How to visit Funchal for less than £ 100 a night

Located on Madeira’s sunny south coast overlooking the Atlantic, the terracotta-roofed houses of Funchal stretch across the lower slopes of a mountain range.

Dubbed the Atlantic Floating Garden, palm trees line the roads, green spaces teem with vibrant hues, while the rocky coastline is lined with ever-blooming bougainvillea and poinsettias.

Add in a favorable climate all year round (temperatures rarely drop below 18 ° C) and you will see why over a million tourists visit each year.

Majestic: An aerial view of Funchal, the capital of Madeira, from a cable car

Where to stay

Boutique hotel Sé

A two-minute walk from the cathedral, this blue-fronted hotel in central Funchal offers 54 contemporary rooms in sober colors juxtaposing the eclectic style of the lobby with its Venetian chandelier, old-fashioned radiogram and handcrafted mini-bar. from an old cabinet. Make sure to head to the quirky terrace bar (which serves drinks from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.) to take in the panoramic views. Double B&B from £ 76 (seboutiquehotel.com).

Hotel do Carmo

This city center hotel has a rooftop swimming pool and bar with stunning 360-degree views. Inside, it’s like stepping back to the ’60s, thanks to huge images of icons from the decade – including Paul Newman and Andy Warhol – adorning the bedroom walls. The theme continues with the monochrome color palette and collection of vintage cases, radios, and other items scattered throughout the hotel. All 80 rooms are stylish and 49 have balconies (these cost an additional £ 8.85 for limited views). Double B&B from £ 53 (hoteldocarmomadeira.com).

Santa Maria Youth Hostel

Don’t be put off by the word hostel. Yes, there are dorms and double rooms with shared bathrooms, but this former school in the heart of the old town also has two tastefully decorated private suites with TVs, king-size beds, and freestanding bathtubs. Friendly staff welcome you to the ruby ​​red walled reception. double rooms B&B from £ 35; suites from £ 53; breakfast included (santamariafunchal.com).

Dorisol Hotels

Three aparthotels in one can be found in this complex, a short walk from the town and the promenade. For the best views, choose Hotel Mimosa, its 99 studios have been redecorated this year. Although only three stars, this 50-year-old family resort stands out with its tennis court, swimming pools, restaurants and evening entertainment. Double guest room from £ 45 (dorisol.com).

To see and do

Fancy a hike?

Levada trails are popular. These 16th century irrigation canals crisscross the island, through ancient laurel forests, under waterfalls and around mountains. Take a guided walk with Adventure Kingdom (£ 32, madeira-adventure-kingdom.com). A must-see walk is along Ponta de Sao Lourenco, the jagged peninsula marking the easternmost point of Madeira. To get there, rent a car (from £ 36, drivingmadeira.com).

Explore the old town

Stroll through the streets of the old town, lined with galleries, shops, cafes and restaurants

Stroll through the streets of the old town, lined with galleries, shops, cafes and restaurants

Stroll through the streets of the old town lined with galleries, shops, cafes and restaurants. Don’t miss Rua de Santa Maria. Here, around 200 doors have been rejuvenated with vivid paintings, turning the street into a permanent art gallery. Stop by Tapas do Anibal for a tuna sandwich (£ 2.22) and a glass of wine (£ 1.78).

Prepare a picnic

Funchal has a myriad of parks full of beautiful flowers and plants. Have a picnic at a supermarket or bakery and relax in Santa Catarina Park. From here you can look out over Funchal Bay and enjoy a refreshing homemade lemonade (£ 2.90) at the cafe overlooking the harbor.

Must-see museums

Museums cover everything from electricity to embroidery. Football fans will appreciate CR7, Cristiano Ronaldo’s museum housing more than 150 trophies, as well as balls, shirts and other memorabilia (museucr7.com). Try to accommodate a visit to the Madeira Story Center, which traces the history of the island (madeirastorycentre.com).

island hopping

Board the ferry (£ 43 return, portosantoline.pt) and spend the day on the sister island of Porto Santo, with its 10km sandy beach. The crossing takes two hours, but you will be amazed by the imposing landscape of Madeira from the sea.

Enjoy the walk

Admire the black and white mosaic sidewalks along the marina towards the east side of the waterfront. Head to the bustling Workers’ Market, where a profusion of fruits, vegetables, flowers and fish produce a feast of colors and aromas.

Jump into a basket

Palace Tropical Gardens exhibits tropical plants from around the world

Palace Tropical Gardens exhibits tropical plants from around the world

Take a cable car (£ 9.76 one way) to Monte, a hilltop suburb of Funchal, and visit the Palace’s Tropical Gardens (£ 11), which display tropical plants from around the world. When you’re done, ride back down Madeira’s famous toboggan run. Introduced in the 19th century to haul goods up the Three Mile Hill, wicker slides now take tourists back to Funchal (£ 26.60 for two). Not for the faint of heart.

Where to eat

Riso, Risottoria del Mundo

With its canopy terrace atop a cliff overlooking the ocean, Riso specializes in rice dishes from around the world, even for dessert. Fine dining is complemented by the sight and sound of the ocean crashing against the rocks below. Try the Beetroot Risotto with Goat Cheese Gratin (£ 11.98) followed by a delicious Thai black rice with coconut milk and mango (£ 4.80). Address: Rua de Santa Maria 274, riso-fx.com.

Museum Café

Pick a table outside in the cobbled courtyard and watch the world go by at this café located at the Museum of Sacred Art, across from City Hall. A popular pitstop frequented by locals, try the Chestnut, Chive and Sunflower Seed Soup (£ 3.19) followed by espresso (67p).

For something more filling, choose the midday dish (available from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.): a main course, a drink (including wine or beer) and a coffee for £ 7.97. The black scabbard fillet with potatoes, vegetables and passion fruit sauce is popular. Address: Praça do Municipio 85.

Gruta

Don’t be put off by the fact that it’s located next to a busy roundabout near the harbor, it’s not everyday that you get the chance to dine in a cave. Relax outside and watch what’s going on, or sit inside under chandeliers and stalactite decor.

This natural cave located under Santa Catarina Park reopened this year after three decades. Try a steak sandwich (£ 4.25) or the tomato and onion soup with a poached egg (£ 3.99). Address: Avenida Sa Carneiro.

Esplanade O Verdinho

Stroll along the promenade and stop at this beer garden by the harbor (open until 1 a.m.). Feast on a traditional honey cake (£ 1.73) with a glass of Madeira wine (£ 2.88) as you watch the boats come and go. Address: Avenida do Mar e das Comunidades Madeirenses.

TRAVEL FACTS

Easyjet has returns starting at £ 37.98 (easyjet.com). The Funchal Aerobus to the city center costs £ 4.45 one way or £ 7.11 round trip and takes around 30 minutes. For more information, visit visitmadeira.pt.

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