Santa Maria Street in Funchal is a treasure trove of art and charm. It is well worth a visit during your stay on Madeira island. This street is full of murals, street art and the famous ‘painted doors of Funchal’, amongst bars, cafes and restaurants too. I last visited Santa Maria Street Funchal in summer 2023.
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Getting to Santa Maria Street.
Santa Maria Street is conveniently located in the heart of Funchal’s Old Town (Zona Velha). If you’re staying in Funchal, it’s easily accessible by foot, and most accommodations in the city centre are within walking distance. Alternatively, you can take a local bus or a taxi to reach this historical gem. I’ve included a map at the bottom of this post.
Here are two of the painted doors during my last visit (2023), and I will include 21 more doors throughout this post! Please note the photos belong to me, and they are copyright.
The Best Time to Go to Santa Maria Street Funchal.
For the full Santa Maria Street experience, consider visiting during the late afternoon or early evening. The fading sunlight casts a warm glow on the colourful façades, creating a magical atmosphere. The street truly comes alive during this time, with shops and restaurants opening their doors, inviting you to immerse yourself in the local culture.
Further reading: The Best Time to visit Madeira Island, Portugal.
What You Can See at Santa Maria Street .
1. Painted Doors:
As you step onto Santa Maria Street, be prepared to be greeted by an array of vibrantly painted doors. Each door is a canvas, showcasing the artistic talents of local painters. Take your time to admire the intricate designs and colourful scenes that adorn these entrances.
2. Art Galleries and Studios:
Santa Maria Street is an artistic haven, dotted with galleries and studios. Explore the local art scene, where you might discover unique pieces that capture the essence of Madeira’s culture.
3. Historical Architecture:
The architecture along Santa Maria Street reflects centuries of history. Wander through narrow alleys lined with well-preserved buildings, each telling a story of Funchal’s evolution over the years.
Further reading: 25 Unique & Amazing Things to do on Madeira Island.
4. Street Art and Murals:
In addition to painted doors, you’ll encounter striking murals and street art. These expressions of creativity contribute to the bohemian and eclectic vibe of Santa Maria Street (or Rua Santa Maria).
5. Cafés and Restaurants:
Santa Maria Street is adorned with charming cafés and restaurants, offering a variety of culinary delights. From traditional Madeiran dishes to international cuisine, there is a lot on offer.
6. Unique Shops
Browse through boutique shops selling handmade crafts, souvenirs, and local products. It’s an excellent opportunity to pick up a one-of-a-kind keepsake to remember your visit. I particularly liked this random rubber duck shop below!
Tips for Exploring Santa Maria Street .
Here are some handy travel tips for exploring Santa Maria Street Funchal:
- Wear Comfortable Footwear: The cobbled streets can be uneven, so wear comfortable shoes for a leisurely stroll.
- Be Camera Ready: Don’t forget your camera or smartphone to capture the vibrant colours and unique sights.
- Wear Exploration Attire: Embrace the casual and relaxed atmosphere with comfortable clothing suitable for exploring.
Conclusion – Street Art on Santa Maria Street .
Santa Maria Street in Funchal is more than just a thoroughfare – it’s a visual and cultural feast. As you walk down this historic street, you’ll find yourself surrounded by art and conviviality. There are lots of bars and restaurants and a great atmosphere too.
Keep scrolling to see more of my photos of the street art and painted doors on Santa Maria Street.
Map showing Santa Maria Street Funchal
FAQs about Santa Maria Street Funchal
Q: What is unique about the art on Santa Maria Street?
A: Santa Maria Street is renowned for its vibrant and eclectic art scene. The street features a collection of painted doors, murals, and street art, creating a visually captivating atmosphere.
Q: Are the painted doors on Santa Maria Street permanent installations?
A: While some painted doors may be permanent, others are periodically changed or updated by local artists, making each visit a potentially new and unique experience.
Q: Who creates the artwork on Santa Maria Street?
A: The artwork on Santa Maria Street is often created by local artists and painters who contribute to the street’s vibrant and dynamic aesthetic.
Q: Can I purchase art from Santa Maria Street?
A: Yes, many of the galleries and studios along Santa Maria Street offer artworks for sale. Visitors can explore and purchase unique pieces that showcase the local artistic talent.
Q: Are there specific themes or motifs commonly found on the painted doors?
A: The themes and motifs on the painted doors vary widely, ranging from traditional Madeiran scenes to abstract art. Each door is a unique expression of the artist’s creativity.
Q: Are there guided tours available to learn more about the art on Santa Maria Street?
A: Yes, guided tours are available that provide insights into the art, history, and culture of Santa Maria Street Funchal. These tours offer a deeper understanding of the significance of the painted doors and other artistic elements.
Q: Do the artists ever hold exhibitions or events on Santa Maria Street?
A: Yes, artists occasionally organise exhibitions or events along Santa Maria Street, providing opportunities for visitors to engage with the local art community. It is worth checking local news papers and events pages.
Q: Can I commission a custom-painted door on Santa Maria Street?
A: Some artists may offer custom commissions. If you’re interested in a personalised painted door or artwork, it’s recommended to inquire directly with local artists or galleries.
Q: Are there any restrictions on photographing the painted doors on Santa Maria Street?
A: In general, photography is welcomed on Santa Maria Street. However, it’s courteous to respect any signage or requests from artists or gallery owners regarding photography in specific locations.
Q: Where is Santa Maria Street located in Funchal?
A: Santa Maria Street is situated in the heart of Funchal’s Old Town (Zona Velha), a historic district known for its narrow cobblestone streets and vibrant atmosphere.
Q: How can I get to Santa Maria Street from the city centre?
