Funchal, MadeiraCopyright: Balate Dorin/Shutterstock.com
Funchal, MadeiraThe 6th largest city of Portugal, known for its wine and amazing weather, Funchal is more than just the hometown of Cristiano Ronaldo. The city is filled with historical buildings, fantastic cuisine and surrounded by truly spectacular nature of the Madeira archipelago. Make sure to taste the famous Madeira wine and pastel de nata.
The CityTake a look at Funchal and you will quickly spot distinct areas, each with its own individual attributes. The city centre, also known as the old town, is marked by cobbled streets, museums, cafes, markets and everything that you need on a holiday. Even the main port is located near the centre, so you can easily walk there and relax whilst looking at the boats on the Atlantic ocean. You can find the up-and-coming Santo António area in the northeastern part of Funchal. The area is home to unique artisan shops, a chapel from the 16th century and the biggest shopping mall of Madeira, Madeira Shopping. If you are looking for an area filled with restaurants, São Martinho is the place to go. This part of the city is known for high quality restaurants and a beautiful view of the ocean.
Do & See
Funchal has no shortage of cultural pursuits or things to do. With a large amount of museums, gardens, cathedrals and tours, it's simply impossible to get bored. Surrounded by the magnificent Atlantic ocean, green mountains and boasting amazing weather, the city centre is characterised by white cobbled streets, an attractive promenade, and cafes which serve authentic Portuguese and Madeiran dishes. A relatively small town, everything is walkable and easy to find.
If there is one thing for certain, you won't run out of restaurants to try in Funchal. The city is known for staying true to the roots of Madeiran cuisine, which is praised by both locals and visitors. There is a lot of seafood to discover, for example the traditional dish Espada com Banana, which is swordfish served with fried bananas. Don't worry, there are also plenty of dishes which feature steak, or other types of meat.
Portugal is known for its delicious sweet pastries and cakes. One of the most famous ones is the pastel de nata, a tart filled with creamy egg custard. But you won't only find a pastelaria full of pasteis de nata, they have much more to offer such as pastel de côco, and tarte de amêndoa. For those among us who don't speak Portuguese, these pastries are a coconut and almond tarts. Get yourself a cup of coffee or tea and you will have the perfect lunch. Be prepared to return home having packed on a couple of extra pounds.
Bars & Nightlife
As soon as you step foot on the island, you start feeling the buzzing party vibes all around. Funchal has plenty of options when it comes to getting a drink, dancing, or just relaxing with friends. The island is where now world-famous Madeira wine originated, so it is the one drink you certainly have to try before you leave. Bars and clubs are scattered all over Funchal, and you will have no problem finding one. From sports bars to pubs and clubs, you won't be disappointed after the sun goes down.
Shops dot Funchal throughout: clothing stores, art galleries and souvenir shops. You will easily find a variety of shops where you can buy traditional Portuguese embroidery, farmer's markets, and special Madeiran jewellery. Don't forget to bring your wallet, because it's certain that you will be spending some money in Funchal.