here are several words synonymous to Monte and ‘toboggan ride’ is surely one of them! Originally a fast means of transport down to Funchal for people living in Monte, these toboggan sledges appeared around 1850.
Still in use today, they attract thousands of tourists every year who want to make this exciting experience of sliding at high speed on narrow, winding streets down to Funchal. These two-seater wicker sledges glide on wooden runners, pushed and steered by two men traditionally dressed in white cotton clothes and a straw hat, using their rubber-soled boots as brakes.
The downhill journey to Funchal is made in about 10 minutes on a total course of 2 km, reaching at times a speed of 48 km/hour. Adventurous, yet safe, an ‘old-fashioned’ toboggan ride to make your way down from Monte is the perfect contrast to the high-technology cable car going up to Monte.
Find the Monte toboggans at the bottom of the stairs leading to the Nossa Senhora do Monte Church (tel. 291 783 919)
One of its long lost features was a rack railway, which connected Monte with Funchal. Unfortunately, due to a shortage of steel to help fuel the war against the Nazis in the Second World War, the track was dismantled and the train taken out of service. Vestiges of the railway can still be seen today, particularly at the bottom of the hill where the original base station still exists.
The beautiful Muncipal Garden is situader right under the former railway track, on which is now a road.
This small village perched up in the hills overlooking Funchal, 6 km away from the centre of the capital, was formerly a health resort for Europe's high society.
Covering more than 1,600 meters at 220 meters high, the Botanical Gardens cable car (total 12 cabins, maximum 8 passengers each) starts off at the “Quinta do Bom Sucesso” and ends at the Monte Station. This ride offers you a stunning view over Funchal Bay and Valley of Ribeira de João Gomes.
At the Botanical Gardens main station, one can visit one if the island´s most popular venue, the Botanical Gardens, but please note that the cost of entry to the Botanical Gardens is not included in the cable car rate. Tickets must be purchased at the venue. Both stations have snack bars which possess amazing panoramic views of Funchal bay and its surrounding areas.
This cathedral marks the social heart of Funchal.It is here you will find the pavement cafes,which are popular meeting places for people who live and work in the city centre.A favourite place for tourists also,where you can sit and have a coffee or beer and watch the world go by.
The cathedral was started in 1493,consecrated in 1514,and completed in 1517. From the exterior the cathedral looks very plain,but enter and you will find its interior lined with,paintings,statues and gold covered chapels.
Open 9am - 12.15pm
4 - 6pm daily
Madeira's wine industry was nearly wiped out when the vines were attacked by mildew in 1851,and by the vine louse in 1872.
Today it is big business,and a tour of the wine lodge is worth visiting.Here you can learn about the history of the wine,its development, and evolution over the last 200 years.The tour lasts about 45 minutes and our guide Sophia made it an interesting and fun tour.
At the end of the tour you have the chance of tasting three different wines, and can then purchase them in the shop if required.
Situated in the oldest street in Funchal,offering a view of the city's traditional architecture.The painted doors attract thousands of visitors and the ancient locale abounds with restaurants and bars.
A good way of getting excellent views of Funchal is to take the cable car up to Monte.The cable car leaves from the promenade in Funchal ,up by the old town. Whilst up there be sure to visit the Monte Palace tropical gardens or take a toboggan ride steered by smartly dressed carreiros for the 1 mile trip from Monte to Livre-mento,it is then possible to get the bus back down to Funchal.
Just over 3 km from base station to Monte with average speed of 4 meters per second.Travelling time 15 minutes.39 gondolas each with 7 seats.One way 10 euros,return 15 euros.(Oct.2012)
Three miles from the centre of Funchal towards Monte are the lovely Botanical Gardens. You can get brilliant views of the mountains and ocean. There are five different areas each with its own theme. I particularly enjoyed the exotic birds area. Entrance 4 euros.
Enjoy a wonderful view of Funchal by taking the cable car up to Monte in the hills. First you'll need to go to the station in the Old Town, Admirante Reis, buy a ticket for 10 euros one way or 15 return and enjoy the 15 minute ride. Don't forget your camera.
Hiking is one of the favorite sports for the adventurers that visit Madeira. "Levadas" are a must, but the trail between the two greatest peaks - Areeiro and Ruivo is also a big challenge.
It takes time, something that we hadn't.
...And if we had there is much more to see and do before that, I must confess!
It's a mandatory trip, the visit of one of the highest peaks in Madeira. Only a few minutes driving from Funchal, the views are gorgeous, generally with clouds at our feet. Down there, in a deep and squeezed valley, Curral das Freiras is the most remote village in the island.
A big building in the historic centre is the palace of justice. It is not pretty but it shows the typical architecture of the dictatorship that ruled Portugal in 1962 when it was inaugurated. It's a pity, the bad integration with the local architecture that surrounds it.
At the end of the 15th century the architect Pêro Anes was sent by king Manuel I to plan the cathedral of Funchal, that was finished in 1514.
It has a Gothic style, the roof with a Mudejar design in cedar wood. The exterior walls are made of stone from Cabo Girão. Inside there's a silver processional cross, offered by the King and considered one of the masterpieces of Manueline metalwork.
Situated in Socorro square, this church was initially built in 1523, to pray for the end of the black plague. Remodeled in the 17th century, it was totally demolished in 1752 and rebuilt in 1768, larger and with a new concept.
St Maria Maior is the oldest quarter of Funchal, and maybe the prettiest, dominated by the church of the same name, built in Baroque style in the 18th century. It suffered several adaptations loosing almost all the original characteristics. The most important detail is the wooden door.