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Funchal

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Travel Guide Europe Portugal Madeira Funchal

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Introduction

Funchal

Funchal

© All Rights Reserved Claire.Miller

Funchal is the capital of the autonomous region of Madeira that is part Portugal. It is the base of the majority of the many visitors to Madeira and cruise ships frequently call at the rate of 2 or 3 per day. The population actually living in Funchal is a little over 100,000. The city is situated in a bay to the east of Madeira's south coast.

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Neighbourhoods

Some guidebooks split the city into three parts, giving scarcely a mention to the northern part, where most of the population live!
The three are:

  • West - an area dominated by hotels, many of which are pretty opulent.
  • Central - where the town hall, the cathedral and a number of sights of interest to visitors can be located.
  • East - where the market, the old fort and a number of cheap but interesting restaurants can be found.

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Sights and Activities

  • Jardins Do Palheiro (Quinta do Palheiro Ferreiro Park), Sao Goncalo, Palheiro (about 5 kilometres from downtown), ☎ +351 291 793 044. Mon - Fri from 9:00h - 16:30h - The Quinta do Palheiro Ferreiro Park is a typical example of a manor in British colonial style. While the manor itself is private and can't be visited, you can enjoy the public park. On first sight it looks like an English park, old Platanes form a long alley from the main gate to the gardens. But when you look closer you see all the tropical plants that build the basis, completed by hundreds of plants from al over the world. So around the year there ar always some plants blooming. The main part of the park is formed by several gardens, e.g. a French Garden, a Sunken Garden, the Ladies Garden, a Rose Garden and some more. On the opposite of the main gate is a Tea House, which is connected to the golf course. The serve some good tea, cakes, pastries, snacks and small lunches. The way back to the main gate is formed by the Camellia Avenue, a flourish firework between end October and March. The park is situated on 500 metres altitude. Between 9:00-11:30am the park is often crowded by bus tourists, choose the afternoon for a more laid-back visit. Entrance fee €10,50 Public busses frequently connect Funchal with the park: line 36 or, if you have strong nerves, line 37 for a more spectacular ride.
  • Madeira Botanical Gardens (Jardins Botânicos da Madeira), Caminho Meio Quinta do Bom Sucesso (about 3 kilometres from downtown) - The more than 2,000 plants of these hillside gardens, plus the view of Funchal make this one of the major attractions of the whole island. The gardens also feature a collection of parakeets and parrots.
  • Market - Mercado Dos Lavradores, Rua Brigadeiro Oudinot, Down Town (Zona Velha). Mon - Thu 7 - 16 h, Fri 7 - 20 h, Sat 7 - 15h, closed on Sundays and holidays. The historic building with an open patio offers on two levels the fresh fruits and vegetables from all over the island. On lower level is also a separate hall for the fish vendors selling the fresh caught fishes to everybody. Eat and buy local fruits like the small Madeiran mangos, bananas, philodendres and plenty kinds of maracujas. Taste the offers from vendors. But be careful, they sometimes try to rip you off and selling you over-ripe fruits or some heavy mangos for the (expensive) price of light maracujas. There are also some nice pastelarias and coffee bars in and around the building. Often crowded while rain and when large cruise ships are on the pier.
  • Monte Palace Hotel Gardens - The gardens of this defunct hotel include a Chinese garden, artwork, a small lake, and a variety of flora and fauna.
  • Santa Clara Convent (Convento da Santa Clara), Calçada de Santa Clara 15 - Dating from the end of the 15th century, this convent, now a national monument, was founded by João Gonçalves da Câmara. The azulejo tiles are especially notable.
  • São Lourenço Palace (Palácio de São Lourenço), Avenida Zarco - Half fortress and half palace, this construction is a good example of mannerist architecture. Highlights include the Noble Salon (Salão Nobre), the Green Room (Sala Verde), the Audience Hall (Sala de Audiências), and the gardens.
  • Sé Cathedral - The central point in Funchal, and its most-visited monument. Commissioned by the king Dom Manuel I through Portuguese explorer Gil Eanes, the cathedral was built between 1493 and 1517. The ceiling is made from local wood.
  • Colegio Church (Igreja de Sao Joao Evangelista), Rua dos Ferreiros, 105 - This Jesuit temple, completed in 1647, is a striking building with a stunning interior. Today it is part of Madeira University.
  • IBTAM Museum (Núcleo Museológico do IBTAM), Rua do Visconde de Anadia - Museum of the Institute of Embroidery, Tapestry and Craftsmanship of Madeira. The exhibits give some idea of the tradition of embroidery in the island in the past centuries.
  • São Tiago Fort - Built in 1614 to defend the city from pirate attack, the fort houses today the small Contemporary Art museum

