Funchal, Madeira

Old Jun 3rd, 2016, 07:15 AM
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Funchal, Madeira

Has anyone been to Funchal, Madeira? I saw it on The Bachelor and I have wanted to go there ever since. Well, now I am going there (port stop on a cruise on Nov 1st) What are the things to see and do. I like picturesque views, history and culture, local food and gardens. I know I want to leave some time just to stroll the streets a little. I have done a little homework, but I want some first hand experience if possible. TIA for your input.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2016, 07:55 AM
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We have been there for one day - it was, like in your case, a port of call on a cruise.

Funchal is an agreeable quaint town. The scenery around Funchal is spectacular. We rented a car for a day to do some scenic drives, however, all Madeira was in clouds and it rained all day. I must admit that the people on the cruise ship told us that the weather on Madeira is always like this! (Maybe you are lucky enough to catch an unusual day.)

So, we spent most of our day admiring the inside decorations of churches (not because we are so religious, but to get some protection from the rain) and strolling through the Old Town of Funchal. The rental car was not much use for us, because we had to turn soon after leaving Funchal because of the fog.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2016, 08:40 AM
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I had a week in Madeira on the outskirts of Funchal last year. There are indeed gardens to see, accessible by cable car from the town centre, near the historic centre with arty streets and shops of varying degrees of chic. Personally I preferred the Palace Tropical Garden to the public botanical gardens, but it's partly a matter of taste. If you're only there for the day, you won't have a chance to see much more than that and wander round the old town, I'd have thought. There is some stunning mediaeval Flemish art in the gallery, and the Baroquery of the cathedral is impressively over the top.

Weatherwise, in February it was mostly quite like an English summer (better than the one we're having at the moment), apart from up in the mountains, where the cloud came down; but since it's out in the middle of the Atlantic, the weather's bound to be changeable and inclined to the damp.

I wouldn't let them sell you an excursion to the Valley of the Nuns; it was a bit of a disappointment.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2016, 08:56 AM
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We spent a week in Funchal. It seems Americans are rare there. We thoroughly enjoyed our levada walks. They can be leisurely or strenuous.

Are you surely eat the world's ugliest fish la espada.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2016, 09:20 AM
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It depends on how long you've got onshore as to whether you'd have time to venture outside of Funchal. There's plenty to see in the town itself to take up a day, but the Levadas alone would take up most of your time. We've spent several weeks on the island over the last few years and love the place.

If you've got a short time, then choose wisely:
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Old Jun 3rd, 2016, 10:29 AM
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Thank you for the quick replies.
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