Funchal Cathedral

1128 Reviews

Star Travel Rating


Review type

Things to do


Date of travel

May, 2019

Product name

Product country

Product city

Travelled with


Reasons for trip

The Se cathedral was built under the orders of King Manuel I and on land given by him, between 1485-1514, replacing an earlier church in the old town, which was too small to hold the growing population. It become a cathedral in 1519 when Funchal attained city status. It is late Gothic architecture with nave and side aisles and is one of the few buildings to have survived relatively untouched.

The exterior is striking, stark white with a massive deep brown basalt west end and tower top with a variegated tile roof.

The dark and light theme continues in the nave with arcades of dark basalt pillars separating nave and side aisles. Windows are narrow lancets with plain glass. The wood nave ceiling has carved beams and different colours of inlaid wood, although it is a bit too dark to appreciate with the naked eye..

The side walls are lined with altars with impressive Baroque reredos, but these almost fade into insignificance compared to the chancel and high altar which covers all of the chancel. Dating 1510-1515, this is only intact Manueline altarpiece still in its place of origin. It is “glorious “: with a series of magnificent gold framed paintings set around a gilded statue of the Virgin.

Above is an equally impressive Mudéjar ceiling with its geometric and animal designs carved from juniper and cedar and inlaid with ivory.

The “carved figures”: of saints, prophets and apostles all in C16th clothes, on the choir stalls have recently been restored and regilded.
There is another equally impressive altar in the chapel to the right of the chancel, reached through iron gates.

To the left of the chancel is a passageway with vaulted ceiling that led to the old sacristy beneath the tower.

We unfortunately only had about 15 minutes to enjoy the inside of the church as mass was about the begin.

Check “opening times”: before visiting as they do vary depending on which website you look at… Group visits are allowed between 9-11am and the cathedral does get very busy then.

There are more pictures “here.”:

All my pictures of Madeira are “here.”:


Join the club

Become a member to receive exclusive benefits

Our community is the heart of Silver Travel Advisor, we love nothing more than sharing ideas, inspiration, hints and tips between us.

Come feel the love on a Princess cruise. You’ll enjoy the MedallionClass experience others simply can’t, and it’s exclusively for everyone. Visit incredible destinations and be involved in the best experiences around each one of them.

Experience more with Princess and connect effortlessly with the world around you, spend time away with loved ones, take a moment for yourself, and fall in love with your holiday of a lifetime, every time.

With over 20 years of experience, Wendy Wu Tours has mastered the art of creating exceptional, fully inclusive tours which showcase the very best of each destination.

Each tour is led by a world-class guide, who will highlight the very best of their homeland, and includes authentic cultural experiences so you are not just seeing the sights, but truly immersing yourself in local life.

Say hello to ease at sea. Ambassador’s purpose is simple: they want to inspire every guest to experience authentic cruising, effortlessly and sustainably. Passionate about protecting our oceans and destinations, their ships comply with the highest industry emission standards and there is no single-use plastic on board.

On your voyage, you will receive the warmest of welcomes from the Ambassador community as you sail upon the friendliest ships afloat.

This is a global co-operative co-owned by local partners using real local experts and guides, which supports local communities, environments and wildlife. It offers travellers quirky places to stay, activity holidays and learning experiences. Not In The Guidebooks gets travellers off the beaten track into local culture with day experiences and longer, immersive adventures.

From wild wellness breaks in Wales to painting in Portugal, sustainable adventures in Mauritius to food safaris in Brazil, this is immersive, exciting travel.

Seabourn’s five intimate ships carry guests to the heart of great cities, exclusive yacht harbours and secluded coves around the world, while two new purpose-built expedition ships will combine exhilarating adventures in remote destinations with the sophisticated amenities of the world’s finest resorts at sea.

From the luxury of all suite accommodations to complimentary fine wines and spirits, and a no tipping policy, Seabourn exemplifies the definition of travelling well.