Guided visits

Thanks to an agreement between the local government of Funchal and the Students' Union of the University of Madeira the historical City Hall Palace has opened its doors to everyone that would like to visit it and get to know about its rich history and art collection.

Visits are made by students and former of various European universities who cooperate in this project with Portuguese researchers. During each tour our guests will visit the noble wing of the building, its interior and outside façade and the tower.

Visits are made on weekdays, at 11 p.m. Every tour lasts an hour.


On the one hand, the primitive administration of the islands' rural areas functioned as a system of hereditary captaincies which were based on the feudal system of subordination of lands. On the other hand, due to its condition of town, Funchal's administration was ran exclusively by its own inhabitants through a group of government bodies formed by the Homens Bons, gentlemen who were among the most influential people in Funchal.

Circa 1453 King Afonso V granted the local population the rights of a small town. Dom Manuel, Duke of Beja and Viseu and future king of Portugal ordered the construction of some public buildings in Funchal, specifically a Notarial Palace and a City Hall, on some of the lands he owned on the eastern bank of St. Lucy's River. The construction of this first City Hall, placed behind the cathedral, finished in 1491 and in 1508 Funchal obtained its coat of arms.

Later the local authorities moved to a 19th century building located next to the square that lies in front of the cathedral. This building had been distrained by Funchal's government as a result of the money that its owner owed to the local authorities.

The development of the city forced its authorities to look for a larger place to hold its headquarters. Their search eventually ended up leading them to the Carvalhal Esmeraldo Palace, located next to the Jesuits' College, being that the space was first rented and then acquired in 1883, the authorities remaining there until today.

The current City Council Palace underwent several renovations too, especially during the 1940s according to the plans of the architects Carlos Ramos and Raul Lino. The main façade suffered some changes as well as some of the rooms and even the area around the palace.


It is not obligatory to book your visit but it ensures there will be space for you on the group. Group visits are organised by order of arrival and each group must not exceed 15 visitors.

If you want to book a visit you can do it at any of our Gaudeamus - Students' Union's Shop, by e-mail at or by phone at +351 291705060.

Each visit costs 3,50€ but we have special prices for youths, elders and groups too. The tickets are purchased in the City Hall.

Children aged six or under enter free of charge as well as Madeiran schools groups.


Guided visits to the City Hall Palace

Weekdays at 11 a.m.
Each visit starts in the entrance hall

Booking by phone or e-mail:
Tel.: +351 291 70 50 60