Funchal sightseeing plan - map, attractions, monuments, accommodation, interesting facts

Center of Funchal, Madeira

Funchal or Koprowice

The place where today the largest city and capital of Madeira (Funchal) functions, used to be abundantly overgrown with fennel, more in Polish known as fennel.
The Portuguese colonizers who came here at the beginning of the XNUMXth century saw vast fields of fennel (from the Portuguese funcho) and ... the name stayed, and fennel replaced the houses and streets of the city.
Today there is no fennel here, but it is a large, picturesquely situated and quite interesting city. The oldest buildings in Funchal come from the beginning of colonization (i.e. from the beginning of the 1418th century). You will not find older objects, because the island was not previously populated and human history here begins in XNUMX, with the arrival of the first colonizers.
So is Funchal in Polish Koprowice, or is it Fenkułowo?

Visiting Funchal

Visiting Funchal is worth considering, because some important attractions are far away from each other. Visiting them in the wrong order is possible and poses no problem, but it will take much longer. Of course, if you have enough time and what you do not do today, you calmly do tomorrow or in three days' time, then sticking to the order suggested by me is not that important. However, if you are in Madeira, let's just say a week and during this time you want to see Funchal and the rest of the island, make friends with my sightseeing plan. It will allow you to see everything that is most important without wasting unnecessary time and energy on empty runs.
A day full of attractions awaits you in Funchal. In the evening you will probably collapse from exhaustion, and when you fall asleep blissfully, you may dream everything again.

Funchal sightseeing itinerary

Visiting Funchal has been divided into two main parts: center of Funchal i Monte district. Most of the attractions that are worth seeing are concentrated around these two areas.
First, we visit everything that is located near the city center, then using the cable car we move to Monte and do the rest, starting from the upper station of the cable car.
As a return from the hill to the center, we additionally use a unique attraction in the world, i.e. a sleigh ride on the asphalt.
With a little combination, the sightseeing areas can be swapped from Monte hill to attractions centered around the center.
Of course, you can also treat the entire plan only as a starting point for developing your own route, using the descriptions and GPS coordinates prepared by me.
My idea of ​​visiting Funchal is well illustrated by the map below.

Two main areas for sightseeing: in the center of Funchal and on the Monte hill.
In the boxes, I have given the numbers of attractions that are located in these areas

You can see two visiting areas on the map. The numerical markings used on the maps correspond to the numbering next to the descriptions of attractions further in the text.

Use GPS coordinates!

For each attraction, I have provided precise GPS coordinates that will allow you to always reach your destination. Just go to this page on your phone, click on the link next to the coordinates of the attractions and the navigation application will open automatically.
Simply walk towards your chosen tour point along the streets you wish to walk along. Treat the navigation on the phone rather as information whether you are going in the right direction and approaching your destination, or whether your fantasy is already taking you in the wrong direction 🙂
When you reach one point of the trip and want to go further, click on the coordinates of the next point and so from point to point you can freely explore Funchal on your own!

Funchal Center - Sightseeing

For starters, a handy map of the center of Funchal. On the map you will find attractions marked in turn, and the location of the parking lot, which in my opinion is the best located due to the route of the tour. If you are using a rental car, leave it in this parking lot.
If you do not know how to rent a car cheaply and safely in Madeira, I recommend that you read the special entry on this topic: Madeira - car rental without credit card and deposit

Funchal - map of attractions and city center sightseeing route
1. Starting point - parking in Funchal

A large, multi-storey car park, where you should not run out of space even in the high season.

Parking in the center of Funchal, GPS coordinates:
32°38’52.0″N 16°54’12.2″W
32.647763, -16.903389 - click and route

