The Monte Toboggan is one of Madeira’s most famous attractions. Dating back to the 1850s, the Monte Sledge — a wicker toboggan — was the primary means of downhill public transportation in Funchal (Madeira’s capital city).
Today, and for many years now, the “Carro de Cesto” is used to entertain and transport tourists from the steps of the Nossa Senhora do Monte Church downhill to Livramento — a suburb of Funchal — two kilometres away.
Two men, called “Carreiros” dressed in white and wearing straw hats, will be your chauffeurs on this downhill adventure. They wear special, rubber-soled shoes that help them steer and brake the toboggan, which is essentially a wicker basket attached to two wooden runners (that glide on greased up rags).
The trip to the bottom takes about 10 minutes down a curvy road, and you can expect to reach speeds up to 30mph!
How to get there
The toboggan run is located in Funchal, Madeira’s capital city. You can take the Monte Cable car from Funchal to Monte, and then it’s a 5 to 10-minute walk to the steps of the Nossa Senhora do Monte Church — where the toboggan run starts. Look for the guys in white with straw hats and, of course, wicker sleds.
What to consider
- The cable car is a nice way to get to the top. Take a moment to visit the tropical gardens before sledding down.
- The toboggan ride doesn’t take you all the way to Funchal. You’ll have to walk the rest of the way — a 20 to 30-minute walk on a steep downhill — or take an expensive taxi (negotiate your fare before riding), or catch the bus.
- It’s a little bit expensive, ranging from 30 euros for two people, but it’s worth it!
- Expect a queue, it’s a popular attraction.
- The run goes down and crosses active, in-use streets.