Cheap Flights to Funchal
Nestled on the hills of Madeira, Funchal is the capital of the archipelago and a beautiful city. Overlooking the Atlantic Sea, the city is renowned for its Madeira wine cellars, gardens, chequerboard squares and historic buildings. The 15th century Funchal Cathedral is worth a visit, with its mix of Romanesque and Gothic styles dating back to Madeira's colonisation. Overlooking the city's recently renewed harbour, the São Tiago Fortress was originally built during the 16th and 17th centuries to protect Madeira's coast from piracy, and today it hosts an art museum exhibiting a large collection of contemporary Portuguese works.
Enjoying a year-round warm climate, the city is a popular destination which retains its historic past while offering world-class hotels and excellent restaurants. Water sports include diving, surfing, swimming with dolphins and whale watching, while paragliding provides spectacular views. The city's top-class golf courses also provide wonderful vistas. Many annual festivals are held here, including the Wine Festival during August and September. The Madeira Flower Festival, held each spring, sees the streets adorned with flowers of every hue, while the annual Carnival is held 40 days before Easter with spectacular parades in the streets.
Things to do
Exploring Funchal never ceases to fascinate, with its impressive historic buildings, restful and distinctive squares and parks. The harbour is a major destination for cruise ships and has a new liner pier with a swimming beach and attractive promenade next to a yacht marina.
Located in the heart of the city, the cathedral was built in the late 15th century and is almost intact to this day. The building dates back to the initial colonisation of the island by the Portuguese and has beautiful Gothic elements including the impressive door as well as renowned wooden ceilings.
- Art at São Tiago Fortress
São Tiago Fortress sits right on the coast next to the harbour and was built in the late 16th and early 17th centuries to protect Madeira from pirate attacks. In 1992 it became home to the Contemporary Art Museum, displaying unique Madeiran and Portuguese art and is one of several art galleries in the city.
The harbour has been a cruise ship destination for over 100 years. The attractive yacht marina gives the opportunity to gaze at the impressive collection of yachts, while visitors can enjoy a stroll on the promenade with its pretty gardens overlooking a popular swimming beach, all centrally located.
Calendar of Events
Funchal hosts a variety of festivals and events throughout the year, including religious and cultural events. The city comes alive with colourful parades, music, excellent Madeira wines and delicious cuisine.
Carnival in Funchal. One of the liveliest festivals in the city, the carnival starts 40 days before Easter and sees the streets filled with brass bands, colourful parades and a fun float procession. The festival lasts five days and shows and concerts are held in the square.
Madeira Flower Festival. Each year in May, the city is adorned with colourful flowers. Floral floats travel through the streets in a parade and competitions are held for the most attractive shop fronts. A recent addition is the "Wall of Hope", where children leave flowers to symbolise their hope for world peace.
A major attraction is the Madeira Wine Festival held during August and September. The event celebrates the grape harvest and includes European Folklore Week, traditional music events and exhibitions relating to wine and its importance to the local economy.