The Portuguese archipelago of Madeira consists of the inhabited islands (Madeira and Porto Santo) and also the two small groups of uninhabited islands (the Desertas and the Selvagens). From the depths of the deep green valleys to the tips of the striking mountains covered in lush vegetation and surrounded by stunning cliff faces, rises the island of Madeira in the Atlantic Ocean, situated some 1000 km from the European continent.
A renowned tourist island destination par excellence, defined by its diverse microclimates that bestowed it with its incomparable natural and luxuriant beauty, allows us to experience the four seasons in one day. The sophisticated and stylish city of Funchal is the capital of Madeira Archipelago and is also the main tourist centre of the island of Madeira. In 1508, Funchal was elevated to the status of city and its name derives from the word Funcho (wild fennel), which existed in abundance down the mountain slopes of its unique 'amphitheatre' bay formation.
Rich in history, the cosmopolitan city of Funchal is an important touristic, cultural and artistic centre, enchanting the discerning visitors with its admirable collection of interesting attractions. One can easily enjoy leisurely walks through the winding back streets of the quaint historical central parishes of São Pedro, Santa Maria and Sé to admire the impressive set of monuments and buildings such as the cathedral, which dates back to 1514; the church and monastery of Santa Clara, founded by João Gonçalves da Câmara, the son of the island's discoverer in the late 15th century; the church of Our Lady of Monte, the patroness of Madeira (feast day on 15th of August); the fortress of São Lourenço from the sixteenth century; the church and palace of São Pedro (St. Peter); the church of Santa Maria Maior of the eighteenth century; the Junta Geral Palace, currently housing several departments of the Regional Government; the Town Hall, of colonial architectural style; the Baltazar Dias Municipal Theatre, a centennial monument of high architectural value; the Ilhéu Fort and Pico Fort, to name just a few among the many other monuments that can be observed in almost every corner of the city, and not forgetting the colourful selection of gardens and parks, carefully tended, as well as the many squares and esplanades adorned with lively cafés.
Funchal is a city of unimaginable hues offering beautiful and breathtaking views. At the Mercardo dos Lavradores (Farmers' Market), one of the most emblematic buildings of the city, one can enjoy and buy beautiful flowers, exotic fruits and vegetables of the island, extraordinary variety of fresh fish and even regional artifacts. The famous lavadas that meander across the majestic mountain slopes offer pleasant and invigorating walks through the indigenous Laurelsilva forest - nature in its purest form, classified since 1999 as World Natural Heritage Site by UNESCO. A source of rare beauty that will remain with you forever with the fondest memories.
Funchal is also considered an important port of call for the European and North African cruise circuits and also annual transatlantic voyages between America and Europe.
Owing to the influence of the Gulf Stream, Madeira boasts an exceptional year-round mild climate, with average temperatures ranging from 25º C in summer and 17º C in winter and temperate sea waters, make this island a true sanctuary for all who come to visit it.
Madeira is an island of unforgettable aromas and irresistible flavours - exotic fruits, Madeira Wine, intriguing flowers of rare beauty, endemic flora, mouthwatering island cuisine, traditional handmade embroidery are distinctive features that captivate the most discerning of visitors. Madeira also presents a yearly calendar rich in festivities, such as, The Carnival, the Flower Festival, the Atlantic Festival, the Madeira Wine Festival and the Columbus Festival as well as the world famous Madeira New Year's Eve fireworks display, which holds a Guinness World Record.
Madeira Island is a true paradise, also known as the Floating Garden, the Flower Island, the Pearl of the Atlantic ... all who visit us take home the irresistible desire to return!