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Holidays in Funchal

Perched amongst the hills on the coast of the ‘Garden Island’, Funchal is Madeira’s 500-year-old capital. You’ll find all sorts to explore, from the cobbled Old Town to the flower-scented gardens with views across the bay. Life here may be cosmopolitan, but more than a hint of tradition survives in restaurant menus, the costumes of market traders and the age-old customs, such as grape-picking during September’s Wine Harvest Festival.

16-23 °C

Funchal enjoys glorious sunshine throughout the year.

3 hours 40 minutes

The island’s airport is Madeira Airport (FNC), about 21km east of Funchal.

Book your holiday to Funchal with Thomas Cook to hike along Madeira’s famous levada channels, relax in exotic gardens, and enjoy spring weather in winter.

Featured Funchal holidays

Dorisol Mimosa Hotel

Funchal, Madeira

7 Nights, Room Only
Hotel highlights

The Dorisol Mimosa Hotel rests in a prime location overlooking the bay in the popular resort of Funchal, 2 km from the city centre and 500 m from t...

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Based on 271 reviews

What is included?

  • ATOL Protection

From

£421

Dorisol Buganvilia

Funchal, Madeira

7 Nights, Room Only
Hotel highlights

The Dorisol Buganvilia Aparthotel boasts a prime location in the popular resort of Funchal on the island of Madeira, 2 km from the city centre and ...

TripAdvisor Traveller rating

Based on 281 reviews

What is included?

  • ATOL Protection

From

£421

Windsor Hotel

Funchal, Madeira

7 Nights, Bed & Breakfast
Hotel highlights

The grand and impressive Hotel Windsor is located right in the middle of Funchal, with easy access to the many shops, restaurants, entertainment ve...

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Based on 239 reviews

What is included?

  • ATOL Protection

From

£439

Raga Hotel

Funchal, Madeira

7 Nights, Bed & Breakfast
Hotel highlights

A stylish hotel in a great central location, what more you could want? Raga Hotel is just 10 minutes away from the centre of Funchal, whilst also o...

What is included?

  • ATOL Protection

From

£442

Ocean Gardens Hotel

Funchal, Madeira

7 Nights, Bed & Breakfast
Hotel highlights

The 4-star Ocean Gardens Hotel welcomes you to the lovely island of Madeira, Portugal, set in charming gardens and overlooking the bay and city of ...

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Based on 295 reviews

What is included?

  • ATOL Protection

From

£478

You could spend hours exploring the cobbled streets of Funchal’s Old Town, dipping in and out of the shops and museums. Buy some local lace at the Embroidery Museum. Browse the modern Portuguese artworks on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art, housed in the 17th-century São Tiago Fort. Or immerse yourself in the island’s heritage at the Madeira Story Centre. The Garden Island is also a place for enjoying the great outdoors, so pack your hiking boots or golf clubs, hire a boat, go horse riding, or see if you can land yourself a big fish.

The most famous places to visit in Funchal are its gardens. Filled with flowers from around the world, such as orchids, birds of paradise and azaleas, they’re perfect for a romantic stroll or time to sit and daydream in the sunshine. There are several, but the Quinta do Palheiro Ferreiro and Monte Palace Tropical Garden have the best views. You’ll feel on top of the world while you’re in Monte’s gardens, as it’s a very tranquil district on a hill above the rest of Funchal. Get back down to earth with a ride in one of the toboggan-like basket cars, travelling the 2km downhill in a swift ten minutes.

Named after the fennel (funcho) that grows in the area, this is a city with food close to its heart. Pork in wine and garlic (carne de vinho e alhos) is such a traditional dish that it’s served for Christmas dinner, perhaps with a glass of the fortified Madeira wine. For the fullest flavour of Madeira, the lively Mercado dos Lavradores (the farmers’ market) is one of the best places to go in Funchal. And when you need a sugar-fix, bite into a hearty slice of honey cake (bolo de mel) or sip a glass of the sweet poncha cocktail, made from sugar-cane brandy, fruit juice, sugar and honey.

