Things to do in Funchal

About Funchal

Visitors to Funchal should not miss the scenic Monte Cable Car ride, the historic Sé Cathedral, and Monte Palace Tropical Garden. The bustling Mercado dos Lavradores and the picturesque Santa Catarina Park are also quintessential stops on any Funchal itinerary.
Kids will love visiting the Madeira Theme Park, joining a dolphin and whale watching tour, and exploring the interactive Madeira Story Centre. The city parks and gardens, like the Santa Catarina Park, also offer great play areas for children.
Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy activities such as hiking the Levada walks, taking a catamaran tour to spot dolphins and whales, or paragliding off Funchal's cliffs for spectacular aerial views of the town and ocean.
Indoor pursuits include wine tasting at Blandy's Wine Lodge, exploring the Sacred Art Museum, and experiencing the CR7 Museum. Each offers a unique insight into the cultural and historical fabric of Funchal.
Popular tours in Funchal include guided walks through the historic Old Town, food and wine tasting tours, and the lavish gardens of Monte Palace. Out at sea, catamaran cruises offer a chance to experience Funchal from the water.
Among the most visited museums are the CR7 Museum, dedicating to soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo, the Madeira Story Centre, and the Quinta das Cruzes Museum. Each provides an immersive educational experience reflective of Funchal's heritage.
For rainy days, consider indoor activities like touring Blandy's Wine Lodge, exploring the city’s rich collection of museums like the Casa-Museu Frederico de Freitas or engaging with hands-on exhibits at the Madeira Story Centre.
Short tours of 1 hour or less include a visit to the Funchal Cathedral, a tasting experience at a local wine cellar, or a guided exploration of the colorful and historical Rua de Santa Maria with its painted doors project.

Best Things to Do In Funchal

Embark on an unforgettable journey through the enchanting city of Funchal, Madeira's gem.

Funchal: Monte Palace Tropical Garden

What is it?
An exquisite garden with an extensive collection of tropical plants and an art museum.
Why you should go?
Perched atop Monte, the Monte Palace Tropical Garden is a verdant paradise boasting lush landscapes with an astonishing variety of flora. Couples and families alike can wander through themed gardens, crossing Japanese-style red bridges, and spotting swans in the lakes. The garden's art museum adds cultural depth, presenting African sculptures and precious gemstones. It's a serene escape where the best of nature and art converge for a delightful sensory experience.

Funchal: Palace of São Lourenço

What is it?
A historic fortress turned into a palatial residence for the island's governors.
Why you should go?
Palace of São Lourenço offers a glimpse into Funchal's historical governance and military significance. Accessible via guided tour, visitors can appreciate the baroque architecture and the handsome fortifications. Inside, discover period furniture and historical artifacts that paint a rich picture of Madeiran bygone eras. Its strategic location also commands fantastic views of the marina, adding another layer of charm to this cultural attraction.

Funchal: Municipal Garden

What is it?
A centrally located park offering a peaceful retreat with exotic plants and shaded benches.
Why you should go?
The Municipal Garden is Funchal's green lung, a nature sanctuary that provides locals and tourists a respite from the urban bustle. With carefully tended flowerbeds, mighty ancient trees, and a small pond, it's the perfect spot for leisure walks, bird watching, or a leisurely break. Often, the garden hosts small concerts and cultural events, adding a dash of local entertainment to its tranquil ambiance.

Funchal: Farmers' Market (Mercado dos Lavradores)

What is it?
A lively market where local vendors sell fresh produce, flowers, and crafts.
Why you should go?
Nestled in the heart of the city, the Farmers' Market offers an authentic slice of Madeiran life. Visitors can mingle with residents, sample exotic fruits like the maracujá, or purchase local specialties such as Madeira honey cake. The market's beautiful 1930s art deco architecture, brimming with azulejos (hand-painted tiles), makes shopping a truly picturesque experience. It's a must-visit for anyone seeking the pulse of Funchal.

