Funchal is the capital and main city of the autonomous region of Madeira, on the island of Madeira, situated in the south between Santa Cruz and Camara de Lobos cities.
The city's name comes from the abundance of fennel (funcho) found on the island. It was an important shipping center during the 15th-17th centuries. It is one of the most beautiful cities in Portugal.
Funchal Airport (IATA: FNC) is in nearby Santa Cruz, sometimes known as Madeira international/Santa Catarina/Funchal. Once famous for its hair-raisingly short runway ending at a cliff over the Atlantic Ocean, the airport has been expanded to handle all sizes of aircraft. There are several daily flights from most major cities in Portugal (Lisbon, Porto). Flight time from Lisbon is 1 1/2 hours. Also, there are good connections from London (mostly Gatwick)(LGW), with TAP/ Air Portugal(TP) and British Airways(BA); its flying time is estimated at 3 1/2 hours.
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.
From and to the airport you can take the Aerobus, which runs about 10-14 times a day and stops at all major hotels. Tickets can be purchased at the driver (pay by cash), one-way ticket will cost 5 euro (return 8 euro). Schedule . It takes about 30 minutes to get the center of Funchal.
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 preloaded 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 busses starting in Funchal at the tourist information. Timetables and a map are also available .
Jardins Do Palheiro: The Sunken Garden
- Jardins Do Palheiro (Quinta do Palheiro Ferreiro Park), Sao Goncalo, Palheiro (about 5km 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 500m altitude. Between 9 - 11:30 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 nervs, line 37 for a more spectacular ride. Palheiro Gardens
- Madeira Botanical Gardens (Jardins Botânicos da Madeira), Caminho Meio Quinta do Bom Sucesso (about 3km from downtown). The more than 2000 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. edit
- 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 seperate 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 carefull, 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 buliding. Often crowded while rain and when large cruise ships are on the pier. edit
Mercado dos Lavradores: In the patio
- 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. edit
- 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. edit
- 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. edit
- 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. edit
- 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. edit
Interior of Colegio Church
Visit the fair/market; old port; jardim; casino. Enjoy Birdwatching.
- Palheiro Golf Course, Rua do Balacal 29, . edit
- Funchal Cable Car (Teleférico do Funchal), Almirante Reis, . 09:30-17:45. View the city from above in a gondola. The upper station is at Monte, where you can visit the Monte Palace gardens and the church at Monte. Another cable car goes down from this point to the Botanical Gardens. Combination tickets for the ride and attractions are available. edit
- Madeira Paragliding Adventures (0 - 4200 Ft), Madeira Mountains, . 10:00 - 20:00. Tandem Paragliding flights in Madeira Island! Breathtaking sceneries, brutal landscapes and relaxing moments, sharing the air with eagles and only the sound, of silence! Contact us to schedule and plan your Flight. And to get Amazing, Unique and Exclusive Air Madeira Images. If You want, we can make you a pack, including transportation, Flight and Video for an Unbelievable value edit
Flowers & fruit (check with the airline/ship if they can be brought abroad).
The island is world-famous for its wines. Several stores offer varying selections. Consult Wikipedia  and other sites for details.
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.
- Bar Beer Garden, Estrada Monumental, Arieiro. Recommended dish is Picado (beef steak served with chips). The normal size (10 euros) should be enough for 2 persons. The bigger size (13 euros) could serve 3 - 4 persons.
- Café Do Museu - Bar and Restaurant, Praca do Munícipio, downtown, . It is located in a former access balcony of the Sacred Museum. They serve sandwiches, steaks and salads in a modern ambient. While there are Portuguese and tourists for dinner, the bar is crowded at the later evening by young locals. Open Mon - Sat, 10:00 - 02:00 (am)
- O Castelo Dos Hamburguers, Rua da Carreira, 306, Tel: . This place sells only 3 types of prego-style hamburgers: normal, special and super. Also try their smoothies. 
- Indian House, Rua da Carreira 144, Funchal. Situated at the center, close to the Dolce Vita mall. A variety of vegetarian food. Try the Thali or any of the other combo meals. Good prices. Open Mon - Sat, 10:30 - 22:30.
- A Bica, Rua do Hospital Velho (On the street above the farmer's market), ☎ 291 221 346. 9 - 23h. One of the best price/quality restaurants in Funchal city. The underground aspect adds to the charm of the place. Great variety of local meat/fish dishes, a recomendation for the traditional "espada com banana". 8.5€. edit
- Doca do Cavacas, Estrada Monumental, Ponta de Cruz, Tel: . Fish restaurant.
- Japanese Restaurant, 2nd floor, Monumental Lido Shopping, Lido. Buffet lunch for 10 euros.
- Olives - Bar & Restaurant, Rua da Queimada de Cima 47, , Small Restaurant, centrally located in a side road close to the Sé Cathedrale. Small menu with 10 fish and 10 various meat dishes from 10 - 15 EUR. portugese influenced european kitchen. Excellent housewine and other good wines. Nice interieur, friendly staff. Mon - Sat 10 - 24h
- Xôpana Restaurant, Choupana Hills Resort and Spa, Tel: (+351) 291 20 6020. Award winning restaurant at the Choupana Hills Resort, with a magnificent view over Funchal and world-class food and wine.
- Les Faunes, Estrada Monumental 139, In Reid's Palace Hotel, Tel: 291/71-71-71. Top quality French restaurant.
