Funchal Cruises, Madeira
- Get to know Funchal. This spellbinding city is a portion of Portugal sprinkled with a dash of Garden of Eden and Edwardian Britain. The whole place seems to be smothered in vivid bougainvillea, jasmine and other exotic blooms. Don’t miss the covered market, a dizzying montage of exotic fruit stalls and flower-sellers wearing traditional costume. And take a look at the city’s impressive Sé cathedral with its ornate ceiling and artworks.
- If you’re really into blooms, meander around Funchal’s tranquil Botanical Gardens, admiring their dazzling displays of orchids, cacti and Madeira’s iconic dragon trees.
- Take a cable car up to the mountain village of Monte and hurtle back down the cobbles towards Funchal in a wicker toboggan.
- Gaze in awe at the colossal Cabo Girao, one of the world’s largest coastal cliffs. Then take in the simple charms of the quaint fishing village, Camara de Lobos, one of Winston Churchill’s favourite retreats.
- Sign up for a jeep tour to explore parts of the island that are usually off limits.
SHORE EXCURSIONS View all excursions
Start as you mean to go on - so the old saying goes. And that’s certainly the case on this trip. Your day begins with a cable car ride from Funchal to nearby Monte. Make sure you’ve got your camera ready because once you reach the top, on a clear day, the panoramic views are superb. When you get to Monte, head for the famous Church of Our Lady of Monte, known for its striking façade of dark basalt stone and whitewash. Then it’s decision time - do you slip and slide down the narrow streets in a toboggan, or rejoin the bus for a more sedate journey down the hill? Sitting in a wicker basket mounted on wooden runners, two drivers guide the sled down through narrow streets, using their rubber-soled boots as brakes. Ernest Hemingway once described the experience as ‘exhilarating’. After your ride - whichever one you choose - relax in Funchal’s tranquil Botanical Gardens. Wander through the grounds, inhaling the sweet scent of exotic blooms. Your last stop is at a souvenir shop where you can admire delicate lace as you sip fine Madeiran wine.
Jump in, buckle up and get ready to see some of Madeira’s most impressive scenery. These vehicles can reach locations that are off limits to most so you can go off the beaten track and get to know the island inside out. Climbing high into the mountains, explore hidden valleys and dramatic volcanic landscapes. It’s a great day out for all the family as up to 8 people can fit in together.
This tour whisks you around Funchal in the back of a tuk tuk-like three-wheeler. You’ll buzz through the city’s streets, making pit-stops at places like the 17th-century São Tiago Fort, and the monochrome São Pedro Church. The route also takes you through the labyrinthine lanes of the Old Town, past the flower-sellers and greengrocers that line up in its marketplaces. Plus, there’s a stop at the Socorro Viewpoint, where you’ll be faced with a spectacular panoramic view of the coast. One of the last places on the day’s itinerary is another fortress – this time, São Lourenço. It’s the island’s earliest, and is now classified as a National Monument. Later on, you’ll take a scenic drive back to the port to rejoin the cruise.