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Things to do in

Funchal

From historical wine cellars, shopping, and unique museums, Madeira’s capital has something for everyone.

Our most recommended things to do in Funchal

Funchal: Dolphin and Whale Watching Catamaran Cruise

1. Funchal: Dolphin and Whale Watching Catamaran Cruise

Discover the natural beauty of Madeira coastline and look for marine life on this catamaran cruise from Funchal. Snorkel through schools of silver fish with high-quality snorkeling gear. Look for dolphins while sipping on a drink purchased from the onboard bar. See dolphins, whales, and turtles playing in their natural habitat. Throughout the year Madeira has different aquatic mammals journeying through its blue waters. Whether you come in summer or winter, the chances are high you’ll see one of these amazing creatures. Stop for a swim during the summer season or catch a glimpse of the world beneath the waves with the provided snorkeling equipment. Relax on deck with a refreshing drink from the onboard bar.

From Funchal: Dolphin and Whale Watching Catamaran Cruise

2. From Funchal: Dolphin and Whale Watching Catamaran Cruise

Go green with the #1 dolphin and whale watching experience in Madeira Island! Cruise on our brand new purpose-built eco-friendly catamaran and enjoy a comfortable cruise along the south coast of Madeira Island. Watch out for wonderful whales and dolphins jumping and splashing nearby. When sea life arrives our electric engines engage for silent emission free cruising which helps keep the cetaceans very happy! On this tour we will sail a few miles out of Funchal looking for all kinds of wildlife such as dolphins, whales, turtles and endemic birds. We often spot these animals jumping and splashing nearby and it’s always a great sight that never gets old!! Our certified guides will provide you with informative commentary and fun facts about the cetaceans and different species that you may find on your trip and in Madeira Island. On our way back, we sail close to the coast passing by many points of interest such Cabo Girão where you will enjoy stunning views of one of the highest sea cliffs in the world! Camara de Lobos Bay – a traditional fishing village; the world famous Reid’s Hotel where Winston Churchill used to stay during his visits to Madeira Island and much more! You will be able to sit back and take in the beautiful views of the south coast of Madeira Island. Magic Dolphin Eco is the only purpose built catamaran for dolphin and whale watching in Madeira Island. It was carefully developed to assure our passengers a safe, comfortable and unforgettable cruise! It is the only ecological catamaran with hybrid-electric engines for dolphin and whale watching, making it the best experience not only for our guests, but also for our beloved cetaceans! Bar service (2x) with drinks and snacks available; Toilets (2x) on deck wheelchair accessible; Two decks for better sightseeing; Fantastic upper deck providing 360° panoramic views! Great bridge deck shade area; Large nets and sea life observation area; Seating for everyone inside and out; Fast Catamaran – up to 20 knots; Modern safety construction 2022; Stable and comfortable cruising. We are one of very few companies to work with professional sealife spotters on land, providing the best possible chances of seeing them in their natural habitat and high quality observation! We are all about responsible dolphin and whale watching, and love sharing our knowledge with you! Join us and observe sealife the right way, in the wild! Note: The cetaceans in Madeira are wild and free, and it is simply not possible to guarantee their sighting. We observe cetaceans every day, however not always every trip. We will always do our best to find them, however if you are unlucky we will do our best to make you happy! Note: Please arrive to our office in Funchal Marina 30 minutes before departure. If you miss the boat, you will be refused a refund. Note: Cancelations/ Booking Changes must be made 24h prior to departure time.

Desertas Islands Full-Day Catamaran Trip from Funchal

3. Desertas Islands Full-Day Catamaran Trip from Funchal

On this full-day catamaran trip to the Desertas Islands, you’ll sail along the south coast of Madeira Island. On arrival, you’ll disembark in clear waters onto a beach of volcanic origin, where you’ll have a chance to enjoy a swim. Covering an area of 12,586 hectares the Natural Reserve of the Desertas Islands comprises all islands and islets (Ilhéu Chão, Deserta Grande, Bugio, and adjacent islets) and all of the surrounding marine area. It has been designated a nature reserve for over 25 years and is now internationally known for its monk seal conservation efforts. Today this protected area can be visited by sea. Deserta Grande is the only island where visitors can disembark, and you’ll enjoy a guided walk to the conservation center to learn about the monk seal protection efforts and also about endemic flora and fauna.

