Top 10 things to see and do in Madeira

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  1. 1. I n the 15th Century when the Portuguese settlers arrived on Madeira they were struck by the abundance of fennel (in Portuguese: funcho) growing wildlyandsonamedtheirfirstcolony: Funchal. This picturesque city has a horseshoe shaped backdrop of verdant mountains rich in colourful subtropical vegetation that look out onto the Atlantic Ocean. It has remained the capital of Madeira for the last five hundred years and today has its own international airport and serves as a popular The Travel Magazine August 2014 destination for several cruise ships. MUST VISIT Funchal Market is a busy, noisy, colourfulcoveredmarketinthecentre of Funchal. As you enter the market, you will be enticed by the variety of fresh fish, tropical fruits, spices, colourful flowers and local crafts. Get there early preferably as it opens at 7am when the market is buzzing with fishermen cutting chunks of tuna on marble slabs, fruit sellers spreading numerous passion fruit varieties (such as maracuj banana banana passion fruit) on their stalls and ladies in traditional costumes preparing flower arrangements using the local agapanthus and heliconias. If you are looking for local delicacies to take home with you, look out for Madeirawineorbolodemel(Madeira honey cake). The narrow, cobbled Rua de Santa Maria is the oldest street in Funchal, dating back to 1430. When the heavy storms in February 2010 severely damaged the old town, including the Rua de Santa Maria, the municipality launched the project Art Open Doors in order to revitalise the area. They invited local artists to paint the doors in the street and the result is a vibrant, colourful, artistic street, full of shops, bars and restaurants. MUST SEE THE VIEW To get the best view of Funchal, take the cable cartotheMonteVillage. The 15 minute journey takes you 560 meters high above the city, with a 360 panoramic view of Funchal and Travel Guide 24 Hours in Funchal Cable Car By Martino Matijevic Despite being over 500 years old and the capital of Madeira, Funchal is compact enough to be seen in a day. Here are some of the must see and dos.
  2. 2. The Travel Magazine August 2014 the Atlantic Ocean. Price: 10 one way, 15 return. Tip: take the cable car up and toboggan ride (see below) and walk back down to the city. Monte Village was built in 1565 as a summer refuge for Funchals aristocracy. Constructed in 1741, the Church of Our Lady of the Monte is the resting place of Charles I, the last ruler of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. If you climb to the bell tower terrace youll get a spectacular view of Funchal. MUST DO From the foot of the Church of Our Lady of the Monte, you can take a thrilling two kilometre, 10 minute toboggan ride to Funchal. In the mid-19th Century this was a fast way for the rich inhabitants of Monte to descend to Funchal. The wicker sledg- es are now used to transport tourists quickly along the same streets. The sledges are propelled by two men in white clothes, a straw hat and boots with thick rubber soles. Price: 25 for one person, 30 for a couple, 40 for three people. Tip: Taxis waiting at the bottom of the ride will charge you 3 or 4 times what the normal price would be to take you to Funchal city centre. Instead, take the bus or walk (its a 20 min leisure- ly downhill stroll). MUST EAT A good choice for homemade, traditional food in Funchal in a friendly and relaxed atmos- phere is Ven- da da Donna Maria in Rua da Santa Maria street. For the start- er, try bolo do caco, hot bread with garlic and parsley, lapas, grilled limpets with garlic and lemon, or pica- dos, cubes of beef steak in sauce served with fries. For the main dish, go for the espetada, skewers of beef rubbed with salt and garlic and grilled on bay leaves. Madeira being an island, fishloverswillnotbedisap- pointed and should try the local specialty, swordfish with fried banana (espada com banana). Traditional Madeira desert is the deli- cious passion fruit mousse (pudim de maracuj). Useful Links For more information on Madeira, visit For a list of activities in and around Funchal, visit 24-hours-funchal-madeira.html Door in Rua de Santa Maria Toboggan RideAll images Martino Matijevic