Funchal Tourist Traps

  • Tourist Traps
    by pedroinlondon
  • not so safe place to walk or play
    not so safe place to walk or play
    by kbl
  • The city of Funchal as seen from Monte.
    The city of Funchal as seen from Monte.
    by Jerelis

Best Rated Tourist Traps in Funchal

  • sandysmith's Profile Photo

    Walking back to Funchal

    by sandysmith Written Nov 7, 2003

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    steep streets below Monte

    The Toboggan run doesn't go all the way into Funchal...so take an expensive taxi or walk!

    Unique Suggestions: If your knees can take it walk back into Funchal - its fairly steep but a pleasant 20-30 minute 2 km walk through the quiet neighbourhood and houses of upper Funchal and lovely views of the harbour below. The plus side is the money saved on the taxi fare can be used to buy the photograph that is taken of you (10 euros) as you are hurtling round the first corner and will be waiting for you at the bottom of the tobbogan ride.

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    Wicker Sledge Tobbagan Run

    by sandysmith Updated Nov 7, 2003

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    doing the tourist bit......

    Ok eventually in Funchal you will make your way up to Monte - by bus or Funicular to take the famous sledge ride in the wicker baskets.
    yes it is geared up for the tourists -but its good fun (not as scary as i thought it might be). Cost was 10 euros each and be prepared to tip the toboggan drives who push and steer you down the hill. Bear in mind that the ride does not go all the way back down to Funchal and taxis will be waiting to take you into town at a cost of another 10 euros.

    Related to:
    • Road Trip

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    Monte - Monte's Municipal Garden.

    by Jerelis Updated Feb 7, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The municipal garden.
    1 more image

    At Monte, the fashionable hill town in Madeira, are the magnificent gardens that surround the cahteau-like Monte Palace. After our visit to the church we walked down the stairs and saw 2 white-clad "chauffeurs" with straw hats waiting for tourists to take a sledge ride.

    We didn't take the toboggans ride and had a strowl through the Monte's Municipal Garden. It's certainly the most wonderful and varied garden on the island. To us it brought some peace in the day through its flower, ancient trees, the small river and the pebbly tracks.

    Don't miss the opportunity to see the Koi fishes, a specie whose origins come from East Asia and considered extremely valuable. We liked the Buddhist sculptures, miniature islands and ornamental bridges. We also enjoyed the swans beauty and majesty on the central lake. A perfect place for an unforgettable morning!

    Unique Suggestions: Do hike the stairs up to the church of Monte. It's worth it, not only for the church itself, but also breathtaking views over the city of Funchal.

    Address:
    Village of Monte

    Directions:
    Situated at the south side of the island. It's just northern of the capital of Madeira, Funchal, a 5 minutes drive.

    Related to:
    • Spa and Resort
    • Family Travel
    • Religious Travel

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  • Jerelis's Profile Photo

    Monte - The Toboggan ride.

    by Jerelis Written Feb 7, 2007

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    Waiting for tourists to arrive.

    This is one of the surprises Funchal had for us. Usually we are well prepared when we go on our journeys, but we never heared of the Toboggan ride before we arrived in Monte. We learned that originally it's a fast means of transport down to Funchal for people living in Monte, these toboggan sledges appeared around 1850.

    The fun thing is that they are still in use today, of course as a means to attrack tourists. Asking around learned us that 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 baskets 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.

    They told us not to miss out on it, but we had our car parked on the hill in Monte and were there with the 3 of us. A bit difficult to arrange this downhill journey to Funchal which will be 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.

    Directions:
    Find the Monte toboggans at the bottom of the stairs leading to the Nossa Senhora do Monte Church.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Cruise
    • Historical Travel

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    Monte - Resort for European aristocrats.

    by Jerelis Updated Feb 7, 2007

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    The monastery of Monte.
    1 more image

    This small village perched up in the hills overlooking the city of Funchal is about 6 kilometers away from the centre of the capital. Well, it is called a village and probably once was, but it is more like a suburb today. Funchal has climbed high up the mountain slopes.

    Monte once was the favorite holiday resort for European aristocrats, in particular the English upper class. With no need to work they had nothing better to do during the winter than to move their household to Madeira´s pleasant climate. Most of the guests stayed at the solemny Quintas, which up till now give Monte it's charming vibe. "Quinta" is the name given to the palatial homes that merchants used to set up on the island to live in pleasant surroundings and from which to run their wine empires. Monte was the ideal setting.

    Unique Suggestions: Do hike the stairs up to the church of Monte. It's worth it, not only for the church itself, but also breathtaking views over the city of Funchal.

    Address:
    Village of Monte

    Directions:
    Situated at the south side of the island. It's just northern of the capital of Madeira, Funchal, a 5 minutes drive.

