Madeira View breaks >>
Madeira has never quite lost its image of being an island retreat for those in delicate health, a place where the bankrupt old nobility of Europe could flee to escape their debts, or a retirement home for impoverished former colonial servants. Young travellers used to turn their noses up at the thought of a destination with no beaches, and no nightlife.
Sé CathedralFounded in 1485, Funchal's cathedral is one of Madeira's oldest buildings with a link to the island's original settlers. Don't be fooled by its sombre exterior, because inside you will find the most lavish décor with pinnacles shaped like miniture minarets.
Fort of St. JamesThis bright yellow 17th century landmark cannot be missed by anyone looking out from the Funchal promenade. Built to protect the island's sugar-derived wealth, it now houses an art museum and offers panoramic views from the roof.
Adegas de São FranciscoVisit this wine lodge, set in a medieval monastery, to sample Madeira wine and learn how it's produced. Explore the cobbled yards and romantic timbered buildings, or perhaps buy some wine bottled as far back as 1860.
Botanical GardensMadeira has been described as both a 'floating greenhouse' and 'God's garden', fuelling its reputation as one of the world's most thriving botanical islands. Stars of the show include tropical orchids and a fine collection of sculptural agaves.
Monte ChurchOverlooking Funchal and the Atlantic Ocean, this 19th century church stands on the spot where an original chapel was built by the first two children born on the island. It holds the tomb of King Charles I, the last emperor of the Austro-Hungarian empire.
Cable CarOne of the most spectacular ways to view the capital, hoisting you 560m up to the town of Monte. Enjoy the quintessential Madeira experience of sliding back down to Funchal on a metal-shod tobbogan through pretty cobbled streets!