Fortaleza de Santiago


The ochre and dark-pink fortress that caps the Zona Velha seafront was built in the first half of the 17th century, when Funchal was vulnerable to pirate attacks. The complex is set to become Madeira's Archaeology Museum at some point in the coming years, but most of the fun here will still be about scrambling around the various rooms, turrets, battlements and hidden corners. Expect great photo ops.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Funchal attractions

1. Igreja do Socorro

0.06 MILES

This impressive clifftop church at the eastern end of the Zona Velha is a 1750 rebuild – the original was destroyed in the earthquake of 1748. Slightly…

2. Zona Velha

0.21 MILES

Once a run-down area between the Mercado dos Lavradores and the Fortaleza de Santiago, in recent years the 'Old Zone' of merchant's houses and 19th…

3. Madeira Story Centre

0.23 MILES

This interactive museum tells Madeira's story in an easily digestible way, from the moment the first volcanic rock seethed through the Atlantic's waves to…

4. Museu do Brinquedo

0.29 MILES

This toy museum occupies seven rooms at the Armazém do Mercado and is essentially made up of the 20,000-piece private collection of one José Manuel Borges…

5. Casa da Luz – Museu de Electricidade

0.34 MILES

Decommissioned in 1989, Funchal's old power station, still the headquarters of EEM (Empresa de Electricidade da Madeira – Madeira Electric Company), has…

6. Mercado dos Lavradores

0.35 MILES

Built in 1940 by architect Edmundo Tavares, Funchal's art deco market is one of its top attractions as well as still serving as the island's best fresh…

7. IBTAM Museum

0.39 MILES

IBTAM is the organisation that oversees Madeiran embroidery production – anything bearing their hologram label is guaranteed to be the genuine, locally…

8. Museu Henrique e Francisco Franco

0.44 MILES

The works of early-20th-century Funchal sculptor Francisco Franco can be found at this small museum, which also displays works by his painter brother.