Best Shore Excursions In Madeira For Families

Madeira is a port I have been fortunate to call into many times when working onboard P&O cruise ships.  It was also the port of call I was most looking forward to during our recent family cruise around the Canaries and Mediterranean.  Anyone who has visited the Portuguese island of Madeira will understand why.  The Garden Island, as it is known, is simply stunning with lush green mountains and gardens/parks filled with sub-tropical plants and flowers.  The island also has lots of attractions to offer for families with kids of all ages.  Below you will find a summary of the best shore excursions in Madeira for families.

best shore excursions in Madeira for familiesP&O Cruises Ventura, sailing out of Funchal Harbour in Madeira

best shore excursions in Madeira for families P&O Cruises Ventura from the highest view point in Madeira

Five of the best shore excursions in Madeira for families

1. A scenic cable car ride up to Monte

This half day excursion starts with a short drive to the Funchal cable car station.  Where you will board a cable car, (similar to a ski lift) for the 12,000 foot long, 15 minute ride which rises over 1,800 feet to the peak of Monte.

The views from the cable car are breathtaking.  My boys loved ‘flying’ over Madeira and excitedly pointed out the mountains, colourful gardens and banana plantations.

The images below show the enclosed cable cars and Funchal Harbour from Monte, known for being one of the most spectacular in the world.  It is a very busy port, often with four cruise ships in dock at any one time.best shore excursions in Madeira for families

2. An exhilarating toboggan ride down a hillside in a wicker basket

In complete contract to a relaxing slow ride up to Monte, the two-mile ride down the hillside is thrilling!  The toboggan drivers you see below are known as “Carreiros”.   They dress in their traditional white outfits, a straw hat and most importantly, rubber soled boots to run behind the wicker basket, pushing and steering along the windy roads, using their boots as brakes!

best shore excursions in Madeira for families

Image copyright – Travel Loving Family

3. Enjoy views over Madeira from 6,000ft

Many of the shore excursions offered in Madeira include a stop at the viewpoint, Pico dos Barcelos.  From here you can see Funchal bay and city, with the Desertas Islands in the background.

best shore excursions in Madeira for families

4. Visit the famous Blandy’s wine lodge

Ok so this attraction isn’t perhaps suitable for the kids!  However, it would be rude to visit Madeira without trying its famous wine and sometimes, (just sometimes!) us parents should have a say in which attractions to visit.  Many of the cruise shore excursions in Madeira include a short stop and wine tasting at Blandy’s Wine Lodge, which is a great place to pick up some souvenir bottles of Madeira wine.

best shore excursions in Madeira for families. 

 

5. Whale and dolphin watching

Madeira is a popular place to take a boat trip or a high-speed RIB ride as 20 species of cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) have been spotted in these waters.  For families it is the perfect opportunity to (hopefully!) get up close to pilot whales, bottlenose dolphins, Atlantic spotted dolphins and common dolphins that are commonly seen showing off their acrobatic moves.  If you are really lucky you may even spot the Risso’s dolphins, beaked whales and killer whales that occasionally visit the Atlantic ocean surrounding Madeira.

best shore excursions in Madeira for families

For further information check out – How to make the most of a cruise ship call into Madeira

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Lisa Jane

Lisa developed a love of cruising during her three years working for P&O Cruises.  While it may sound cliché, no two days were ever the same managing the onboard Shore Excursions department.  An average week in the Caribbean involved escorting passengers on snorkeling, scuba diving and deep sea fishing excursions. Her highlights of a three month world cruise included bottle feeding baby elephants in Sri Lanka, climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge and searching for the Big Five whilst on safari in South Africa.  

Lisa also writes, Travel Loving Family, a family travel blog sharing travel tips, reviews, holiday giveaways and destination guides from her travels to over 80 countries and is Editor of Trips100, the largest UK travel blogger network.  Lisa has worked with many travel brands and tourist boards including Mark Warner Holidays, Top Villas, Bookings For You and Net Flights.

Lisa has settled down to a life on land with her husband who she met during her first contract at sea.  They have two boys, aged 3 and 6, who also share a love of cruising.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Facebook

1 Comment

  1. Alan Port
    September 11, 2017 / 3:24 pm

    I agree with your recommendations. However, when we have visited Madeira, we have found it very easy to visit attractions under our own steam. E.g. A walk along the seafront to the bottom of the cable car is very pleasant and the fare on the cable car is better than those charged onboard. Take the second cable car to the botanical gardens for even more stunning views and to see the birds in the aviaries as well as the beautiful gardens. You can take the tobogan back down from the first lift instead of returning via the cable car if you wish. Another good touring option is the hop on hop off bus tour which leaves regularly from the Funchal Promenade.

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