I was on a tour of Monte Palace Gardens and there was a choice of spending 90 minutes in the gardens and then doing a toboggan ride, or spending as long as I wanted in the gardens and then getting the cable car back to Funchal. The gardens were wonderful and there was no way I could ‘do’ them in 90 minutes, so that rather determined the decision.
OK, I didn’t have the adrenaline rush of a toboggan ride but the cable car is pretty good! The top station is just a few minutes walk from the gardens and mid afternoon it was very quiet. I had a car to myself. There is plenty of time to get in and out, even for those who may not be as nimble as they once were….
A bonus for photographers was windows without scratches.
It takes 15 minutes to drop the 1840’ from top to bottom. There are wonderful views of Funchal and the surrounding area. Massive modern bridges span deep rocky ravines. Houses scramble up the hillside with their terraced gardens. There are good views down to Rua da Ribeira de Joao Gomes and Rua Doutor Pestana Junior, the two major roads on either side of a deep (and in May) dry ravine into Funchal. Beyond is the harbour breakwater.
The lower terminal is in a large grassy area between the sea and Rua de Santa Maria in the old Town. From here it is an easy walk along the front back into the town centre.
This is a great way to get between Funchal and Monte and the stunning views compensated for missing the toboggan run.
All my pictures of Madeira are “here.”:http://wasleys.org.uk/eleanor/otherholidays/madeira/index.html