Did you know that Funchal translates as "much fennel"? The capital of the autonomous region of Madeira got this name from its discoverers, who back then found a lot of fennel on the island. However, fennel is not of any importance in this article - instead, we would like to inspire you with some ideas, how you can enjoy 24 hours of Funchal.
A Happy Start to the Day...
What better way to start the day than with a delicious breakfast? You can find it right in the heart of Funchal, at the Prima Caju. This restaurant has a great breakfast selection on offer, including everything from pancakes and healthy bowls to wraps and freshly squeezed fruit juices. Moreover, there are also various delicious vegan options. After this morning boost, you will undoubtedly start your sightseeing day feeling happy and invigorated. By the way, you can also overnight at Prima Caju - it is a modern and friendly boutique hotel.
Funchal and Its Diversity
From Prima Caju, you can reach Praça do Município square in just a few strides. Here lies the imposing city hall, Câmara Municipal de Funchal. You can explore the entrance and courtyard on your own or book a tour. The Jesuit church Igreja de S. João Evangelista right next door can also be visited. Afterward, continue to Funchal's cathedral called "Sé." The parent church of the Funchal diocese was consecrated in 1517 and is worth a visit. It convinces with its unique architecture - a mixture of Gothic, Moorish, and Manueline elements paired with the influence of the island's local architecture.
Sweet Treats ...
Before heading to the famous tourist magnet Mercado dos Lavradores, we recommend that you take a short detour to the local shop Fábrica Santo Antonio. This sweets store has existed for over 125 years and offers all kinds of delicacies, including the famous honey cake of Madeira. Here you can taste many confectionaries, and you certainly will not leave the store without any souvenirs.
... and Fruits
An absolute highlight of the city is the Mercado dos Lavradores, a market with typical local fruits and flowers. It is a popular photo motif with tourists, but the goods offered are somewhat overpriced. If you stop by early in the morning, you'll see the freshly hauled in fish going over the counter and the town's restaurants buying their supply for the evening menu. Many stalls offer tastings, so if you're curious, you can sample your way through the exotic fruit palette. A flavor explosion is guaranteed.
A Refreshing Sea Breeze
The market is just a few minutes away from the seafront and the port. Here you can stroll for a bit, eat ice cream, visit the Christiano Ronaldo Museum (CR7) at the end of the harbor, or take a short break in one of the cafes and watch the sea. In the Café Cais da Ribeira, you sit right on the waterfront and have not only a magnificent view of the ocean but also Funchal and the mountains in the background. Treat yourself to a small snack before it goes up to the heights and the botanical gardens.
High up above the Sea
After a relaxing lunch break and with renewed energy, we head for the heights. Especially flower lovers and friends of botanical gardens should not miss this excursion. The Teleférico do Funchal, one of two cable cars in town, takes you from the old city to the top station at Largo das Babosas. The cable car was inaugurated in November 2020 and is one of seven cable cars in Madeira. During the ride, you get to enjoy the breathtaking view of the city, the surrounding mountains, and the sea.
The Agony of (Flower) Choice
At the top, you can admire two of the most beautiful gardens/ parks on the island. Left of the station lies the Monte Palace Madeira. In this 70'000 square meters large botanical garden, you can admire art objects, tile paintings, minerals, and stunning plant life, among other things. On the right of the station, another cable car will take you to the second famous botanical garden. This park, covering an area of 35'000 square meters, had been established in 1960 on the former estate of the William Reid family. Besides the variety of bright flowers, you can visit different themed sections such as a water and cactus garden.
The Special Kind of Street Art
Back down at the harbor, it is worth taking a short detour to Fort São Tiago, which catches the eye from afar with its yellow walls. This fortress was in the 16th and 17th centuries primarily as protection against pirates. Over the years, however, it has had many different functions. So as until 2014, for example, it served as a museum for contemporary art. Furthermore, if you are an art lover, we also recommend the Rua de Santa Maria, located next to Fort São Tiago. This street is known for its many restaurants and artfully painted doors. You can also read our holiday tip
Funchal: Street Art at the Harbour.
Such an exciting and multifaceted day is best rounded off with an excellent dinner. In Funchal, you have the agony of choice. The Tipografia restaurant suggested here, however, will meet almost every taste. It belongs to the boutique hotel Castanheiro and occupies the hotel's charming courtyard. The cuisine focuses on Mediterranean specialties, and the menu changes every evening. You can order multi-course menus or select individual dishes from the menu. The food isn't just delicious and very appealingly presented, but the atmosphere further helps create the perfect end to an eventful day in Funchal.
- Header - Photo by Andre Carvalho for Visit Madeira
- Paragraph 2 - Photos by Restaurant Prima Caju
- Paragraph 3 - Photo by Digital Travel Couple for Visit Madeira
- Paragraph 4 - Photos from Fábrica Santo Antonio on Facebook
- Paragraph 5 - Photo by Reiseuhu on Unsplash
- Paragraph 5 - Photo by Andre Carvalho for Visit Madeira
- Paragraph 6 - Photo by Monika Guzikowska on Unsplash
- Paragraph 6 - Photo by Cais da Ribeira on Facebook
- Paragraph 7 - Photo from Madeira Cable Car
- Paragraph 8 - Photos by Andre Carvalho for Visit Madeira
- Paragraph 9 - Photos by DigitalTravelCouple for Visit Madeira
- Paragraph 10 - Photos by Castanheiro Boutique Hotel