Maderia is a beautiful, mountainous island with high cliffs overlooking the sea and picturesque villages along
the coast. The temperature is a near perfect 64-75 F year round. The mild climate, adequate rainfall, and rich
soil create an abundance of gardens with over 2500 species of plants and lush vegetation in the mountains to
create the largest laurel forest in the world.
Madeira Portugal Guide
Cruise ships dock in Funchal about 2.2 Km (1.3 miles) from Center City. Self-guided travelers will be happy to hear you can walk from the ship to Center City. The public bus system is excellent, there are HopOn buses to tour Funchal, and low cost bus tours around the island. Cable cars are available to ascend the mountain.
There are many things to see and do in Funchal plus many places to visit outside the city. The tough decision is how to spend your limited, half-day in port. I have written this guide to describe the popular tourist sites in Funchal, sites in the Monte area north of Funchal, and sites outside of Funchal along the coast and in the mountains.
You can’t do it all, so choose wisely between visiting the old town, markets, museums, churches, botanical gardens, shopping for wine and embroidery, cable car rides, nature trail walks, and/or going into the mountains and visiting fishing villages along the coast. It that’s not enough, there is also the possibility of whale and dolphin watching.