Funchal is a bustling city that rises from the Atlantic like an amphitheater. It boasts forts, an historic old town, well-preserved churches, inviting museums, and regionally crafted wines. It is a walkable city with a pleasant harbor and a medieval cathedral more than 500 years old. Funchal is also perpetually warm and sunny, but when the sun goes down, it’s easy to find entertainment, fine cuisine and music in its nightclubs, restaurants, and casino. The black cliffs surrounding Funchal are dotted with world-class hotels.
Madeira´s festive season is the highlight of the year for many, full of flowers, markets, food + fun. The city of Funchal set up a traditional village in the Largo da Restauração, where visitors may discover the tastes of the season with a rum poncha and island-made liquors. Sample Madeira molasses cake, and the holiday sandes de carne-vinho d´alhos (sandwich of marinated pork in wine and garlic). Poncha is sweet but strong and made out of local rum, sugar and citrus. It is the drink of the people, and can vary from bar to bar. Molasses is also the base of Madeira Honey Cake, or in Portuguese “bolo de mel.” It is made with “mel de cana" which means, "cane honey," the Portuguese term for molasses.
The streets of Funchal are covered with festive lights, illuminations and decorations, turning the wide avenues and squares into a wonderland of light and flowers.
Funchal also has a traditional Christmas market on the Avenida Arriaga in the heart of the seaside city. Crafts for sale include local flowers and other traditional lacework, as well as music, food and Madeira wine.
These festivities culminate with the famous fireworks show, officially recognized in 2006 by the Guinness Book of Records, as the largest fireworks show in the world.