Madeira Island Fun and Toboggan Riding

Madeira Island and the town of Funchal have flown under my radar for years until now. I was surprised both by how beautiful the island is and how much there is to do there. Here are a few fun moments we had while visiting. First, we enjoyed a great walking tour of Funchal and had the opportunity to taste a variety of food, chocolate, and wine along the way.

A delicious sampling of cheese, some from the Azores.

Amazing Madeira wine and chocolate.

Fun fruit and alcoholic drinks including a local favorite called Poncha. We also spent time in the local market.

I always love the gorgeous flowers found in local markets. And the vibrant fresh produce. So colorful.

We also had the opportunity to ride the Funchal Cable Car. It was a perfect way to see Madeira from up high.

And I got to share my gondola with a few very special people. I met Heather, the beautiful woman sitting to my right, over 15 years ago, on one of my very first Travel Agent Familiarization Trips to Jamaica. We have been friends ever since!

Heather captured this photo as I was enjoying the moment and the views. Such stunning views.

But what goes up must come down. We just happened to do it in a spectacularly unique way! If you’re visiting Madeira, one of the things you absolutely have to try is the Toboggan Ride!

The ride starts at the top of the mountain. You are greeted by two gentlemen dressed in white from head to toe, wearing straw hats and thick rubber soled boots. The boots aren’t just a fashion statement. They are actually the brakes on this terribly steep ride, which is just over a mile long.

They start first by pulling your basket toward a drop off, and you have no idea what’s coming. Before you know it, your toboggan has taken off down the hill, and the men have now disappeared behind you, pushing, sliding, steering, and riding the toboggan. There are several hairpin turns and you have no idea how or why you haven’t crashed yet, but it’s exhilarating and we could not stop laughing. Here’s a little video of the couple in front of us.

This was unforgettable and so unique, as was our whole experience on Madeira. I’m so thankful we had the opportunity to experience this island.

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