General Information

Money & Exchange

The local currency here in Madeira is the Euro. You can exchange your Sterling and travellers cheques (and in some instances your Eurocheques) in either the hotel reception or Bureau de Change offices or the local banks. Eurocheques can be cashed with no commission charge normally. Many banks and Bureau de Change will only exchange Bank of England notes.

You will find that most banks will apply a commission charge for their service, but they offer a higher exchange rate than hotels. If using banks, please remember to take your passport. You can withdraw cash from most banks displaying the Multibanco sign if your normal bank card displays Visa, Cirrus etc (Check with your bank in the UK prior to travelling). Insert your card into the cash machine and press the English language sign. Then use as you would in the UK. Normally you are only allowed 200 Euros per transaction.

You can also use you credit card in most "hole in the walls" for cash, but if you are having difficulties then use the normal internal bank cashiers, remembering to take your passport. Banks in and around Funchal are open between 9.00 am - 3.00 pm Monday to Friday, but are not open at weekends or during bank holidays.

Exchange Bureau

A commission charge may apply to Eurocheques cashed in bureau de change. Exchange Bureaux are open between 9.00 am - 5.00 pm Monday to Friday and from 8.30 am - 1.00 pm Saturday. Please check if there is a commission charge applicable and also the exchange rate that you are receiving.

Credit Cards

All major credit cards are accepted in Madeira, although some of the smaller shops and cafes only accept cash, so always keep a few Euros on you.

Tourist Information Offices

There are only two official tourist offices in Funchal. One is situated in the city centre on the main Avenida and the other one is in the Lido Shopping Centre. You will see their logo in the shape of star flower and the sign "Madeira Tourismo". They will be able to provide you with comprehensive free information.

You may also come across other tourist offices or shops and these are usually owned by many of the Timeshare resorts on the island. They will also provide you with free information and special offers on trips ect however, their main purpose is to promote their resorts whilst you are inside and will offer discounts or free trips if you are willing to take one of their tours.

British newspapers are sold one day after U.K. publication in Madeira. You will find them in most newsagents, tobacconists and also hotel receptions. Please note the cost is usually 3 times more expensive than the UK.

There are also many ‘free’ publications available that will offer information and news about the island itself. To get your FREE up to date information and monthly guide before taking your trip, why not return to our home page and print off your own copy of ‘The Madeira Times’ to bring with you.

Postage Stamps can be bought from the post office, most hotels and also tobacconist shops around the town. Postcards will normally take 4 to 5 days to reach the UK although don't be surprised if they take a little longer! The Portuguese word for post office is 'Correios' and they are identified by a red sign. Here you can buy stamps, phone cards and telephone home on a metered service. You will find three post offices in the city of Funchal. The main post office is situated in the Avenida de Zarco. Opening times for post offices are as follows: 9.00 am - 8.00pm Monday to Friday and 9.00 am - 1.00 pm Saturdays.


To travel in and around Funchal you will need to use the city bus service (buses are yellow in colour) Horarios do Funchal. The out of city bus service is provided by private companies, information available from kiosks and drivers, most of whom speak English. Most hotels offer the timetables, so please ask at reception.

Taxis´s are yellow and blue in colour and operate mainly from authorised ranks. If you need one from your hotel, ask reception to order you one. Many Taxis´s don't use their meters outside of Funchal, so always ask the price first.

Medical Services


There is a hospital in Funchal, it is situated on the Avenida Luís Camões. If you need to visit the hospital, please ensure that you take with you your holiday insurance documents, passport and flight tickets.
Please note: In the event that you do need to visit A&E whilst on vacation, their visiting rules differ to ours. Family members are not permitted inside once the patient has been admitted after the Triage has made their assessment. The only exception to the rule is if a child is admitted and then only one parent will be allowed to accompany them.
There are other smaller ‘private’ hospitals which you may be sent to by your tour operator which are called ‘clinics’. Again, ensure that you have in your possession all of the above mentioned documentation.


The Doctors here on Madeira speak very good English and will be available to visit you in your hotel. Please contact your representative or the hotel reception who will be able to assist you. There will be a charge for the doctors’ visit and this will ordinarily be the same amount as the excess on your insurance. Please keep any receipts should you need to make a claim on your holiday insurance.
A new doctors surgery has opened in the Monumental Lido Shopping Centre and do have a walk in policy. The staff are friendly and speak good English. An appointment will cost the standard 50 euro fee.


