Looking for What to See in Funchal? 10 Places to Explore While in the City

What to See in Funchal: The stunning capital of Madeira Island is a tourist destination that offers a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. With its picturesque landscapes, welcoming atmosphere, and a variety of fascinating attractions, Funchal is a place that delights all visitors. For those planning to explore this charming city, this guide presents a selection of the top 10 must-visit places while in Funchal. From lush botanical gardens to interactive museums and stunning beaches, there is something for every taste and interest in this captivating city.

What to See in Funchal: 10 Places to Explore

1. Monte Palace Tropical Garden

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The Monte Palace Tropical Garden is a botanical garden in the parish of Monte, in Funchal. It is a place of great beauty and diversity, housing a collection of exotic plants from all corners of the world.

Monte Palace Tropical Garden is also a space for art and culture, displaying various objects and tile panels that depict the history and traditions of Portugal and Madeira. There is also a museum showcasing a collection of contemporary sculpture and a collection of minerals from various countries. The garden also has a strong Eastern influence, reflected in the presence of pagodas, lanterns, Buddhas, and dragons, creating an exotic and harmonious atmosphere.

2. 3D Fun Art Museum

The 3D Fun Art Museum is a unique and innovative space that utilizes 3D images and optical illusions to stimulate the creativity of its visitors. Located in the heart of Funchal city, the museum features around 40 different scenarios that are sure to capture the interest of all, from the youngest to adults.

At the 3D Fun Art Museum, visitors can not only become part of the 3D art but also immerse themselves in a world of fantasy and imagination. They can interact with the scenarios, take fun and original photographs, and share them on social media. The museum also has a room of optical illusions where visitors can experience various visual effects that challenge perception and logic.

3. Santa Catarina Park

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Santa Catarina Park is a green space highly frequented by locals and visitors in search of a place to stroll, relax, and enjoy nature. The park features extensive lawns surrounded by flower beds hosting various plant species. There is also a lake with a small island inhabited by ducks and other birds. Additionally, the park includes a playground, a café, and several benches and tables for picnics.

Santa Catarina Park is also a venue for various demonstrations, celebrations, and cultural events that enliven the city throughout the year. Among the most important are the Labor Day celebration on May 1st, the Atlantic Festival in June, and New Year’s Eve in December. During these occasions, there is music, dance, fireworks, and plenty of fun.

4. Panoramic Garden

Panoramic Garden is a public garden located in the tourist area of Funchal, in the São Martinho parish. It covers an area of 5,400 m2 and connects the Seafront Promenade to the south with the Monumental Road to the north. It’s an ideal place to enjoy panoramic views of the city and the ocean.

Panoramic Garden is also a green and tranquil space that invites relaxation and leisure. The garden features extensive lawns surrounded by flower beds hosting various plant species. Several viewpoints allow you to observe the coastal landscape and the mountains. The garden also includes a playground, a restaurant, and several paddle tennis courts.

5. Formosa Beach

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Formosa is a coveted spot for both residents and tourists alike, drawn to its blend of sun, sea, and natural beauty. Beyond its picturesque allure, Formosa boasts ideal settings for water enthusiasts, with opportunities for surfing, bodyboarding, windsurfing, and kayaking. Moreover, a scenic promenade invites strolls, jogs, cycles, or skating adventures, while numerous bars, restaurants, cafés, and playgrounds ensure convenience and amusement for all who visit.

6. Funchal Cable Car

The Funchal Cable Car is a means of transportation that connects the old town of Funchal to Monte, in a journey of about 15 minutes, offering a panoramic view of the city and the sea.

Riding the cable car is a unique and unforgettable experience, allowing you to appreciate the natural and cultural beauty of Madeira. From the cable car, you can observe the contrast between the greenery of gardens and fields and the blue of the Atlantic Ocean. You can also admire the amphitheatre and the Bay of Funchal, where historic buildings, churches, museums, and the port stand out. As you ascend, the landscape changes, revealing the surrounding mountains covered in Laurisilva forest, a UNESCO natural heritage site.

7. Madeira Casino

The Madeira Casino is a casino owned by the Pestana Group located in the city of Funchal, on the island of Madeira, Portugal. It was inaugurated in 1979 and is the work of architect Oscar Niemeyer, who designed a modern and elegant complex integrated into the natural landscape of the island.

The Madeira Casino is a space for entertainment and leisure, offering various options for entertainment and games to its visitors. In addition to the gaming room, which features slot machines and tables for roulette, blackjack, poker, and French bank, the casino has two restaurants, three bars, a nightclub, a multifunctional space, and a congress centre.

8. CR7 Museum

The CR7 Museum is a museum dedicated to Cristiano Ronaldo, the famous football player born and raised in Madeira Island. At the museum, visitors can explore the history and career of Cristiano Ronaldo through photographs, videos, interactive content, and over a hundred individual and team trophies won while playing for Andorinha, Nacional, Sporting, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Juventus, and the Portuguese National Team. Among the most emblematic trophies are the five Ballon d’Or awards, the four Golden Boots, the FIFA The Best award, the Champions League trophy, the European Championship, and the Nations League.

9. São Tiago Fort

São Tiago Fort is a fortress located in the old town area of Funchal, by the sea. It was built in the 17th century with the purpose of defending the city from pirate and corsair attacks that plagued the island of Madeira. Also, the fort has a quadrangular plan with four bastions at the corners and a central tower where the national flag flies. Its facade is yellow, contrasting with the blue of the sea and the sky.

São Tiago Fort is also a space for culture and leisure, housing the Museum of Contemporary Art, which exhibits works by Portuguese and foreign artists from the 1960s to the present day. The museum also features a library, a shop, and a café, providing convenience and entertainment to its visitors. From the fort, one can also enjoy a panoramic view of Funchal Bay, the harbour, and the marina, which are a spectacle in themselves.

10. Funchal Old Town

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Funchal old town

The Old Town is the oldest part of Funchal City, where the first settlers of Madeira Island established themselves in the 15th century. It’s a historic area of great architectural and heritage value, preserving the charm and authenticity of its narrow cobbled streets and typical houses with colourful facades and doors painted by local artists.


By exploring the 10 highlighted places in this guide, visitors will gain a comprehensive insight into what to see in Funchal. Immerse yourself in the serenity of the Monte Palace Tropical Gardens, delve into the creativity of the 3D Fun Art Museum, and enjoy relaxing moments on the golden sandy beaches of Praia Formosa. Discover the rich history and culture of the region while exploring Forte São Tiago and the Old Town, and dive into the life and career of a football legend at the CR7 Museum. With such a diverse variety of attractions, Funchal is truly a destination that captivates and enchants, leaving lasting memories for all who visit.

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