Visiting Machico and Funchal in Madeira Island

This was my first time in Madeira, and the main reason why I went there was for a wedding of a friend of mine, though, I also had time for some sightseeing obviously. And of course I would have to visit the island’s capital, Funchal, even if just for a few of hours.

One of the things I noticed the most was the huge amount of tunnels, so criticized in Portugal’s mainland, but that make such a big difference for those living there. A few hundred meters make the difference between several hours up to just a few minutes to reach the same destination. Unlike a lot of people think, the tunnels aren’t a matter of luxury or wealth, but something that is indeed needed. It is one of those things that one has to be there to understand.


My host’s city, where I also stayed and the first place I saw after my arrival. Coincidently, also the first settlement in Madeira Island, where João Gonçalves Zarco and Tristão Vaz Teixeira arrived and stablished the first port of the island.

Machico from above at night
Machico from above at night

The landscape is breathtaking, the city is in a valley with has several really steep roads through those hills. More towards east but not far, in Caniçal area, a totally different landscape with a very arid aspect. All part of the same municipality, but so distinct landscapes.

Something I noticed was the massive amount of small lizards, according to what I’ve been told, they are an invasive specie that was introduced by accident, carried by ships. Due lack of natural predators, the lizards became almost like a plague. Cats kinda of helped controlling the amount of lizards, but it is still very common to see those small reptiles through the whole island.


The capital of the Autonomous region, was the place where, oddly, I spent less time at. However, for a Nature lover, I think this was kinda of expected. But I have to admit, the view is also fantastic, either by day or night-time. The historical center is really cosy, several narrow streets with old houses, and with a lot of street art as well. A bit of a paradox, I know, but it all combined really well.

Visiting Machico and Funchal in Madeira Island
Visiting Machico and Funchal in Madeira Island

As I was the last guest to arrive I missed most of the touristic thingies the other guests did there. I haven’t been to the highest point, through the cable car, but maybe another time.

Do not travel without Travel Insurance!

I highly recommend World Nomads, travel insurance oriented to travelers. Well detailed before the unexpected happens!

Something that I really enjoyed to see, but haven’t tried it either, was the Monte’s basket cars. A 2 km ride in 10 minutes, always sliding down the street, a bit overpriced, but certainly a very interesting experience. Again, maybe another time…

By Gil Sousa

Portuguese expat in Cork, traveler and food enthusiastic.

2 replies on “Visiting Machico and Funchal in Madeira Island”

Oh, they are really harmless. At one beach we saw a lot of them, but on the rocks and cliffs. But they hide as soon as we approach them. I’ve been told they are like a harmless plague, they don’t affect the habitat.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.