Funchal, capital of Madeira, began life as a pirate town, cultivating fennel. Nowadays, it is a vibrant city, with a host of upmarket hotels and restaurants. It is very popular all year round with tourists, as it is sunny whatever the season. Here, one will find sun, sea, sand, history, culture and easy access to nature reserves and mountains. With all this to offer, it is little surprise that those who visit here return time and time again.
For some decades now, Funchal has been a stop-off point for Atlantic cruise ships. This is because the centre of the old town, with all its heritage, shops, eateries and coffee shops, is easily accessible from the harbour. The view from deck as the ship sails into Funchal Harbour is considered to be amongst the most impressive in the world; rivalled only by Rio de Janeiro. It is customary for the majority of European cruise ships on their maiden voyage to stop here.