Madeira, Funchal and Porto Santo

Madeira has some interesting museums. ‘Madeira Story Centre’ makes visitors experience the historic events of the island right from its volcanic origin several million years back, hydroplane landing, the times of Churchill, Napoleon and Infant D. Henrique. You get access to telescopes at the terrace. ‘Contemporary Art Museum’ is at Forte São Tiago and displays contemporary art of the Portuguese. Many exhibitions are held by inviting works of other institutions and galleries. ‘Sacred Art Museum’ at Rua do Bispo exhibits 17th & 18th centuries’ sacred jewellery; it also has Religious sculptures of 16th -18th centuries. ‘Universo de Memórias’ is at Calçada do Pico. It shows João Abreu- Tourism Secretary’s travel life with books, paintings, ceramics and some bronze objects. It has a ‘Tea house’ too. ‘City’s Museum’ is located at Largo do Colégio. It shows Funchal city’s 500 years history.


Funchal city is rich due to several aspects. You need more than a day for exploring it, but a rental car in Funchal is not stricly necessary. There are many places of interest here and it covers built and natural heritage. In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, it was a “sugar town” just gaining popularity. Buildings of those times are present even today. Such built heritage is found primarily at the middle of Funchal. The 3 historically important areas are “Sé”,”São Pedro” and “Santa Maria”.


The beaches of this island are characterised by pleasant weather, clear water and good overall standards. You will find golden sand at Machico and Calheta since it was imported here. Many of its beaches pebbled too. Great pools and sandy beaches can be found on Madeira. Car hire is recommended as many beaches are secluded and difficult to reach with public transport.


Porto Santo’s golden beach stretches 9 kilometres. It is part of the Madeira archipelago and it is a tranquil place. It was discovered in 1418 and its name was actually “Holy Port” since it offered shelter during stormy season. After this island was discovered, it paved way for other discoveries – west of African coast, Cape Good Hope, Japan and East Indies. Its area is 42 sq km. The northern part is covered by calcareous matter. Its highest peak is “Pico do Facho”. It has an airport and facilities to play volleyball and tennis. Island tours and windsurfing are also possible, but you can also explore the island yourself. This is not a typical cheap holiday destination and Porto Santo car hire is usally a bit more expensive than renting a car on Madeira, but it is certainly worthwhile.


Some of the churches that you can pay a visit to are: Colégio Church, English Church, ‘Convento de Santa Clara’, ‘Igreja do Carmo’, ‘Santiago Menor Church’, ‘Capela da Boa Viagem’, ‘Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Monte’, ‘Capela dos Milagres’ and ‘Capela de Nossa Senhora da Piedade’.


There are many supermarkets and shopping centres. Regional markets sell flowers, food items, fruits, clothes, toys, beverages etc. Some established markets are at ‘Santo da Serr’, ‘Ponta Delgada’ and ‘Santa (Porto Moniz)’. Visit the traditional markets for local goods. ‘Mercado dos Lavradores’ is at Old town and is closed on Sundays.


Keep your license and credit card ready if you want to book Madeira car hire in the city of Funchal or at Madeira airport. Remember that cheaper is not always better: get information on the insurances that the quote of your car rental will have like 3rd partly liability insurance, theft protection insurance and damage waiver insurance. While hiring a cheap rental vehicle, it is normal to have questions which the trained customer care personnel of the car hire companies on the island will gladly answer. There are several global and local suppliers for car rental at Madeira, just shop around, compare prices and make your decision.

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