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 a kaleidoscope 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.