If you tire of trekking up hills to take in views of the Madeira capital Funchal and the Atlantic Ocean, you might want to catch your breath at a museum. Whether you’re into the history of Madeira, orchids and terraced gardens, children’s toys or footballer Cristiano Ronaldo’s trophies (yes, really), there’s a museum or gallery in Funchal for you.
This private collection by José Manuel Borges Pereira comprises more than 20,000 toys, some dating back to the 19th century. There are rooms dedicated to toy cars, lorries and other vehicles, military toys, Star Wars toys, micro machines and dolls.
You might think there isn’t a building big enough to house Cristiano Ronaldo’s ego, but this museum certainly puts in a valiant effort. The CR7 Museum tells the story of the superstar Portuguese footballer, who was born in Funchal, and houses his club trophies, Ballon d’Ors and golden boots – a total of 126 trophies (at the time of writing). On your visit, you can see photographs, videos and a wax replica of the man himself.
Situated in the heart of Funchal Old Town, this museum will teach you about the history of Madeira in an immersive way. From its volcanic origins, discovery and hydroplanes to pirate attacks, the displays are informative and fun. Thematic gardens containing flowers and plants typically found on Madeira overlook Funchal´s historic city centre and provide magnificent views.
This museum, located on Funchal Bay, holds countless objects of art, Portuguese and foreign furniture collections (mainly of English origin) plus several pieces of jewellery, ceramics and sculpture. It opened to the public in 1953, placing on display a collection of decorative arts pulled together by Madeiran César Filipe Gomes. The exquisite garden includes an orchidarium and an archaeological park, which has been assembled with architectural elements retained from the demolition of several of the original buildings.
This is one of the newest museums in the region – hot off the press, if you will – and brings together the interesting historical, typographic, lithographic and cinematographic heritage of communication and the press on this archipelago. The mission of the museum is to display, make an inventory of and recover the heritage of the Madeira media and this is all housed in a beautiful art deco-inspired building, scenically perched on a cliff.
Portugal has more than its fair share of sacred art and religious artefacts, and this former Bishop’s Palace of Funchal contains paintings, sculptures, gold and silver objects and vestments dating from the end of the 15th century to the 19th century. Most noteworthy are its Flemish panels, distinguished not only by their high quality but also by their large dimensions, which are uncommon in the museums of mainland Europe.
After visiting all those museums, you’ll need a drink. How fortunate then that you find yourself in one of the oldest wine cellars in Funchal, primed to learn about the English firms that started the Madeira Wine Company via books, tools, a press from the 17th century and machines from that time too. Most importantly, there’s a wine tasting room, where you can sample the cellar’s renowned stocks of sercial, verdelho, bual and malvasia wines.
Looking for more? Why not make a weekend of it with a stay at one of the best hotels in Funchal for every traveller – book here on Culture Trip. After a long day, enjoy a delicious meal at one of these top restaurants.
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