Fortaleza de São Tiago, Funchal, Madeira
Painted bright yellow, and built in the seventeenth century, the landmark stands out and cannot be missed by anyone who stand on the Funchal seafront promenade and looks eastward.
The Fort houses the Museu de Arte Contemporânea (Museum of Contemporary Art). However, we found the exhibits rather uninspiring, bland and incongruous with their surrounds. Although, a few historical photos did catch our attention.
Rather, the real reason to visit the fort is to wander around the passages and climb the staircase to the ramparts. On the rooftop, from the watchtowers, you can look out over Funchal bay and experience a taste of the island's history.
A good game for children to play is to see who can find the stairs to the dungeon first.
Today, the structure you see dates from the fort's expansion and redesign in 1767. The stairway being the only feature surviving from the original construction.
Being a fortification, the building has been used by the military, both British and Madeiran, over various periods. In 1974, being in a state of disrepair, it was renovated and became home to the local Military Police.
On the 17th July 1992 it was opened to the public. Now in the guardianship of the Regional Government, it has been designated a Monument of Regional Interest and is used to further cultural awareness.
|Fortaleza de São Tiago|
|Location||Rua Gate of St. James 9060-250 Funchal|
|Opening times: Monday to Saturday||10:00am to 12:30 noon; 2:00pm to 5:30pm|
(free if you have lunch at the restaurant)
|Telephone||(351) 291 213 340|
|(Details correct at November 2009)|
Restaurante do Forte
Although on the expensive side, this restaurant offers more unusual dishes along with the usual traditional Madeiran food.
If you want to soak up some of the fort's atmosphere, whilst enjoying some fine food, then opt to take a meal here.
As you sit beside the battlements and listen to the waves washing up along the pebble beach, you can almost imagine the marauding threat that used to visit Funchal from the sea.
Entrance to the Fort and the Museum of Contemporary Art is free to those who take lunch here.There are also special event nights when traditional dancing and the like provides entertainment for the diners.
To check the events and availability contact the Restaurante do Forte on telephone: (351) 291 235 470
Fortaleza de São Tiago Photos Gallery
Entrance to Fortaleza de São Tiago in Funchal
Courtyard entrance and stairway to rooftop
Tunnels create a maze of passages in Fortaleza de São Tiago in Funchal
Watchtowers provide views of Funchal City and the Bay
Fortaleza de São Tiago, Fort of St James in Funchal
The Fortaleza de São Tiago is easily reached on foot.
From anywhere in Funchal, head down to the seafront promenade. Walk eastward, away from the marina and toward the cable car terminal.
When you reach the cable car terminal, continue passed it and through the park laid to grass with wooden plank paths - this is the Jardim do Almirante Reis.
After the park, make your way along the road with numerous tourist restaurants. At the end, you will come to the entrance to the Fort.
On the satellite map above:
- A is the Cable Car terminal
- B is the Jardim do Almirante Reis
- C is the Fortaleza de São Tiago