Madeira's terracotta-roofed capital

Madeira’s capital city spills down the hillside in a sea of terracotta rooftops, fronted by the Atlantic Ocean below. A popular destination for cruise liners, most passengers head up from the port and along the seafront promenade, which ticks off open-air cafes and bars, and comes with a string of street performers and market sellers. It’s also where you’ll find a statue and museum dedicated to Cristiano Ronaldo, the star footballer native to the island. In the town itself, Funchal flaunts traditional Portuguese architecture and a cosmopolitan wining and dining scene. You’ll also notice a strong arty influence, with the painted doors in the Old Town and artwork adorning the sides of buildings. To watch local life play out, take a trip to the much-loved Farmers’ Market. It’s been in operation since 1940, and its stalls are an explosion of colour, overflowing with fruit, veg and blooms unique to the island. As for Funchal’s outskirts, the region’s countryside was made for exploring. Take a tour of the Levadas – a network of canal-side walking trails – to experience the lush flora and fauna. Or journey into the hills for superb views over the forested hills.

YOUR FUNCHAL QUESTIONS, ANSWERED

Black Scabbard fish cooked with garlic, salt and lemon juice and served with fried banana. It might sound strange but it’s a delicious combo.

Madeira is largely warm and sunny all year round, but between May and August you can expect peak temperatures.

The city is lovely to walk around, but hop in a tuk-tuk and you’ll be whizzed around the streets with a knowledgeable local guide.

BEST THINGS TO DO IN FUNCHAL

Try a toboggan ride

Funchal’s unique tourist attraction involves taking the cable car up to the mountaintop village of Monte, and being sped back down in a toboggan by two locals.

Explore the Botanical Gardens

Madeira’s lush botanical gardens are staggered down a hillside. Covering 80,000 square metres, they’re filled with blooms in every colour of the rainbow.

Tour the countryside

Funchal’s outskirts are ripe for exploring. Jump in a 4x4 to get off-the-beaten track in the area’s forests and valleys.