Funchal, Madeira, Portugal - Cruise Port Guide - Anchors Up
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Funchal, Madeira, Portugal - Cruise Port Guide

Funchal, Madeira, Portugal - Cruise Port Guide Anchors Up

Location

The approach to the harbor offers a picturesque view of the city and the lush hills above it. From the dock, a walk into the center of town takes approximately 15 to 20 minutes, the duration depending on the specific docking location along the quay. Please note that this route is not recommended for wheelchair users due to the charming yet uneven pavement.

To the left along the coast, you'll find major hotels, including the renowned Reid's, a favorite of Churchill. Traditional high tea is still a highlight here. Recent additions to this area include several new 5-star hotels.

Taxis from the dockside to the town center are available at a standard fare. Alternatively, a shuttle bus to the city center is provided, occasionally free depending on the cruise line.

A newly established cruise terminal featuring gangways and a selection of shops is now in operation. While there is no duty-free shopping, free WIFI is provided. Additionally, a tourist information desk is available to assist visitors.

Watch a video tour of this port.

Port location on Google Maps

Monthly climate averages for Funchal, Madeira, Portugal

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Sights

Funchal, the capital of the island of Madeira, is a city of distinctive charm. Its landscape is adorned with rows of white houses gracefully ascending the hillsides. Funchal is delineated into three distinct sections, each offering a unique experience.

 Old Zone (Old Town):

  • Located on the east side, the Old Zone exudes historical charm with its architectural treasures.

West Side (Touristy Hotel Area):

  • The west side is recognized as the "touristy" hotel area, featuring attractions like Casino Gardens, Quinta das Cruzes Museum, and the lively Carriera Street.

City Center:

  • Nestled between the Old Zone and the west side, the city center is a vibrant hub with notable museums such as the Madeira Wine Institute.

Funchal invites exploration, with each section contributing to the city's rich tapestry of history, tourism, and cultural experiences.

 

Tours, excursions and transportation

To explore Funchal and its surroundings, there are convenient transportation options and diverse ways to experience the city:

Buses and Taxis:

Buses offer an all-day ticket for 6 Euros, providing an affordable and flexible means of coastal travel. Taxis, reasonably priced, also ply the coast road. The tourist information office provides suggested routes for both modes of transport.

Hop on Hop off Bus:

An open bus with two decks takes you on a scenic tour of Funchal, highlighting its beautiful and historical points. The route lasts one hour and fifteen minutes, with recorded information available in multiple languages. The ticket is valid for the entire day, allowing you to hop on and off at your convenience.

 

 

Cable Car and Monte Toboggan:

 Both buses stop at the cable car station (Teleferico), offering a pleasant trip up the mountain for 16 Euros round trip or 11 Euros one way. Alternatively, experience the thrill of the Monte Toboggan, where two-seater wicker sledges glide down narrow, winding streets, providing an exciting and traditional adventure for about 20 Euros per person.

Car Rental:

Hiring a car is a cost-effective option for navigating the island. Madeira's roads offer stunning views, but be prepared for changing weather conditions and narrow cliff-top roads. This freedom allows you to stop at viewpoints and explore interesting villages.

Hiking the Levadas:

For a unique exploration, consider hiking the irrigation ditches, known as levadas. Madeira boasts an extensive network of walking trails along these watercourses, totaling 2150 km (1350 miles) of channels, including 40 km (25 miles) of tunnels. The levadas offer a unique and accessible way to appreciate Madeira's natural beauty, ingenious design, and historical significance.

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Nearby destinations

The volcanic island of Madeira unfolds its vibrant hues through colorful flowers and fruit trees. Despite its small size, measuring only 35 miles long and 13 miles wide, the rugged mountains and winding roads create an expansive and diverse landscape. Nestled in the Atlantic, some residents in remote villages have yet to visit the main city of Funchal, emphasizing the island's rugged and diverse countryside. Approximately half of Madeira's population resides in the picturesque capital of Funchal.

Câmara de Lobos:

Beyond its charming bay, Câmara de Lobos offers notable points of interest like Pico da Torre, Curral das Freiras, Boca dos Namorados, Boca da Corrida, and the Cabo Girão Skywalk. Accessible by bus from Funchal (5 km).

Assumption of the Virgin Mary:

The grandest and most traditional feast on the island is the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, celebrated on the 15th of August. Thousands pay reverence to the Virgin Mary of Monte during this festival, considered the main religious folk celebration in the region. The festivities, lasting from August 14 to 15, transform the parish of Monte into a lively hub with traditional stalls, music, and a vibrant atmosphere.

Our Lady of the Mount Church:

The Church of Our Lady of the Mount, the patron saint of Madeira, draws pilgrims who come to pray and fulfill vows at the tomb of Emperor Karl I of Austria. The celebration lasts two days, infusing the romantic parish of Monte with traditional food, drink stalls, and music, making it one of the liveliest places in Madeira. The Quinta do Monte, where Karl I passed away in 1922, is now known as Quinta Jardins do Imperador or Quinta of the Emperor's Gardens.

 

Shopping and food

In Funchal, shopping streets are inviting pedestrian zones, well-maintained and adorned with sidewalk cafes and restaurants. Most stores remain open when cruise ships dock, creating a vibrant shopping atmosphere. However, during siesta, the boardwalk market takes a break.

Local Cuisine:

Indulge in locally caught Espada, the Scabbard Fish, either simply grilled with lemon or in the more traditional battered version, accompanied by deep-fried locally grown bananas—a true taste of banana country! Don't miss the local "Mercato," the heart of the town, bustling mostly in the morning.

Madeira Wines:

Madeira wines boast distinct labels based on the grape variety used. Sercial, pale and very dry; Verdelho, with a golden hue and a medium-dry taste; Bual, displaying a dark gold color and medium sweetness; and Malmsey, the original grape producing a sweet wine with a rich chestnut brown color.

Soft Drinks:

Quench your thirst with a variety of soft drinks, including refreshing fresh fruit juices. Maracuja, a passion fruit nectar, stands out for its particularly delicious flavor. Explore the culinary delights and beverages that Funchal has to offer while strolling through its charming streets.

 

Other information

Currency: Euro.

Emergency number: 112.

Language: Portuguese.

WiFi: Numerous free WiFi spots are strategically placed, especially around bustling areas with sidewalk cafes. Provided by the local government, these WiFi spots are easily recognizable and contribute to the city's connectivity.