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The city of Funchal is some 600 miles from mainland Portugal, on the volcanic island of Madeira. Well-known as the home of distinctive variety of wine, Madeira is perhaps more famous these days as the birthplace of soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo.Formed by the rugged tip of a volcano, mountainous Madeira is a wonderful island to explore – and if anything, the seafood is even better here than on the mainland. Funchal is the perfect starting point for experiencing the edible and botanical wonders of this island on the very edge of Europe, and its dramatic scenery and fascinating maritime history.Head out to sea on a catamaran in search of whales and dolphins, or take a stroll around the city to view its graceful mansions (once inhabited by sea captains and explorers) and choose which of the many delicious restaurants to patronize for lunch or dinner.And after your meal, indulge in a glass of madeira, the sweet fortified wine which first put these islands on the map.

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