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Funchal – Places to visit pt.2

Haven’t read pt.1 of the article? It’s not too late, go check it out!
8. See the Church of Our Lady of Monte

The Church of Our Lady of Monte (Igreja do Monte) is a little 18th-century church just a few steps away from Monte cable car top station and the Monte Palace Tropical Garden. You’ll have to negotiate some very steep stairs, but it’s well worth it. On a clear day, you can see the town of Funchal, the beautiful coastline, and the mountains.

The exterior of the church doesn’t look very special, but the interior is very well decorated with beautiful paintings and statues. Worth visiting is the tomb of Charles I. He was the last emperor of Austria (and of the Habsburg dynasty) and spent the last years of his life in exile in Madeira.

9. Take a Wicker Toboggan Sled Ride

Dating from the end of the 19th century, wickerwork is a very important industry in Madeira. Wicker is used for all kinds of objects like bread baskets or chairs, but also for the world-famous Madeira wicker baskets.

Wicker basket sled ride down the steep streets of Monte is probably the most unique tourist attraction in Funchal. Toboggans are pushed and steered by two runners wearing traditional white costumes and straw hats and can seat two people (three if one of them is a child). If you are brave enough to try it, you’re in for a dare-devilish ride and an experience of a lifetime.

Toboggan ride in the traditional wicker basket is an old Madeira tradition. In the past local residents used it as a means of transport to quickly get from the village of Monte high on the mountain to the town of Funchal, by the sea.

 

10. Madeira Story Centre

Madeira Story Centre is a modern museum showing the complete history of Madeira. From its volcanic origins to the history of Portuguese explorers and pirates, to development of tourism and the most recent history of the island.

11. Jesuits’ College of Funchal

Considered one of the most remarkable buildings of Madeira, the 16th century Jesuit College of Funchal is also worth a short visit. Part of the buildings now house the University of Funchal.

The college has a wonderful interior with amazing sculptures and paintings and can be visited from Monday to Saturday. For just 1 EUR you can climb the tower and enjoy the views of Funchal. Rumour has it that the student café has good coffee with delicious custard cakes (pastel de nata) at very low prices.

12. Visit CR7 museum

CR7 is a museum dedicated to Madeira’s most famous football player – Cristiano Ronaldo. He’s a living legend here and even Madeira’s airport has recently been named after him.

I wouldn’t say that this museum is a must see in Funchal, but if you are a huge fan and have half an hour to spare, you may want to take a look inside. The museum is not so much about Ronaldo as a person, rather focussed on his achievements. It’s full of memorabilia, trophies, medals & life-size statues of Madeira’s all-time best football player.

If you just want to take a picture with the statue of your hero, you can do that outside as well – no need to go inside the museum just for that.

 

13. Quinta das Cruzes

Museu Quinta das Cruzes, as well as the gardens, are nice to see if you are looking for more nice things to do in Funchal. The house has a collection of 17-18th-century furniture and household items giving you a good idea of how the wealthy people lived in Madeira several hundred years ago.

The adjacent gardens can be visited free of charge. They have a strange archeological collection of old gravestones, crosses, gargoyles and other finds coming from old churches and palaces from all over Madeira.

14. Palheiro Gardens

Quinta do Palheiro Ferreiro is an English-style park a bit outside the city. Featuring over 3,000 plant species and traversed by avenues planted with camellias and exotic trees, it’s a wonderful garden to visit in Funchal.

These gardens are quite hard to get to without a car and would probably take you at least half a day to visit. So it’s not something I recommend if you have limited time. However, if you are in Madeira for a week or two, you should certainly consider going here.

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