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Funchal is the capital and main city, of the autonomous region of Madeira, on the island of Madeira, in the south between Santa Cruz and Camara de Lobos cities.
Funchal Airport (FNC) is in nearby Santa Cruz, sometimes known as Madeira international/Santa Catarina/Funchal. Once famous for its hair-raisingly short runway ending at a cliff over the Atlantic Ocean, the airport has been expanded to handle all sizes of aircraft.
Funchal is served by highway ER101 which runs along the coast. An easy way to get to the city centre by car is to take exit 11 and head downhill towards Funchal. Continue on this road (ER103) until you pass under an overpass.
The city centre is small enough to explore on foot. Orange city buses can take you around and up to Monte (lines 20, 21).
What to see
Jardins Do Palheiro, Sao Goncalo, Palheiro. The Quinta do Palheiro Ferreiro Park is a typical example of a manor in British colonial style. While the manor itself is private and can't be visited, you can enjoy the public park. On first sight it looks like an English park, old Platanes form a long alley from the main gate to the gardens.
Madeira Botanical Gardens, Caminho Meio Quinta do Bom Sucesso (about 3km from downtown). The more than 2000 plants of these hillside gardens, plus the view of Funchal make this one of the major attractions of the whole island. The gardens also feature a collection of parakeets and parrots.
Market - Mercado Dos Lavradores, Rua Brigadeiro Oudinot, Down Town. The historic building with an open patio offers on two levels the fresh fruits and vegetables from all over the island. On lower level is also a separate hall for the fish vendors selling the fresh caught fishes to everybody.
Monte Palace Hotel Gardens. The gardens of this defunct hotel include a Chinese garden, artwork, a small lake, and a variety of flora and fauna.
Santa Clara Convent, Calçada de Santa Clara 15. Dating from the end of the 15th century, this convent, now a national monument, was founded by João Gonçalves da Câmara. The azulejo tiles are especially notable.
São Lourenço Palace, Avenida Zarco. Half fortress and half palace, this construction is a good example of mannerist architecture. Highlights include the Noble Salon, the Green Room, the Audience Hall and the gardens.
Sé Cathedral. The central point in Funchal, and its most-visited monument. Commissioned by the king Dom Manuel I through Portuguese explorer Gil Eanes, the cathedral was built between 1493 and 1517. The ceiling is made from local wood.
Colegio Church, Rua dos Ferreiros, 105. This Jesuit temple, completed in 1647, is a striking building with a stunning interior. Today it is part of Madeira University.
IBTAM Museum, Rua do Visconde de Anadia. Museum of the Institute of Embroidery, Tapestry and Craftsmanship of Madeira. The exhibits give some idea of the tradition of embroidery in the island in the past centuries (updated Jun 2016
São Tiago Fort. Built in 1614 to defend the city from pirate attack, the fort houses today the small Contemporary Art museum.