Holidays to Funchal are a real pick ’n’ mix job. You can laze round the lidos, spend in the shopping malls, or stroll in the gardens. All this and year-round sunshine, too.
A clever mix
Funchal gets a ringside seat on Madeira’s south coast. Set on a hillside, this colourful capital city divvies up the old and new. You’ve got modern shopping malls and a cosmopolitan marina happily sharing space with the cobbled streets and traditional restaurants. And it’s all overseen by a cable car that serves up impressive views.
Beaches and lidos
Close to Funchal, there’s a line-up of lidos and pool complexes dotted between the cliffs and rocks, all well stocked with snack bars and restaurants. And a 25-minute walk gets you to a trio of small, black sandy beaches. You’ve got a popular spot here with changing rooms and a kids’ play area.
Madeira is nicknamed ‘the Floating Garden’ – and when you walk round Funchal it’s easy to see why. The place is covered in parks and gardens full of exotic flowers, lakes and waterfalls. Some spots are great for shaded picnics. Then you’ve got the show-stopping botanical and tropical gardens – well-behaved, multicoloured jungles that come with top views.
About 15 minutes’ drive east and you’re in Santa Cruz. The pebbled beach has a playground with toys for the little ones, and there’s a water park nearby. Ten minutes the other way gets you to Câmara de Lobos. It’s a great place for clifftop walks and come supper time you can tuck into the local espada fish at the harbour.
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