Funchal: Santa Catarina Park

What is it?
A beautiful park showcasing flowerbeds, a lake with ducks, and sweeping sea views.
Why you should go?
Santa Catarina Park is an urban oasis directly facing the sea. Visitors here are treated to immaculate gardens, delightful walking paths, and panoramic vistas of the harbor and cruise ships. The tranquil lake, home to ducks and swans, is adjacent to a small café, offering refreshments in serene surroundings. Picturesque and peaceful, Santa Catarina Park is a favorite among families and couples alike year-round.

Funchal: Madeira Story Centre

What is it?
A museum detailing Madeira's history from its volcanic origins to present day.
Why you should go?
At Madeira Story Centre, visitors can engage with interactive displays that bring to life the rich tapestry of the island's history. This attraction is perfect for those who wish to understand the natural, cultural, and social evolution of Madeira. Themed areas and multimedia exhibits provide a captivating narrative ideal for history aficionados and curious minds looking to delve deeper into Funchal's past and the archipelago's unique heritage.

Funchal: Quinta da Vigia

What is it?
A picturesque cliffside green space offering panoramic views of Funchal's coastline.
Why you should go?
Quinta da Vigia is a haven for nature lovers and those seeking tranquility. With lush vegetation and awe-inspiring views, it's a choice location for picnics, leisurely walks, or simply taking in the splendid panorama. This serene spot allows visitors to step away from the bustling city centre and immerse in the natural beauty, making it a must-see for any traveler to Funchal.

Funchal: Funchal Cathedral

What is it?
A 15th-century cathedral known for its mix of Gothic, Romanesque, and Moorish architectural styles.
Why you should go?
Stepping into Funchal Cathedral, visitors are greeted by an atmosphere steeped in history and spirituality. Admire the intricate carved cedar wood ceiling, the stunning altarpiece, and the artistic murals. This ideal starting point for a cultural exploration into Madeira's past is equally significant for its historical value as it is for its architectural beauty, resonating with those seeking both historical insight and architectural appreciation.

Funchal: City Cable Car

What is it?
An aerial gondola that offers a scenic transport from Funchal's centre to the Monte area.
Why you should go?
Funchal's cable car journey is an experience that combines adventure with unparalleled views of the city, the mountainous terrain, and the deep blue sea. This attraction is ideal for travelers who want to view Funchal from a different perspective while enjoying a gentle ride that takes them from the urban landscape to the verdant outskirts of Monte, where further attractions await.

Funchal: São Tiago Fort

What is it?
A 17th-century fort featuring vibrant yellow walls, now housing a contemporary art museum.
Why you should go?
São Tiago Fort offers a unique mix of history and culture. The striking yellow-painted fort not only provides insights into Funchal's military past but is also home to thought-provoking art exhibits. Its prime location by the sea grants visitors magnificent views of the coastline, making it a perfect spot for history buffs and art lovers to soak up both past narratives and present creativity.

TOP-5 tours in Funchal for first time visitors

  • Discover the heart of Funchal with an audio tour along the 'Zona Velha,' featuring the colorful market, historical Rua de Santa Maria, and paint-dressed doors.
  • Stroll the elegant 'Avenida do Mar' with a guided commentary illuminating the significance of the harbor and the myriad of public art on display.
  • Revel in the botanical beauty on the 'Monte Palace Tropical Garden' audio tour, chronicling exotic plant species and the garden's storied history.
  • Take an auditory exploration of Madeira's wine culture with a tour through 'Blandy's Wine Lodge', integrating tastings with rich historical anecdotes.
  • Audio guide your ascent on the 'Monte Cable Car', pairing soaring city vistas with a narrated history of Funchal's landscapes and architecture.

Fun things to do in Funchal with kids

When traveling with kids, Funchal is a playground of adventure and discovery. A highlight for any family is the 'Funchal Cable Car,' where a sky ride offers panoramic views of the city and sea, thrilling young ones as they glide over the landscape. Upon reaching Monte, children delight in the whimsical 'Monte Palace Tropical Garden,' a fantastical garden with swans and koi fish, not to mention the fun-filled 'toboggan ride' back to the city. Funchal's 'Madeira Theme Park' is another not-to-be-missed attraction, featuring educational rides and exhibits that celebrate the island's traditions and history in a fun, engaging way. Completing a day in Funchal, the 'City Park' (Parque de Santa Catarina) offers vast green spaces for play, duck ponds, and playgrounds, ensuring that the little ones can expend that last bit of energy before a relaxing family evening. Funchal is full of moments that will capture children's imaginations and create memories for the whole family.