The Portuguese word for chemist is Farmacia and they are identified by a green cross. The chemists are normally open from 9.00 am - 1.00 pm & 3.00 pm - 7.00 pm Monday to Friday and 9.00 am - 1.00 pm on Saturdays. Outside of these hours a duty chemist will be open and the location of this chemist will be detailed on the front window of all chemists in the area.

Duty Free

As new rules have been brought in recently, at all airports around the world, Alcohol or soft drinks that you want to take home can only be purchased and allowed through at the Duty Free shop inside passport control. If you purchase any items whilst you are here and attempt to take them through as hand luggage they will be confiscated by the airport authorities.

Some of the Madeira Wine companies now offer a service where you can purchase and collect your Madeira Wines at a designated area at the airport. Please ask for more details on this service when taking a tour at one of the many Madeira Wine factories.

Emergency Services
Dial 112

British Consulate
Dial 291 22 12 21

Dial 291 520 700

Dialing Codes:
From UK to Portugal: +351
From Portugal to UK: +44



Madeira has two golf course Palheiro Golf has a course with 18 holes and Santo da Serra Golf Club has 27 holes. Ask your reception for details as most hotels have agreements with these clubs.

Horse riding

If you wish to go riding during your stay, you need to be an experienced rider. There is a very good riding association (open from Tuesday to Sunday), Associação Hípica da Madeira at Quinta Vila Alpires, Caminho dos Pretos, Funchal which you will need to contact in person.

Tennis & Squash

The following hotels have their own tennis have tennis and squash courts, enquire at their reception for prices and availability. Quinta Magnólia, Baía Azul Hotel, Alto Lido Hotel, Ocean Park Hotel, Eden Mar Hotel, Panorâmico Hotel, Crowne Plaza and Clube Naval do Funchal (promenade).

Big Game Fishing

Madeira is ideally located on the migratory routes of big game fish, record size catches of Blue Marlin (with more than 1,000 lbs) and Big Eye Tuna are not uncommon during the season from June to September. Other species to be fished in the waters of Madeira are White Marlin, Yellow Fin Tuna, Blue Fin Tuna, Long Fin Tuna (Albacore), Blue Shark, Hammerhead, Barracuda, Spearfish, Swordfish.


Mercado Dos Lavradores (Market)

This lively market is situated in the centre of the Old Town of Funchal. It is a focal point for local merchants selling their vegetables and wares and a meeting point for local farmers and fishermen. The best buys at the market are leather handbags, belts and purses. This is also the place where you see the vast variety of flowers. If you wish to take any flowers home, this is not a problem, just pop down before your departure, get them boxed up, and they are then placed in the fragile holding of the aircraft. This market is well worth a visit even if you do not want to buy goods. It has a vibrant mix of sounds and smells and culture and the atmosphere is priceless. Don't forget to pop downstairs to see the fish market where the famous black Espada fish, only caught off the coast of Madeira (or Japan!), is sold.

Shopping in Funchal

Like many major cities in Europe, you will see well known brands like Zara, Benetton etc. But our suggestion for shopping in Funchal is to go to the little back streets that run off the main Avenida. This is where you can get some good bargains and this is also where you will see typical Maderian shops. Like any city in the world, the main road shops can be a little expensive. Some of the best buys are shoes as Portugal is one of the worlds biggest producers of shoes and you can get excellent leather pair for a third of the cost you would pay at home.

Embroidery Factory

Just across the road from the Market is the embroidery factory, one of Madeira’s biggest exports. Embroidery has a long history in Madeira and dates back to the 1800's. Interest in the work of the locals was first aroused in the 19th Century when a wine merchant’s daughter, who had come with her father on a business trip to Madeira, returned to London with samples of the work she had seen. Such an interest was shown, that she returned to Madeira in order to create designs and to supervise their assembly. Over 100 years later, the production of such embroideries is so enormous that over 20,000 women are employed as home workers and approximately 1,500 indirectly.

Gypsy Market

Like anywhere in the world where you have a Gypsy Market, things are cheaper!!! You can get a bargain, especially if you are interested in needlework as the patterns etc. can be far cheaper than main stream shops. The Gypsy market is located adjacent to the cable car in Funchal.

Santa da Serra Market

This market is held every Sunday and for most of the day, depending on the weather. It is an interesting day out and bargains are to be found in the form of clothing, fruit and veg, handbags, shoes, flowers and plants and of course - knocked off DVD's! One can also enjoy a relatively inexpensive meal/snacks of BBQ Chicken and the local bread or Hot Dog's and Donuts at one of the many food stalls surrounding the market.

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