    Related to:
    • Spa and Resort
    • Castles and Palaces
    • Religious Travel

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  • Jerelis's Profile Photo

    Monte - Igreja Nossa Senhora do Monte.

    by Jerelis Updated Feb 7, 2007

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    Arriving at Monte and the first view at the church
    1 more image

    We didn't visit Monte because of the quintas (although we liked them!), but heared great things about it's church and nearby gardens. It was rather hard to find a parking lot for our car. We did drive in circels a few times and were lucky to see someone leave and were able to sqeeze in. When we got out of the car we felt that the temperature was a few degrees lower, but the sun was generous and therefore pleasant.

    From the parking lot it was a strenous walk to the Igreja Nossa Senhora do Monte (Our Lady of Monte Church). We noticed it's very impressive steps. Later on we learned that this 18th century church replaced a small 15th century chapel. Besides that it is the burial place of the Austro-Hungarian emperor Charles I who was exiled to the island and died here between the 2 world wars. The church contains some beautiful pieces of sculpted and gilt woodwork from the 17th and 18 century.

    Unique Suggestions: Do hike the stairs up to the church of Monte. It's worth it, not only for the church itself, but also breathtaking views over the city of Funchal.

    Address:
    Village of Monte

    Directions:
    Situated at the south side of the island. It's just northern of the capital of Madeira, Funchal, a 5 minutes drive.

    Related to:
    • Religious Travel
    • Spa and Resort
    • Family Travel

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    Se Cathedral - 1st cathedral in Portugal territory

    by Jerelis Updated Aug 17, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The graceous stairs towards Se Cathedral.

    The Portugues island of Madeira lies to the west of the African coast out in the Atlantic Ocean. It's often described as a garden in the Atlantic, but this doesn't do justice to the beautiful capital of the island, Funchal. For example it houses the first cathedral built in Portuguese territory outside the European continent. The locals living near Calhau beach built the first church in Funchal. It was enlarged twice, first in 1438 and again in 1450, but still considered too small for the needs of the population. Finally, in november 1485, a new church started being built on the square Campo do Duque but the construction suffered several delays. Then, in the year 1500, the King insisted that the construction of the so-called 'big church' be finished, and in 1517 the new temple was finally consecrated.

    We hiked our way towards Se Cathedral and noticed a nice detail, which is that the Old Zone is a maze of small alleyways, but the stairs towards the cathedral are large and the streets are wide and graceous.

    Unique Suggestions: We geuss that it is also a must see ...

    Fun Alternatives: The entire island is full of beautiful churches and cathedrals. Those are all great alternatives! But we must be honest, this was the first one.

    Address:
    Rua de Se

    Directions:
    Right in the city centre, you can't miss it.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Historical Travel
    • Religious Travel

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  • Royal Savoy timeshare

    by ceebeelondon Written Dec 13, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    A big sell of timeshare flats. If you wander around Funchal you're bound to be invited. You do get a prize or a voucher for giving them your time but it's about 90 minutes or more so save it for a very rainy day. (By my calculations, you could buy an equivalent interest in a flat in London's Knightsbridge for the price.)

    Unique Suggestions: Make sure you get your promised free cup of tea or drink. And/or a lift into town.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Luxury Travel

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  • The Love Boat

    by reenby Written Jul 17, 2007

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The love boat was apparently once owned by the beatles. It is now beached in Funchal and has been turned into a bar.

    We ownly tried it once and hated it. Firstly the staff were slow and grumpy. Secondly its like sitting on a disney ride which never starts. Its just so tacky

    Fun Alternatives: Go to the beerhouse instead - a million times beter.

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    Faja dos Padres - beware the hotels brochures

    by kbl Written Aug 16, 2007

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    not so safe place to walk or play

    Hotel seems to have a great commission on the guests they send to the beach, and so some of them make very false statements about the qualities of the place. Beware - read this information and my blog and decide then if you thionk going here is appropriate for you.

    Unique Suggestions: Inform yourself and avoid taking the kids

    Fun Alternatives: Go to any other beach in the neighbourhoud. Try the one in Ponto do Sol, at about 7 kilometer west of the faja dos padres.

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  • Organised tours

    by MichPatricia Written Jul 16, 2003

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I went on two tours, one for the West side of the island and one for the East side, for me personally, I don’t think you get to see as much as I would’ve liked to see, for Madeira, I think it is best if you rent a car and explore at your own pace rather than with a tour bus. I felt let down that my partner didn’t get to see everything that there is to see. However, if you don't drive like myself, I guess this would be a way to see different parts of the Island besides Funchal.

    Fun Alternatives: Rent a car, there are also taxi's that you can book for the day that will take you around places, but then that will be expensive.

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    Mercado dos Lavradores

    by juzz Written Sep 25, 2009

    I would expect that on the island where they grow fruit everywhere it should be cheap! Well, at the Mercado do Lavradores it's not! The spot you and offer you some fruit to try and then they sell you the worse fruits and you pay so much!
    It's interesting to walk around there but you shouldn't buy fruit!

    Unique Suggestions: At least don't buy anything.

    Fun Alternatives: There are plenty of stalls all around the city (not on sunday) where they have good fruit like bananas, mangos, grapes and many other. They're cheaper and good.

