Among the many ways to visit Madeira, there are two that simply cannot be missed. The traditional wicker sleds are one of “7 of the world’s coolest commutes” according to CNN. The cable car complex (the largest in Portugal) is an engineering masterpiece.

In the competition between these two modes of transport, which one wins?

Cable Car

  • Distance traveled: 3600 meters between stations (Funchal center and Monte)
  • Average speed: 3.2 meters per second
  • Trip duration: 16 minutes
  • Opened on: 15 November 2000
  • Price: €16 (return) or €11 (one way only). Discount for children under 12 years old: 50%
  • Capacity: 6 people per cabin, 800 people per hour; 2000 people per day (average)
  • Attraction: “the views. There is no other form of transport that offers such a wonderful 360º view of the city of Funchal”, says Gonçalo Câmara, of the Madeira Cable Car marketing department.
  • Maximum height: 90 meters
  • Construction materials: steel cable, metal, and glass
  • Did you know: It is the most ecological means of transport from Funchal to Monte.

Wicker sleds

  • Distance traveled: 2 km, between Monte and Livramento. They used to run 9 km to the center of Funchal
  • Average speed: 20 km/h; maximum speed 38 km/hour
  • Trip duration: 6 to 10 minutes
  • When did it start operating: Beginning of the 19th century
  • Price: 1 person – €25; 2 people – €30; 3 people – €45. Free for children under 5 years old
  • Capacity: 3 people per sled, taking an average of 400 people per day
  • Attraction: an adrenaline-filled, un-motorized ride, relying only on the experience and ingenuity of the “carreiros” – the skilled operators that push the sleds
  • Construction materials: wicker basket, wooden runners, secure ropes, boots with rubber soles made from car tires
  • Did you know: “The rich people had their estates up here in Monte, so they arranged this as a way of transporting their produce down to Funchal. However, as they didn’t want to go down on foot themselves, they also traveled in the baskets”, recounts Armando, a “carreiro” who has been doing this for 30 years.

Wanna know more about Madeira? See our posts!

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