The island is accessible by plane from Lisbon or more commonly by cruise liner crossing the Atlantic Ocean. Since 2007 the port has dealt with large numbers of cruise ships. It is also only an overnight trip to the Canaries.
Make use of the excellent bus service.They are a cheap and reliable way of getting around.
Using buses to get around the island will cost a few euros,whereas a taxi will set you back ten times as much.
Taking a taxi in Funchal is generally fiarly cheap compared to most other places in Western Europe and Funchal has a very high number of taxis, so you should never have a problem locating one.
Be ware though that they do not have the tradition of driving around town trying to find clients.
They stay at taxi stands and wait in line, so youwill either have to go to a taxi stand or phone for a taxi.
If you are at a hotel or a restaurant then just ask them to call you a cab and they will for sure have the number.
There is generally not much in the way of taxi scams in Funchal so you can take a cab pretty safely without having to worry too much about the driver playing games with you.
Funchal has a good bus system that takes you all aound Funchal and the main towns on the island.
The main bus station is down by the harbour front in Funchal right by the cable car station.
A trip around Funchal or the nearby towns should cost you just under 2 euros and if you travel further to some of the towns around the island then it will cost you more, but prices are generally resonable for public transportation om Madeira.
The city busses in Funchal are actually specially made for the city cause they need to tackle some very steep hills, so thye are fitted with 4 wheel drive and truck engines so they can get to the higher suburbs without breaking down too often.
Buses on Madeira can be confusing as there are about 6 different independant companies operating in different areas of the island. To make things worse most of these companies have buses coming into Funchal.
If you just need to travel in Funchal or within a few miles of it it's best to stick to the local buses which are yellow in colour. ( see tip on tickets )
If you need to travel outside the city area go to the bottom of the cablecar in Funchal where all buses start from. There are kiosks that can give you information, timetables and sell you tickets for your journey.
Journeys outside Funchal do not, generally, run that frequently but are reliable and cheap. A 45 minute journey to Ribeiro Frio cost less than 3 Euros.
If you are using local yellow buses in Funchal best value are the Duplo tickets which are valid for 2 journeys. The journeys do not have to be taken on the same route or even on the same day so they are really flexible.
A single journey paid for on the bus is 1 Euro 40 cents but a Duplo ticket is only 1 Euro 50 Cents and is therefore virtually half price. Duplo tickets can be bought at most newsagents, small shops or at kiosks on Avenida do Mar ( The harbour front )
You need to insert the ticket into the little machine by the driver as you board the bus. There are easy to read maps showing all routes on most bus shelters. These tickets are valid to visit the top of the cable car at Monte.
Don't bother going to the tourist office. All they do is give you an out of date timetable for the 'Horarios de Funchal' Interurbanos routes. The only way to find out the current times is to go to a bus stop!
In fact don't bother going to the Tourist Office at all - they are hopeless.
The toboggan ride down Funchal is located at the church next to the Monte Tropical Gardens. The cost is 25 euros for 2 people and tipping is up to your discretion. Also bear in mind that the toboggan does not take you all the way down and there are cabs waiting to take you the rest of the way and they'll cost you another 10 euros. Or if your like me just walk the rest of the way down.
Well i have to been to madeira serveral times now, i have a taxi driver that i email before i go. he even has a site no amost finishing it so that we can book online...
The trips around the island are great because we can stop when we want and the taxi driver is always there is give us some info on the view or sometimes some personal hot spots to see great aspects of the island.. Been on the island tours by bus, but not as confortable and relaxing as it should. by the way i'm going to put down his site for all thosewho are interested.
I can recommen a taxi operating from the Monumental Lido area. The driver is Jorge, and he speaks good Engish, is very knowledgeable and likes to explain things about Madeira. He drives a new Seat Alhambra which can take 6 passengers and daysacks. He will take you to the start of walks and you can hire him for the day or 1/2 day. Much cheaper than the coach trips.
His door number is 1183 and his phone number 917842451
if you are going to make much use of buses, you are virtually bound to buy the bus timetable issued by the Tourist Office - if nly to discover where to get your bus among the several private companies and the multitude of separate termini of the city buses [Horarios de Funchal]
However you do need to check the latest changes, which are sometimes the cause of inaccuracy in a generally good guide.
Taxis are widely available in Funchal and can clearly be identified by the yellow car with blue stripes. However be careful - this is the only negative aspect that I discovered on the island, that taxis are taking advantage of tourists. Statements such as it is too long to walk, overprices etc. are common. I was told by one taxi that the distance of where I wanted to go to was 5 km and it turned out to be 1 km. Rates within the town should not exceed EUR 7.50.
One good way to explore Funchal is onboard the Open Bus. It is a hop on hop off tour that covers all important aspects of the city of Funchal. One of the departure points is along the marina waterfront. Commentaries are available in a number of languages.
Are you nervous about taking your baby or child on a plane trip? You aren't alone, most parents are nervous about it. We have moved with Iris to Madeira by plane this holiday and drove some distances by car on the island itself and we learned a few things that hopefully will help you.
Bring books, old favourite toys and new surprise toys. Do remember that balls are not a good idea as they can end up anywhere! Our best buys were definitely books, especially sticker books are great! They can peel the stickers off, are glossy, have thick pages to turn easy, have bright colours and come in endless subjects. They're a nice break from the other books your child might be tired of, too. Put aside fears of setting poor eating habits, and bring on the snacks! We told Iris: “Welcome to the world of boredom eating."
If your child is big ask for earplugs as soon as you board the aircraft. Make use of them for take-off then save them for landing as the crew may not have any fresh ones left by then. Also let them eat candies, this helps the kids tremendously if they don't know how to pop their ears.
Toy bars meant for stroller use are a big help in the car, as they often feature toys plus a snack cup, and are big and easy for you to grab from the front seat for refills. During the car trip it’s always a good idea to play a game and sing some songs. It sounds rather easy, but it does work!
We only have one last statement! Just do it! Don’t be afraid that it might go wrong. We have learned this, because we have been travelling with Iris from the beginning. She was only 6 weeks young when we had our first short vacation and stayed in a hotel. Iris has been used to it rather fast and (maybe because of it) has always been an easy kid to get along with.
If you are a TAP ( Air Portugal ) passenger coming from Lisbon you can get on the Aerobus free of charge if you show the driver your boarding ticket. If you are not a TAP passenger you will have to pay on the bus. ( 5 Euros ) The Aerobus runs from right outside the terminal building - look to the right and you will see the stop which has a timetable on it. The buses are not that frequent and run about every hour and a half. Times are on the web-site.
The Aerobus runs right into Funchal and a couple of miles out to the west of town. ( Praia Formosa ) If you tell the driver the name of your hotel he will tell you which stop to get of at. Timetables are on all stops for your return journey.