Funchal is a lively, sprawling city – famous for its harbour, mountain backdrop and flower displays. The city’s split into about 10 parishes, all slightly unique, so there’s plenty of nooks and crannies to explore on holiday.
Most hotels are in the São Martinho area, and you should definitely pop to the old town to get a proper feel for the history and culture. The narrow alleyways are always fun for a wander, with lots of lovely cafés and restaurants to stop in when you feel peckish. Take some time to explore the busy harbour, too. We love sitting by the water to watch the world go by.
Explore Funchal's culture: street art on the doorstep
Take a stroll down the street of Rua de Santa Maria to see a colourful collection of nearly 200 doors that have been painted by local artists. It was an effort to breathe some life into an area that was previously a little run down – we’re happy to confirm it’s a thriving spot to explore and a must-see on your holiday.
Funchal's thriving food scene
Get your hands on some fresh tropical fruit, like bananas and passion fruit, at Mercado dos Lavradores, the local farmer’s market. The ones at home won’t taste the same after you’ve tried these. The market is a magnet for food-lovers as the sights, smells and colours are irresistible – maybe pick up something to bring back?
If wine is what gets you excited, there are a few tasting venues for the full experience, but most local bars will have a selection of Madeiran wines to try. The sweet, rich taste makes it very distinctive – you can’t leave without giving it a go.
You won’t be short of restaurants either. Funchal has a great foodie scene including a surprising amount of fine dining options and Michelin recommendations. Try a bolo do caco – a bread dish you’ll find most places, usually smothered in garlic butter and optionally topped with seafood like octopus or made into a sandwich.
The full Monte
To get a different view of the city, jump on the cable car to Monte and head for the Botanical Gardens, they're particularly beautiful in the summer. You’ll get great views across the bay before heading into the gardens for an explosion of colour and design.
It’s easy to get around Funchal, you can walk but it’s hilly in places so if you’re not up to the challenge there’s a reliable bus service that’s reasonably priced.
Activities for the itchy feet
You’re spoiled for choice with activities - bike tours, guided walks and diving to name a few. It’s also a good base to explore other parts of the island.
The Levada walking trails don’t come into the city but there are some lovely coastal paths or you can just take the time to wander the city. To see the Levada trails we always recommend booking with a guide.
Why book a summer holiday in Funchal with Inghams?
With over 85 years of outdoor travel experience, our holiday packages to Funchal include flights, transfers, and accommodation, so you can relax and leave the small details to us. Our experts can help you choose the best holiday for you, and our team in resort can give you the inside scoop on how to spend your time away with us.
At Inghams, we do walking holidays differently. With no fixed itinerary, you have more time in your destination and the freedom to walk as much or as little as you like, discovering some of Madeira's best walking routes and activities at your own pace.
Plus, we've included two optional guided walks every week in Madeira. Join a professional mountain guide and really get to know the area (see more details in the ‘walking’ tab below).