Thursday, May 19, 2016

Exploring Funchal

Today was an exploring day!  After a late breakfast in our little house we set out on foot for the old central part of Funchal, a 15-minute-ish hike down steep narrow streets towards the water.

Our impression of Funchal so far is that it's slightly busier and more "touristy" than the Azores, probably due to the fact that it's a short trip from Europe and a popular destination for cruise ships.  That said, we are fortunate to be travelling before the busiest part of tourist season, so things are still fairly quiet!

One of our first stops today was the cable car, which starts near the water and rises up through the steep hills to high above the city.

At the top of the funicular we wandered a little, including watching some tourists ride down the steep streets sitting in what is essentially a wicker chair on wooden skies, steered by two guys standing on the back.  Looked a little fun but a little crazy considering that they're navigating amidst other vehicles on the road!

After the return trip back down to the water, we set out to find something on Leslie`s to-do list; a public pool near the waterfront that apparently gets filled every morning with ocean water.  After a long walk we found the place, got changed, and went for a somewhat chilly swim :)

And of course there are stairs that lead right down to a swimming area in the Atlantic Ocean itself - only a few degrees colder than the pool - so of course we had to check that out too.

After that we trekked back to our house for a quick break, and then headed out for dinner to place we had bookmarked back when planning the trip... unfortunately, despite what Google Maps suggests, it was not a 4-minute walk from our front door.  After some head-scratching we eventually figured out where it actually was located, which was more like a 30-minute walk... still, the walk was worth it - the food was delicious and the view was second-to-none.

The restaurant is Restaurante Zarcos  - and do NOT, I repeat, do NOT believe Google Maps.  The restaurant is at the intersection of Estrata Conde Carvalhal and Caminho da Igreja).  If you want to use google maps to navigate, tell it to take you to 203 Rua Conde Carvalhal (the place across the street).  It's totally worth the trek, as the food and service were amazing, prices reasonable....and the view.  Seriously.....this place rocks.

So that's all for now... not much in particular on the agenda for tomorrow so we'll just have to play it by ear. :)

- Brad


  1. Great blogpost! We're off to Funchal in a couple of weeks. Can I ask what the name of the restaurant was? Those views look amazing!

  2. Hi Theresa - thanks! The name of the restaurant is Zarcos - It's a little bit out of downtown, and I will tell you right now that Google Maps has the wrong location (the street numbers on one side of the street do not match those on the other side of the street). The location is at the intersection of Estrada Conde Carvalhal and Caminha da Igreja (it's next to a beautiful old church).

    It's totally worth the trek from downtown and the cheaper prices will offset the cab ride. There is also parking outside if you have a vehicle.

  3. AND I'm going to edit the post to include this info because it would be helpful! :)

  4. Thanks so much Leslie! I'll definitely add Zarcos to the list.