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    Restaurant touts and nasty market lady!

    by pedroinlondon Written Aug 26, 2010

    I loved my holiday in Madeira and didn't notice any dangers, and I can say without any exaggeration that I have never felt safer anywhere in the world. Having said that, there were a couple of occasions that annoyed me slightly, probably because by the time they happened I was already adjusting to an exceedingly safe and courteous environment and they surprised me. The first annoyance is something that everybody who has been on the usual Mediterranean tourist spots has seen or suffered, which is the touting by waiters outside restaurants around meal times. I noticed that at the beginning of the old town, mostly along Rua Dom Carlos. I must say the restaurant staff who approached me where very polite and not too insisting, definitely not like the aggressively unpleasant rogues who do a similar job is the south of Spain and the Canaries, but still, I would definitely have preferred to have been left alone to inspect the menu outside their restaurants.
    An even less pleasant experience was at the farmers’ market. I had read other reviewers pointing out that the market is overpriced and you’re better off buying fruit at a shop, but I still fell for a scam. One of the sellers invited me to taste the “pine banana” which tastes a bit like jack fruit, and then grotesquely overcharged me. I tasted it and accepted to buy a kilo of it, when the lady told me the price was €2 per kilo. When I showed surprise as she gave me not a lot of change from a €20 note, for that and three mangoes, she claimed she has said €12 per kilo! As we talked in Portuguese, she forced the Madeiran accent to make “two” (dois) sound like “twelve” (doze). Am I taking too long with this somewhat unimportant story? Possibly, but it did bother me greatly at that time, as I felt she was letting down all the honest hard working people of the island and of Portugal in general. She might have thought that I and other people would feel embarrassed to give back the fruit after receiving the change, but I not only did that but felt like doing and saying more, and probably would have, if she had been a he.
    I know this doesn’t qualify as a serious holiday danger, but then again I don’t think you will find any in Madeira.
    Also, some drunks congregate around the city centre after dark, but I never seen any of them approach anyone, and I’ve never seen a beggar anywhere. I would again repeat that Madeira is one of the safest places on earth, and one place where it is absolutely safe even for single women travellers.

    Related to:
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  • Jerelis's Profile Photo

    Se Cathedral - Lots of locally based influences.

    by Jerelis Updated Aug 17, 2007
    Close up of the tower of Se Cathedral.

    When we arrived near the cathedral we were wondering what kind of a style of architecture it was. We noticed a mixture of a rather heavy south European Gothic, Moorish and Manueline architecture. But asking a local learned us that there are also a lot of locally based influences. Ten gothic arches connect the naves and the dim natural light is coming from eight Maueline breaches, a rose window on the facade and a few spear-shaped windows above the high altar.

    Just like always it is definately forbidden to take any pictures inside the cathedral. Usually we're able to take a sneaky picture anyway, but right here there were two men constantly watching us. So, we're sorry ... but no pictures from the inside interior. We guess that you have to trust us when we say that's a beautiful interior. But no worries, because the original and very exceptional content of the church can now be found a bit of everywhere in Funchal's museums. A few of the treasure's pieces can be seen in the Sacred Art Museum. We saw inside the cathedral some of King Dom Manuel's donations, such as the font, still located in its original place, the pulpit and the small high altar. Six chapels with gothic arches accupy the lateral naves.

    Unique Suggestions: We geuss that it is also a must see ...

    Fun Alternatives: The entire island is full of beautiful churches and cathedrals. Those are all great alternatives! But we must be honest, this was the first one.

    Address:
    Rua de Se

    Directions:
    Right in the city centre, you can't miss it.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Religious Travel
    • Family Travel

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  • Jerelis's Profile Photo

    Se Cathedral - The city's daily rhythm.

    by Jerelis Updated Aug 17, 2007
    Front fa��ade of Se Cathedral.

    To be honest, it was quite funny to be the only people inside and have to constantly eyes watching over you of those two vullonteers. We walked around and a triumphal arch gave passage to the sanctuary and the entire back wall of the chapel was covered with an impessive panel consisting of several magnificent gold-framed paintings. On each sidewall of the sanctuary we found a Mandueline lecture hall with two rows of chairs, of which the higher row was reserved to the capitularies and the lower one to the chaplains. It was trully beautiful wood carved with images of apostles and prophets.

    We strolled some more and in the Capela de Santissimo, decorated in the style of the 18th and 19th century, we saw a very large painting from the 17th century depicting the 'Last Supper'. After that we finally went back outside, greeting our two 'guards'. It was funny to leave the cathedral and at the same time hearing the two clocks (putted up in 1776) on the top of the tower making their city's daily rhythm known. It made our great feeling complete!

    Unique Suggestions: We geuss that it is also a must see ...

    Fun Alternatives: The entire island is full of beautiful churches and cathedrals. Those are all great alternatives! But we must be honest, this was the first one.

    Address:
    Rua de Se

    Directions:
    Right in the city centre, you can't miss it.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Historical Travel
    • Religious Travel

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