Ilha da Madeira

guide to visit


The beautiful Funchal town in situated on the wonderful Madeira Island, and is the archipelago capital, nowadays the major touristic, cultural, artistic and politic centre in the archipelago.

Filled with history, cosmopolite, culture and a wonderful life, Funchal has much to see and admire, starting on the lovely historical nucleus of São Pedro, Santa Maria or Sé, that invite for pleasant walks.

The Madeira Archipelago was once known by Romans and Phoenicians, yet the official discovery was in 1418, first with the Porto Santo island by the navigators João Gonçalves Zarco and Tristão Vaz Teixeira, and on the year after the Madeira Island, by João Gonçalves Zarco and Bartolomeu Perestrelo.
The initial plan was about exploring the western coast of Africa, yet due to a storm, the navigators had to shove off the initial route, which lead them to discover the golden Porto Santo Island.
The Funchal’s colonization started already in 1424, receiving this toponym as the first discoverers of the region realized the abundance of fennel, “funcho” in Portuguese.

Funchal charms with its ambiance, not only for the many quality services and quite developed and organized tourist industry, but also for its delightful monuments, history, activities, infra-structures to enjoy the best of one’s leisure moments, a luxuriant nature, and unequal landscapes of great beauty.

Funchal presents enchanting Monuments such as the Cathedral dated from 1514, with a wonderful ceiling; the 15th century Church and Monastery of Saint Clare; the Nossa Senhora do Monte Church; the 16th century São Lourenço Fortress; the São Pedro Church and Palace; the 18th century Santa Maria Maior Mother Church; the Junta Geral Palace; the Town Hall charming building, symbol of the colonial architecture; the Ilhéu Fort; The Pico Fort, among many other monuments and charming places that one can find on every corner.

Funchal also offers a rich cultural offer, with several museums and cultural sites, such as the Religious Art Museum, the Madeira Wine Muesum, the Quinta das Cruzes Museum, the Frederico de Freitas Museum, the Natural History Museum or the lovely Photography Museum, among other quite interesting spaces.

With a luxuriant nature, which led to name the Madeira Island as the “Garden of the Atlantic”, it is worth knowing the amazing green areas in Funchal, with wonderful places like the Botanical Garden, the Tropical Garden Monte Palace or the Quinta do Palheiro Ferreiro Estate.
Nothing better than a cable car journey to better observe this town’s true beauty and all the surroundings.
Once in the charming and noble Monte, a ride in the “carro de cesto” is mandatory! “Carro de cesto” or “tobogãs” are wickerwork sledges pushed by two “carreiros“, or sledge drivers, that slide on wooden runners for about 4 km down a steep hill, heading to Funchal city centre.
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