mediterranean is assured across Funchal. Expect dishes flavoured with fennel. Local seafood is sublime and the luscious Madeira wines flow wherever you go.
The basalt Cathedral or Sé might appear plain, but step inside to marvel at the Moorish carved ceiling and stunning altar.
Top tip from SLH