The Funchal Cable Car experience is the perfect way to see Madeira from above. From rustic red roofs to flourishing nature, here’s all you need to know.
The cable car starting point is situated right on the Southern tip of Madeira Island, along the coastline of Funchal town.
If you’re staying in Funchal and have a rental car, the drive will take no more than 10 minutes along the South Coast. Depending on which area you stay in, it may even be walking distance.
Funchal is the most popular tourist area to stay in Madeira, although if you’re staying anywhere else on the island then the best option is to hail a taxi.
You can either order a taxi through your accommodation or simply stop one on the street.
For those short on time, or that prefer everything to be organised for them, there are some awesome tours on Get Your Guide available to book in advance.
Children: €5.50 (aged 7-14)
Children: €8 (aged 7-14)
Children under the age of 6 ride free.
Monday – Tuesday: 9am – 5:45pm.
Funchal Cable Cars operate 365 days per year.
Best Time To Visit Funchal Cable
We would recommend first thing in the morning or later in the day, when it is cooler, to really enjoy the ride as it can get hot sitting in the glass cable cars.
Make sure to pack your camera, as it gives one of the best viewpoints in Madeira.
Avoid days when a cruise ship has docked in Madeira as there will be queues for this popular tourist attraction.
What To Pack
The Funchal Cable Car History
The route of the cable car was chosen to replace the old Monte Railway, which ran from 1886 to 1943.
Construction of the cable car system began in September 1999 and it opened in November 2000.
The bottom station is located at Almirante Reis Park in central Funchal.
The cableway has over 39 cabins and can transport up to 800 passengers per hour.
The cable car journey that starts at the old part of Funchal ascends up into the small suburb of Monte.
You really haven’t seen the beauty of Funchal unless you’ve ridden above it.
It take 15 to 20 minutes in total to ride to the top and the sloping length is 3200 metres.
You can expect to see a whole lot of rustic red roofs and the stunning quaint villages of Funchal below. You can spot the areas of flourishing countryside as well as the old European style city.
The landscape is just breathtaking, which makes the cable car ride a really pleasant and relaxing trip. Spot tiny people below and see the natural beauty of Madeira evolve as you climb the slope to the top.
The maximum people for one cable car is 6 adults. So if there’s just two of you, it’s likely that you’ll be taking the ride with other customers.
At the top is a town called Monte which has beautiful scenery and romantic cafes, as well as the one and only Monte Palace Tropical Garden.
There’s no better way to get down from the town of Monte than to take the traditional route in a wicker basket.
The Funchal toboggan is one of Madeira’s most famous attractions. Dating back to the 1850s, this Madeira sled ride was the primary means of downhill public transportation in Funchal.
Made from wicker and wood, these two seated sleds cruise down the narrow streets of Monte all the way back down to Funchal. The two kilometre journey takes roughly 10 minutes down a winding road and you can expect to reach speeds of up to 30mph!
When you reach the finishing point, there is a Toboggan cafe where you can stop and grab a refreshing drink and a bite to eat.
The toboggan ride doesn’t take you all the way to Funchal. You’ll have to walk the rest of the way and that is a 20 to 30-minute walk on a steep downhill.
There will be taxis waiting at the finishing point but negotiate your fare before riding, they are pretty expensive!
An alternative would be to catch the bus back into town.
Where To Stay In Madeira
Recently awarded as Europe’s Leading Design Hotel, the luxurious Vine Hotel is located in Funchal.
It offers a fusion restaurant with stunning views, a Wine Therapy Spa, access to the fitness centre and a rooftop infinity pool.
Each room features an LCD TV with in-room movies, free WiFi and a laptop-size safe.
The roof terrace sports a heated infinity pool, massage facilities as well as a 20 yard hot tub, with views of Fort São João and the mountains.
The newly renovated 4-star Hotel Baía Azul is ideally situated a 4-minute walk from Funchal’s beachfront.
It offers 3 swimming pools, 3 restaurants, a Spa and a sun deck overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and the gardens.
The hotel has a total of 215 bedrooms with sea-inspired decor. All rooms come with an en suite bathroom, bath amenities and a hairdryer.
Not only that, but a flat-screen cable TV, a minibar, a kettle and a safe deposit box too.
Free WiFi access is provided in all rooms and common areas.
Funchal Apartments – City View is venue is set in Se district, around a 10 minute walk from Funchal center, and features a terrace with the cathedral view.
The property includes free WiFi, plus express check-in and check-out.
There is also a shared kitchen, ATM and currency exchange for guests.
All rooms include a wardrobe, a desk and a shared bathroom.
For more places to stay in Madeira, you can check the latest prices on Booking.com.