Historically, the Port of Funchal exists since the end of the 19th century, although the construction of the modern port infrastructure itself was completed only at the beginning of the 21st century. During the archipelago's colonisation, for instance, the loading and unloading of goods and passengers was done directly on the pebble, being strongly conditioned by the state of the sea.
Due to the strategic geographical position of Madeira, in the centre of the Atlantic Ocean, near the Canaries and North Africa, until World War II Funchal Port was a stopover point for large ships, which used to stop here during their routes between Europe and the American and African continents. Thus, in the 20th century, besides being an important trading place, with the loading and unloading of goods and passengers, it gradually gained tourist relevance. Currently, the main port of Madeira island is particularly known for welcoming many cruise ships, which stop here and then continue their journey to other destinations.
Funchal city centre is within walking distance from the International Maritime Passenger Terminal (Gare Marítima Internacional do Porto do Funchal), an infrastructure that is extremely relevant to the increasingly competitive cruise ship segment.
Located at Pontinha pier, in a natural bay surrounded by the blue sea and the green mountains, it's impossible not to be touched by the impressive views when arriving by sea: besides an amazing perspective of the whole city, it becomes clear to you that this is a blooming island that rises spectacularly from the ocean towards the clouds. The terminal's modern construction offers more comfort, as well as better access and safety conditions for those arriving on the island. Thus, a high number of cruise ship passengers are able to embark and disembark more quickly and efficiently according to international safety regulations.
This port is very busy in the summer months, as well as in October and, of course, December, with the 31st being the busiest day of the year, as many cruise liners choose Funchal bay, already embellished by the Christmas lighting, as the stage of the New Year's Eve fireworks.
Funchal harbour also welcomes Lobo Marinho, the ferryboat that every day assures the maritime connection between the islands of Madeira and Porto Santo, with a duration of 2 hours and 20 minutes and the possibility of transporting vehicles.