Funchal

A nice bay protected by sloping mountains
The majestic Church of the Incarnation
The Cabo Girão cliffs

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Funchal/Madeira

Tasting the flavour of the rebuçados de funcho

As you arrive in Funchal on an MSC cruise, your ship will cast anchor in a bay protected by mountains rising straight up behind the port. The name, Funchal, derives from that of the fennel plant, the funcho still used today in the traditional sweets known as rebuçados de funcho, that one can find anywhere on the island of Madeira.
 
An excursion will take you around the town centre, to visit historic churches, from the A Sé Cathedral, with its inlaid ceiling, to the majestic Church of the Incarnation, to the church of Carmo without a vault.

Another MSC excursion will take you up to the village of Monte, from where one can admire a spectacular view of the Funchal bay. You can visit its 18th century church and the tomb of the last Austrian emperor, Charles I, and stroll around the magnificent botanic gardens. But if you like heights, there’s nothing more impressive than the Cabo Girão and its 589 metre tall cliffs, amongst the highest in the world, at the foot of which lie the cultivated lands known as Fajãs do Cabo Girão.

If you’re looking for an equipped beach during your MSC cruise, another excursion will take you to Machico. Founded in the 15th century, it hosts the oldest religious building on the island, the Capela dos Milagres, and the fortresses of São João Baptista and Nossa Senhora do Amparo built in the beginning of the 16th century.

The more lively tourist attraction is instead in Calheta, on the south-west coast. Splendid yachts cruising across the Atlantic are moored in the port and if you want to go for a swim there are two beautiful beaches of golden sand; in spite of the modern structures Calheta dates back to the mid-15th century. This is where they make the “Aguardente”, the best white rhum, and fundamental ingredient of Madeira’s typical drink, the “Poncha” .

Must see places in Funchal

  • Monte Palace Tropical Garden

    Monte Palace Tropical Garden

  • The town from Pico dos Barcelos

    The town from Pico dos Barcelos

  • Toboggan down from Monte

    Toboggan down from Monte

Discover our excursions

7 results found

  • EXPLORING FUNCHAL BY 4X4

    ACTIVE & ADVENTURE

    FUN09

    The historical city of Funchal has been Madeira’s capital for more than 500 years and its greater municipal area is also home to a panoply of untouched natural beauty that this exciting road trip in a 4x4 will give you a chance to experience at first hand
    • No guide available

    • Limited seats

    • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Moderate

    • Duration
      4 h

    • Adults$85.00Price per person

    • Children$59.00Price per person

  • DISCOVERING FUNCHAL

    CITY TOUR

    FUN05

    Your discovery tour of Funchal, the capital of Madeira, begins with a drive to the town of Monte and the mid-18th-century church of Nossa Senhora do Monte, a popular Catholic pilgrimage site, along with its beautiful gardens. Have your camera poised for t
    • Shopping

    • Active excursions recommended only for guests in good physical health

      Difficulty Level
      Strenuous

    • Duration
      4 h

    • Adults$62.00Price per person

    • Children$49.00Price per person

  • PICO DOS BARCELOS

    NATURAL WONDERS

    FUN01

    Leave the vessel and get ready to fall in love with the lush landscape of Madeira. A coach drive will take you to the town of Pico dos Barcelos from where we can admire breathtaking views over the island of Madeira. Continue to Monte and visit to “Nossa S
    • Tasting included

    • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Moderate

    • Duration
      3:30 h

    • Adults$62.00Price per person

    • Children$49.00Price per person

  • WILDLIFE EXPLORATION BY BOAT

    NATURAL WONDERS

    FUN10

    Channel your inner Cousteau and set sail for a thoroughly immersive – yet dry – exploration of the thrilling marine wildlife found in the offshore waters of Madeira’s south coast. Once briefed and safely on the boat, you can begin to look forward to the t
    • No guide available

    • Limited seats

    • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Moderate

    • Duration
      3 h

    • Adults$99.00Price per person

    • Children$72.00Price per person

  • CABO GIRAO & RIBEIRA BRAVA

    SCENIC ROUTE

    FUN04

    After first heading to the Pico da Torre vantage point for the panoramic view, the excursion then continues up to Cabo Girão, which is the world’s second-highest cliff face. The outlook from the safety railings is out of this world and a great place from
    • Tasting included

    • Wheelchair and disabled-friendly tour – Wheelchair guests must be accompanied by their own helper to get on/off the coach. Wheelchairs must be foldable as the coach is not provided with ramps or lifts. Once onboard, please contact Excursions Desk staff promptly so they can help make arrangements.

