Green, flowery and pleasantly temperate – this is a brief description of the Portuguese island of Madeira. These are just some of the reasons why the green pearl is a popular port of call for cruise ships.
The capital Funchal
The cruise ships dock in Funchal, the capital of the island, which is also the starting point for your excursion.
Since the ship docks directly in the city, an uncomplicated exploration by foot is possible. Here are some sights that are within easy walking distance and are recommended:
Monte Palace Tropical Garden
The popular and elevated Botanical Garden can be reached by the Teleférico Funchal-Monte cable car, whose bottom station is about a 20-minute walk from the ship. The cable car ride costs €16 per person; a combination ticket of cable car and botanical garden costs €31.40. The view and the colorful garden are claimed to be terrific.
Courageous vacationers can then descend in one of Madeira’s original means of transportation, the so-called basket sleigh. The basket sleigh rides start below the sanctuary of Nossa Senhora do Monte. The 2-kilometer ride can reach up to 48 km/h. For one person the unique fun costs €25, for 2 people you pay €30. More information can be found here.
Take a cruise to the Canary Islandswith AIDA.
Mercado dos Lavradores
In the center of Funchal is the Mercado dos Lavradores. The large vegetable, fruit and fish market is ideal to try exotic fruits. But beware: fresh fruit and vegetables are not allowed to be taken on the ship. Therefore, you should buy only ripe fruit and consume them immediately.
After visiting the market, you can still take a leisurely stroll through the center of Funchal. Because besides the oldest church in Madeira, you will also find some inviting parks to linger. And those interested in shopping can explore the small stores for souvenirs.
If you walk back from the center towards the ship, you will inevitably pass the CR7 Museum. The museum dedicated to Christiano Ronaldo houses numerous trophies, photos and video footage, which, however, should only interest true fans. For everyone else, a quick photo with the Ronaldo statue placed in front of the museum will serve.
Madeira by cab
If you want to see a bit more of the island but don’t want to book an excursion with the shipping company, I recommend chartering a cab. This sounds like an expensive pleasure at first, but it’s absolutely not.
Cabs wait for passengers right in front of the ship and offer routes around the island at a fixed price. For an extensive tour set by the cab companies, you pay €80-100 per cab.
However, if you want to do a smaller tour, the price is reduced to €60 per cab. If you travel in pairs – or even better in groups of three or four – the trip quickly becomes a bargain. Otherwise, you can always ask fellow travelers to share a cab and thus the cost.
The following stops are ideal for sightseeing:
Pico dos Barcelos
This is a lookout point at 355 meters above sea level. From here you have a great view of Funchal and can even see the cruise port. Admission is free of charge.
Cabo Girão is a cliff with a height of about 580 meters. The associated skywalk, which has a glass floor, offers a beautiful view of the deep blue sea and the lush green landscape of Madeira. Admission is also free here. The cliff is an absolute highlight of the island that should not be missed.
Câmara de Lobos
The small fishing village between Cabo Girão and Funchal looks authentically Portuguese and original. The place is worth a short walk.
|Funchal: Rundgang durch die Altstadt||2 Stunden||13€|
|Skywalk & Vulkanbecken von Porto Moniz||8 Stunden||55€|
|Natur- & Weintour im Geländewagen||4 Stunden||60€|
|Madeiras Gipfel im offenen Geländewagen||8 Stunden||49€|
|Ab Funchal: Nonnental, Monte und Korbschlittenfahrt||4 Stunden||35€|
|Halbtägige Offroad-Buggy-Tour||3 Stunden||120€ pro 2er-Gruppe|
|Bezaubernde Terrassen und Porto Moniz||8 Stunden||52€|
|Highlights im Westen von Madeira||8 Stunden||ab 29€|
This is how it works Individual and inexpensive
My top tip for an individual and inexpensive shore excursion on Madeira: first take a cab and let it take you to some beautiful places on the island to get an overview.
Afterwards, explore the center of Funchal at your leisure before returning to the ship. This way you can enjoy many of the island’s highlights in one go.
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