Funchal, Portugal
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Funchal Hotels

Dripping with lush gardens and perfumed flowers, Funchal is the largest town on the Portuguese island of Madeira. Set into the dramatic sweep of cliffs around a deep bay, it’s easy to see why this is a popular year-round destination. Temperatures are always balmy, and there are myriad beaches. Yet Funchal is anything but over-developed. The vast, natural harbour dwarfs cruise ships, and the town beats to the rhythms of local markets and festivals. Come and be intoxicated by Funchal.

Things to see

Start in the chequerboard Town Square, where you can get your day off to a good start with a coffee and a flaky, buttery pastry in one of the pastelarias. Nearby, the austere, 15th century cathedral is one of Funchal’s most important historic sites, and the splendidly ornate interior is well worth a peek. Then dive into local life at the Funchal Farmers' Market, where you can taste the freshest, juiciest mangoes, barter at the fish market and buy bright blooms from the flower-sellers in traditional Madeira dress. When you’ve had your fill of the lower town, step into the Funchal-Monte Teleferico for a cable car ride up the mountain. You’ll get a bird’s eye view of the terracotta-roofed town before arriving at the Monte Palace Gardens, inspired by the ornamental gardens of Japan. You’ll discover pagodas, dragons and Buddhist statues among the lush plant life in this mountaintop Eden.

Hotels in Funchal

From luxury 5-star resorts to basic guesthouses, Funchal has something to suit every taste and budget. In the luxury hotels, you’ll have the chance to stay in a spacious suite offering panoramic sea views and every conceivable comfort. Alongside free WiFi and well-stocked minibars, there are extra touches like bathrobes and slippers. You can even request an in-room massage if going to the onsite spa is too much effort. The cheap hotels in Funchal provide a more homely atmosphere. Many have rooftop terraces, where you can enjoy free breakfast while taking in the views, and some also have swimming pools.

Where to stay

For a Funchal beach holiday, the Sao Martino district between central Funchal and Formosa Beach is the best place to stay. The hotels here are mid-range to luxury, with numerous family-friendly resorts. You’ll be close to countless beaches, and there’s a good selection of bars and restaurants. A short bus ride takes you into the town centre. For a cultural break in Funchal, stay in the centre. This is also the best place to find budget hotels and guesthouses. You’ll be able to soak up the old town atmosphere, and all the main places of interest are within easy reach.

How to get to Funchal

Funchal is served by the nearby Madeira Airport, which is served by flights from mainland Portugal as well as London airports. It’s just a 20-minute journey from the airport into the centre of Funchal. Taxis, hire cars and shuttle services are all available from the terminal. There’s also a fast, frequent airport bus, which runs all the way to Formosa Beach, so you’ll be at your hotel in no time. The centre of Funchal is best explored on foot, but there are also local buses, departing from the waterfront, to take you all over town, including to the Monte Palace.

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