    • Limited seats

    • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Easy

    • Duration
      4 h

    • Adults$52.00Price per person

    • Children$39.00Price per person

  • FAIAL

    SCENIC ROUTE

    FUN02

    Starting out from the port of Funchal, the capital of the verdant island of Madeira, the tour first takes you to Terreiro de Luta, Poiso and Pico de Areeiro for breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. The excursion continues with a visit to a loc
    • Lunch or dinner included

    • Tasting included

    • Wheelchair and disabled-friendly tour – Wheelchair guests must be accompanied by their own helper to get on/off the coach. Wheelchairs must be foldable as the coach is not provided with ramps or lifts. Once onboard, please contact Excursions Desk staff promptly so they can help make arrangements.

    • Limited seats

    • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Easy

    • Duration
      7 h

    • Adults$125.00Price per person

    • Children$89.00Price per person

  • EIRA DO SERRADO, MONTE & CABLE CAR

    SOMETHING SPECIAL

    FUN03

    An approx. 30-minute coach drive brings you to the town of Eira do Serrado for a short stop to look around. Perched at a height of 1,026 metres above sea level, the place offers gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains and the village lying in Nun’s Va
    • Tasting included

    • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Moderate

    • Duration
      4 h

    • Adults$62.00Price per person

    • Children$49.00Price per person

The excursions in the program above are intended to provide MSC Guests with an idea of the different tours that can be arranged in each port of call; this program is merely a guide and confirmation of each excursion and its description and prices will be made during your cruise.
Shore excursions programs and itineraries may vary depending on local conditions and/or any unforeseen events in relation to the timing on the day of the tour.

 

Some excursions are very popular and therefore availability cannot always be guaranteed, it is advisable to book in advance to avoid disappointment. The guides are guaranteed in English. Only for South America cruises, the guides are guaranteed in Brazilian Portuguese. Narration in other languages depends on the availability of guides. Please note that the final language of the tour will be confirmed on board during the cruise.

Reach the port

Port of Funchal

This section contains information on how to reach the port.

Cruise Terminal:

Cais Sul Avenida Sà Carneiro (South Terminal)

Reach the port by

  • Car

    The port is open to motor vehicles between 8:00 am and 23:00 pm.
    Follow the signs for Funchal and Port or Pontinha.
    Car
  • Plane

    Madeira Airport is less than a half-hour drive from Funchal’s city centre and port. There is a taxi rank immediately outside the airport building. 
    A bus service operated by the company SAM runs hourly at most times of the day, travelling from the airport to Funchal city centre and port.
    Plane

Portugal

Golden beaches and coloured azulejos
Golden beaches and coloured azulejos

Once a powerful seafaring kingdom that dominated the merchant routes to Africa, South America and the Orient, Portugal today is a friendly, low-key place with a laidback vibe and a fantastic coastline, much of it fringed by golden sands and endless dunes.

Many of these beaches extend as far as the eye can see, and are rarely busy even in high summer, but as they face the full power of the Atlantic, they can be dangerous for swimming. 


Its rolling interior is perfect for exploring on foot, by kayak, by bike or even on horseback – though a large part of the country’s charm comes from languorous days on the beach, dining on fabulously fresh seafood and kicking back with a beer to watch the sunset over the Atlantic. 


During a holiday to Portugal legacy of its former wealth and power can be seen in its historic cities; Lisbon, superbly sited on the Tejo river estuary, is popular today for its grand Manueline monuments and medieval alleyways. 


A cruise to Portugal is also a good chance to visit Funchal, the capital of the Portuguese island of Madeira in the Atlantic Ocean.

 
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