2. Zona Velha and Rua de Santa Maria
One of the doors in Zona Velha, Funchal, Madeira

Sometime (until 2010) Velha area it was a typical forbidden neighborhood and by far the most dangerous place in the city, a walk down the main street Santa Maria street it should have been treated rather as an extreme adventure. Unfortunately, by the way, this district and this street are the oldest parts of Funchal, from which the history of the city's development began. Excluding them from tourist traffic for safety reasons was a huge loss for the city. Fortunately, everything started to change from 2010 on the initiative of local residents and artists, and with the consent and even active participation of the city. The idea later called "The Art of Open Doors" was that the city gave permission and paints, and residents and artists used these paints to "enliven the neighborhood." The old, ugly and damaged entrance door to the property quickly turned into small works of art, the district acquired a new character, began to attract people and willing to open cafes, restaurants, mini-galleries here ... The old city in a natural process pushed out the "dark matter" which for years it gave it a dark and dangerous atmosphere. Within a few years it has transformed from a forbidden district to the most fashionable place in the city. Today, the old town of Funchal is teeming with art, cafés and tourists seeking relaxation.

Zona Velha and Rua de Santa Maria, GPS coordinates:
32°38’53.1″N 16°54’13.8″W
32.648089, -16.903845 - click and route

3. Mercado dos Lavradores
Stands at the Mercado dos Lavradores

Operating for decades in a historic building today, a typical bazaar where you can buy local ornamental plants, vegetables, fruit, alcohol, meat, fish, souvenirs and other local products.
It has always been a favorite place for tourists and ... sellers, who sell their goods to tourists at indecently inflated prices.

Typical stand at Mercado dos Lavradores

In this bazaar, if you are a tourist, the price jumps x5, and sometimes even more if you turn out to be an easy target. The fruit sellers are the best at "shaving tourists off the money". They push up the price and throw in more (different) fruits to keep everything weighing as much as possible. They do it without embarrassment and without inhibitions.

So what makes tourists buy fruit here?
My answer is: unusual fruit with unusual flavors! You can try here, for example, pear-flavored oranges, or banana-flavored mangoes, or even lime, which has a sweet peach flavor ... Something amazing!
You try and it's shock, it really tastes just like they say! You take 2 pieces of fruit (because they are terribly expensive and you cannot afford more), they give you a few more quickly, so the bill is overwhelming, but you pay and you think: “what! you only live once".
In the evening, at the hotel, you can finally get to the fruit you have bought for a bar of gold. And what is your disappointment when you feel the sour taste of some vile variety of citrus in your mouth instead of the sweetness of the fruit from the bazaar. Yes Yes!
The vendors at the market cheat not only on price and weight. They sell fruit of average quality, and they prepare them for tasting on the spot, giving them taste ... hmmm ... with flavors?

That there was no: Mercado dos Lavradores is really worth seeing! It is a nice, atmospheric bazaar. It is also worth seeing the tricks used by sellers, but I suggest you refrain from shopping. There will be better places and better deals.

Farmers Market, GPS coordinates:
32°38’55.2″N 16°54’14.6″W
32.648652, -16.904064 - click and route

4. Se Catedral
Se Catedral, Funchal

The Cathedral of the Assumption of Our Lady in Funchal is one of the few buildings on the island that have survived practically intact almost from the beginning of the colonization of the island. The walls of the cathedral are made of volcanic stone and the roof is made of cedar wood.
In front of the cathedral, there is a statue of John Paul II, commemorating his visit to the island.

Se Catedral, GPS coordinates:
32°38’53.1″N 16°54’30.9″W
32.648070, -16.908595 - click and route

5. Promenade
The coast along which the promenade of Funchal stretches

The seaside promenade with places to rest gives you a break from the typical noise of the town. It's worth sitting down here, recharge your batteries and maybe even eat your own provisions before the rest of the trip. The promenade will lead you to where we started our walk (near the car park) and to the lower cable car station to the Monte hill.

Funchal Promenade, GPS coordinates:
32°38’48.9″N 16°54’24.1″W
32.646908, -16.906696 - click and route

6. Teleferico do Funchal - lower station

Ropeway Teleferico to Funchal enters the Monte hill, where there are several more attractions of the city. The cable car covers the 3 km route in approximately 20 minutes. By the way, you can admire great views of the city and the coast of the island from the trolley.

