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.