Rising from the waves in a protected crescent of charming red-roofed homes and magnificent sea views, Funchal has for half a millennium been the capital of sunny Madeira Island. Famed for its red wine, rocky beaches, museums, and gardens, it is an attraction unto itself.
The pretty marina, bristling with beautiful yachts, offers access to Madeira's most remarkable treasures, off the Funchal Coast. Arrange treks on breezy catamarans, covered pangas, or even a replica Spanish Galleon, Santa María de Colombo, to explore the stunning scenery. Dolphins and whales frolic beneath the waves, while paragliders leap from Cabo Girao, Europe's highest sea cliffs, and soar high above. Don't miss the famed sea wolves, or monk seals, for which the coastal enclave of Câmara de Lobos is named.