- 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Funchal, the capital of Madeira, is located on the southern coast of the island. The walkways of the old town are lined with azulejos, beautiful multi-colored mosaics. Follow the patterns to find the appetizing Mercado dos Lavradores market stands, the Frederico de Freitas museum, and the golden panelling of the Cathedral de la Sé. Along the waterfront, the palm tree-shaded promenade leads you to the teleféricos de Monte, Madeira's cable cars. The panoramic cabins transport you over the city to the top of Monte, where you can see the picturesque botanical garden.
On these two days, you may choose to join optional excursions:
From the pier, board your coach and drive to the Funchal Marina where your semi-rigid speed boat awaits.
You will have a short introduction with your guides before starting your adventure. During your sailing, discover a number of different marine animals. Keep your eyes open to spot short-finned pilot whales, bottlenose dolphins, Atlantic spotted dolphins, and common dolphins. The seas of Madeira are also host to some migrating animals like Risso’s dolphins, beaked whales, and killer whales.
At the end of the excursion, cruise back to the port to join your ship.
From the pier, board your coach and drive to Quinta de Santa Luzia, a 20-minute drive. Here, visit the vineyards of a traditional working Quinta, a unique property that still possesses the characteristics of a farm or estate as they once existed in Madeira. Bought by John Blandy in 1826, this rural oasis is located near the center of Funchal. The estate houses rich floral gardens and old trees collected from all over the world, as well as a vineyard, whose produce is used for Blandy’s Madeira wine. Continue your tour to the Blandy's Wine Lodge to enjoy a private guided tour that covers the making of barrels at the Cooperage, aging in the Canteiro, the transformation of grapes into Madeira wine, satinwood storage vats, and includes a visit to the private museum with unique items from Madeira wine history. The wine lodge was once a 17th-century monastery, but now provides an aging store for thousands of liters of the highest quality Madeira wines, namely Blandy’s Leacock’s, Cossart Gordon, and Miles.
After your guided visit with one of the Madeira Wine guides, enjoy a lecture and tasting of Blandy’s Madeira wines, accompanied with some local snacks.
From the pier, board a vehicle for a 30-minute drive to Porto da Cruz, where your off-road buggy will be waiting for you. This route starts at the Portela viewpoint, where you can admire the districts of Porto da Cruz and Faial, near the imposing rock of Penha d’Águia. Continue along the forest road of Serra das Funduras to observe the Laurissilva Forest on the northern slope of the Island. Along the trail, discover the endemic flora and fauna of the island of Madeira. The whole environment is truly magical. At the end of the road, arrive at the “Casa das Funduras,” a country house supporting the forest activities of the area. At the end of your tour, re-join your transfer vehicle to return to your ship.
Meet your guide at the pier for a briefing before you get on your electric bike. During your guided electric bike tour, you'll discover the main sites of Funchal.
The tour may take you to:
- The Avenida do Mar, a seafront esplanade decking with flower gardens.
- The Cathedral of Funchal, also named Sé. This main religious monument of the island has been registered as a National Monument since 1910.
- The local market “Mercado dos Lavradores”, where regional products fill the stalls.
- Funchal’s old town, with its narrow cobblestone streets lined by ancient buildings (some dating back to the 15th century) and famous for its historical, architectural, gastronomical, and artistic aspects.
- The Fortress of São Tiago, a military fortress built at the beginning of the 17th century overlooking the sea and the old town.
- Largo do Colégio, one of the main areas of the town.
- The Jardim Municipal, also named Jardim Dona Amélia is a garden located where the Sao Francisco convent was built, in the town centre. This garden features several endemic flowers as well as birds and fishes.
The tour concludes at the pier.
Leave the pier and drive through the main area of Funchal. Your first stop will be the Old Town, one of Funchal’s main tourist hotspots, popular for its historical, architectural, gastronomical, and artistic aspects. The picturesque setting of narrow cobblestone streets are lined by historic buildings, some dating back to the 15th century. A new project called “Arte de Portas Abertas” (Art of open doors) is a public art program aiming to transform Funchal’s old town into a permanent outdoor art gallery by displaying over 200 works of art by guest artists, painted on the doors of Rua de Santa Maria. This colorful project is an attempt to revitalize this part of town and make it more culturally significant for both locals and tourists. Continue by foot with a visit to the local market “Mercado dos Lavradores,” where an infinite variety of tropical fruits, vegetables, flowers, and regional products can be found. A visit to the market is always interesting and varied, and offers a glimpse of the day-to-day life of the Madeiran people. Here you will get the opportunity to taste some local fruits in season.
Reboard your coach for a 15-minute drive to the Sacred Art Museum, housed in the old Episcopal Court of Funchal. This 17th-century building has seen countless changes throughout time, and was opened to the public as a museum in 1955. The museum hosts Flemish and Portuguese paintings, sculptures, and jewelry. You can also visit the Tower to enjoy a panoramic view over the city and harbor before returning to your ship.