Teleferico do Funchal - lower station, GPS coordinates:
32°38’49.6″N 16°54’09.1″W
32.647097, -16.902539 - click and route

7. Fort Sao Tiago
Detail of the walls of the fort of Sao Tiago, Funchal, Madeira

If you feel like it, before you ride the cable car up the hill, you can go to the fort Sao Tiago. The reason for building the fort was to protect the coast and the city from pirates. The Portuguese in the 1566th century almost completely dominated the sea lanes of the North Atlantic and initially saw no need to protect the coast. The result of this neglect in XNUMX was a massive attack by pirates, during which many of the city's inhabitants were murdered.
The fort, completed in 1614, effectively deterred potential invaders for the following years. It now houses a museum and a nice restaurant with a terrace.

Fort Sao Tiago, GPS coordinates:
32°38’48.3″N 16°53’55.1″W
32.646746, -16.898631 - click and route

Monte district - sightseeing

The second part of the sightseeing plan begins here, i.e. the attractions located on the Monte Hill.
Situated well above the main part of the city of Monte, it was treated like a mountain district. There was a widespread belief among the inhabitants that the mountain climate of this location has a beneficial effect on health. So the most affluent inhabitants of the island built their houses here.

Monte - map of attractions:
- sightseeing route (red dots)
- wild levada (green dots)
- sledge route (gray dots)
8. Teleferico do Funchal - upper station
View from the top station of the Teleferico cable car to Funchal

Getting off at the top station of the cable car you will find yourself in the Monte district. Here you can choose between two ways of visiting: shorter and longer (depending on how much strength you have left).
The longer one leads to the right to the second cable car (9) that will take you to the Botanical Garden (11). After visiting the Botanical Garden, you can return to the same place under the upper Teleferico station in Funchal (8) and continue your tour going to the Monte Palace Garden (12).
The shorter path leads immediately left to the Monte Palace Garden (12), thus skipping the visit to the Botanical Garden (11).

Teleferico do Funchal - upper station, GPS coordinates:
32°40’32.4″N 16°54’01.3″W
32.675652, -16.900361 - click and route

9. Second cable car - Teleferico to Jardim Botânico

The top station of the cable car to the Botanical Garden (Teleferico do Jardim Botânico) is approximately 300 meters from the top station of the Teleferico do Funchal cable car. A convenient path leads to it. If there was a problem with orientation in the field, I would like to remind you that you can always use the GPS coordinates given below. Clicking on the link next to them will open and start navigation on your phone and then it will be very easy to hit.

It is possible to purchase tickets for the queue to the Botanical Garden - [click] over the Internet.

Cable car to the Botanical Garden, GPS coordinates:
32°40’38.9″N 16°53’52.8″W
32.677477, -16.897999 - click and route

10. Levada do Bom Sucesso from Monte do Funchal
When you walk along the levadas, you are always close to nature

For lovers of walking, I have one more, this time quite unobvious, suggestion of a walk on the slopes of Monte. You can come back to Funchal on your feet as you walk from the station Teleferico to Jardim Botanico down it leads Levada to Bom Sucesso. It is not an official levada, so its technical condition is not adapted to walks for the average tourist. Due to the quite steep sections, it is necessary to wear appropriate trekking shoes.
If the trail is wet and slippery, you should definitely give up this levada. On some parts it is so steep that on slippery surfaces the risk of losing grip is too high.
On a dry day, an experienced hiker equipped with good footwear will do well.
I marked the course of the Bom Sucesso levada on the map with green dots (the green color is not an official marking, it was chosen by me only to mark the route on the map).

From the place where the levada goes to the streets of the city, you can try to reach the Botanical Garden and then return from the garden to the Monte Hill by cable car Teleferico to Jardim Botanico. However, it must be taken into account that from the levada exit to the streets to the garden gate, you will have to walk an additional 1 km along local streets, mostly without a shoulder.

A few photos from the passage of this levada by other hiking enthusiasts you will find here - [click]

11. Jardim Botanico (Botanical Garden)
Fragment of the Botanical Garden, Funchal, Madeira

The most famous botanical garden in Madeira. A real paradise for lovers of beautiful plants. There are specimens from almost all over the world, with the subtropical and tropical regions being of course dominant. However, there are even specimens from ... the Himalayas.
Not only the plants themselves are delightful, but also the way they are displayed. Above I have posted a panoramic photo from the garden. After clicking on them, you will be transferred to the panorama in Google Maps, which you can rotate.

