Updated: Jun 14, 2021
The best way to discover the Funchal city is definitely by walking around and enjoy every bit of the city that has to offer. Funchal city is not that small, but having all the attractions very close to each other it definitely helps. Discover the Funchal City in your own terms, this guide is just the highlights of what Funchal has to offer.
Please check the highlights of this tour, to make it easy to go to the right spot, I connected google maps to the headlines. So if you click on "Igreja do Socorro" a link to google maps will be activated and will help you reaching the destination on the guide.
Igreja do Socorro is a church with a beautiful architecture, this church has been very well maintained and it is located on top of a hill and have a direct view of the sea. It is just a 10 minute walk from the Funchal Old Town, it is quiet, peaceful and a very reflective space.
On Front of the church you will find a small view point with a direct view to the beach called Barreirinha. It is fairly small but gives you everything you need and expect from a beach.
You can find a nice bar, right next to the church with a lovely terrace overlooking the sea side. This place is perfect to relax, enjoy the nice weather and connect with people. A lot of the locals come here specially on the end of the day to enjoy the sunset, meet their friends, have a few drinks, cocktails and tapas. Sometimes they even have some live music outside or a DJ playing nice music.
This Fort was built to protect the coast from pirates attaches during the XVI - XVII century during the reign of Philip I of Portugal. The fort is still a nice place to visit as this location provides amazing views over the sea and city. To enter you have to pay a very symbolic admission fee but it worth it, one of the best parts of the fort is the top where you can take amazing pictures. The fort exterior is also nice, specially from the beach side or on the narrow alley behind the fort. You will find local fisherman's on the small beach on front of the fort, it is a very nice little spot. I would say, one of our hidden gems, it is mostly visited by locals and not a lot of tourists. (Remember it can happen finding a few tourists as a lot of them are searching more and more locations like this to have a unique experience.)
Just one minute walk from the fort, you will find a very small chapel from the XV Century called "Capela do Corpo Santo". This chapel is dedicated to the Patron Saint of the Fisherman, São Pedro (Saint Peter).
This chapel has a Manueline Style and the interior is beautiful decorated with painted ceilings and gilded carved wood altars. The gabled façade and the Gothic doorway is all the remains of the original chapel.
If you walk in this street, from the church of Igreja do Socorro all the way to the Traditional Market area, you will find a lot of painted doors. It gives you the feeling of walking in a Outdoor art gallery.
The historical centre of the municipality of Funchal, known as the “Zona Velha” (Old Town), presents the Painted Doors plan that transforms this place into a permanent art gallery.
This public art plan means to stimulate one of the most emblematic area of Funchal downtown, appealing cultural centre and a permanent art gallery, joining various guest artists to make this decorative paintings on the doors along Rua de Santa Maria, fitting into works of art.
This plan results from a partnership between José Maria Zyberchema, João Carlos Abreu, previous Territorial Secretary of Tourism and Culture, the Municipality of Funchal in collaboration with a couple of personalized entities.
Among the several celebrated personalities from the Madeira art scene, who teamed up with this project, stands out the architect Paulo David and the designer Nini Andrade Silva.
The Farmers Market "Mercado dos Lavradores" is a fruit, vegetable, flower and fish market in Funchal, Madeira. The market was designed by Edmundo Tavares and it was inaugurated on the 24th of November, 1940. On the main entrance and on the fish market wall you will find old-fashioned Azulejo (panels of tiles) representing the florists and fisherman's on the old days, this panels were executed by João Rodrigues.
The best day to visit the traditional market is on Saturdays because most of the farmers will come on this day to sell their products, they will have their own stands on the center of the market. In this market, some of the farmers will give you fruits to taste before you buy them. If you are a curious person and you like to taste different foods, this is the right place to come and taste those fruits before deciding if you want to buy them or not.
Very near to the market you will find the Madeira Embroidery factory, it is just a 3 min walk from the farmers market.
Patricio & Gouveia, is madeira's oldest embroidery factory, founded in 1925. It is the only one built from scratch for the manufacture of our Madeira embroidery. Also the only one in its third generation. A real living museum that worth your visit.
Patricio & Gouveia is a four story building where you can visit for free and learn about the Madeira embroidery. Each floor will explain part of the process, from the design, stamping and the finishing touches of the embroidery before going to the sale floor.
On your arrival, speak with a member of staff and ask if it is possible to visit the factory. Most of the times if they are not busy, they will escort you during the visit, you will have an amazing time and you will learn a lot.
Sé Cathedral is just a five minute walk from the farmers market, this is one of the few structures in the city that have endure since the time of colonization. The church was officially inaugurated in 1514 but in 1508 when Funchal was elevated to the category of city, masses were already celebrated in the cathedral. However, some of the final touches on the cathedral were done 1517 - 1518.
The church building is designed in a Gothic style and has three naves. The structure was built utilizing a huge number of blocks of volcanic rocks carried from the cliffs of Cabo Girão. The top of the church building highlights a Mudéjar-design and is made of cedar wood. The wooden ensemble slows down portray prophets, holy people and messengers in sixteenth century attire. In the decorative details of the seats and armrests, aspects of Madeira's life can also be seen.
The cathedral contains a silver processional cross gave by King Manuel I of Portugal, considered one of the magnum opuses of Manueline ritualistic silverwork.
As Pope John Paul II visited Madeira in 1991, a sculpture of Pope was worked to recollect the occasion. It is situated outside of the basilica.
Why not going for a Madeira Wine tasting to one of the oldest Madeira Wine Company in our Island. The Blandy family is unique in being the only family of all the original founders of the Madeira wine trade to still own and manage their own original wine company. Throughout its long history on the island, the family has played a leading role in the development of Madeira wine. Members of the family continues to live on Madeira, maintaining a tradition that goes back to 1811; 2 centuries of fine wine production.