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Weather

Summers last from May to September with daytime temperatures averaging between 22 °C and 24 °C, nights around 19 °C. Winters last from December to April with days of around 19 °C and nights averaging 14 °C. The winter months are the wettest months, with from October to March around 80 mm of rain andd stormy and cloudy conditions may last for a few days sometimes. That said, there are fine periods with settled weather during winter as well. From May until September it is usually dry.

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg Max19.1 °C19.1 °C19.5 °C19.6 °C20.9 °C22.3 °C24.3 °C25.6 °C25.7 °C24.2 °C22 °C20 °C
Avg Min13.1 °C12.8 °C13 °C13.4 °C14.6 °C16.5 °C18 °C18.9 °C18.9 °C17.6 °C15.6 °C13.9 °C
Rainfall102.7 mm87.2 mm63.6 mm38.9 mm18.9 mm11.9 mm2.5 mm3.1 mm36.7 mm75 mm100.8 mm99.9 mm
Rain Days12111085312691113

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Getting There

By Plane

Madeira Airport (airport code: FNC) receives international flights. About 20 airlines have flights to and from Funchal, mainly to Portugal, Spain and most of the countries in the west and north of Europe. It also receives flights from the Azores. SATA Air Acores has flights between Funchal and Porto Santo.

By Car

Funchal is served by highway ER101 which runs along the coast. An easy way to get to the city centre by car is to take exit 11 and head downhill towards Funchal. Continue on this road (ER103) until you pass under an overpass. Immediately on your right is a large parking garage (closed on Sundays). From here it is only a few minutes walk to Mercado Dos Lavradores / Sé Cathedral.

By Boat

Naviera Armas runs weekly services between Portimao in mainland Portugal and on to Tenerife, with connections to other Canary Islands, like Gran Canaria and Lanzarote.

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Getting Around

The city centre is small enough to explore on foot. Orange city buses can take you around and up to Monte (lines 20, 21). Buy a giro card from the office for €2.20, it is already pre-loaded with two journeys and can be topped up with additional journeys for €1.50 a piece. At the bus driver you pay €1.90 for a ride. Most city buses start from the waterfront area. If you are lucky you can acquire a bus timetable for the local and regional buses starting in Funchal at the tourist information. Timetables and a map are also available.

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Eat

Funchal has an abundance of good, if not necessarily cheap, eating places. Most places serve traditional Madeiran and Portuguese food, which is well-prepared and well-tasting, but not terribly exciting. One of the most typical dishes and served almost everywhere, is espada com banana, scabbard fish with banana. It is usually served with fresh salad and potatoes. A bit more expensive, bacalhau (dried, salted codfish) is served in many restaurants. One of the more common, and best, varieties is "bacalhau com natas", codfish in cream sauce.

  • Restaurante Arsénio's - Rua de Santa Maria 169 Funchal. A very nice restaurant in the historic part of the capital, Funchal, with live music and traditional Portuguese dishes but it is a little bit pricey. It is situated in the central street of the old town of Funchal, where the most famous restaurants of the capital are situated and you can find multilingual friendly service.
  • O Avo - Rua da Praia, 49, Funchal. This small bar restaurant is situated in a small street in the heart of Funchal. There is a limited choice of delicious Portuguese dishes accompanied with beer in a very good price. The friendly owner of O Avo welcomes you in his place with a shot of beer where you can find many locals having their lunch.

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Drink

Not the party capital of the world: most bars are very quiet, except during a football match.

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Sleep

During low season (winter) prices may drop significantly, e.g., from €50 to 35. Time around Christmas is high-season.

