I returned from my trip to Madeira over a month ago now, yet I still find myself reminiscing of the beautiful weather, delightful sights, and amazing food. More-so of the capital Funchal; it is such diverse place, packed in such a small area consisting of narrow alleyways; winding streets and tucked away shopping gems. Being such an avid fan of The New York Times: 36 hours collection, I aim to give you a comprehensive 24 hours itinerary which is packed full of all the must-see and must-eat places in Funchal.
Good Morning | 9:00am
The early bird truly does catch the worm, however sometime that early bird needs to fuel up on coffee before seizing the day. Head to the Funchal east where the old town hosts many cafes which are sure to delight – take in the architecture along the cobbled walkways and make the most of it before the streets fill with the hustle and bustle of city life.
Let The Bells Ring | 10:00am
Sé Cathedral is the destination which is situated in the centre of Funchal. This stunning example of 16th century gothic architecture is just beautiful in the morning sun-rays; with the gongs from the bell tower echoing around the town square, it’s a sight not to miss.
Peruse & Ponder | 11:00am
It’s off to the market we go – fish, flowers, fruit, and antiques, it is easy to spend many of hours wandering through this market (if you’re able to stomach the strong fishy smell..). There are just so many sights to take in, and be sure to try the fruit from the stalls!
Butter With Bread | 13:00pm
Lunch time is the best time, and Casa do Bolo do Caco is the only place for a true taste of Portuguese delight. A freshly prepared bread roll sandwich filled with hot garlic butter and fillings of your choice, what a treat, and just is the only thing you should be eating.
Jewellery, Antiques, Ceramics, Oh My! | 14:00pm
Museums are my favourite activity when wandering around a new city; learning about heritage and arts is all part of the travelling experience. Museu da Quinta das Cruzes is my top recommendation – situated in a stunning manor house that will make you fantasise about owning – it has a truly stunning arts collections and an array exotic plants in its courtyard.
Story Time | 15:30pm
Whilst on the tip of absorbing that culture, it seems only fitting to round of our history tour to ‘The Madeira Story Centre’. Just as it says on the tin, this place is all about Madeira, and it’s rich history packed into a very interactive setting.
Park Life | 16:00pm
All this learning isn’t a walk in the park, so it’s the perfect time for a walk in the park! Santa Catarina park just one of my favourites with its manicured lawns, array of flower beds, and it’s stunning water feature which has been the backdrop to many newlyweds photos.
Shaken, Not Stired | 17:00pm
Pre-theatre beverage while admiring the sun set upon the sea view, well it’s Barreirinha Bar Cafe you’re looking for. Now you don’t have to trust my opinion on this one, as TripAdvisor awarded Barreirinha a certificate of excellence (and when has TripAdvisor ever lied?).
Dinner, With A Side Of Singing | 18:00pm
Funchal is not short of restaurants, and there are an abundance to choose from which I’m sure will not disappoint – but a place that captures the family hospitality and culture of Madeira is Sabor a Fado. This is very much a family run place and you can feel the homely hospitality as soon as you walk in the door. Sabor is a small restaurant, so be sure to grab a reservation while you can. The menu offers the tradition Madeira dishes from fresh fish, to meat on the spit, however it’s the traditional music of Madeira ‘Fado’ which makes this place come alive.
Till The Boats Come In | 20:00pm
An evening along the Marina is just what you need to unwind and take in the fresh sea air. There are many bars along the shore which open late and also have live music; of course there are many quiet spots if your ears need to take a break. Why not take a seat along the shore and watch the boats and cruise ships come into the dock.
Promenade The Promenade | 21:00pm
Naturally a promenade along the Lido is what one must do after an evening of food, drink and music. It’s in the evening where the Lido become alive with youngsters, oldsters, and their dogs. A hype of activity with its many bars, clubs, and restaurants, however it’s the gelato parlours I’m eyeing up – how else would one finish a perfect evening.
With Kindest Regards,