Sé Cathedral of Funchal
With its whitewashed exterior, brick bell tower, Mudéjar-style inlaid wood ceiling, and ornately gilded altarpiece, the Sé Cathedral of Funchal boasts a striking Gothic design with a distinctly local twist. Commissioned by King Manuel I shortly after Portuguese colonization of Madeira, the church is considered one of the finest examples of Manueline architecture, and has been listed as a National Monument since 1910. Today, the cathedral attracts worshippers as well as sightseers, thanks to its prime position in the heart of Funchal’s Old Town.
The Sé Cathedral of Funchal is featured on numerous itineraries, from speedy hop-on hop-off bus tours of the city to walking and tuk-tuk tours. It’s also easy to swing by for a visit as part of a cultural day out in Funchal.
Things to know before you go
- Keep your eyes peeled before venturing inside: a statue of Pope John Paul II—the first and only Pope to visit Madeira—stands just outside the cathedral’s entrance.
- As when visiting other churches, be sure to dress respectfully: bring layers and cover your shoulders and knees.
- Though the cathedral is Madeira’s primary religious landmark, it is also relatively small in size; most sightseeing visits can be completed in under one hour.
How to get there
The Sé Cathedral of Funchal is located at Rua do Aljube 39, in the center of Funchal’s Old Town (Zona Velha). It can be accessed by numerous local bus lines, as well as on foot, by bike, or by car. Tuk-tuk and bus tours provide another way to see the landmark.
When to get there
The Sé Cathedral of Funchal is open to visitors daily, typically from 7am–7pm (excluding a period of closure in the early afternoon), though hours may vary slightly. It hosts mass four times daily from Monday–Saturday and five times daily on Sunday; if you visit during services, be sure to be quiet and respectful of any worshippers.
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