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Toboggan in Madeira

Ride the toboggan in Madeira, one of the coolest commutes in the world

When you’re going to Madeira, one of the first things you’ll see offered is a ride with the toboggan! But what is this all about? Learn all the ins and outs about the toboggan in Madeira and take a thrill ride down the mountain. Let’s go!

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Enjoy a ride with the toboggan in Madeira!

A quick overview

What to do? Race down a mountain in a wicker basket!

Costs? From € 25,00

Where? Monte, Funchal in Madeira

Worth it? If you’re up for a thrill… YES!

The history of toboggan in Madeira

Before you think, ah… another tourist trap, the toboggan in Madeira actually has a very long history. Since the 19th century, the Monte Toboggan Sledges slide down the hill overlooking Funchal. Back in the day, it was a form of public transport. It was the easiest way for locals to travel from the village of Monte to Funchal. As public transport developed, there was no more need for sledges to travel down, but it has become one of the most popular tourist attractions on the island of Madeira. And let’s be honest; it’s an unforgettable and unique experience for all ages!

How does it work?

A toboggan sledge is made of wicker, which is then connected to two wooden runners. They are traditionally handcrafted using techniques from the mid-1800s! The highest quality wood is used to make the sledges. The toboggan sledges are steered and powered by two Carreiros. The drivers are dressed in white, wearing the typical Madeira hat, the Straw boater. Check out their shoes as well! They’re pretty heavy and have rubber soles to stop the sledge if needed. The boots function as brakes! How cool is that? The Carreiros are incredibly experienced, offering you a safe journey down the hill. Back in the day, the sleighs had to be carried back up by staffing! Check the pictures around the entrance to get a glimpse of the old days.

What to expect during your toboggan ride?

The ride down is 2 kilometres long, and you reach speeds up to 30 kilometres an hour! It’s a steep hill with windy roads that adds extra fun to the journey. The endpoint is in Livramento, a Funchal suburb. Here you can buy a picture that a photographer took during your ride, and there is a souvenir shop, bar and a toilet. From here, there is also a taxi and bus service back to Funchal. Check the video below to get an idea of what it´s like.

Where can you ride the toboggan in Madeira?​

Monte is a small village on top of a hill, just outside the capital city of Funchal. The toboggan ride starts close to the Monte Church and the cable car. The starting point is marked as Associação dos Carreiros do Monte (see the below map). From the cable car’s exit, it’s around a 5-10 minute walk. The exact address is Caminho do Monte nº4 (GPS: 32°40’31.32 “N16°54’9.67” W).

When you arrive, you can purchase your tickets and join the queue. This might be the most significant downside, as riding the toboggan in Madeira is popular! Depending on the time of year and day, you might have to wait a while (2 hours can be normal…). Please remember that all the toboggans and staff slide down, but they also need to come back up! The sledges are placed onto trucks to be transported back to Monte, and the team will take a bus back up. This is a timely process, but one that’s been mastered. Waiting is, unfortunately, part of the game, but well worth it! There are toilets also in the waiting area, and you can purchase something to eat and drink nearby.

The Funchal toboggan route map

How to get to the toboggan in Madeira?

Getting uphill is a fun ride if you decide to take the cable car. The Funchal Cable Car starts in Funchal on Av. do Mar e das Comunidades Madeirenses. From there, it’s a 15 to 25-minute trip to the top. Teleférico do Funchal opens at 9 AM, and you can ride the cable car until 5.45 PM. A one-way ticket costs € 12,50 per person. A return ticket for the cable car costs € 18,00. Don’t purchase a return ticket if you decide to ride the toboggan unless you want to return to Monte afterwards.

If you’re not keen on heights and prefer to take a bus, you can use bus services 20, 21, or 48. You can also decide to take a taxi, which costs between € 8,00 to € 20,00. Bolt is usually the cheapest option, followed by Uber and the regular cab.

There are taxi services between the toboggan rides and Funchal. From Monte to Funchal, you pay € 20,00. Between the start of the toboggan and the endpoint, you pay € 10,00. From the endpoint to Funchal, it’s also € 10,00. If you decide to walk back to Funchal, it will take around 15 minutes, and it’s all downhill.

Did you rent a car? You can also drive to Monte and park at a free car park. The closest place to park your car is Parking upper cable car station.

Buying tickets for the Madeira toboggan

You can buy tickets to ride the toboggan in Madeira at Associação dos Carreiros do Monte. Please note that you must pay cash, and card payments are not accepted! The wicker baskets have a place for 1, 2, or 3 people at a time. 

Prices are as follows:

Children up to 5 years old: free (must be accompanied by an adult)

One person: € 25,00

Two people: € 30,00

Three people: € 45,00

Opening hours for the toboggan in Madeira

Monday to Saturday from 9 AM until 6 PM
Departures close at 17:45, and the Livramento Terminal closes at 18:15
Sunday: closed

If the weather is bad and it rains, the sledges will probably not ride. After all, it’s already slippery as it is! Depending on the number of waiting customers, the ticket booth might close early also. There are also some holidays that the toboggan isn’t available: August 14th and 15th (Festivities in honour of Our Lady of Monte), Christmas Day (December 25th), New Year’s day (January 1st), and Easter on Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

Other things to do in the area

Don’t leave Monte just yet, as there is more! Monte Palace Madeira (pictured below) is a must-see when visiting Funchal! You can, of course, also visit these stunning gardens before you ride the toboggan. Other highlights in the area are Madeira Botanical Garden (Jardim Botânico da Madeira), Quinta da Boa Vista, and Monte Church (Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Monte).

Hotels in Monte and Funchal

From Monte, you’ll enjoy one of the best views over Funchal. So why not stay the night here? There is a fabulous selection of hotels here, such as Babosas Village, La Chambre de Ker Briac, Vila da Portada, and Quinta Belmonte Funchal. Do you prefer to stay in Funchals city centre? Then you can check the complete list of hotels in Funchal below:

Booking.com

Conclusion

Taking a ride with the toboggan in Madeira might not be for the faintest of hearts, but it’s not super scary, either. So if you are up for a bit of a thrill, do it! The queue moves quickly, and before you know it, you step on board one of the coolest commutes in the world! Enjoy the ride!

There is, of course, a lot more to do in Funchal. Check out this comprehensive list that will help you with your Funchal itinerary!

Written by Marga

Written by Marga

Content creator, travel writer and photographer

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I’m Marga, the blogger and photographer behind this site! I live in Lisbon, and I’m a cat-mum to 13-year-old Savage. I love coffee, cheese, a good book and exploring this beautiful country. I write about Lisbon and the rest of Portugal, and I hope this website will help as an inspiration for your holiday.

16 Responses

  1. A cable car ride up and a toboggan ride down. I can do this all day long!!! This certainly looks like a lot of fun.

  2. This reminds me of what we call hand carts in Jamaica except they are made of wood, have wheels and are mainly used to transport goods from one point to another. This was a great read thanks for sharing!

  3. I’ve actually heard about this but haven’t experienced it yet. I’ll definitely be trying this when I visit Madeira!

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