Thursday, August 18, 2011

Funchal, Portugal – A Travel Guide

Funchal is a city in Portugal. It is the capital city of the Madeira Islands, located off the Atlantic Coast. The city is a culturally significant location, and one of the best places to visit if you want a combination of nature, facilities, entertainment and historical sights all in one. The natural beauties of the island group of Madeira are one of the most notable attractions in Funchal.

Funchal is placed in a bowl shaped land, almost resembling a huge amphitheater. The walls of the ‘amphitheater’ rise from the Funchal harbor and gradually rise upto 1200 meters in height. The unique shape offers some superb protection from the elements, which is why the city of Funchal was founded here in the first place.

Funchal


Funchal got its name from the huge quantities of fennel growing in the region. The city is incredibly beautiful, and has a huge array of gorgeous parklands, shops, hotels, entertainment options, and more.

If you wish to explore the city of Funchal right away, there is no better destination to head to first than the Madeira Botanical Gardens, locally known as the Jardins Botanicos da Madeira. The gardens are located close to three kilo meters off downtown Funchal. There are close to two thousand species of plants in the gardens.

Madeira Botanical Gardens

The Convento da Santa Clara, or the Santa Clara Convent is another major attraction in Funchal. The convent is respected as a national monument, and was established by Joao Gonçalves da Câmara sometimes in the end of the 15th century. The azulejo tiles in the convent is one of its most remarkable features.

Convento da Santa Clara

Once you are done with the Santa Clara Convent, make your way toward the Se Cathedral. The Cathedral was built by King Dom Manuel I between 1493 and 1517. The entire cathedral is a marvel of architecture. The ceiling of the cathedral was made totally out of locally cut wood.

Porto Santo is a minuscule island located off the north east coast of Madeira Island. The island can be accessed by boat or by place. There are a host of sights in Porto Santo, including the house of Christopher Columbus. The beach here is nice, as are the numerous restaurants here.

Source : theearthtraveler.com