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Beautiful Funchal is the capital of the Portuguese island of Madeira, off the coast of Morocco. Sandwiched between mountains and the sea is has colonial elegance, charm and offers something for everyone – from golf courses to galleries.
Visitors flock to this mid-Atlantic haven in the summer months from June to September, when the weather is warm and dry. But Funchal is a year-round destination. Spring and autumn are still warm although there is more chance of rain, and even in winter temperatures reach 20°C.
Carnival in February and the Madeira Flower Festival in April attract the crowds.
If you are planning to visit Funchal during the peak season it pays to book ahead, but there are plenty of ways to ensure you find a cheap flight to Funchal when you book with Expedia.
Being flexible helps and using the ‘Nearby airports’ option will allow you to look for flights from different UK departures points.
There are lots of flights to Funchal from the UK and using the ‘Show flexible dates’ option could find you a cheaper ticket on a different day.
To filter your results by price, airline and other criteria use the ‘Show options’ drop down or the buttons on the left of your screen.
Optimal flight times from UK airports to Funchal include:
Funchal’s main gateway is Cristiano Ronaldo Airport, recently renamed in honour of Madeira’s famous footballing son. A bizarre bust of the footballer at the airport attracted worldwide ridicule and was replaced after a year.
More than three million passengers travel through the airport each year. There are restaurants and shopping facilities and car rental firms in the arrivals hall.
Airlines flying to Funchal from the UK include:
Buses, taxis and shuttles take passengers from the airport to the city, eight miles away. Funchal has a good bus service and taxis are plentiful around the city. There is also a cable car that takes you up to the district of Monte, which overlooks the city and has several tourist attractions. Central Funchal is compact and can be navigated on foot.
Madeira’s impressive art collection, much of it purchased with the proceeds of the island’s sugar trade, is housed at the Museu de Arte Sacra, a grand 16th century palace. Highlights include several rooms of Flemish masters.
On a hillside overlooking Funchal is Madeira Botanical Garden. The island’s climate means all sorts of plants flourish here and there are palms, cacti, succulents and tropical fruit trees. The aviary is also well worth visiting.
Funchal’s cobbled old town is now the city’s party zone, crammed with restaurants, bars and clubs. Its worth exploring at any time of the day or night.
Madeira is not renowned for its beaches but there are pleasant black and pebble beaches around Funchal. There are also bike trails and golf courses close to town, and you can hike or even paraglide in the mountains.
Don’t forget to try a drop of the famous liqueur named after the island.