Just as people and pets often reflect the characteristics of their name, some cities do as well. Funchal, the capital of Portugal’s Madeira Islands, is one of them. This city is said to be named after the abundance of fennel, “funcho” in Portugese, on the island. And like this highly aromatic, perennial herb, Funchal is a perpetually interesting destination, offering an intoxicating scent of fun and personality to world travelers.

Funchal is often experienced during a day trip, but this city deserves a trip of its own. And the longer you’ve got to spend, the better. Here, you’ll find many pleasant contrasts: history mixed with modern conveniences, rugged peaks looking down upon curvaceous coastline, authentic food that’s extremely affordable, a bustling atmosphere that’s tempered with an air of approachable sophistication, an easy-to-explore-by-foot layout with friendly locals to point out the way if you happen to get lost, and an impressive amphitheatre that dips its toes into Funchal’s busy harbor

At the junction of four busy streets in the historic heart of town, bustling restaurants and shops hold court with Cathedral Se, a 15th-century church that’s a must-see with, as one TripAdvisor Member says, "its Moorish carved cedar ceiling, stone floors, Gothic arches, stained-glass windows, and baroque altars."

Just like a perennial, you may just find you want to return to Funchal year after year.