We wanted to explore the area in and around Funchal and we decided that the best way to do it was to use the Red Line sightseeing bus. It is an hop-on hop-off service with a choice of 21 stops in Funchal and Camara de Lobos. The complete circuit takes one and a half hours and the busses run every 20 minutes. Tickets cost 15 euros and are valid for two days.
We got on at stop 16 which was close to our hotel and travelled down into Funchal getting off at Stop number 1. From here we walked along the Avenida do Mar from where we could look across to the harbour and marina. The ‘Ventura’ was in port and its several thousand passengers would no doubt be touring Funchal. It could be busy.
We continued along to the cable car station, stop number 3 and waited for the next bus. It was only a short ride through the town to stop number 8. The Madeira Wine Lodge. Blandy’s is the oldest working wine lodge on the island. The building was once part of a Franciscan monastery built in the 17th century. The wine lodge opened in 1840 and produces some fine wine. We had intended to take the guided tour and learn more about the wine making process. However we had just missed the start of the English language tour and the next one was not for several hours. All was not lost, we were still allowed to visit the tasting room. A free glass of wine was available on production of our bus ticket.
The walls were decorated with frescoes painted by the German artist, Max Romer in 1922.
Suitably fortified we left to catch the next bus to stop 10, the church at San Martinho. The church on top of the hill is featured in many brochures but when we got there I was disappointed. Close to the perspective was all wrong and I could not get a decent picture.
The interior though was beautiful.
We were soon back on the bus, but only for one stop taking us to Pico dos Barcelos. This is a viewpoint looking down on Funchal and inland to the mountains.
I managed to get the classic shot looking down to the Igrejia de Santa Martinho.
There were lots of tourists there. One group all wearing a badge with number 4 on it were trying to keep up with their guide holding the big umbrella with a number 4 on it. She was trying to point out the house where Christiano Ronaldo was born. I was glad that we were doing it on our own.
I was more interested in the view of the mountains.
As so often happens, we were on the sunny south coast whilst the cloud was building up over the mountains.
I have stitched three images together to try and give the impression of the view.
After a leisurely cup of coffee it was time to wait for the next bus to take us to Camara de Lobos.
Camara de Lobos is situated just 6 miles west of Funchal but is a world away in terms of style. It is a picturesque fishing port. The name means ‘Lair of the Sea-wolves’ and refers to the seals which once swam there. There are many colourful fishing boats drawn up on the beach in the harbour.
After a spot of lunch I walked round the harbour and climbed up a steep set of steps on the other side. This led me to a footpath high above the coast. I could look down on the rocky coast and what looked like an old lido
In the old quarter overlooking the sea, life went on at a slow pace.
Winston Churchill came here to paint in 1950 and this connection attracts many visitors to the village.
It was a lovely place to relax and sip a coffee in one of the harbour side restaurants.
Back on the bus it was just a half hour journey into Funchal.
We felt it was an excellent way of exploring Funchal but you do need to do a bit of homework before you set off.