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  • Annie 186 posts

    We are currently in Vienna where we have joyfully used a lots of tips offered by HfP people so I thought I’d ask for advice on our next trip.
    We’re there 5 nights from 23 August and staying at Quinta de Casa Branca on the BA double tier points deal.
    So, all advice on restaurants,things to see and do and just Funchal and Madeira generally gratefully received.

    Tracey 240 posts

    Cable car up to the botanical gardens.

    Tea at (the Belmond) Reid’s palace.

    There are lots of off road hiking paths.

    RobL 69 posts

    Two excellent restaurants in Funchal under Chef Júlio Pereira, namely Akua and Kampo.

    Akua is seafood oriented and was our preferred one of the two, try and get a seat at the counter. Kampo is meat oriented and is also very good.

    Both restaurants are quite small so book ahead. We were there in 2022 but I have just looked at the reviews on tripadvisor and standards seem to have been maintained.

    The Tuna Tartare is brilliant.

    Definitely not to be missed.

    Tracey 240 posts

    Chalet Vincente, ask for a table on the balcony.

    AFKAE 136 posts

    Take the hop on/hop off bus around the island. You can get a multi day ticket and use it to visit lots of different attractions.

    In Funchal there is a pedestrianised street Rua Santa Maria with lots of bars and restaurants so you can take your pick.

    The food and flowers market is quite good for a wander around.

    forensic 13 posts

    We were in Funchal in June this year. We stayed at the Cliff Bay which is a very short walk from where you are staying so I comment on the immediate area.

    If you walk down to the Estrada Monumental you will find plenty of restaurants of every persuasion as you go down the hill. We had a very nice meal at the Atlantic overlooking the ocean. For a different experience try Casa das Espetadas. These are traditional Madeiran skewers. Don’t be put off by the low price of 19 Euros for three courses. The meal punches above its cost in our opinion.

    Second the cable car suggestion. Check the weather first, the top of the mountain can be swathed in mist while at sea level all is fine. From the top you can take the famous basket sledges back down if you wish.

    If you are just interested in Funchal town then take a taxi or catch a bus on the Estrada Monumental. As we wanted to see more of the island we had 48hr tickets on the hop on hop off Yellow Bus tours. Obviously it will take you into Funchal, about 15 minutes. However the trip only goes round anti-clockwise so you are then committed to the full tour or take a taxi/bus back to the hotel.

    Camara de Lobos is a pretty little village worth visiting. A highlight of our holiday was sitting outside a café overlooking the bay with a glass of red wine and a sandwich of chunks of pork in a traditional garlic and wine sauce. Sometimes the simple pleasures are the best!

    From Camara de Lobos a connecting bus (part of the tour) takes you to Cabo Girao. This is the second/third highest sea cliff in Europe/the world/universe depending on who you talk to. Its a couple of Euros to get in (card only I recall). There’s a glass walkway, a gift shop and a restaurant. Unless you plan on eating there 20min is plenty.

    If you decide on the Yellow Bus tour the stop is just up the hill from the Cliff Bay and the buses arrive just after 15 minutes before and after the hour.

    freckles 134 posts

    Interested too as will be there in September. I was going to say beware of days when large cruise ships are in port, but having checked your dates you seem to have avoided them – I have one in while I’m there so planning to get out of Funchal that day.

    Plenty boat trips available if you’re into the possibility of dolphin or whale watching.

    Another thing I always look at is free walking tours (tip at the end) to get a feel of the place.

    Annie 186 posts

    Thank you all that’s very helpful. Will certainly try as many of your suggestions as we can.

    We are great fans of the free walking tours, did one yesterday in Bratislava. The guides are always great, I suppose they have to be to be paid well.

    MilesOnPoint 86 posts

    Highly recommend “Restaurante Casal da Penha” in Funchal, one of the best around. Tuna belly is a local delicacy and is grilled to perfection there.

    Get out of Funchal one of the days if you can, would recommend walking one of the Levadas. There are easy flat options or challenging peaks, depending on your preference. Contact Anselmo at Madeira Eco Holidays who will organise a private tour for the day/half day at a very reasonable cost.

    +1 to all the comments above re: the cable car. If you go to the gardens at the top, avoid the cafe with the “free sample of Madeira”. Instead, opt for the lovely cafe near the entrance (Greenhouse Coffee Roasters) which makes fresh juices and sandwiches, boasting a spectacular view towards the sea below.

    AndyGWP 286 posts

    We went somewhere called O Tasco (restaurant) which we thought was fantastic, but according to Google maps it is temporarily closed :/ (not sure for how long / why)

    Annie 186 posts

    Heading home on Monday after having really enjoyed Madeira. Am I right that there’s no lounge at Funchal airport? Flying BA CE and I know there isn’t a lounge via BA but even the Amex Plat one appears to be temporarily closed.

    freckles 134 posts

    Recent suggestions on FT, that CE passengers can now use the ANA lounge – but it’s tiny!
    Most recommend just sitting on the outdoor terrace.

    Any recommendations beyond those mentioned up thread?

    Annie 186 posts


    Recent suggestions on FT, that CE passengers can now use the ANA lounge – but it’s tiny!
    Most recommend just sitting on the outdoor terrace.

    Any recommendations beyond those mentioned up thread?

    Yes, Terra in Funchal just served us what was quite possibly the best meal we’ve had in a good while.

    We hired a car for two days and drove all around the island, I’d recommend that. It’s unspeakably hot ( for me anyway ) and waiting for a hop on hop off bus just wouldn’t be nice. We got to drive above the clouds which was very atmospheric.
    If our otherwise amazing hotel hadn’t just had a breakdown of the air con I’d be able to remember the place names. Will try to recall them tomorrow.

    Annie 186 posts

    Liked Monte Palace gardens so much that we visited twice in 5 days.
    Seixal was worth an hour or so enjoying a drink while smiling at all the multi coloured beach towels on the almost black sand. As someone said earlier on this topic, the simple pleasures…
    Porto Moniz for swimming in the volcanic pools.
    The walk at Ponta da Sao Lourenco was amazing but sadly we are not currently fit enough to do the full walk in the heat.
    We tried to do a Levada walk, unguided but never quite found a place to park the car and walk from that was shaded. Perhaps next time.

    freckles 134 posts

    Thanks Annie. You have my sympathy re heat – it was high 30’s when I went to Sofia (and 5 degrees warmer the day in Plovdiv) and it just drains you physically and mentally. Hopefully in a few weeks time when I go to Madeira it will be a little cooler.

    Booked a tour put to the eastern side of the island, which includes Ponta da Sao Lourenco, but am unlikely to get to the west for Porto Moniz etc.

    Definitely planning Monte and cable car, maybe the baskets down.

    Safe flight home.

    Jill Kinkell 152 posts

    We’re heading to FNC in Oct so all the posts have been very helpful. OH not keen on the basket trip, but definitely cable car and gardens and no doubt a trip out or two

    Annie 186 posts

    Do the baskets, it’s fun! I’m not adventurous but I liked it. The down side is the queuing. Around 90 minutes but mostly in the shade. One of you join the queue while the other goes to get the tickets and then joins you in the hopefully shorter queue. €35 for two people, tip requested at the end and the tourist photo for €10. When you get off at the end you’re nowhere. Taxis are waiting but they only take cash and the prices seemed to be double what they were normally. We walked a bit down hill then managed to hail a taxi through the Bolt app. Bolt drivers won’t go up the hill to Monte, the steep hills use too much petrol. The toboggan doesn’t operate on Sundays.

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