We stayed in Calheta wanting a relaxing few days as our year had been rather hectic. However, we didn't want to miss out on visiting the capital of the island.
Our hotel, Saccharum Hotel Resort & Spa, put on several bus trips so we booked ourselves on the trip to Funchal.
Along the route you could not fail to miss the tiers of banana plants, that we had become very used to seeing now and the magnificent extended runway! I am told that it was even more scary landing in Madeira before that was built. I shudder to think ... so moving on!
Given its name by the Portuguese settlers over 5 centuries ago, from the Funcho (fennel) which grew in abundance there.
Funchal is now very modern and the largest city in Madeira with a population of over 111,000. A city where many tourists visit all year round as the climate is apparently always warm.
Safe and clean and full of modern shopping areas, relaxed cafes and bars and fabulous restaurants.
Funchal has a backdrop of stunning mountains.
When you come to seats that look like ice cream cones it would be rude not to sit down and have an ice cream wouldn't it?
I didn't have two ice creams....someone had to take the photo! It was kind of hard not to lick both ice creams though.
It is really difficult not to feel part of this city. The hustle and bustle in the beautiful sunshine gives you a warm feeling inside and out.
Even the police look warm and friendly and take time out to get a cold drink.
There are fresh fruit stalls on each street corner and pretty cafes on the promenade. The fountain in the centre is stunning and ever changing water fountains.
Ah and the prosecco isn't bad either!
There is so much to see in Funchal. We loved it first time. We will definitely visit again.
However, when you visit the first time, you must do the Cable Car ride and the Monte Palace Tropical Gardens.
Watch this space for our visit to both and be prepared to be amazed.