Funchal: Dolphin and Whale Watching Sunset Sailing Tour

4. Funchal: Dolphin and Whale Watching Sunset Sailing Tour

On this relaxing sailing trip get the chance to see dolphins, whales, and sea turtles up to 3 miles from the coast. With some luck, you will see lots of native wildlife in its natural environment. Swim, snorkel or sit back and admire the views, and enjoy a complimentary adult beverage. Your journey begins at the marina in Funchal, where you will board the sailing yacht with a group of up to 20 people. There will be a stop to go swimming and snorkeling at Cabo Girão. Here, you can see the highest sea cliff in Europe, which towers 1,903 feet (580 meters) above the sea. If you don't want to swim, you can simply admire the beautiful coastal landscapes from the boat. You will be offered one complimentary drink on board and be able to admire the beautiful sunset over the sea.

Hike Madeira: Pico Arieiro to Pico Ruivo

5. Hike Madeira: Pico Arieiro to Pico Ruivo

The sun rises over your hotel as you set out on your walking tour adventure. Leaving from the comforts of your room in Funchal on the Madeira Islands, we'll drive you up to the third highest peak in Madeira - the magnificent Pico Arieiro. You'll sip coffee or a drink on your way up to the base of the peak, looking out at all the stunning beauty this place has to offer. As we head from sea level up to the base at 5,964ft (1818m), you'll pass beautiful flora and fauna. Finally, we'll begin our mighty walk up the mighty Pico Arieiro up to the highest point on the island, the Pico Ruivo peak at 6107 ft (1862m). Finally, we'll walk down to Teixeira where you'll be comfortably transferred back to your hotel. And of course, no day of hiking is complete without a drink at a traditional bar, so we'll make sure to stop at one with a spectacular view to enjoy the closing of your day!

Madeira: Half-Day Off-Road Buggy Tour

6. Madeira: Half-Day Off-Road Buggy Tour

Let the adventurer in you explore Madeira’s mountain landscape by off-road buggy with a professional guide. Start your experience with a pickup from your accommodation before arriving at the site of your exploration, the mountainous area near Cabo Girão. Explore Madeira’s dirt paths and mountain tracks in your secure buggy, with goggles and a guide to keep you safe and having fun (1 driver per buggy must have a license). Enjoy riding along some terrain that is otherwise inaccessible without a 4x4 vehicle.  Take mementos from your exploration home with you — your adventurous exploration into the country terrain includes stops at photogenic viewpoints and photos and videos from your accompanying GoPro.  Round off your day with a transfer back to your accommodation.

Self-guided Hike Pico do Arieiro - Pico Ruivo Transfer

7. Self-guided Hike Pico do Arieiro - Pico Ruivo Transfer

Enjoy an affordable and flexible transfer to Pico do Arieiro to enjoy the famous hike all the way to Pico Ruivo. Trek up to the highest and second-highest mountains on Madeira at your own pace and enjoy pickup and drop-off at your accommodation. Instructions will be given by the host, regarding schedules and where you will pass by. The day before the hike, you will receive the exact pickup time and a weather forecast, in order for you to be as prepared as you can be! Get picked up at your accommodation in Funchal and dropped off at the entrance to Pico do Arieiro to begin your self-guided hike. Experience the most amazing natural scenery as you walk from mountain to mountain on the #1 hiking trail on Madeira Island. Once you're finished exploring, the end of the hike and pick-up location is at Achada do Teixeira, in the parking lot area. On the way back to your accommodation, pass through the city of Santana for close-up views of the traditional triangular homes and you will have a tasting and the end of the hike, produced by locals. Hike information: Distance: 10.5 km Availability: 10.00AM - 18.00 Elevation Gain: 1862 m / 1540 m

