Beautiful places to visit in Funchal (Madeira Island – Portugal)

A trip to Madeira is a feast of sensations and emotions that why we prepare a list of beautiful places to visit in Funchal Portugal.

Funchal is the capital of the Madeira Archipelago, located in the Atlantic Ocean about 980 km southwest of Lisbon and approximately 700 km from the West African coast. Check the location with Google Maps. Despite a thousand kilometers separating it from Portugal, it is one of the most popular holiday destinations, nationally and internationally. For all these reasons and more, Funchal is one of the best and most exciting destinations in Portugal. This is one of those cities that can only fairly be described using too many superlatives.

The statue of Cristiano Ronaldo in Madeira Island
The statue of Cristiano Ronaldo in Madeira Island – Image by christophpeters_net from Pixabay

Extraordinary is the smallest of them. In the dream that is a trip to Madeira, everything starts to materialize when you visit Funchal. The first impression is the impressive view of a big city growing up the slope above steep and verdant hills. Like a perfect amphitheater for the Atlantic Ocean. Like a balcony overlooking the sea.

An enviable climate, exotic colors and fragrances, paradisiacal location, more than 500 years of history, rich heritage, stunning gardens, distinctive gastronomy, creative capacity, and world-class events, are attributes of just a few chosen cities. For more travel articles about Portugal check this category and for all articles about Europe check this list. Below you will read about beautiful places to visit in Funchal Madeira Portugal.


1. Funchal Monte cable car

Funchal Monte cable car
Funchal Monte Cable Car – Photo by Alfred_Koop, by Pixaby

From there, head to the emblematic cable car that connects Funchal to Monte. The trip is, in itself, an unmissable experience. “Flying over” the city at a slow pace, in a cabin with a 360º unobstructed view, the view of the city is memorable.

It is a progressive zoom-out that puts the city of Funchal in perspective. Better than a drone. It is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Funchal Madeira Portugal.


2. Monte Palace Tropical Garden

Beautiful places to visit in Funchal
Monte Palace Tropical Garden | Photo by GerdWellner, by pixaby

In 1987, José Berardo bought an abandoned property (70 hectares) in the parish of Monte, at the top of Funchal, and transformed it into a fabulous garden – the Monte Palace Tropical Garden.

During your visit (at least two hours), you can discover the flora and fauna of the four corners of the world, works of art, tiles, two magnificent oriental gardens, a museum, and an old luxury hotel (Monte Palace Hotel), built by the former owner at the beginning of the 20th century (1900).


3. Praia Formosa Funchal Madeira

Beautiful places to visit in Funchal
Praia Formosa Funchal Madeira | Photo by photo.kriznas, by Instagram

Just like the first navigators who arrived on the island, admire the bay of Funchal, seen from the sea. Take a boat trip and enjoy the views of this natural amphitheater full of flowers, trees, gardens and small houses with terracotta roofs.

Contemplate this city nestled in a valley, which opens to the sea as if to say – “Welcome”. There are also several squares around Funchal’s marina. Praia Formosa is with black sand and pebbles, with a fabulous view of Cabo Girão.


4. Nossa Senhora do Monte Church

Nossa Senhora do Monte Church
Nossa Senhora do Monte Church | Photo by _kevin_araujo_, by Instagram

Adão Ferreira, the first man to be born in Madeira, built the chapel in 1470, dedicating the temple to Nossa Senhora da Encarnação. The plaque on the current temple dates from the 18th century. Months after being erected, it was damaged by an earthquake. The church was rebuilt in the 19th century. Emperor Charles I of Austria who died in the city rests in the church. The church is just 500 meters from the Monte Palace Madeira botanical garden.


5. Funchal Cathedral

Funchal Cathedral
Funchal Cathedral | Photo by stefaniazerafa5, by Instagram

In the center there are many tourist attractions, and in Largo de Dom Manuel I we find the Cathedral of Funchal. Don’t just look at the exterior, you must visit the interior and see the magnificent wooden ceiling, magnificently well preserved. Entry is free.

At the time of the Discoveries, the see was the largest diocese in the world: S. Tomé and Príncipe (Africa), Goa (India), and S. Salvador (Brazil) were under its leadership. It is one of the best tourist attraction of Funchal Portugal.


6. CR7 Museum in Funchal

Beautiful places to visit in Funchal
CR7 Museum in Funchal | Photo by oliviiamariaa, by Instagram

Close to Avenida do Mar, Funchal’s marina stands the Statue of Cristiano Ronaldo and the CR7 museum dedicated to Portuguese footballers. It includes emblematic photographs and videos of his career, and waxworks of Ronaldo who was born in the city, in the small Pearl of the Atlantic known as Madeira. When you visit, you will see all the youth and professional trophies won by Ronaldo at Real Madrid, Manchester United, and Juventus.


7. Funchal Historic Center

Funchal Historic Center
Funchal Historic Center | Photo by domeckopol, by Pixaby

The historic center still has old buildings and narrow streets, all taken by cool restaurants and too expensive for backpackers’ pockets. The coolest thing about this area is the doors. Yes, the doors. In 2010 there was a project called arte portas abertas, which transformed the doors of the historic center into an art gallery open to the public. Each one very different from the other. It’s worth going around there.


8. Wood Basket Carts

Wood Basket Carts
Wood Basket Carts | Photo by nunoamado81, by Instagram

It is precisely from the front of the sanctuary that the traditional Carros de Cesto da Madeira depart, the most radical way of descending the steep slopes of Monte. Even if you don’t want to feel the adrenaline and experience the strong emotions of the descent firsthand, it is well worth taking the Carros de Cesto route on foot to witness, live, the art of driving the “paths” and the dizzying speed they reach.


9. Funchal Marina

Funchal Marina
Funchal Marina | Photo by monikawl999, by Pixaby

On pleasant afternoons in Funchal, a stroll along the wide promenades by the sea is an irresistible invitation. Cross the Ribeira de Santa Luzia through Praça da Autonomia, the beginning of Avenida do Mar.

Long Portuguese pavement walkways between landscaped green spaces lead to Funchal Marina, where most excursions and tours depart for cetacean and whale watching on the high seas or along the lush coastline.


10. Funchal Town Square

Beautiful places to visit in Funchal
Town Square | Photo by funchalcity, by Instagram

Head to the monumental Praça do Município. Depending on your interests, you can choose between three monuments to visit. The Town Hall presides over the square to the east and, inside, there are majestic halls and a pleasant courtyard to wander around. Pluck up your courage and climb the tower for panoramic views over the historic center of Funchal.

The historical importance of the Colégio dos Jesuítas makes it one of the most emblematic monuments in Funchal and is currently the seat of the University of Madeira. Facing the square is the distinctive Church of São João Evangelista, in Mannerist style, also known as Igreja do Colégio. Do not resist entering. The interior is enough to convert any non-believer.


Beautiful places to visit in Funchal Madeira, Portugal

  • Funchal Monte cable car
  • Monte Palace Tropical Garden
  • Praia Formosa
  • Nossa Senhora do Monte Church
  • Funchal Cathedral
  • CR7 Museum
  • Funchal Historic Center
  • Wood Basket Carts
  • Funchal Marina
  • Town Square