• Date Cruise Ship PAX
    Feb 26 2024 AIDAcosma 6654
    Feb 26 2024 Azura 4300
    Feb 27 2024 AIDAstella 2700
    Feb 28 2024 AIDAstella 2700

    The Port of Funchal

    The Port of Funchal

    This guide is tailored for cruise passenger visiting Funchal.

    Things to Do

    The prominent building on the seafront is the Fortalezza de Sao Lourenço, built in the 16th century to guard the bay from pirates. Today it is the residence of Madeira’s military governors.

    Walking up the side street with the Fortalezza on your left, you will come to the statue of Zarco – the discoverer of the island. Turn left for a building covered in azulejos, and the Municipal Gardens.

    Or turn right and then you have the Palace of the Regional Government on your left and the cathedral in front of you.

    The Sé (cathedral) is a mix of European-Gothic and Moorish architecture. This is one of the few buildings on the island that has survived virtually unchanged since the island’s early colonisation. 

    Inside is more impressive than the exterior...with impressive altar-pieces and painted choir stalls.

    North of the Sé, you will find the city’s main square, Praça do Municipio, with magnificent black and white mosaic paving and three significant buildings.

    • City Hall in an 18th century palace

    • Collegiate Church

    • Museum of Sacred Arts

    Mercado dos Lavradores (Market), a veritable riot of colour and fragrances....fruit, flowers, vegetables, fish and wickerwork.

    Cable Car – takes you up to Monte, a hilltop village with the famous Monte Palace Tropical Gardens.

    These gardens are like a tropical rain forest, with hints of the orient. They are quite steep as they are on the mountain-side.

    You can come back down via the TOBOGGAN RUN!

    The Orchid Gardens (north-east of the town centre) are very close to the Botanical Gardens (2 miles from the centre of Funchal) - the island’s most comprehensive public garden containing a specimen of almost every plant that grows on Madeira.

    Reid’s Palace Hotel – a luxury hotel with beautiful grounds. Famous for its Afternoon Tea (booking required)

    Pico dos Barcelos – a viewpoint which overlooks Funchal for the postcard view!

    Old Blandy Wine Lodge – still run by the same family after 200 years. A chance to taste and buy.

    Things to See

    Camacha is a pretty village just north-east of Funchal - centre of the island’s wicker industry.

    Porto Moniz (north-west tip of the island)

    A small village clinging to the coast, with a little rocky outcrop of black lava rock called the Mole Island and a natural swimming pool at the edge of the ocean - formed by volcanic reefs.

    Paul da Serra – the only plateau on the island, bleak, windswept moorland with only grass and gorse growing. This offer a vivid contrast with the jagged mountains elsewhere.

    Calheta - a coastal village sitting among vineyards and banana plantations. A popular resort with a golden sand beach and good fish restaurants.

    Ribeira Brava – a pretty place for a stroll around, with an interesting church and paved main square.

    Cabo Girao – the second highest sea cliffs in the world, awesome!

    Camara de Lobos – a fishing village with a lovely harbour and brightly coloured boats. It is popular with artists and it was a favourite painting location for Sir Winston Churchill when he stayed at the Reid’s Palace Hotel.

    Pico do Serrado – view-point that looks down into a deep ravine to see the valley called Curral das Freiras, meaning Nun’s Refuge. The nuns of the Santa Clara Convent took shelter here in the 16th century.

    Levadas - These are man-made water channels across the island, designed to move water from the wetter northern parts to the drier south to irrigate the crops.  Today, they not only move water and provide hydro-electric power but give a remarkable network of walking paths.Some are simple and others are high-risk.

    PLEASE SEEK LOCAL ADVICE BEFORE WALKING THE LEVADAS

    Facts & Figures  

    Madeira is a Portuguese island, about 500 miles off the coast of Africa and 600 miles from Portugal itself.      

    Madeira is actually the largest island in a group – though only 2 are inhabited, Madeira and Porto Santo

    It is 30 miles long, by 13 miles at its widest point, and a coastline of 80 to 90 miles.  

    Towering volcanic peaks, dramatic gorges, great swathes of primeval laurel forest, river valleys clad in luxuriant vegetation, terraced hillsides planted with vines and bananas, cliffs of awesome dimensions - these are just some of the contrasts Madeira offers its visitors. 

    History

    At the start of the 15th century, Prince Henry the Navigator set out to extend the knowledge of the coast of West Africa.

