This delightful walking tour of Funchal's historic Old Town includes explorations of an extraordinary open-air market, embroidery factory and winery.
Depart by coach from the pier into the charming Old Town of Funchal, an area first settled in the 1420s. Your first stop will be the Mercado dos Lavradores, an Art Deco-style market that sells everything from fresh produce to locally grown flowers to seafood. Many of the vendors wear traditional costumes, and you may see them arranging colorful produce in pyramids, fileting large tunas or icing down razor-sharp-toothed scabbard fish, a local delicacy. It's a fascinating, up-close look into the local culture.
Then it's off to a nearby embroidery factory that produces a variety of beautiful linens, clothing and handbags. Everything is handmade by "bordadeiras," a highly skilled group of embroiderers who follow traditional production techniques that haven't changed since the factory opened in 1925. More than 200 different items are available, all of them rigorously inspected before being certified for quality and authenticity.
Walking further into the town center, you'll admire the Sé Cathedral, which was consecrated in 1514. While the Gothic-style stone exterior is rather subdued, the interior is stunning. The inlaid ceiling, Mudejar-style decorations, and silver processional cross from King Manuel I of Portugal are especially noteworthy.
From here, continue walking to the Old Blandy Wine Lodges for a visit and tasting of the Madeira wine, world famous for over 400 years.
Afterwards, you'll return back to the pier.
Please note: This tour includes over 2-hours of moderate walking that includes uneven and cobblestone surfaces. There will be a few steps to negotiate. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests and not recommended for those with mobility concerns. Weather appropriate clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; a bottle of water from the ship; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended.