Funchal – Part 1
A heady combination of natural delights, culture, and activities, Funchal is a colourfully vibrant place to visit. The attractive city is known for its appealing Mediterranean temperatures, Madeiran wine and local handicrafts. It makes a great spot for a weekend break or a week away to explore this region in the Madeiran archipelago.
Funchal (named in honour of the wild fennel which grows here) is the capital city of Madeira Island. Located to the west of North Africa, Madeira (known as the “island of timber”) was discovered in the early 15th century by the Portuguese navigator, Joao Zarco, who gave the city and region its name. The Funchal region includes the cities of Funchal, C⭡ra de Lobos, Cani篠and Santa Cruz, all on the south side of Madeira.
Funchal has a unique location on the island of Madeira with a natural, sloping ravine which leads down into the city. You can sit next to a fountain, under a giant palm tree in the city centre with a book and a cold drink, or stroll along the avenues where boutiques, restaurants, bars and all kinds of city life await you. The heady scent of oleander permeates the sea air in Funchal, and the atmosphere is truly inspiring to those who visit.
Funchal is the perfect city for walking as many streets are pedestrianised and the pace is slow. The city centre has amazingly complex tile patterns throughout its winding paths and alleyways. The church of the Convent of Santa Clara was founded in the late 15th century, and contains exquisite examples of the tiling of the region.
The Funchal Frederico de Freitas Museum has a massive amount of pieces to see including furniture, porcelain, Venetian glass, artwork, religious art objects, Madeiran wooden figures, antique instruments, and plenty more.
The Madeira Story Centre is an amazing interactive museum where visitors can discover a vast amount of information on the Archipelago’s history, from its volcanic origins to the involvement of both Napoleon and Churchill. The Madeira Story Centre combines history and multimedia technologies and is worth a visit to better understand the past of this historically rich part of the Med.
The Funchal Sacred Art Museum (Museu de Arte Sacra) is a former bishop’s palace turned museum. The Sacred Art Museum contains an extensive collection of church artifacts spanning the 15th through 18th centuries including silver and gold metalwork, crystal and precious stone inlays, painted wooden carvings, and ceremonial robes. The museum also contains masterpieces by Flemish artists from the 15th and 16th centuries.