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
Aparthotel ImperatrizRua Imperatriz D. Amélia 72Hotel-
Dorisol EstreliciaRua da Casa BrancaHotel-
Dorisol FlorasolEstrada Monumental, 306Hotel-
Estalagem Quintinha Sao JoaoRua da Levada de Sao Joao no 4Hotel-
Hospedaria Pôr do SolCalçada da Cabouqueira nº48Guesthouse86
Quinta da Bela VistaCaminho Avista Navios 4Hotel-
Quinta Jardins do LagoRua Dr.Joao lemos Gomes No29,Funchal,Madeira IslandHotel-
Residencial AmericanaLargo do Chafariz 20Guesthouse-
Residencial FunchalRua do Hospital Velho nº 19 AGuesthouse87
Residencial MelbaAzinhaga da Casa Branca Nª10Hotel84
Residencial Monte VerdeAzinhaga da Casa Branca nº 8Guesthouse82
Residencial ParqueCampo da Barca, 15Guesthouse-
Residencial Vila CamachoBeco Da Amoreira 26Guesthouse-
Residencial Vila LusitaniaRua Fundação Cecília Zino 26Guesthouse-
Residencial ZarcoRua da Alfândega, 113Hostel80
The Vine, a divine hotelRua dos Aranhas - 27 AHotel-
Residencial ChafarizRua Estanco Velho 3 E 5Guesthouse-
Hotel Quinta do SolRua Dr Pita, No 6Hotel46
Hotel Apartamento da SéRua do Sabão 53Hotel84
Madeira Regency PalaceEstrada Monumental Nr. 275 Ilha da MadeiraHotel-
Residencial MirasolRua Bela de São Tiago 67Guesthouse-
Royal SavoyRua Carvalho AraujoHotel-
Fourviews MonumentalEstrada Monumental, 284Hotel-
Queimada de BaixoRua Da Queimada De Baixo, 46Guesthouse-
Alto LidoEstrada Monumental, 316Hotel-
Hotel Bahi­a AzulRua Quinta CalasaoHOTEL-
Pedra Sina ResidenceRua Pedra Sina No. 68Hostel-
Funchal Residential AreaTravessa de Cabrestante, Bloco C, 5ºAOAPARTMENT-
Rooms for Rent - Funchal - Madeira IslandMoradias do Pico, Rua Dr. António Aragão, SantoGUESTHOUSE-
Residencial ZarcoRua da Alfândega, 113HOSTEL-
Residencial FunchalRua do Hospital Velho n 19 AGUESTHOUSE-
Residencial Vila CamachoBeco Da Amoreira 26GUESTHOUSE-
Residencial MonacoRua das Hortas n 14 / 14AGUESTHOUSE-
Residencial Vila LusitaniaRua Fundação Cecília Zino 26GUESTHOUSE-
Residencial MelbaAzinhaga da Casa Branca Nª10HOTEL-
Aparthotel ImperatrizRua Imperatriz D. Amlia 72HOTEL-
Quinta Jardins do LagoRua Dr.Joao lemos Gomes No29,Funchal,Madeira IslandHOTEL-
Estalagem Quintinha Sao JoaoRua da Levada de Sao Joao no 4HOTEL-
Hotel Apartamento da SéRua do Sabão no 53HOTEL-

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Keep Connected

Internet

Wifi is common in many places in Portugal, including hotels, restaurants and coffee bars. Free wifi along the Algarve coast is available in many places. Internet cafés can still be found in most larger cities and tourist areas though.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

Portugal's international telephone code is 351. The general emergency number is 112.

There are three mobile telephone operators in Portugal: TMN, NOS and Vodafone.

Each provider offers a variety of prepaid (Pré-Pagos) and contract (pós-pagos) SIM cards, both of which are available to foreigners. It generally means much lower rates for calls and especially internet. Be sure to switch off data roaming if you don't buy a local SIM card, as prices for internet are very high.

Post

CTT is the national postal service of Portugal. It has relatively fast and reliable services and it takes several days to over a week for your post to arrive within other European countries, more so if you send post to North America or Australia. Post offices (correios) have varying opening hours, but in general post offices are open on weekdays from 08:30am-6:00pm and on Saturday mornings until 12:30. More information about offices, costs and other details can be found at the CTT website. It's a relatively efficient but also relatively slow postal service. If you want to send packages overseas, you'd better use international companies like FedEx, DHL, TNT or UPS, as they are competitively priced, fast and very reliable.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 32.644798
  • Longitude: -16.90967

Accommodation in Funchal

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This is version 19. Last edited at 11:34 on May 16, 17 by Utrecht. 9 articles link to this page.

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