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Find information on Funchal in our Travel Guide covering sights, foods and nightlife plus more...
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Funchal lies in the south east of Madeira and is the thriving capital of the island. Surrounding the natural harbour and spreading gently up the hillside its white houses and their red tiled roofs sit in vivid contrast against the verdant hills and brightly coloured blossoms and flowers. The old centre with its ancient buildings, the lido promenade, the pretty gardens and the huge number of shops attract many visitors to its shores.
Funchal offers year round sunshine with no extremes of temperature in beautiful surroundings. In Funchal you can combine culture and history with sun bathing and shopping. Those with mobility restrictions should check that their accommodation is suitable. Remember Funchal is built on the side of a hill which rises to a height of 1200 metres.
A Funchal holiday has very wide appeal having something to offer everyone. The summer sun is kinder to the skin than southern European countries and this appeals to parents with young children. Although sandy beaches are strictly limited, the sea water pools with special children’s sections are a very good substitute.
Funchal is a year round holiday destination with no extremes of temperature. The summers are pleasantly hot with temperatures lying in the mid-twenties and in the winter they are only slightly lower.
Funchal is the five hundred year old capital of Madeira. It is stunning when viewed from the sea as it rises up from the harbour, the white dwellings nestling into the green hills. Everywhere you look there is an abundance of flowers and blossoming shrubs. It is truly spectacular in the spring.
Funchal is full of historic buildings and monuments including the cathedral that was consecrated in 1517. The cobbled streets and squares with their pavement cafes are very welcome on a warm summer’s day.
The Lido Promenade runs around the bay joining the pebbled Praia Formosa beach in the west. The promenade is beautifully lined with shady palms and trees and a wide variety of sub tropical plants and flowers. There are three public sea water swimming pools on the promenade which rather makes up for the lack of sandy beaches. There are also a number of bars, cafes and restaurants where evening refreshments afford a magnificent view of the setting sun.
The waters around Madeira are ideal for surfing and sailing. There are many deep sea fishing trips available from the port.
The Jardin Municipal has many exotic plants from around the world as well as indigenous varieties. With ponds and water features it is a pleasant and shady place to enjoy colourful nature.
Those interested in the history of Madeira will enjoy the Madeira Story Centre, an interactive museum that begins its story fourteen million years ago when Madeira was formed following volcanic activity.
A Funchal holiday offers a wealth of leisure and sporting activities, warm sunshine, wholesome food and a relaxed atmosphere.
Nightlife in Madeira is fairly low key and Funchal is no exception. Although there are many bars and restaurants where visitors can spend a very pleasant evening, late night entertainment is generally limited to the weekends, Friday and Saturday to be precise.
Funchal is a shopaholics dream town with its amazing number of high quality shops. The San Quiteria centre has over eighty retailers as well as entertainment for the family and a large number of restaurants.
As you would expect of an island in the Atlantic, Madeira cuisine relies heavily on fish and there is a large variety from which to choose. Eating out is fairly inexpensive. Have a ‘nikita’ while you are in Madeira. It is a combination of beer, ice-cream and pineapple which, though it may not immediately appeal, is really rather tasty.