Besides the wonderful seaside sightseeing you can do in Funchal, the inner city is also full of things to do and see! In this article I will tell about the western area of the inner city, it is personally the area where I’ve been to the least, yet still gathers enough to show you just how immense is the life and culture in Funchal.
In here I started off with one of my favorite places so far, the Municipal Garden. A much smaller garden than the Santa Catarina Garden in the last article, yet its beauty matches its siblings, as the abundant vegetation in here is from all around the world, and for any botany fans this is awesome because every species is listed and named, in case you get interested! In here you will also be greeted by many butterflies! (besides the usual lizards) And is just so relaxing to sit between the leafs and watch the butterflies dance, specially the Monarchs.
Right next to the Municipal Garden, is the shopping mall La Vie, the only shopping mall near the center of Funchal. Here you can find shops, businesses and restaurants, you can even relax if you are more of a urban person than nature lover. There is also a five star hotel connected to this mall, so its attendants can shop and have something to eat right below them. But speaking of something to eat I advise you to go up from La Vie to find a historical yet very modest restaurant by the name Castelo dos Hamburgueres. This old restaurant was the first ever burger restaurant in all of Madeira, and has been owned by the same family ever since!
After a good meal just go down the street and find the Natural History Museum. This museum is located in an old building, so it still has the decor of its predecessor, in here you can see the small aquarium and, on the top floor, the main exhibition of taxidermized animals, all of them native to the island or the water around it, as well has some plant life and geological material.
Nearer to the center of Funchal is the ever hypnotizing Praça do Município, or has the locals call it Largo do Colégio, many of the city’s important buildings, like city hall or the court, are here in this black and white square but one of the most impressive is the Church of São João Batista, also known as, Igreja do Colégio. Colégio means college in portuguese and it is given this name to these landmarks due to the fact that here used to be located a religious college, now repurposed has the church.
I just saw this western part of the city by passing on Estrada Monumental, and this huge avenue is the location of all Funchal’s finest hotels and, at the end, the neon colored Casino, the only of its kind in the whole island. So this is a much more inviting area for anyone willing to spend some extra money. Near this area you can also find Funchal’s most frequented beaches and natural pools.
This is just another taste of the immense culture of Funchal, up next is the heart of the city, the center.
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