It's the capital of Madeira and there'll never be a dull moment during your holiday in Funchal. Sé Cathedral is well worth a visit as its beautiful architecture really is breathtaking. Have a wander around the Mercado Dos Lavradores market and sample the amazing selection of fruit and vegetables - you won't know what to buy first! Shrouded in tropical plants, the public park at Jardins Do Palheiro is the perfect location to sit back and watch the world go by.
There are a variety of airports in the UK that you can get direct flights to Funchal from, so it's easily accessible wherever you live. Flythomascook, Thomas Flights, easyJet, Jet2 and TAP are among the airlines that offer direct flights to the island. Indirect flights are available but they can work out slightly more expensive. All flights from the UK land at Funchal Airport which is located 16 kilometres northeast of the city.
The city centre is small enough that is can be explored on foot and the good news is that this won't cost you a penny. But if you wish to travel further afield then your best option may be to take advantage of the local bus service. Make sure you check the timetables so you don't miss your bus travelling back into Funchal. After all you don't want to be stranded in a little village!
Prices in Europe seem to be on the rise but the good news is that it's still possible to find a cheap hotel in Funchal as long as you book well in advance. Keep in mind that trips to the island of Madeira can be expensive during the school holidays so if you have to stick to a strict budget it may best if you visit during the low season. The months of February, March, September and October are the best times to visit if you want to secure a bargain. You'll also avoid all the crowds which is always a plus!
Funchal is famous for its delicious cuisine and it doesn't have to cost the earth if you want to sample it during your Funchal holiday. Just make sure you stay away from tourist traps and instead seek out the traditional eateries tucked away down the side streets where you'll find authentic food, often at very affordable prices. Make sure you try espetada em Pau de Lauro – it consists of meat on a skewer and it's prepared in garlic over a wood stove. Yum.
Updated 15th May 2013
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