Things to do in Funchal with family

Funchal offers a wealth of family-oriented attractions that promise to entertain and educate. Begin your family adventure at the 'Madeira Aquarium', located in the scenic village of Porto Moniz. Here, children can marvel at vibrant marine life and learn about the importance of conservation. For a blend of fun and education, the 'Museum of Natural History of Funchal' provides insight into the island’s native species and geological formations, ideal for sparking curiosity in young minds. Engage in immersive history by visiting the 'Columbus House' in Porto Santo, where interactive exhibits take you on a journey through the discoveries of the famous explorer. Each of these attractions supports child-friendly learning opportunities while ensuring that the whole family can create lasting memories amid the natural and cultural treasures of Funchal.

Free things to do in Funchal

Funchal extends a warm welcome to travelers on a budget with several activities that are entirely free. Strolling through the 'Santa Catarina Park' is a popular pastime, where families can enjoy expansive views, watch the swans, and let the kids play. The city's rich history can be absorbed while wandering through the 'Old Town'—a mosaic of cultural stories illustrated by vividly painted doors and historical architecture. Another must-visit is the 'São Lourenço Palace', where parts of this historical building are open for public viewing without a fee, allowing a glimpse into Madeira's past grandeur. Each of these attractions offers a unique perspective of Funchal, combining leisure, beauty, and history, ensuring that visitors leave with enriched experiences regardless of their budget.

Cheap things to do in Funchal

Cost-effective adventures await in Funchal for those seeking to explore without straining their wallets. The 'Monte Cable Car' offers a budget-friendly option to ascend the city's slopes and experience spectacular panoramic views. Upon descending, visitors can explore the 'Lido Swimming Complex' with its affordable access to pools and seafront amenities—perfect for a day of relaxation and fun in the sun. Additionally, Funchal's 'Municipal Market,' known locally as Mercado dos Lavradores, permits free entry to wander among vibrant stalls of flowers, fruits, and vegetables, offering a taste of local life with the option to buy fresh goods at reasonable prices. These attractions stand out for their accessibility, promising rewarding experiences for visitors seeking to delve into the heart of Funchal while conserving their travel funds.

Things to do in Funchal for couples

Funchal strikes the perfect balance between romance and adventure, ideal for couples seeking shared experiences. Begin with a serene walk through the ‘Jardins do Palheiro’, also known as the Blandy Gardens. These beautifully landscaped gardens with their variety of exotic flora set the scene for a peaceful day in each other’s company. For a memorable evening, visit the ‘Sé Cathedral’ followed by a walk through the atmospheric streets leading to a cozy restaurant where you can indulge in traditional Madeiran cuisine. Lastly, no couple should miss out on the opportunity to take a ‘Sailboat Sunset Cruise’. Drift along the calm seas surrounding Funchal while sipping on local wine, watching the sun dip below the horizon, painting the sky and sea with hues of gold and pink—a quintessential experience for two in this picturesque city.

Things to do in Funchal at night

When the sun sets, Funchal's nightlife paints the city with vibrant hues of excitement and entertainment. Start by enjoying an evening stroll along the picturesque 'Funchal Marina', where the lights from boats and surrounding buildings create a romantic backdrop for a waterfront walk. For an authentic nighttime experience, visit the bustling 'Mercado dos Lavradores' for their occasional night markets offering local crafts and after-dark bites. To truly immerse in the local culture, take in a performance at Funchal's 'Teatro Municipal', where you can witness live music, dance, or theater showcasing Madeiran artistry. The blend of seafront charm, cultural events, and vibrant market life at night ensures that Funchal offers memorable nocturnal activities for everyone.