Funchal is the main city of Madeira,in it there is a beautiful part of the city called Old Town(zona velha) and in it there are many places to visit and many outdoors activities to practice, and in this article you’ll discover some things you should know about the old town.
The Old Town of Funchal is an area where we can take a trip to the beginning of the colonization of Funchal. It was been one of the first areas to be populated, so it soon assumed a leading role in the development of this city.
The patrimonial wealth of this area is enormous. Its alleys, sidewalks, churches and facades, as well as architectural details, take us back to very important historical periods. It is also a historic area of great architectural and heritage value. It is located in the lower part of the city, by the sea, where you can find some traditional restaurants integrated in old fishermen’s houses and other residences from the 18th century.
Have a look at our 8 choices on what you should know about funchal old town.
1. The Beautiful gastronomy
In the old town of Funchal you can find a huge number of restaurants and bars that serve many meals and most of them are traditional dishes or drinks that you can have a taste of. You can ask for poncha, this drink is probably the most traditional drink on the island and normally is made with Aguardente de cana (distilled alcohol made from sugar cane juice), bee honey, sugar, lemon and different types of fruit juices depending on your personal preference of poncha.
2. The Painted Doors Project
Also near the old part of the city you can see a lot of doors and walls with paintings all done by the townsfolk with a lot of creativity, and if you see it it’s probably because you’re in Rua da Santa Maria where every painting in the walls is street art. Some of the art in these streets are 200 years old, so you shouldn’t miss it. You can check out the project page online here.
3. Visit the museum
You can go to the Madeira Story Center which is a museum showing the complete history of Madeira island. If you go in it they will talk about the story from the volcanic origins to the history of Portuguese explorers and pirates and it even tells the most recent events on the story of the island. The museum is located near the bottom station of the Monte cable car and near the bus park. Open daily from 10 AM to 7 PM.
4. The night parties
There is no other place in Funchal to enjoy the nightlife like the Zona Velha(Old Town), it is full of bars and restaurants, with great terraces in a relaxed atmosphere. In it the night is a just as the day always full of people and lots of fun, because during the night most of the young people go there to drink and have a good time. You can always see people singing, others dancing and you also see those who only want to talk with their friends.
5. Jardim do Almirante Reis
If your in part of Old Town near the ocean you can go to the Jardim do Almirante Reis which is a garden that is beautiful and in it you will find several pieces of art made by people of the island. You can also go to the skatepark to have some fun , you can relax while looking in to the sea or you can go to the to the cafe in the garden itself.
6. You can ride in the cable car
If you want you can also go to the cable car that leaves you in Monte where you can visit a lot of beatiful places and can even go on the Wicker Toboggan Sled, which is a very famous and tradicional ride that everyone can enjoy. In the cable car itself ride you can enjoy from amazing views of the city of Funchal and the mountains around it.
7. Places to stay overnight in the Old Town
While your going to have a dificult time finding a lot of hotels in the Old Town of Funchal you still have some but most of them are hostels and vilas which are residences that you can rent for some time. Be sure to book your rooms ahead of time because they can already be rented when you try to rent. If you want to know more about hotels in the area check this website but be carefull because not every hotel in the website is on the Old Town.
8. Visit Mercado dos Lavradores
Mercado dos Lavradores the biggest local market in Funchal where they sell flowers, fruits, vegetables, and fish. You need to visit it so you see the colorful interior of the market and it’s sweet aura inside.The market is every day with the exception of Sunday or some holidays. It’s busiest day is Friday when you’ll likely see traditionally dressed ‘flower ladies’ selling the most beautiful exotic flowers. One last thing you should be aware of is that the prices at the market are quite high, especially for fruit since it’s all organic and it is a local business. Even if it is pricey, you will find fruit you’ve probably never seen before.
Conclusion of the article
I hope that with this article you now know what to do in old town in funchal. While you can get to these places by bus it is essential to rent a car if you want to stay in the city until late in the night, so why don’t you rent one of our cars at 7MRentACar. Also while your here you should see this article so you know which levadas to walk or you can see some places you can stay overnight in Madeira island.