- Il Basilico, Rua de Leichlingen 7, ☎ +351 291 708 708 (email@example.com), . Typical Tuscan cuisine is simply delicious. .. At the Il Basilico restaurant, with its ample terrace, you can taste some of these specialities . .. edit
- Il Gallo D'oro, The Cliff Bay Hotel Estrada Monumental, 147, ☎ +351 291 707 700, . Everyday, from 08.00 to 10.30 and 19.00 to 22.00. First Michelin Star Restaurant on the island of Madeira • Mediterranean gourmet cuisine • a jacket and tie required for gentlemen • reservation recommended edit
Not the party capital of the world. Most of bars are very quiet. No decent Irish bars. Some think the best bar is Glorias Latino.
- Bar Amazónia, Rua de São Filipe 19. A pleasant little bar. edit
- Café do Teatro, Avenida Arriaga Ed. Teatro Municipal Baltazar Dias. edit
- Chameleon Disco-Bar, Rua Imperatriz D. Amelia Nº119 (in front of the Carlton). Café and bar with a tropical atmosphere. Karaoke on Mondays and Tuesdays, live music on Thursdays, and ladies' night on Sunday. edit
- FX Bar, Largo das Fontes 39. edit
- Madeira Casino, . The only casino on the island. Designed by Oscar Niemeyer. edit
- Vespas, Avenida Sá Carneiro 60. Dance club very popular with young people. edit
During low season (winter) prices may drop significantly, e.g., from 50€ to 35€. Time around Christmas is high-season as is Spring with carnival and the flower festival.
- Phil's Haven Hostel Nice Hostel about 2km from centre of town. Friendly and helpful owner. Free WiFi, kitchen and breakfast. Dorm Beds from 10€ and Private Rooms from 20€ available. http://www.phils-haven.com/ or +351 961 099 707.
- Apartamentos Sao Paulo and Apartamentos Alegria . Owned by the Mendonza family. Has 2 apartment blocks. Located in the Old Town, close to the English Church & Rua da Carreira. Cheaper rates for weekly stays.
- Residencial Melba (Melba Pension), Azinhaga da Casa Branca 8. Lies in Western Funchal. 12 rooms.
- Quinta Perestrello Heritage House, Rua Drº Pita nº 3, . A small hotel, One adult 33€ per night and breakfast (special offer low season), 37 double rooms, located near Reid's Palace. 24 hour reception.
- Hotel Monte Carlo, Calçada da Saude Nr. 10. Beautiful, old hotel with a great view over the city of Funchal. Directly near the Convent St. Clara. Reasonable priced and not directly in a desiganted tourist district. Lots of good and affordable restaurants nearby.
- Residencial Zarco, Rua da Alfândega 113, Largo dos Varadouros, 9000-059 Funchal, ☎ +351 291 223 716, . Very nice cheap little hotel with family feeling and excellent location. Prices from 24€ single room and 30€ double/twin room. edit
- Choupana Hills Resort, Travessa do Largo da Choupana, , . One of the top hotels in Madeira just outside Funchal.
- Porto Santa Maria, Avenida do Mar e das Comunidades Madeirenses, 50, ☎ +351 291 206700, . Porto Santo Maria lies at the water's edge in the very heart of Funchal's old centre.. A lovely 4 star hotel offering 146 rooms, restaurant, bars with terrace, direct access to the promenade, outdoor pool, indoor pool, SPA, gym, parking all in the heart of the city. edit
- Hotel Porto Mare, Rua Simplício Passos Gouveia, 21, ☎ +351 291 703700, . The 4 star Porto Mare hotel occupies the central wing of the Vila Porto Mare resort and benefits from the use of all its facilities. edit
- Suite Hotel Eden Mar, Rua do Gorgulho, 2, ☎ +351 291 709700, . The 4 star Suite Hotel Eden Mar is the place to put yourself in tune with nature and enjoy your time in the exuberance of the surroundings. Feel yourself merging with the Atlantic Ocean and experience the lusciousness of the tropical gardens. edit
- The Residence, Rua de Leichlingen, 7, ☎ +351 291 708700, . The 4 star The Residence is occupying the west wing of the Vila Porto Mare resort, The Residence enjoys the use of all its facilities and a real sense of community. Four restaurants, five bars, five pools, SPA,sports and children's facilities. edit
Funchal is usually a very safe city. However, as in any other places you go, common sense is required.
Probably the unsafest place to go in Funchal is Zona Velha (near the cable car) at night, because it usually gets very crowded because of the nightlife.
Of course crowded places don't mean you'll get robbed, but be careful as sometimes there are pickpockets there.
Beware the pickpockets there and don't go to abandoned dark alleys.
Porto Santo - A wonderful quiet beach community, Porto Santo is a small island on the North-East of Madeira can be reached by either boat or plane. It is well worth a visit for it's nice small restaurants, it's long beach, and the Christopher Columbus house.
- Internet Access - In Funchal there exists a public free wifi sponsored by the Madeiran government. You'll find a 2m tall white and blue board on several places and squares telling you that wifi is available here. Above that, some bars and cafés offer internet access too. Some spots are here: Praca do Municipio, Avenida Arriaga (2 x around the Golden Gate Café and the Cathedrale), Praca de Colombo and 3 or 4 more places
- Post Office - You barely get stamps at the vendors selling postcards. A post office (CTT Correios) is located near the Cathedrale in the Avenida Zarco and the Rua Calouste Gulbekian near the Casino. Postcards to EU countries are 0,68€ (Oct 2010)