Best of Funchal

Top itineraries and travel advice in and around Funchal
The capital of Madeira, Funchal is a city of hilly, tree-lined lanes, botanical gardens and panoramic views over the coast. While there’s much to do on the surrounding island, Funchal has a wealth of attractions. You can explore the galleries, cafes and restaurants of the old fishing quarter or browse the island’s many specialties at the Mercado dos Lavradores. When you need a break from sightseeing, the rocky beach of Praia Formosa just outside of town makes a pleasant seaside getaway. 

You can’t leave Funchal without riding the cable car from the Zona Velha to the elegant hilltop neighborhood of Monte. There you can wander amid the manicured flower beds, grottoes and fountains of the Monte Palace Tropical Gardens and visit the 19th-century church of Nossa Senhora do Monte, an important pilgrimage site for many Portuguese. Rather than returning by cable car, you can make an adrenaline-fueled descent by sledge - a wood and wicker toboggan chair controlled by two adroit drivers who guide you down a steep mountain slope. From Funchal, you can also make day trips to scenic overlooks, coastal villages and waterfall trails in the mountainous interior.
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View of Câmara de Lobos in southeast Madeira
Map of Self-Drive Adventure in Madeira - 8 Days
Self-Drive Adventure in Madeira - 8 Days

This relaxed road trip introduces you to the Portuguese island of Madeira, whose volcanic landscapes and natural beauty make it a popular getaway from the mainland. Discover the charming Old Town and botanical gardens of its capital Funchal. Hike between Madeira's two highest peaks of Pico do Areeiro to Pico Ruivo, then decompress by taking a ferry to the island of Porto Santo—beaches renowned for their healing properties.

Madeira's lush coastline
Map of Lisbon, Porto & Madeira - 9 Days
Lisbon, Porto & Madeira - 9 Days

This 9-day itinerary starts in Lisbon, where you'll savor local treats and traditional music as you explore the capital by foot and tram. Hit the road and head north to Porto, where world-class wine cellars and riverside views await, then hop over to Madeira to end your adventure among the verdant, volcanic landscapes of Portugal's "Island of Eternal Spring."

Madeira's colorful coastline
Map of Discover Mainland Portugal & Madeira - 13 Days
Discover Mainland Portugal & Madeira - 13 Days

Portugal was once considered the "end of the world" and still feels like the earth's edge with its wild landscapes and expansive ocean views. It also reflects life beyond its borders with its mix of histories, cultures, and cuisines. Explore the mainland and island of Madeira, beginning with a tour of historic Lisbon. Sip port wine by the Douro River in Porto, then fly to Madeira to experience its pristine scenery, and finally return to the mainland and the seaside resort of Cascais for some relaxing beach time.

Madeira Island's northern coast
Map of Explore Portugal: Porto, Lisbon, & Madeira Island - 14 Days
Explore Portugal: Porto, Lisbon, & Madeira Island - 14 Days

This epic Portugal tour highlights two cosmopolitan cities and a stunning mid-Atlantic island—part of an autonomous region—known for its tropical foliage and eternal spring-like weather. You'll kick off in Porto, home of centuries-old wine production and colorful architecture along the Douro River. Then fly to Madeira Island for secluded beaches and untouristed villages waiting to be discovered. Last but not least is Lisbon's friendly, up-and-coming capital—a striking city built on seven hills.

Sunset colors on Madeira
Map of Mainland Portugal & Madeira - 15 Days
Mainland Portugal & Madeira - 15 Days

With just over two weeks to spare, you can combine the best of mainland Portugal with the lush valleys and volcanic beaches of "the Island of Eternal Spring." Start with cycling and culinary tours of Lisbon, wine tasting in the Douro Valley, and a deep dive into the history of colorful Porto. Then it's time to jet off into the North Atlantic for four days on Madeira, before returning to the mainland for some downtime at the chic coastal resort of Cascais.

Other popular travel destinations in Portugal
Lisbon · Porto · Algarve · Douro Valley · Évora · Alentejo · Sintra · Lagos · Coimbra · Tomar · Nazaré · The Azores · Braga · Óbidos · Madeira · Tavira · São Miguel Island · Sagres · Peneda-Gerês National Park · Guimarães · Mértola · Batalha · Marvão