The extraordinary city of Funchal, or 'The Garden of the Atlantic' as it is known to many, is the largest settlement and capital of the Portuguese island of Madeira. At approximately 110,000 people, it is a very livable city. Expatriates living in Funchal will find the center of the city exceptionally lovely, with narrow, pedestrian streets, elegant squares and fine architecture. Particularly worth visiting is the fifteenth-century Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption, which is deceptively simple on the outside and opulently adorned on the inside. The Quinta do Palheiro Ferreiro Park is another of the city's treasures, built in the British colonial style, and expats living in Funchal will of course have easy access to some of Madeira's famous golden beaches. The city offers a rich food and evening culture, with an abundance of seafood (expats in Funchal must try the espada com banana, or 'scabbard fish with banana') and the island's famous Madeira wine.
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Madeira Airport is located near the city, in Santa Cruz. This is an airport with an international reputation – once famous for its precariously small runway, the airport has now been fully extended using a vast array of concrete pillars, and its reputation has switched to being one of the globe's most scenic. Expats moving to Funchal can also take the ferry, as the city constitutes Madeira's main port. For more general information on expatriation and international relocation, expatriates moving to Funchal can join and browse the InterNations website. We have a comprehensive collection of articles, the Expat Magazine, which deals with topics ranging from expat finance and insurance to living and working abroad. Also, for a sneak preview into life as an expatriate, we have a good collection of articles written by InterNations members, usually in regard to their own experiences of life abroad. All of this should give expatriates moving to Funchal a good idea of what to expect.
The city is a popular tourist destination, so it is little surprise that much of Funchal's economy is directly or indirectly based on tourism. As well as hotels, a great variety of restaurants and cafés and the international port, expats working in Funchal will find the city home to a busy fishing industry, as well as the cultivation of a variety of crops – bananas included. Incidentally, the city's name is an agricultural one, coming from the Portuguese word for 'fennel', because when settlers arrived there in the 1500s the valley was reportedly full of wild fennel. Amidst the magic of this beguiling island city, expatriates working in Funchal may of course want to get in touch with other global minds. The InterNations website offers an easy way to do this, with members' discussion groups and forums, as well as private communications a popular way to organize meet-ups, socialize or network with other expats in Funchal, on Madeira, or across the globe.