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Discover Monte Palace Madeira in Funchal
A quick overview
What to see? Plants, flowers, flamingos, a palace, art, and museums.
Costs? € 12,50 per person. Kids under 15 go for free.
Where? Funchal (the capital of the island Madeira), in the freguesia Monte.
Worth it? If you like nature, then YES! It’s a favourite sight in Funchal!
The history of Monte Palace Madeira Tropical Garden
The history of Monte Palace Madeira started in the 18th century when the British Consul General Charles Murray bought property on top of the hill in Funchal. The building close to the Church of Monte was soon known as Quinta do Prazer. In 1897, however, Alfredo Guilherme Rodrigues took over the property and built a stately house. This was later transformed into the Monte Palace Hotel.
If you’ve been to the Buddha Eden Garden on mainland Portugal or the Berardo Collection in Lisbon, some parts of the Monte Palace Garden might look familiar! In 1987, José Berardo bought the Monte Palace Hotel, and subsequently, the Monte Palace Madeira was born. Monte Palace Madeira is a fine combination of museums, art, and botanical plants and flowers. It’s now part of the Associação de Colecções, which is continuing to protect the environment.
What to see at Monte Palace Madeira
You’ll easily spend 3-4 hours in the gardens to fully enjoy Monte Palace Madeira and all its beauty, even more so if you wish to explore every corner of the 70,000 m2 estate! Below you’ll find some of the highlights of Monte Palace Madeira, but there is even more to see!
Monte Palace Madeira Museum
From the Babosas Entrance, it’s only a short walk to the Monte Palace Madeira Museum. The museum has different parts, like the Zimbabwe Sculpture Museum and the Mineral Collection. The African Passion collection boats over 1000 sculptures from 1966 to 1969. The mineral and gem collection consists of more than 1000 specimens from all over the world. Most originate from Brazil, Portugal, Zambia, and Argentina.
History in the garden
Making your way further down, you’ll discover more about the history of Portugal and Madeira. Argentinean artist Alberto Cedrón created 40 terracotta tile panels which tell you more about Portuguese history. You’ll find boards of D. Afonso Henriques, the Third Republic, the 1974 revolution and much more. The double panels are dedicated to showcasing the history of the island.
After José Berardo travelled to Japan in the 1990s, he decided to commission a panel dedicated to the arrival of the Portuguese in Japan. Alberto Cedrón also worked on this artwork, creating a panel titled ´A Aventura dos Portugueses no Japão´(The Adventure of the Portuguese in Japan). The artwork with mounted 166 plates is placed in an iron structure.
Art in the garden
Like in the Buddha Eden Garden in mainland Portugal, Monte Palace Madeira is richly decorated with art. The collection includes Portuguese stone arches, a Manueline window, statues, a ceramic gallery, a Santana House, and many more. There are two oriental gardens with pagodas, Buddhas, bridges, and stone lanterns.
Monte Palace and the lake
In the central part of the garden, you’ll discover the palace. The palace was used as a hotel between 1904 to 1943, and guests could make boat trips on the central lake. A journey around the fortress would mean you might get sprayed on, and the many fountains are beautiful to see. From the lake, you’ll enjoy a mesmerising view over the palace. And from the palace, you’ll enjoy a stunning view over the city of Funchal.
Flora in Monte Palace Garden
The Monte Palace Madeira Tropical Garden has many colourful flowers and unique plants. The collection of exotic plants comes from every corner of our planet. You’ll discover cycads, proteas, orchids, azaleas, and hydrangeas. Every season has surprises, and Madeira’s mild climate ensures a lush jungle.
The Laurissilva of Madeira was classified as UNESCO World Natural Heritage in 2000, and some examples grow in the garden. You’ll spot laurel, til, and barbusano, for instance. You can find more at Fanal Forest in the northeastern part of the island. The laurel forest is known to be the home of endemic species such as the Madeira long-toed pigeon. The Canary island juniper is another beauty that is unfortunately endangered. And if you’re visiting the garden between August and October, you can see the Dracaena draco flower!
