Top ChoiceCarnival in Funchal

Carnaval

The calendar's biggest party hits Funchal in late winter when the island is busiest. One of the world's best carnivals, the main attraction is the 9pm two-hour-long procession along Funchal's seafront, a...

Top ChoiceMuseum in Funchal

Quinta das Cruzes

Now a museum, the Quinta das Cruzes is a quintessential old Madeiran manor house complete with gardens and a private chapel. Originally the home of João Gonçalves Zarco, the Portuguese captain who discovered...

Top ChoiceArea in Funchal

Zona Velha

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-century fishermen's cottages has been transformed into Funchal's...

Top ChoiceMarket in Funchal

Mercado dos Lavradores

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 food market. Adorned with azulejos (hand-painted tiles) from...

Top ChoiceChurch in Funchal

Funchal's 16th-century cathedral once oversaw the world's largest diocese – all of Portugal’s overseas territories from Madeira to Brazil to Angola – and its importance is reflected by the Manueline architectural...

Top ChoiceMadeiran in Funchal

Regional Flavours

Take a superb location on pedestrianised Rua da Carreira, a team plucked from top Madeiran restaurants and an inspired owner, and the result is one of the most authentic dining experiences in the archipelago....

Top ChoiceBeach in Funchal

Praia Formosa

Anyone who says Madeira has no beaches should hop on bus 1 or 43 to the boulders and browny-black sand of this wild strand in Funchal's western suburbs. Cafe-bars, a car park and other facilities are all here and...

Top ChoiceInternational in Santana

Quinta do Furão

Stylishly rustic, this excellent hotel-restaurant sets the highest standards on the north coast. Wonderfully imaginative gourmet dishes, such as cream of beetroot soup with glazed chestnuts, foie gras infused...

Top ChoiceMadeiran in Funchal

Venda da Donna Maria

This great shabby-chic Zona Velha restaurant uses local recipes that every Funchal avozinha (granny) would instantly recognise. Take a seat at the tightly packed jumble of tables to enjoy espada (scabbardfish)...

Top ChoiceGardens in Funchal

Jardins Botânicos da Madeira

One of the island's top tourist attractions, Madeira's famous botanical gardens are a must for most visitors. Extending over 80,000 sq metres, the gardens are packed with exotic flora, some endemic to the...

Top ChoiceArts & Crafts in Funchal

Saudade Madeira

Local producers of handicrafts and speciality foodstuffs pay for shelf space at this arty shop-cafe bang in the centre of Funchal. Everything from Madeira-themed paintings to locally made azulejos (hand-painted...

Top ChoiceWinery in Funchal

Pereira D'Oliveira

Run by the fifth generation of the D'Oliveira family, this is Funchal's most easily accessible wine experience. Anyone can enter the strongly aromatic barrel room in central Funchal and try almost as much wine as...

Top ChoiceSeafood in Funchal

Gavião Novo

Madeira's top seafood restaurant is an intimate affair at the heart of the Zona Velha, attracting tourists, locals and Portuguese rich and famous, who come for one of the most authentic dining experiences on the...

Top ChoiceVillage in Mountains - Interior

Curral das Freiras

Dramatically set at the bottom of a mammoth cauldron of rock, the village of Curral das Freiras is one of the most popular daytrips from Funchal. Some come to hike down into the village from Eira do Serrado,...

Top ChoiceTeahouse in Funchal

Reid's Tea Terrace

The quintessential British–Madeiran experience is afternoon tea at Reid's. Some 24 types of tea, as well as cucumber sandwiches, delicate cakes and Champagne, are served on the terrace looking out over the bay of...

Top ChoiceNew Year in Funchal

Fim do Ano

The second biggest bash of the year (after Carnaval) with a gargantuan fireworks display that uses the entire city as a pyrotechnical amphitheatre. It's one of the most popular times to be on the island and...

Top ChoiceParade in Funchal

Festa da Flor

Carnaval 'take two' is an incredibly colourful celebration of Madeira's diverse plant life, with floats weighed down in blossoms and a parade passing through Funchal's city centre to a samba beat.

Top ChoiceFactory in East Madeira

Camacha Wicker Factory

Camacha is the epicentre of Madeira's wicker industry, showcased at the O Relógio (The Clock) building in the centre of the village. The complex has three floors – the top floor is a shop where you'll find...

Top ChoiceCave in São Vicente

Grutas e Centro do Vulcanismo

Top billing on Madeira's north coast goes to this two-for-one attraction just south of São Vicente. The first part of the experience is a guided tour of the local caves – 900,000-year-old lava tubes studied by...

Top ChoiceShoes in Ribeira Brava

Provecto

One of only three craftsmen left on the island who can make the traditional Madeiran botachã (leather ankle boots), Duarte Roche creates more modern handmade shoes based on their design. Give him two days and he...