Funchal Old Town Holidays

Cobbles, cafes & Colonial churches

Funchal, Madeira’s terracotta-roofed capital, is a charming seafront city overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. And the Old Town or, ‘Zonha Velha’, is undoubtedly the jewel in its crown. Flaunting cobbled streets, sunny squares and Colonial architecture, this compact pocket of the city is like a movie set. It’s packed with landmarks like the Corpo Santo Chapel – a church dating back to the 15th century – and the Fabrica de Chapeus, a hat factory that’s been in operation for more than 60 years. The scenes aren’t all age-old, either – check out the ornately hand-painted doors, courtesy of modern local artists. Good looks aside, this is one of the best places in Funchal for wining and dining. It’s all about local produce in these parts, and you can expect independent eateries with small menus and lots of character. This is a great base for exploring the rest of the island, too. Must-sees on holidays to Funchal Old Town include Madeira Botanical Gardens and the mountaintop village of Monte.

YOUR FUNCHAL OLD TOWN QUESTIONS, ANSWERED

The fortified Madeira wine ranges from dry to sweet varieties. Taste profiles vary, but most have flavours of caramel, walnut, peach and burnt sugar.

Funchal Old Town is easily walkable, but if you want to venture into the surrounding hilly countryside, catch a taxi or try a tuk-tuk.

Funchal’s shopping scene is varied, from the cutesy souvenir shops of the old town to the malls and high street stores of the wider city.

BEST THINGS TO DO IN FUNCHAL OLD TOWN

Browse the Farmers’ Market

The Mercado dos Lavradores is in the heart of the old town, and it rivals Funchal’s gardens with its rainbow hues, courtesy of flowers, fruit and veg.

Go wine tasting

Head to one of Funchal’s rustic wine lodges. You’ll be schooled on the making process before tasting different tipples paired with delicious local snacks.

Explore the outskirts

Funchal’s countryside is characterised by valleys, mountains and hidden villages. Take a 4x4 tour, or lace up your walking boots and tackle the Levada trails.