Due to its mid-Atlantic location, for many years Madeira island was a strategic stop for great ocean liners during their routes between Europe, Africa and America.
Nowadays, Funchal harbour is a frequent port of call for cruise ships from all over the world.
Many are the aspects that contribute to Madeira’s success in the cruise ship segment, along with its strong tourist tradition. This island has a lot of experience in welcoming its visitors and offering all necessary support services. Its crime-free society and friendly inhabitants, together with a summery weather and impressive landscapes make the most perfect calling card.
Arriving at Funchal by sea is one of the most memorable experiences a traveller can have. The harbour is naturally protected by spectacular mountains, whose peaks rise majestically towards the sky.
Another great aspect of Funchal harbour is that it’s located within walking distance of the city centre, thus allowing cruise passengers to maximise their available time on land.
Thus, we suggest you the main attractions if you’re in Funchal for a few hours.
Avenida Arriaga, the main street of Funchal, is a great starting point. Coming from the sea, on the left-hand side you’ll see a roundabout, with an armillary sphere in the centre of a fountain, called Rotunda do Infante. Nearby starts the luscious green Santa Catarina Park and right next to it you may visit the gardens surrounding Quinta Vigia, the official residence of the President of the Regional Government of Madeira. If, on the other hand, you go to the right side of the main avenue, just about 300 m from the liners pier, you’ll come across Teatro Municipal Baltazar Dias and then, a few meters ahead, is The Ritz Madeira Cafe, where you may relax and enjoy a drink or a delicious meal in the open-air esplanade while admiring the beautiful Municipal Garden right across the street. Talking about drinks, why not take a guided tour and a tasting of the internationally famous Madeira Wine at Blandy’s Wine Lodge.
Continuing along the avenue will take you to the Funchal cathedral, Sé. If you would like to do some shopping before you go, take the street on the left of the cathedral and continue until you enter Rua Fernão Ornelas, the main shopping street in Funchal, which ends in Mercado dos Lavradores, the famous and colourful market, where the most beautiful flowers of Madeira are displayed and all the exotic fruits are there for you to taste.
After a visit to the market, try going down the street towards the sea and you'll reach the Old Town, where there are many restaurants to choose from and a special treat… Several building doors were painted or decorated by artists under the project Arte Portas Abertas (Art of Open Doors)