Of course there are just so many things you can do on Madeira Island, that you probably don’t need another suggestion. Anybody going to spend a few days here has read a travel guide anyway. But having been to this wonderful place for a couple of times I would nevertheless like to give you two personal suggestions I always like.
The first suggestion is for a round trip that takes about three hours. Please look up your travel guide for details. First you take the cable car (Teleferico) from east of the Museu de Electricidade up to Monte. This only takes a few minutes.
Funchal seen from the cable car.
When you get there you take a walk in the Monte Palace Tropical Gardens. After that you go up to the Monte Church (Nossa Senhora da Monte) and then to the Largo da Fonte with the spring in the Capelina do Monte.
Nossa Senhora do Monte.
Then you go back to the street just below the Monte Church’s steps where the toboggan rides start in front of the old entrance of the Grande Hotel Belmonte.
Toboggan start at the Grande Hotel Belmonte.
The ride down to Funchal is really exiting and was 10 Euros per person in 2003.
The second suggestion is for a simple meal after your tour. Try to get it in an authentic restaurant. Especially outside Funchal or in the Zona Velha you can find a lot of places where you hardly find any tourists, and this is where I would suggest you go.
Zona Velha of Funchal.
Sopa de Tomate e Cebola (Tomato and onion soup)
If its really authentic, you will get an empty plate of soup. Then the waiter comes with an old steaming cooking pot and gives you a huge amount of a very tasty tomato soup with lots of onions and an lost egg in it. This is best accompanied with a...
Bolo de Caco
This is a small warm bread with lots of garlic butter on it. During the hot months you will often see people making these at points of tourist interest, like at the Funchal harbour. I remember watching a family selling freshly baked Bolo de Caco at this place. First they made lots of dough in a baby bathing tub. Then the two kids started forming dough balls the size of their fists while the granny started the fire. In the end the whole family was baking, cutting, spreading the home made garlic butter and selling about 400 Bolos in about two hours. The smell of the freshly baked Caco and the melting garlic butter was overwhelming… After this it is time for some liquids.
I find this a good Pilsen-type beer which goes very well with one or two Cacos and a Sopa de Tomate e Cebola. Sipping from your cold Coral watching the ships in the Funchal harbor is very relaxing.
Sunset at Funchal harbor