Botanic Garden, GPS coordinates:
32°39’43.1″N 16°53’39.3″W
32.661983, -16.894247 - click and route

12. Monte Palace Garden
Monte Palace Garden - oriental part
Funchal, Madeira

This is the second of the gardens on the Monte hill. The entrance to it is just a few steps from the upper station of the cable car Teleferico to Funchal. The garden covers a really large area and in its area, in addition to plants, you will see several thematic exhibitions, among others minerals and gems (unique pieces in the world) and sculptures.
The garden is divided into several parts, including an insanely atmospheric oriental garden, a central lake with a palace, and an orchidarium.

Monte Palace Garden - the central lake
Funchal, Madeira

You need to spend about 2 hours exploring the garden, although many people after two hours do not intend to leave it yet 🙂
In my opinion, it is a must-see place where you can perfectly combine your sightseeing with relaxation and rest in an extraordinary natural environment.

Monte Palace Garden, GPS coordinates:
32°40’32.1″N 16°54’02.1″W
32.675572, -16.900579 - click and route

13. Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Monte
Church of Our Lady in Monte, Funchal, Madeira

At the beginning of the colonization of the island, there was a hermitage in the place where the church now stands. The place quickly began to attract people. They gathered here to perform prayers. With time, a small temple was built, which was soon destroyed by an earthquake. A new temple was built on the basis of the side walls remaining after the earthquake, and it still stands in this form today.
Currently, it is the most important and most visited church in Madeira. The most important events take place there. The most famous are the celebrations of the Feast of Our Lady, which take place every year on August 15 (in our country it is the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary).
A few weeks earlier, the church and its immediate surroundings are richly decorated with flowers and colorful decorations, and crowds of believers then come to the hill.
We were here a few days before August 15 and even then the decorations looked impressive. From the accounts of the residents, however, we learned that what we see is only the beginning of the final decoration.

Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Monte, GPS coordinates:
32°40’32.8″N 16°54’09.3″W
32.675763, -16.902585 - click and route

14. Monte Carreiros
Asphalt sleigh ride, Funchal, Madeira

There are things that would never have occurred to me. One of them is, for example, sledging on asphalt. Everyone knows that sleds do not run on asphalt ... but not in Madeira! Monte Carreiros it is nothing more than an association that supports itself and its employees by providing a service of sledding (toboggans) on the asphalt. If by now you thought it was impossible, it's time to change your mind.
A large, wooden, two-person sled, driven by two carreiros (men responsible for driving the sleigh), on wooden skids they run on the asphalt nicely. In some sections, they can reach speeds well over 40 km / h. To make it more interesting, the route runs along normal streets with local car traffic. Of course, sleighs have priority in this movement and local drivers must take this into account. However, the thing is so strange and shocking that I could not refuse to participate in it.

We ride a sleigh on the asphalt, and the center of Funchal is below us

I got on the sleigh and rode it down. We got crazy carreirosor they're all a little crazy over there and only take them for this job. The faster we went, the more fun the gentlemen had. The crazier the turns we took, the better the carreiros had a better mood ... After a few minutes we got used to the speed and side skidding into which the sleds fell. When the trip was over, we wanted more.
The fun is really great and I can confidently recommend it to everyone. A bit crazy but safe and different from everything else, because there is no other such attraction in the world.
I marked the route with the toboggans on the map with gray dots.

Asphalt tobogganing starting point, GPS coordinates:
32°40’31.3″N 16°54’09.6″W
32.675364, -16.902676 - click and route

15. Carreiros - the end point of the toboggan run
Carreiros at work have time for everything
Funchal, Madeira

The asphalt sleigh ride takes about 10 minutes and will cover the 2 km long route in this time. From the lower sledge stop you can walk back to the center on foot (2,5 km, about 40 minutes walk) but I doubt that after a day of sightseeing you will still want to walk this bit. Fortunately, there are taxis right outside, and if you look around you will find a bus stop line number 19which will take you to the center of Funchal.

