Car hire in Funchal
Car Hire in Funchal
The city received its name after the first settlers to land on its shores in the 15th century encountered an abundance of wild fennel, or ‘funcho’ as it is known in Portuguese.
The island’s airport was once well-known for its unusually short runway, but it has now been extended over the sea.
What I need to know
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There is no credit card fee and if your travel plans change then there’s no charge for cancelling your Funchal car hire. Additionally, customers also have 24/7 support so there’s always someone to personally deal with your booking.
Where to pick up my car
Many of Funchal’s car rental companies can be found along the south coast of Madeira near Estrada Monumental. Several Funchal car hire providers are based on the southeast of the island too.
If you are flying into Madeira, you’ll have the option of collecting your Funchal hire car at Madeira Airport (FNC) inside the terminal.
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“The pick-up was easy, it took 5 minutes from arriving at the desk to driving out the car, and the return took even less time.”
Where to go
Being sat on the south coast of Madeira, Funchal is blessed with a fine marina so taking a stroll down Av. Do Mar and Av. Sá Carneiro is a good starting point when trying to get a feel for the city.
Although Madeira is a small island, covering just 29 square miles, having a hire car guarantees your ability to get out of Funchal and explore the island at your leisure.
It means you can drive to other resorts close-by such as Ponta Do Sol, Santa Cruz and the charming town of Ribeira Brava.
If you feel like driving further afield, Porto Moniz with its beautiful beaches and natural swimming pool sits in the northwestern corner of the island. You can get there is less than an hour and it’s worth making the effort.
Heading east along the north coast will bring you to Ponta Delgada and eventually São Jorge, both of which offer breathtaking views and scenery.
Eating and drinking
You’ll find fantastic local food all over Madeira, especially in Funchal. Meat lovers should keep an eye out for carne de vinho e alhos, picado and espetada, which is large chunks of beef rubbed in garlic and salt, skewered onto a branch of bay leaves and left to grill over smouldering wood chips.
Things to do
Despite being sat on the southern coast, Funchal doesn’t have any sandy beaches. For those, you’d have to drive over to Machico or Porto Santo. Funchal does have the one man-made beach nearby though, at Calheta to the west of the city.
We’d also recommend checking out Monte Palace Tropical Garden and Santa Catarina Park.
Funchal is home to some speciality museums, most notably, one dedicated to Cristiano Ronaldo, the captain of Portugal’s national football team, who was born in the city in 1985.
Other museums include the Madeira Film Experience and Museu do Brinquedo, which houses childrens’ toys from the 1940s and 50s, right up to modern day.
There are also some deeply historic landmarks such as the Santa Clara Monastery and Sao Tiago Fort.