Start planning your cruise and book your excursions in Funchal
Let an MSC Mediterranean cruise
take you to Funchal, the capital of the Madeira archipelago
, a string of sub-tropical islands in the Atlantic Ocean formed by volcanic eruptions 20 million years ago. Founded in 1510, Christopher Columbus came here to buy cane sugar, the “white gold” that made Madeira rich.
• Cabo Girão – Europe’s highest promontory
• The best of Madeira
• Exploring Funchai 4x4
Our MSC Cruise excursion takes you to Pico da Torre, 205 meters high, and Pico dos Barcelos, 355 meters above sea level, both with a panoramic view of the city. For even giddier heights, we continue to Cabo Girão. It’s the highest promontory in Europe and the second highest cliff top in the world. Walk across the glass floor skywalk and you look down a 500 meters vertical drop to the Atlantic Ocean raging beneath you.
If you have the time and inclination, a cable car can take you down the cliff face to the terraced fields at the cliff base.
Or take an MSC excursion to see the best of Madeira. You’ll visit Ribeiro Frio, a governmental trout farm in a steep valley surrounded by mountains. A short drive through sugar cane plantations from here takes you to Faial, a pretty village named after local shrubs.
Then travel to Machico, where the first explorers disembarked on Madeira in 1419. It’s home to Madeira’s oldest church, 'Capela dos Milagres'.
Alternatively travel to the centre of the Monte district to see the Nossa Senhora do Monte, the most important pilgrimage site in Madeira.
Alternatively consider a 4x4 road trip further inland to Madeira’s forest regions, where there’s an abundance of the wild fennel, or “funcho” that give Funchal its name. It’s a chance to explore scenic forest landscape that is sadly a rare sight along the Mediterranean.
Here there’s the biggest concentration of ‘Laurissilva’ forest in the world, and many unique flora and fauna. About 149 of 760 plants species growing wild are endemic, as well as several birds too, including the Madeiran long-toed wood pigeon and Zino's petrel.