The end point of the asphalt toboggan run, GPS coordinates:
32°39’51.3″N 16°54’16.9″W
32.664258, -16.904686 - click and route

This is where our sightseeing plan ends. I honestly admit that even now, as I write these words, I feel a little sorry. So I assume that when you get to this point, despite your fatigue, you will also regret that this is the end of this beautiful income in sunny Funchal.

Sightseeing without walking

For people who do not like to walk a lot or do not have the strength to do so, the opportunity to take advantage of it will certainly be useful Hop On-Off tourist buses.
How it's working? These are buses that go around the same route every half an hour or so and stop close to the city's top attractions.
A ticket for such a bus is valid, for example, for 48 hours (there is also a version for 5 days) and during this time you can get on and off the bus as many times as you want, at each of the stops. This way, instead of walking between attractions, you take the bus and get off near the one you are interested in. After seeing the attractions, you go back to the stop, get on the bus and go to the next one. Over and over again. Simple and convenient.

Ticket for hop-on hop-off buses in Funchal you can buy online - [click]

Below you will find a list of bus stops (there are two lines):

Line one: FUNCHAL TOUR + C MARA DE LOBOS

1 - Avenida do Mar (Funchal Marina) Terminal
2 - Funchal City Gates / Touristic Docks
3 - Old Town and Cable Car
4 - Farmer's Market
5 - Bordal Embroidery Factory / Farmer's Market
6 - Madeira Wine Museum / City Hall
7 - Madeira Tourism Office (Oficial) / Cathedral / Municipal Garden
8 - Casino / Madeira President's House
9 - Quinta Magnólia Gardens
10 - Funchal Bay Panoramic Viewpoint
11 - São Martinho Chapel and Cemetery
12 - Pico dos Barcelos Viewpoint
13 - Promenade to Funchal
14 - Câmara de Lobos South
15 - Câmara de Lobos North
16 - Promenade to Funchal
17 - Orca Praia Hotel / Old Road to Câmara de Lobos
18 - Angel Roundabout / Formosa Beach
19 - Doca do Cavacas / Promenade
20 - Forum Shopping center
21 - Pestana / Promenade Hotel / Panoramic Gardens
22 - Lido Promenade and Gardens
23 - Yellow Bus Office / Porto Mare Hotel
24 - Lido 25 - Cliff Bay Hotel
26 - Belmond Reid's Palace Hotel
27 - S. José Fortress Viewpoint
28 - Lighthouse Viewpoint
29 - Cruise Terminal
30 - Design Center Nini A. Silva

Second line: CABO GIRÃO TOUR

1 - Câmara de Lobos South
2 - Cabo Girão (Europe's Highest cliff)

Funchal - accommodation

The accommodation base in Funchal is large and varied. The price range is also wide, so there is something for everyone.
Below are some interesting examples. Clicking on a link or an image will take you to a page where, in addition to the selected accommodation, you will find several others similar to this one. So let's click and see if there is something interesting at a good price.

GuestHouse Vila Lusitania - [click]

Apartamentos Turisticos Atlantida - [click]

CBA Suites Madeira - [click]

Funchal - car rental

Madeira is of course not only Funchal. The whole island offers a lot of interesting places worth visiting. The easiest way to do this is by renting a car for a few days. Of course, the largest selection of rental companies and cars is in Funchal, but nothing prevents you from renting a car in another city.
Before renting a car, I recommend that you read a special guide, thanks to which you can do it safely and cheaply: Madeira - car rental without credit card and deposit

Excursions from Funchal without a car

Can you visit Madeira without a car? Yes of course! There are plenty of tourist offices on the island that constantly organize group trips to almost all the attractions on the island. Most often they are one-day trips. You buy a ticket online, and then at the appointed time you arrive at the bus stop, where the tour bus will appear (there are often several stops) and you are on your way.
It makes no sense to go into the details of all the proposals. If you are interested in this option, just check the current offer organized trips to attractions in Madeira - [click]

Madeira sightseeing itinerary

I am currently in the process of developing a complete itinerary for visiting Madeira. Detailed descriptions of subsequent attractions will be created, and finally a collective entry will be created, in which I will arrange all the attractions in a ready-made sightseeing plan.
To see all currently available descriptions of attractions, click on the link: Madeira - [click].
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