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What to see in Madeira

Madeira Attractions

It is the very remoteness of the Madeira archipelago that makes the islands so enchanting. Yet there is still a lot to do and see. Although there are no real beaches of the golden sand variety, there are many interesting activities and cultural attractions that draw visitors to its shores. These include exploring the colourful old town, visiting one of the many museums or cathedrals or browsing some of the famous markets.

Take an exhilarating 20 minute ride down the highway to Funchal from Monte in nothing but a wicker basket chair, steered by carreiro dressed in white and only using their rubber soled shoes as brakes, in what is known as the Monte Toboggan run. Another of the main attractions, and best ways to see the island of Madeira, is the exciting cable car trip. It gives its visitors fantastic panoramic views of Funchal and its surroundings, before ending at the beautiful Monte Palace Tropical Garden.

But if speeding down the highway in a wicker chair or flying high on the cable way is not for you, visitors can also explore the island with a boat trip around the coast. You might even catch a sighting of whales and dolphins. Alternatively, hop on a ferry to visit the nearby island of Porto Santo which provides a pretty picture with colourful Mediterranean houses decorating the coastline.

Frederico de Freitas Museum

The Frederico de Freitas Museum in Funchal houses a vast array of decorative pieces. Turkish, Moorish and North African tiles, as well as about 2,000 mugs, trophies and vases are…

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Named for the abundant fennel trees in the area, Funchal has many beautiful parks and gardens. The Madeira Botanical Gardens offer stunning views, as well as more than 2,000 species…

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Funchal Cathedral

In the heart of the historic section of Funchal stands the Sé do Funchal, the most impressive of Madeira's religious edifices. The simple rough white stucco and brownish basalt…

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Madeira Cable Car

A favourite attraction in Madeira's capital of Funchal, the cable car travels from the Parque Almirante Reis in the old part of town up to the scenic village of Monte in the mountains.…

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Porto Santo

Madeira's sister island, Porto Santo, lies 42 miles (68km) northeast of its larger sibling and was actually discovered before Madeira itself. Porto Santo is rather bleak and barren.…

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São Vicente Caves

Formed 890,000 years ago, the São Vicente Caves are among the first caves of volcanic origin to be opened to the public in Portugal. The caves were formed by a volcanic eruption which occurred in…

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