Madeira’s capital of Funchal is known for its array of historical monuments, an abundance of greenery and scenic lookout points. Its cobbled old town, known as 'Zona Velha', is easily explored on foot and where you’ll find most shops and restaurants.
Funchal Cathedral is the city’s most visited monument and dates back to the early 16th century. Its interior is filled with wonderful features such as a beautiful cedar wood ceiling and altarpiece comprising oil paintings and small sculptures. At the harbour, you’ll find the historic São Tiago Fort which now houses the Contemporary Art Museum.
There’s lots to see and do in Funchal, but one of its most popular attractions is the botanical gardens which showcase a wide selection of endemic flowers, trees and plants. The Madeira Botanical Garden has the most varied selection and also offers views over Funchal from a hilltop. For even more spectacular views, ride the cable car to the area of Monte and take in the sights from 600 metres up. After your journey back down, take a stroll through the Old Town and pay a visit to the buzzing farmers’ market of Mercado dos Lavradores or explore the decorated doorways of Rua da Santa Maria.
Funchal’s largest beach is Praia Formosa, offering a variety of black-sand and pebbled areas. You can relax at one of the beachfront cafés, try your hand at water sports or enjoy the nightlife which gets going around sunset. It’s also worth visiting the natural lava pools of Doca do Cavacas for a relaxing swim.