Fauna in Monte Palace Garden
If you look closely, you’ll also spot some beautiful animals! Koi carp swim in ponds which can live up to 100 years! In the central lake, you’ll spot swans and ducks and peacocks roaming the gardens. Don’t forget to check out the pink flamingos close to the wishing well! And if you’re lucky, you might even run into the house cat!
Opening times of Monte Palace Madeira
When you visit Funchal, visiting Monte Palace Madeira is simply a must. Thankfully, the garden is open all year round, apart from December 25th. The park is open from 9.30 AM until 6 PM. You can visit the museum between 10 AM and 4.30 PM.
Monte Palace Madeira Price
You can purchase a ticket for Monte Palace Madeira at two separate entrances; the Babosas Entrance and the Monte Entrance. Children younger than 15 can enter the gardens free of charge, but an adult must accompany them. Adults pay € 12,50 per person. You can pay in cash (euro only) or with Multibanco, Visa, and MasterCard.
How to get to Monte Palace Madeira
Now here is the fun part, getting to and from the garden! The most adventurous way to get to Monte Palace Madeira is by cable car. The Teleférico do Funchal runs from 9 AM until 5.45 PM, and the journey takes between 15 and 25 minutes. You’ll cover a 3.200-meter trip! So it’s clearly not a walk in the park, especially as it’s uphill! A one-way ticket on the Funchal Cable Car costs € 12,50 per person or € 18,00 return. Children up to 6 can ride the teleférico for free, and children between 7 and 14 pay € 6,50 for a one-way ticket or € 9,00 for a return.
You can also get to Monte Palace Madeira by bus. Bus services 20, 21, 22 or 48 all stop nearby. A taxi ride might cost you anywhere between € 8,00 to € 20,00. (Bolt is the cheapest option, followed by Uber and regular taxis). Please note there are two entrances. The Babosas Entrance is close to where the cable car ends (Caminho de Babosas), and the Monte Entrance is located on Caminho de Monte.
How to get back from Monte Palace Madeira to Funchal
And now things get really interesting! After a calm walk in the garden, it’s time for some action after all! The freguesia Monte lies on top of a steep hill, and the easiest way down is by toboggan! You’ll sledge down the mountain in a wicker basket with speeds up to 30 kilometres an hour! For over 100 years, it’s been the most rapid transportation between Monte and the city of Funchal. And don’t worry; you’re in good hands!
You’ll slide 2 kilometres down to the Arrival Terminal in Livramento. From there, it’s a short 15-minute downhill walk to Funchal. Also, bus 19 can take you back to the city, and a taxi will cost you € 10,00. If you bought a return ticket for the cable car, you could also travel back to Funchal by teleférico, of course. For the toboggan in Funchal guide, click here.
Other things to do in the area
A visit to Monte is incomplete without a visit to the Jardim Botânico da Madeira (Madeira Botanical Garden). Or look at Quinta da Boa Vista to enjoy a stunning city view. Funchal boasts many sights, such as Mercado dos Lavradores, Fortaleza de São Tiago, and Blandy’s Wine Lodge. Discover the many restaurants around Rua de Santa Maria, or enjoy a cocktail at the Three House hotel, bar & restaurant.
Hotels in Funchal with a view
As you may have noticed, the views from Monte are stunning! The good thing is, there are some hotels on top of the mountain. Check out Babosas Village for an unforgettable stay in the romantic hills above Funchal. Other excellent choices are Quinta Belmonte Funchal, Vila da Portada by OurMadeira (with pool!), and La Chambre de Ker Briac.
For the complete list of hotels in Funchal, check the map below.
A garden might not interest everyone, but Monte Palace Madeira is one of the best sights in Funchal! It’s an excellent combination of art, museums, and nature. Many species can be found on the rest of the island, whereas others are rare, even in the rest of the world. Every season other species bloom, and the trees offer some shade on warm days.
Want to discover more places in Funchal? Check out this list with over 30 sights and activities in the city.