A: If you’re staying in Funchal, Santa Maria Street is easily accessible on foot. Most accommodations in the city centre are within walking distance. Alternatively, you can take a local bus or a taxi. See map above.
Q: What is the best time to visit Santa Maria Street?
A: The late afternoon or early evening is ideal for a visit. The warm glow of the fading sunlight enhances the street’s charm, and many shops and restaurants open during this time.
Q: What can I see on Santa Maria Street?
A: Santa Maria Street is known for its painted doors, art galleries, historical architecture, street art, murals, cafés, restaurants, and unique shops. It offers a delightful blend of artistic and cultural experiences.
Q: Are there specific attractions on Santa Maria Street for art enthusiasts?
A: Yes, the street features numerous art galleries and studios showcasing the talents of local artists. Visitors can explore and purchase unique artworks that capture the essence of Madeira.
Q: Are there recommended cafés and restaurants on Santa Maria Street Funchal?
A: Yes, the street is lined with charming cafés and restaurants offering a variety of culinary delights. It’s a great place to sample traditional Madeiran dishes and international cuisine.
Q: Can I find unique souvenirs on Santa Maria Street?
A: Absolutely! The street is home to boutique shops selling handmade crafts, souvenirs, and local products. It’s a perfect opportunity to pick up a distinctive keepsake.
Further reading: 20 Gifts and Souvenirs to Buy From Madeira.
Q: Is Santa Maria Street suitable for families with children?
A: Yes, families can enjoy a leisurely stroll on Santa Maria Street Funchal. The colourful surroundings, artistic elements, and diverse shops make it an interesting and family-friendly destination.
Please note I am happy to share my photos with you, but please don’t use them without permission. Thank you.
Where to Stay in Madeira.
Below is an abridged version of my main Where to stay in Madeira post. You may also be interested in 14 of the Best Hotels in Madeira and My Review of the Savoy Saccharum resort & Spa Madeira.
Consider the following towns when deciding where to stay in Madeira. I have included links which will take you to Booking.com if you would like to check prices. Click here to see all availability in Madeira.
The capital city offers a wide range of accommodations, from luxury hotels to budget-friendly options. Funchal is bustling with restaurants, shops, and cultural attractions, making it a convenient base for exploring. It’s also a great choice if you want a mix of city life and coastal beauty. See prices and availability for Funchal.
Further reading: 29 Wonderful Things to do in Funchal, Madeira.
This area is known for its golden sandy beach and is a great pick for those seeking a more relaxed and beach-oriented vacation. I stayed in Calheta in 2023 and wrote a review of the Savoy Saccharum Resort & Spa.
Calheta offers a selection of hotels and self-catering accommodations. See prices and availability for Calheta.
c. São Vicente
If you’re interested in exploring Madeira’s natural beauty, São Vicente offers a serene atmosphere nestled amidst mountains and valleys. It’s a great choice for nature lovers and hikers. See prices and availability for São Vicente.
d. Porto Moniz
Famous for its natural swimming pools, Porto Moniz is a picturesque coastal village. It’s an ideal spot for a peaceful getaway and is known for its unique volcanic landscapes. See prices and availability for Porto Moniz.
This historic town is close to the airport and offers a beautiful beach, making it convenient for a short stay or if you want easy access to transportation. See prices and availability for Machico.
Known for its charming A-frame houses and lush green surroundings, Santana provides a tranquil rural experience. See prices and availability for Santana.
g. Ponta do Sol
This sunny village is perfect if you’re looking for a quiet, laid-back atmosphere. It offers stunning sunsets and a peaceful ambiance. See prices and availability for Ponta do Sol.
h. Câmara de Lobos
A traditional fishing village with a vibrant local atmosphere, Câmara de Lobos is an excellent choice for experiencing authentic Madeiran culture. See prices and availability for Câmara de Lobos.
i. Ribeira Brava
This coastal town offers a mix of local life, historical sites, and beautiful sea views. I found it quite s imilar to Funchal but a lot less busy and with more of a local feel. See prices and availability for Ribeira Brava.
j. Ponta Delgada
Located on the north coast, Ponta Delgada is a small village known for its natural beauty and quietness. See prices and availability for Ponta Delgada.
Further reading: The 14 Best Hotels in Madeira, Portugal.
Accommodation in Madeira
Here is a map from Booking.com showing hotels by location. You can zoom in, zoom out, drag and move the map. If you click the map, it will take you to Booking.com where you can look more closely at your options.Booking.com
I recommend reserving your room immediately to get the best price. It’s usually free to reserve, and you can always cancel later on. See the main Madeira page from Booking.com.
Here are your booking links again, all in one place. These links will get you the best prices on Booking.com today:
Hotels in Funchal | Hotels in Calheta | Hotels in São Vicente | Hotels in Porto Moniz | Hotels in Machico | Hotels in Santana | Hotels in Ponta do Sol | Hotels in Câmara de Lobos | Hotels in Ribeira Brava | Hotels in Ponta Delgada | All hotels in Madeira.
Further reading: The 20 best towns in Madeira (and where to stay in each one)
Quick Links for Madeira.
Here are some quick links to help you when planning your trip to Madeira.
- Reserve your Madeira Hotel early, before they sell out.
- Remember to pack decent sunscreen and a packable sun hat.
- Book Madeira tours in advance (no payment required up front).
- Take a quick-dry sand-repellent beach towel.
- Packing cubes are a traveller’s best friend. I recommend these ones.
- Going hiking? These are the best hiking socks.
- If you need a rental car, book one at Discover Cars and pick it up at the airport.
- Need something to read on the beach? 20 Best Books For Travellers.
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You are reading Hazel’s Travels – an online publication and travel blog which aims to provide advice and inspiration for travel in Europe, the UK and USA.Tags: Art, Europe, Funchal, Portugal, Santa Maria Street