Length 4.8 km (3 miles), terrain: easy, fairly flat, gain 33 meters
Funchal, the capital of the Portuguese island of Madeira, is a pleasant place, with a quiet old-town and a long, beautiful waterfront promenade. And there are also lush parks and botanical gardens, the elegant hilltop retreat of Monte, with its viewpoints, gardens and quirky toboggan rides.
Finding a good running route is tougher, though, because the town, like the whole island, is so vertical. Steep uphill roads provide the only way up into the surrounding suburbs. And vertical cliffs block access to areas east and west of town along the coast. So, the best route to take is simply one that heads along the waterfront promenade, with a return loop through the old town, for a bit of variety.
So, if you're ready, get yourself down to the promenade, at the Praça Do Povo park, right next to the marina, along the Avenida do Mar.
|The promenade: nice hangout!|
Shortly, you'll cross the river: actually two rivers meet right here just before they pour into the sea.
Next, to the right, you'll see a cement walkway heading diagonally out towards a little green/white lighthouse. If you like lighthouses, like I do, head out there and take a look, with a nice view of the coast and also back towards town.
Then continue onwards, passing the bottom station of the Teleferico (gondola lift). It takes people up to Monte above, and also connects to a second lift that continues on to the main botanical garden.
NOTE: Make sure you get up to Monte during your visit. It's cooler up there in the summer, and there are also spectacular views, has an old church set in a jungley garden, and it has it's own botanical garden which is at least as good as the official one on the next hill. And Monte is the place where the unique toboggan rides start, sliding down the streets back to town.
|Toboggans heading down to town|
|Heading towards the Fortaleza|
So now we head back, this time staying a bit inland. When we get to the Teleferico again, turn right and follow the cablecars for a block to Rua de Santa Maria, where we turn left and run westwards for a block on this restaurant-lined lane.
Turn right again on another narrow lane, Rua Boa Viagem, and head the one block north to the covered market building. Now just circle the building, but on the north side you might want to step inside the entrance just to see this colorful spot and decide to come back again later. One section of the market is a fish market, the other is mainly spices and vegetables.
|Inside the market|
Now we'll loop through the old-town and take a look at the main sights: after running one block westwards along the promenade, turn right to cross busy Avenida do Mar and run north along Largo dos Varadouros towards that grey-stone archway ahead. That's a reconstruction of the old city gate that once stood there.
|The city gate|
So at the north end of the square, turn left and run the one block to the back side of the cathedral, with its Gothic arches and ancient stonework.
You will now come to the main downtown street, Rua do Aljube. Now, let's keep heading west, past the cathedral entrance with its own little square, where the street widens to become a tree-lined promenade through the old-town. The name changes to Avenida Arriaga. Arriaga is where people come to enjoy the evenings, with cafés, restaurants and theaters lining the avenue.
|At the Ritz, with its blue-white tiles|
|In the Jardim Municipal|
|In Santa Catarina|
|Great views from the park!|
You can run under the building housing the C7 Museum (honoring hometown hero, football star Cristiano Ronaldo) and continue to the waterside.
|The Ronaldo statue at the C7 Museum|
|At the cruise-ship harbor|