Throughout the 19th century, Madeira Island, especially Funchal, became one of the romantic myths in Europe, due to some of its visitors, such as the Widow Imperatriz of Brazil and her daughter, princess Maria Amélia, the future Emperor of Mexico and his wife, Princess Charlotte of Belgium, as well as intellectuals, foreigners and nationals, who have praised this island, such as: Castilho, Júlio Diniz (who wrote “As Pupilas do Sr. Reitor), Antero de Quental, Bulhão Pato, Afonso Lopes Vieira, António Nobre and Olave Bilac, one of the most important and illustrious brazilin poets and writers, among others.
Emperor Karl I of Austria
The island, mainly its southern coast, gains the privileges of resort therapy and the city is now included, almost obligatorily, in the itineraries of International Tourism. This would be the Era of “Therapeutic Tourism”. Afterwards Madeira benefited from the European juncture. The European liberal wars blocked the access to healing resorts in the south of Italy and France, diverting subsequently all of these people to Madeira, via maritime flow. In 1925 the 12 existing hotels in Funchal held no more than 800 people.
Back then, and since the colonial times, Funchal also had another type of accommodation, one of a private and family character – The Villas, proprieties of local and foreign traders, especially English, set on the island.
Up to the 30’s, the Villas showed to be of a higher number and importance then of the hotels to Tourism in Funchal.
The end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century, was a turning point on the international maritime and air transport.
With the creation of the new facilities of Funchal Harbor, and later on, with the creation of Madeira International Airport, Funchal would become an important international tourism center, with a major hotel complex. Up to 1930, the tourist income was set mainly by aristocrats, rich and some noble men and VIP’s, such as the Prince of Wales and Churchill.
During the Second World War, everything would change and Madeira would become a port of passage, for the transatlantic and visited almost exclusively by the few wealthy English and German people that came here in order to escape the global violence. This was also the time in which a lot of German came into the island, consequence of the Nazi social politics “Kraft Durch Frende”.
Soon the diminutive flux of tourists resulted in the closing down of the majority of the hotels in Funchal, including the majestic hotel in Monte and subsequently in 1943 the railways that linked Funchal and Monte closed as well.
|After the war, the hotels change category and had to adapt into pensions, while the Villas would almost cease to exist in favor of the large hotels. In 1949, 1960 and 1964 thanks to the development of the air transportation, a new period dawns for Tourism in Madeira. With domestic, internationals and charter flights, Madeira opens itself into the modern world, absorbing large sections of tourists.
The decades of the 60’s and 70’s were of great development for tourism in Madeira, with the constructions of hotels and boarding houses of several categories.
Today’s visitors can choose from a huge variety of services and places to stay, from the honored traditional hotels to newer forms of accommodation, smaller units, which allow a closer contact with the population.
Nowadays Funchal Municipality has over 19.357 beds.
In the entire hotelier, personalized service, refine taste and quality are the predominant characteristics. The number of 5 stars hotel is quite relevant, and quality is still the mail goal when one speaks of tourism in Madeira.
The hotels area covers the entire south coast, mainly on the western part of Funchal.