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from just £849 per person.

About Madeira

When you embark on one of our Madeira cruises it will become clear why this destination is known as the Garden Island - it is simply awash with colour from a breathtaking display of sub-tropical plants and flowers. So it is hardly surprising that large and colourful flower markets are one of the most arresting features of Funchal, Madeiras capital.

Cruise visitors here will discover that the market town is easily walkable although, the further inland you explore, the steeper and narrower some of the streets become. Locally made wicker furniture, lacework and tapestries all make good buys along with the ubiquitous Madeira wine.

Funchal is also the base for tours to the islands botanical gardens; the fishing village of Camara de Lobos where Churchill went to paint; Camacha, the wicker centre; the levada walks, part of an ancient irrigation system; and to Reids Hotel for traditional afternoon tea, making cruises to Madeira a must see.

 

Shore excursions in Madeira

Please note: The shore excursions listed are typical for this port. The full programme of shore excursions available for your cruise will be displayed on Cruise Personaliser at least 12 weeks prior to departure.

Cable Car and Toboggan

Activity mediumRefreshments included

Duration: 4 hours

This picturesque trip gives a new dimension to Madeira, with stunning views from a cable car and a thrilling toboggan ride.

A rack and pinion railway once took passengers up the hillside from Funchal and the return to the coast was by toboggan. The railway closed in 1939, but an Austrian company has constructed a cable car for the trip up to Monte, noted for its many fine properties and gardens. The Funchal station is situated in the old part of town, and the journey from Funchal to Monte takes 15 minutes. (The cable car access is similar to a ski lift. The car does not stop for boarding; it just slows in motion).

Experience the ancient wicker-sled transport on a thrilling 10 minute toboggan ride. The drivers run alongside the toboggans, pushing and steering and using their rubber-soled boots as brakes. Continue by coach to Pico Dos Barcelos, a flower-decked belvedere where you’ll have possibly the best view towards the east.

Your excursion ends at a wine lodge in Funchal, where you have the opportunity to sample the different types of Madeira wine, ranging from the dry Sercial to sweet Malmsey.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach, cable car, toboggan. . Infants aged 3 years and younger are not permitted to participate in this tour due to restrictions on the Toboggan. The toboggan is a popular tourist attraction and there may be queues before boarding. Please wear suitable clothing and footwear and follow the instructions of the toboggan drivers once seated. Toboggans hold up to 3 participants (2 adults and 1 child).

Eco City Tour, Tukxi Madeira

Activity low

Duration: 1 hour

Hop aboard an eco friendly tukxi, and explore Funchal in a fashionable, fun and alfresco way.

Originating in Italy, Ape Calessino tukxi’s are 3 – wheeler modern day versions of the ‘little cart’ that was popular with the 1950’s ‘Dolce Vita’ lifestyle. Having now expanded into other parts of Europe this method of transport re-creates the true meaning of Dolce Vita – The good life, full of pleasure and indulgence.

On your intimate guided tour you can sit back and admire the scenery as your driver heads along the harbour front, which has views of the sea on one side and clusters of houses on green mountains on the other. Arriving in the Old Town you’ll travel along the narrow cobbled streets, which are lined with beautifully restored houses and quaint local restaurants, contrasting with the wider and busier Avenida Arriaga, the city’s main commercial centre. Along the way look out for colourful local ladies (dressed in traditional costume), selling the famous ‘bird of paradise’, the true symbol of the island. Right in the heart of the city is the delightful Praca do Municipio, the awe inspiring square that boasts the architectural treasure of City Hall.

As well as discovering the hidden corners of the city that larger vehicles cannot reach, you’ll also make stops for photographs at the Socorro Viewpoint, to capture views of the stunning cliff tops and Santa Caterina Park, which provides exceptional views of the harbour below.

And after your unusual sightseeing experience, there’ll be plenty of time to explore more of the sights and sounds of Funchal independently.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by electric tukxi. This tour is sold on a per Tukxi basis that accommodates 3 passengers; therefore only one adult ticket is required when booking.

Farmer’s Market and Botanical Gardens

Activity mediumShopping

Duration: 4 hours

Experience the scents, colours, flavours and traditions of life in Madeira.

Your day starts with a panoramic drive around Funchal’s most beautiful and historic sights. As your wind your way through the hustle and bustle of the capital, you’ll pass by Autonomy Square, City Hall, the São Lourenço Palace and Santa Catarina Parque, en route for a photo stop overlooking this colourful city.

At the centre of local life is the Mercado dos Lavradores, or farmer’s market. With your guide, follow the exotic aromas to the stalls selling tropical fruits, vegetables and fragrant blooms and sample some of the local produce. Check out the catch of the day; depending on the season you may see fresh tuna or black scabbard. Don’t forget to bring your camera, to capture the vivid colours of the sellers wearing traditional costume and the ceramic wall tiles depicting regional scenes.

Then it’s time to discover the beautiful Botanical Gardens, the former private residence of the Reid family. The gardens are host to a profusion of plants and flowers, from all parts of the world. Follow the paths that wind along the terraces to the herbarium and greenhouses with many rare and indigenous plants. Finally, before leaving ensure you take some time to savour the stunning views over Funchal.

Essential information

This tour will operate by coach and on foot. Passengers will be given the option to accompany the guide around parts of the Botanical Gardens or explore alone. Plants will be labelled in Portuguese and Latin. Please note that there are several steps and slopes to negotiate during the tour. The visit to the gardens is approximately 1 hour in duration.

Leisurely Scenes of Madeira

Activity lowRefreshments included

Duration: 4 hours

This tour has been designed to show you the delightful scenery and stunning views of this beautiful island at a leisurely pace.

Sit back and relax, as your scenic extravaganza starts off along the rugged west coast road and through the picturesque fishing village of Camara de Lobos, once painted by Sir Winston Churchill.

Driving through eucalyptus forests, you’ll reach Cabo Girao. From a superb viewpoint, see the 2nd highest sea cliff in the world. From here, you can also see mountain slopes that have been carved into terraces.

At Pico dos Barcelos the true beauty of the island is revealed. See Funchal in the distance and the surrounding villages scattered on green slopes. After admiring the amazing views of Funchal and the southern coast, continue along a winding road to Eira do Serrado. A short ascent will lead you to Pico do Serrado, where a brief photo stop will be made. There are superb views of Madeira’s highest peaks and the Curral das Freiras village below, a hamlet so remote the Santa Clara Convent nuns used it as an escape from the pirate raids of the 16th century.

At a leading hotel in Eira do Serrado, relax and enjoy tea, coffee or a glass of the famous Madeira wine with a well-deserved slice of homemade cake.

Essential information

This tour operates by coach. There are some cobblestones and steps at the viewpoints, though much of the view can also be seen from the coach. This excursion involves travelling around hairpin bends with steep slopes, which may affect those who suffer from vertigo.

 

A selection of cruises to Madeira

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