Funchal: Sunrise Hike from Pico do Arieiro to Pico Ruivo

8. Funchal: Sunrise Hike from Pico do Arieiro to Pico Ruivo

Experience the most amazing natural scenery as you walk from mountain to mountain on a hike from Pico do Arieiro to Pico Ruivo. Walk at your own pace with total freedom as you enjoy the fantastic views. Start with pickup form your accomodation. Before your hike, receive instructions from your host regarding schedules and where you will pass by. The day before the hike, you will receive the exact pickup time and a weather forecast, in order for you to be as prepared as you can be. On the way back to your accommodation, pass through the city of Santana for close-up views of the traditional triangular homes and you will have a tasting and the end of the hike, produced by locals. The schedules presented may suffer alterations in case of delay in traffic, bad weather conditions or even delay by the guests. Summer schedule: 6.00AM - 3.00PM Winter schedule: 5.00AM-2.00PM

Funchal Bay: Dolphin & Whale Watch Luxury Catamaran Cruise

9. Funchal Bay: Dolphin & Whale Watch Luxury Catamaran Cruise

Arrive at Marina Nova Funchal 20 minutes before the scheduled departure time and board a luxury catamaran. Receive some safety information from the experienced crew. Choose to sit in the luxurious interior with comfortable seating and protection from the sun, and lounge chairs or outdoor hammocks. Afterward, sit back and relax as you sail towards the open sea. Although sightings of marine species can not be guaranteed, dolphins and whales are often found in the waters around Funchal. Keep an eye on the movements in the water whilst the crew answers any questions about the variety of species. Continue up to the high cliffs of Cabo Girão, which rise 580 meters above sea level. Anchor the boat at Cabo Girão and immerse yourself in the refreshing waters to explore underwater marine life with a snorkel. Then, stroll at a leisurely pace around the Marina of Funchal, and marvel at the fantastic views of Madeira's landscapes. Return to Funchal Marina Nova for a quick landing process and continue to enjoy your day after the tour.

Funchal: Dolphin and Whale Watching Sailing Trip

10. Funchal: Dolphin and Whale Watching Sailing Trip

Hit the waters near Cabo Girão in search of dolphins and whales on a cruise trip from Funchal. Learn amazing facts about the animals from your guide. Take a dip in the water and use the snorkel provided, or relax with a drink in your hand before your sailboat docks back at the Funchal Marina. Set sail from the marina in Funchal, where you will board the yacht. Search for dolphins, whales, and sea turtles up to 3 miles from the coast. With some luck, you will see lots of native wildlife in their natural environment.  As you keep an eye out for local wildlife, make a stop for snorkeling. Swim in the sea or use the snorkeling gear at Cabo Girão, the highest sea cliff in Europe at 1,903 feet (580 meters) above the sea. Alternatively, admire the towering cliffs and the scenic coastal landscapes from the boat while sipping on a complimentary drink served on board.

Frequently asked questions about Funchal

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The best day trips and excursions from Funchal are:

Porto Moniz

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Other Sightseeing Options in Funchal

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What people are saying about Funchal

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 19,355 reviews

Self guided hike. The driver of the transport vehicle Luis did an excellent job explaining the route and what to be cautious of. He was so accommodating, friendly and professional. He ensured all 8 participants in the vehicle were comfortable and engaged. He even addressed everyone by their first name. So happy we utilized this service.

Sophia was amazing, very friendly and helpful. Growing up on the island she was able to give us a great history of everything from plants to buildings to the wine industry. She was enthusiastic and fun! If you want a true view of Madeira wine, she is a great guide! I highly recommend touring with her!

Great varied experience, learnt about local food and drinks ( with samples) and local related history, good for us as first time visitors to Funchal and Madeira

Andrea was our guide and she was amazing! so knowledgeable and friendly and we learnt so much!! thank you Andrea, excellent experience all round!

Tony our guide for the day was both knowledgeable and friendly. Nothing was too much trouble