A trip to Madeira wouldn’t be complete without a toboggan ride. At one time the rides filled a niche for the locals who needed transportation from Monte downhill towards Funchal. Now they’re a tourist attraction and a lot of fun. It was the highlight of our trip and something we looked forward to since we bought the plane fare from Lisbon to Madeira.
Our ride started in Funchal at the bottom of the hill with a gondola ride.
For 10€ each (5€ for kids) we rode up to Monte, enjoying breathtaking views.
At the top we followed the signs to the toboggans.
A brief walk led to the top of the ride.
We paid our 15€ cash each and hopped on. Two guides in white clothes with straw hats grabbed the ropes and got us heading down hill.
Wikipedia says they can reach speeds up to 45 km/hr and I believe it. They’re fast and share the streets with cars. One intersection even had a uniformed police officer stopping traffic to let us blast through. There’s a point where the road flattens out enough for the guides to hop off and pull the sled with the ropes. Eventually, the pitch increased and they were able to hop on the back and steer with their feet again.
When we reached the end of the line, the guides posed for and took photos, and were tipped for their efforts. The toboggans get loaded on the back of a truck and head back up for the next trip.