    Two young sea captains, Zarco and Teixeira, were blown off course and after many days at sea and found land on a small island that they named Porto Santo.

    On reporting to Henry they were promptly ordered to return and colonise the island.

    The captains had reported a dark mass of clouds visible on the southern horizon. They were now encouraged to investigate.

    As they approached, the huge Atlantic waves and the turbulence of the cross currents wouldn’t have reassured them.

    They discovered a heavily forested island that they named Madeira, meaning island of timber.

    Prince Henry immediately organised the colonisation of the island, with the first families coming from the Algarve region of Portugal.

    The early settlers worked with the fertile soil and warm climate to grow sugar cane and they became rich through this white gold.

    Welcome to the port of Funchal

    This AI-generated guide, courtesy of ChatGPT, is tailored for cruise passengers arriving in Funchal for the first time.

    General Port Information

    Funchal, nestled on the picturesque island of Madeira, welcomes you with its charming harbor and stunning landscapes. The port is known for its friendly atmosphere and easy accessibility to the city's attractions.

    Touristic Information

    Explore the beauty of Funchal with its lush botanical gardens, historic architecture, and vibrant markets. Enjoy panoramic views from high vantage points, and experience the rich maritime culture of this Portuguese gem.

    Transportation Options

    Train Services

    Discover nearby attractions by train:

    1. Monte Palace Tropical Garden: 5 km, 20 minutes
    2. Funchal Old Town: 2 km, 10 minutes

    Bus Services

    Convenient bus options to nearby sites:

    1. Cabo Girão Viewpoint: 10 km, 30 minutes
    2. Camara de Lobos: 8 km, 25 minutes

    Other Means of Transportation

    Taxis and cable cars offer flexible ways to explore the city and its surroundings, providing breathtaking views of the coastline and mountains.

    Top 5 Attractions

    1. Monte Palace Tropical Garden: A botanical paradise with exotic plants and scenic views.
    2. Funchal Old Town: Explore historic streets, colorful markets, and the Cathedral of Funchal.
    3. Cabo Girão Viewpoint: Visit one of the highest sea cliffs in Europe for spectacular panoramic views.
    4. Camara de Lobos: A picturesque fishing village known for its charm and scenic surroundings.
    5. Funchal Cable Car: Enjoy a scenic ride offering panoramic views of the city and harbor.

    Nice to Know Facts

    1. Funchal is famous for its New Year's Eve fireworks, recognized in the Guinness World Records.
    2. The island of Madeira is renowned for its world-class Madeira wine.
    3. Experience the local "toboggan ride" from Monte to Funchal for a unique and thrilling descent.

    Fun for Families

    Up to 6 years old: Visit the Madeira Theme Park with interactive exhibits and play areas.

    7-12 years old: Explore the enchanting Santa Catarina Park with playgrounds and wildlife.

    13-18 years old: Enjoy an adventurous cable car ride to Monte and discover the tropical garden.

    Popular things to do

    1. Wander through the historic Funchal Old Town, filled with vibrant markets and historic landmarks. 2. Take a cable car ride to Monte for panoramic views and a visit to the Monte Palace Tropical Garden. 3. Experience the thrilling toboggan ride from Monte to Funchal.

    Local Food and Drinks

    Savor the flavors of Funchal: - Espetada (grilled meat skewers) - Bolo do Caco (garlic bread) - Poncha (traditional alcoholic beverage)

    Shopping

    Explore popular shopping areas: - Avenida Arriaga for fashion and souvenirs - La Vie Funchal Shopping Center for a variety of shops

    Historical and Cultural Tours

    Discover the island's history through guided tours of Funchal Cathedral, the Madeira Story Centre, and the CR7 Museum dedicated to Cristiano Ronaldo.

    Local Customs

    Embrace the relaxed and friendly atmosphere of Madeira, and don't forget to try the local Madeira wine.

    Google maps

    Funchal City Center on Google Maps

    Cruise Ship Terminal on Google Maps


    Notice: Content and travel advice presented is created by a port moderator and/or AI, courtesy of ChatGPT. It is specifically designed for cruise passengers visiting this port of call. A port moderator could be a local individual, destination expert, port authority, or a tourism agency. While every effort has been made to ensure accuracy, we recommend that you verify critical information like visas, health and safety, customs, and transportation with official sources before departure.