Funchal’s attractive tree-lined streets crisscross lush green hillsides dotted with luxuriant plants and red-roofed whitewashed villas offering a perfect romantic environment for honeymon couples.
Explore narrow winding alleyways lined with 15th and 16th century buildings in the historical heart of the Old Town. Cool off at one of the many seafront lidos (man-made swimming areas) and choose from a range of accommodation options for a relaxing honeymoon at any time of year.
At the stone-floored 15th century Sé (cathedal), examine Gothic arches, Baroque altars, stained-glass windows and an exquisite Moorish carved cedar ceiling. See a superb display of antique Portuguese silver, rare Indo-Portuguese cabinets and unique chests native to Madeira at the Museu da Quinta das Cruzes, the former home of the man who discovered Madeira in 1419, João Gonçalves Zarco.
Stroll around the surrounding gardens filled with colourful orchids. Admire entire walls covered with glazed tiles that date from the 17th and 18th century at the Santa Clara Convent and the Sao Pedro Church and visit the iron tomb of the last of the Habsburgs, Emperor Charles (who died of pneumonia at Madeira in 1922), at the Church of Nossa Senhora do Monte.
Plant lovers should visit the manicured lawns at Palherio Gardens, the stunning orchid jungle at Jardim Orquídea and the Quinta do Bom Sucesso Botanical Gardens, home to more than 2000 exotic plants.
For something different, try Madeira’s unique toboggan rides: from the heights of Monte (314m), two- and three-passenger toboggans (resembling large wicker baskets sitting upon wooden runners) careen for 20 minutes down slippery-smooth cobblestones, guided by trained drivers who make sure they don’t go too fast!
Alternatively, ride the cable car to and from the summit and enjoy the panoramic vistas at a slower pace.
The rocky coastline of Funchal has only one black-sand beach. However, the city has several well-organised lidos – man-made swimming areas with a variety of facilities for adults and children. The lidos also offer direct access to the sea.
Alternatively, all the major hotels offer swimming pools with creature comforts just a short stroll away.
The best bathing areas in and around Funchal, include …
Choose from two swimming pools at this man-made lido placed just minutes away from the capital, Funchal, on the south coast.
Facilities include parasols and sun loungers for hire, toilets, showers, lifeguards, a first aid centre, kindergarten, changing rooms with lockers and a children’s pool with a sandy play area.
A cliff-face promenade leads to a choice of nearby cafés, bars, restaurants and several hotels with spectacular views overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
This seafront lido is located near the São Tiago Fortress in the old section of the city.
Facilities include parasols and sun loungers for hire, toilets, showers, lifeguards, a first aid centre, a kindergarten, changing rooms with lockers and a children’s pool with play area nearby.
Ladders provide access to the sea and a seaside promenade links the lido to a choice of bars, restaurants and hotels.
Unwind around two large seawater pools that are refreshed daily; one pool is designated for adults and the other for children.
This seafront lido is located in the west of the city near a huge range of cafés, bars, restaurants and hotels.
Facilities include parasols and sun loungers for hire, toilets, showers, lifeguards, a first aid centre, changing rooms with lockers, children’s play areas and a diving centre.
Several staircases descend into the clean waters of the sea. A seafront promenade links the Lido with various restaurants, hotels and a nearby park.
Pick a spot to sunbathe on this 1.2km-long black sand, stone and pebble beach that nestles beneath lava cliffs overlooking Pestana Bay, just 10 minutes drive from Funchal city centre.
Facilities include parasols and sun loungers for hire, toilets, showers, lifeguards, a first aid centre, a kindergarten and changing rooms with lockers. Water sports include wind and kite surfing.
A seafront promenade leads to a selection of snack bars, restaurants and nearby hotels including the Hotel Regency Palace.
This small, 150m-long black-sand beach offers swimming in clean water close to a choice of restaurants and bars, just 15 minutes drive from Funchal city centre on the south coast.
Facilities include parasols and sun loungers for hire, toilets, showers and lifeguards. Go swimming or join the locals in beach volleyball or soccer.
Funchal offers a huge range of honeymoon accommodation options including the elegant Choupana Hills Resort & Spa, a luxurious spa retreat set in a landscaped garden on a mountain slope overlooking the city, the Botanical Gardens and the Atlantic Ocean.
Or try the Casa Velha do Palheiro, an early-19th century former hunting lodge now transformed into a charming 5-star hotel that adjoins the par-71 championship Palheiro golf course on the outskirts of Funchal.
In town, choose from a range of 5-star hotels including: the hilltop Quinta das Vistas, with panoramic mountain and sea vistas; the luxurious Cliff Bay hotel, perched on a cliff face overlooking Funchal Bay; and Reid’s Palace, founded in 1891 and legendary for its coastal views and elegant, terraced gardens of gardenias, hydrangeas, ferns and white yuccas.
The best time to visit Funchal is during the summer season from July through September, when the weather is warm and sunny, and rainfall is low.
However, given the very mild climate, Funchal can be visited year-round. Lovers of flower and nature may prefer spring.
Funchal has a mild climate with a small temperature range.
The northern side of Madeira is rainier and windier than the southern one, due to the prevailing north-east trade winds, which blow throughout the year.
The capital, Funchal, being on the southern side of Madeira, is quite sheltered from the wind. However, as the city climbs to an altitude of 800 meters (2,600 ft), the higher neighbourhoods are cooler than those below.
For more climate info: Funchal Weather Guide
Funchal – the largest city and capital of Portugal's Autonomous Region of Madeira – is located in the north Atlantic Ocean, about 400km (250mi) north of Tenerife, Canary Islands, around 850km (528mi) southwest of Portugal, and 565km (351mi) west of the African coastline.
The island archipelago includes Madeira, Porto Santo, the Desertas, and the Savage Islands.
The most convenient route to Funchal is by air to Madeira International Airport Cristiano Ronaldo (FNC), commonly known as Madeira Airport or Funchal Airport, located in Santa Cruz about 13km (8mi) east-northeast of the capital, Funchal.
Funchal is also a favourite stopover of cruise liners. A ferry runs from Porto Santo to Funchal, taking 10 hours, daily.
Information on how to get to Funchal…
Latest update: Funchal: 6 January, 2023
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