Madeira (Funchal), Portugal

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Main port photo for Madeira (Funchal), Portugal

The capital of Madeira is named after the fennel (funcha) that once flowered there in profusion. The largest island in the Madeira Archipelago was discovered in 1419 by Portuguese explorers venturing south into the Atlantic. The island is nearly equidistant from Lisbon and the African coast, and its unique geographical position allowed Madeira to play a pivotal role in European discovery. Seamen such as Christopher Columbus gained knowledge and experience plying the routes of the island's sugar trade. When sugar declined, the island's famed wines continued to provide a robust trade. By the late 18th century, Madeira's mild climate, rocky peaks, and lush valleys provided a winter haven to Europe's aristocrats. Visitors still flock to the island today, drawn by its scenery and its weather.

Funchal is noted for its superb hand-embroidery and wicker ware, both Madeira specialties. The island, of course, is also noted for its superb wines: they are perhaps the world's most complex and long lasting wines.

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  • Monte Monte

    This small village overlooks Funchal and was originally a health resort for Europe's high society. Take the flight of stairs to Nossa Senhora do Monte at the top for an impressive view.

  • Wine-tasting Wine-tasting

    No trip to Madeira would be complete without a visit to one of Funchal's wine lodges for a wine sampling. Vintages range from a dry Sercial to a rich and fruity Malmsey.

  • Cable-car & Toboggan Rides Cable-car & Toboggan Rides

    The Funchal to Monte cable-car ride takes approximately 15 minutes to ride. It is 12,000 feet long with a vertical rise of 1,837 feet, and provides stunning views in Maderia's most remote areas. As a means of downhill transport, these sledges appeared around 1850. Today, they attract tourists who want to experience sliding at high speed on narrow, winding streets down to Funchal.

  • Mercado dos Lavradores Mercado dos Lavradores

    Built in the 1930s, this art-deco open market was designed by architect Edmundo Tavares. It's a lively place where you can buy fresh produce, meat, fish, flowers, spices and crafts.

  • Botanical Garden Botanical Garden

    At Quinta do Bom Sucesso, the climate conditions are ideal and boast more than 2,000 plant species. It also has a Science and Culture Center and is home to some rare bird species.

  • Ribeira Brava Ribeira Brava

    This small town's name means "wild stream" it was one of the first parishes on the island. Mainly a tourist town now, it features a host of charming street cafs and shops.

  • Cabo Giro Cabo Giro

    Known to be the highest sea-cliff in Europe and second in the world, with panoramic views of the ocean, the village of Camara de Lobos and Funchal in the distance.

  • Island Drive Island Drive

    Explore the scenic wonders of Madeira with a leisurely journey that showcases the island's dramatic sea cliffs, waterfalls, central plateau, and charming villages. Plenty of photo stops complete this memorable experience.


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