Madeira’s known for its web of rural hiking routes, which aren’t just limited to the renowned levadas (irrigation channels). The scenery’s incredible, especially when the spring flowers are blooming, but the going can be tough so choose a guided tour to suit your ability level. A real must is the trail up Pico Ruivo in the Ribeiro Frio Forest Park (about 17km north of Funchal); you’ll have a view of the whole island from above the clouds. The array of fresh-air activities in Funchal itself includes golf at the par-72 Palheiro course and boat trips from the marina – go at sunset for a glowing view of the rocky coastline.

Recommended offers in Funchal

Flame Tree Madeira

Funchal, Funchal

7 Nights, Room Only
Hotel highlights

With a stay at Flame Tree Madeira in Funchal, you'll be minutes from Barreiros Stadium and close to Botanical Garden. This hostal is within close p...

What is included?

  • ATOL Protection

From

£476

Enotel Golf - Santo da Serra

Santo Da Serra, Santo Da Serra

7 Nights, Bed & Breakfast
Hotel highlights

The Enotel Golf Hotel boasts a prime location 25 minutes from Funchal, between the Santo da Serra Golf Club and a large park with gardens, picnic a...

What is included?

  • ATOL Protection

From

£555

Aparthotel Imperatriz

Funchal, Funchal

7 Nights, Room Only
Hotel highlights

With a stay at Aparthotel Imperatriz, you'll be centrally located in Funchal, steps from CR7 Museum and minutes from Madeira Casino. This aparthote...

What is included?

  • ATOL Protection

From

£564

FUNCHAL IS BEST FOR...

Nature lovers: The scenery’s simply lovely, whether you’re sitting in a flower-filled garden or standing at the top of a mountain.

Walkers: Madeira’s lush volcanic terrain is laced with hiking trails. Follow the levada routes when the spring flowers are blooming.

Culture fans: Take in a film festival or art exhibition, join the annual wine harvest and sample time-honoured local recipes.


FAST FACTS

Language: The language spoken in Funchal is Portuguese

Currency: The currency used in Funchal is the euro (€)

Local time: The time in Funchal is the same as GMT/UK time

Fly to: The island’s airport is Madeira Airport (FNC), about 21km east of Funchal.

Flight time from UK: Approximately 3 hours 40 minutes

Tourist Information: Further Funchal tourist information can be found at www.visitmadeira.pt

Visa & Health: Before you travel, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/portugal for recommendations and advice on visas and health for your holiday to Funchal.


WEATHER AND CLIMATE

Temperature: 16-23 (°C)

The weather in Funchal is delightful all year round, with average highs of 18 (°C) even in January. For the coolest weather, come in the spring, when you can enjoy pleasant temperatures in the mid-teens. Summer temperatures are usually comfortable, typically hovering in the mid-20s throughout the season. The weather stays warm and bright throughout the autumn and winter, with up to 10 hours of sunshine a day.


GETTING AROUND

On foot: By far the best way to explore Funchal’s Old Town.
By open-top bus: You can hop on and off the Yellow Bus Sightseeing Tours at all the key spots. Tickets are valid for 24 or 48 hours and can be used on public transport.

By cable car: The journey up the hillside to the Monte district gives you incredible views and takes about 15 minutes. If you’re feeling brave, whizz back down through the streets in a traditional man-powered basket car.

By hire car: See more of Madeira with a self-drive tour, stopping for panoramic views and strolls through quaint villages.


EVENTS

Carnival: The city’s streets sparkle with lights and spirited parades for five jubilant days before Lent.

Spring blooms: Held after Easter, Funchal’s annual Festa da Flor welcomes spring with parades and a floral Wall of Hope (Muro da Esperança).

Film festivals: From the renown of the Madeira Film Festival to the silent short films of Mudas Fest, Madeira has a full calendar of events for movie-lovers.

Christmas and New Year: An incredible time to be in Funchal, festivities last right through December until Twelfth Night. The Night at the Market just before Christmas (centred around the Farmers’ Market) and the New Year’s Eve fireworks are major highlights.


Why choose Thomas Cook

With hotels available to suit every person and every budget look no further than Thomas Cook for your getaway this year!

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