In my previous travel blog post, you could read about my first days in Funchal on Madeira. This post is only about my visit to the botanical gardens in Funchal, and monte palace tropical garden, by cable car and bus. It includes practical travel information for your visit to the botanical gardens during your holiday in Funchal, or if you’re only visiting Madeira by cruise ship. I also compare the Madeira Botanical Gardens with Monte Palace Tropical Garden in case you have to choose between the different garden parks in Funchal on Madeira.
Video of the Madeira Botanical Garden & Monte Palace Tropical Gardens in Funchal
To give you a better idea, I include a YouTube video of my visit to both garden parks in Funchal here. I’ve also written posts with practical travel information for a Madeira holiday, and another blog post with the best tours and excursions to do for seeing the best sights of Madeira.
Botanical Gardens in Funchal vs Monte Palace Tropical Garden Park on Madeira
Maybe you don´t have enough time to visit both Botanical garden parks in Funchal on Madeira, or you only like to do one of the gardens only It´s hard to choose which one is more beautiful. They say that the botanical gardens are best to be visited in the springtime because of all the flowers. I highly enjoyed it at the end of September too. However, I did enjoy the Monte Palace Tropical Garden more. I add a little video, a bit further down, about my visit to both garden parks in Funchal.
Choosing between the two garden parks in Funchal on Madeira
Maybe it was due to the timing and it can be that botanical gardens are much nicer in the springtime. Also, there was a little bit of maintenance going on in the botanical gardens, so it was hard to say which park is better. I think, in the right season, for flowers you might prefer the botanical gardens over monte palace garden. I just highly enjoyed both those botanical garden parks in Funchal on Madeira.
How Monte Palace Tropical Gardens are different from the botanical gardens in Funchal on Madeira
Monte Palace Tropical Gardens, (I receive a small commission on your purchase through this link) like the name already suggests, feels more like a tropical forest. There is also more art (like sculptures and little temples) woven into nature, and there is water flowing everywhere. You can see and hear a lot of waterfalls, which for me, gave a bit of an extra feeling to the ambient.
Monte Palace Tropical Gardens on Madeira Island
There is a whole history behind those gardens dating back to the 18th century. Monte Palace also has usually some exhibitions going on, there is an on-site museum and it´s very big. There is one particular route through the park which takes about 2,5 hours if you like to see everything.
Botanical Gardens by cable car from Funchal on Madeira
So, there are different ways you can visit the botanical garden in Funchal. It depends entirely upon what you like to do, if you like to go by local bus, cable car and if you do want to combine your visit to the Botanical Gardens with the Monte Palace Tropical Garden. For €31,40 you can do a combined return double cable car tour with entrance to the Botanical Garden.
This ticket for the Botanical Gardens by cable car does not include the entrance to Monte Palace Garden
This trip will bring you from Funchal first to Monte Palace Garden (the entrance of €12,50 is not included) and then you take another cable car from Monte Palace gardens to the Botanical gardens and return the same way as you came. (I receive a small commission on your purchase through this link) So this ticket includes the two cable car rides, the entrance to the Botanical Garden and the return in reversed route by cable car.
Cable car combi-ticket to the Botanical Garden & Monte Palace Tropical Gardens in Funchal on Madeira
Last March, I did only a quick return cable car trip from Funchal up to monte palace garden and back. This time I booked cable car combi ticket, which combines the cable bar with the bus. With this €18,75 ticket, you go by public bus up to the botanical garden. You can then take the cable car from the botanical gardens in Funchal to Monte palace tropical garden.
Cable car from the botanical gardens to Monte palace gardens in Funchal on Madeira
This ticket includes the bus from Funchal to the botanical garden, entrance to these gardens and a cable car ride from the botanical gardens to monte palace tropical gardens, and the return trip vice versa. So, with this combi ticket, you miss the cable car trip from Funchal all the way up to Monte Palace Garden and once again, the entrance fee for Monte Palace Garden is separate. (I receive a small commission on your purchase through the link above)
Use the cable car in Funchal to go up to the garden parks (teleférico)
My recommendation, however, is not to book a return ticket. I think the nicest and most complete experience of visiting both, the botanical gardens and monte palace tropical garden, is to go one direction and book a one-way ticket. Start by taking the cable car from Funchal all the way up to Monte Palace Tropical Gardens.
Then back to Funchal by cable car, bus or toboggan sled
After this garden park, you can choose. Either you go halfway back down by cable car to the Botanical Gardens. Then, leave the Botanical Garden at the exit down and take the bus from there. Or, do the toboggan sled ride from Monte Palace Gardens and visit the Botanical Gardens in Funchal on Madeira on another day.
You can also visit Monte Palace Garden by tuk-tuk and do the toboggan ride
The ´Toboggan Ride´ is a traditional Madeiran way of going down the mountain or hill. It looks like a wicker basket on a wooden sled, and you simply slide down the street. This sledge comes from Madeiran history in the late 1800s when people used this to go down or bring products down, but nowadays it´s a tourist attraction. Book here on Get Your Guide (ad):
Another idea: do one Madeira garden park per day in Funchal
Another suggestion, especially when travelling with children or if you want to take things a bit slower, is to consider doing one park at the time especially if you like to do the toboggan ride. I did both parks and walked 10 km that day.
Nothing is flat on Madeira, so there is a lot of walking up and down. Children might enjoy the toboggan ride and you can go back to do the botanical gardens another day by just taking the bus from Funchal, or by booking a guided Funchal tuk-tuk tour with a visit to the Botanical Gardens. (Once again, I receive a commission on your purchase through this link).
The logistics of planning your visit to the garden parks in Funchal on Madeira
My first recommendation is to plan it a bit logistically before you start your visit to the botanical gardens as well as the monte palace garden. Because like mentioned before, it depends on what you like to do, how much time you have, who you´re travelling with and your budget.
Botanical Gardens first, by cable car to Monte Palace Tropical Gardens and slide by toboggan ride back to Funchal
The last suggestion I have is to take a bus from Funchal up to the Botanical Garden, after visiting this garden continue by cable car to Monte Palace Garden and slide down by the toboggan ride. The only thing you miss this way is the long cable car ride from Monte Palace Tropical Garden to Funchal (or vice versa). I include practical information with prices & times at the end of this post so you can plan your visit to the gardens of Funchal.
There are two entrances and exits for the Botanical Gardens in Funchal on Madeira
There was one little problem I stumbled upon by doing the Funchal gardens on a return combi-ticket by cable car and bus. First, you have to know that there are two entrances to the Botanical Gardens. One up, where the cable car station is, and one down where the bus stop is.
Tip for the bus stop at the cable car entrance at the Botanical Garden
The lady at the ticket office gave me the bus time table from the bus stop down at the botanical gardens. And after coming back from Monte Palace Garden, the cable car drops you off at the ´up´- entrance at the botanical gardens. And there´s no street to just walk down. There was, however, a bus stop close to the cable car entrance, but the times didn´t correspondent with my bus table.
Passing once again through the Botanical Gardens to reach the bus stop
This is another bus line, and maybe because it was Saturday, I should have waited 2 hours for the next bus. So I needed to go through the botanical gardens again to reach the bus stop. The lady at the entrance of the botanical garden did let me pass through again without charging me again, even though I did not have a ticket anymore. So this could give some problems. Just in case, I will here include a photo of the timetable of the bus stop ´up´ or at the cable car entrance of the botanical garden, to go back down to Funchal. This bus stop is located two floors up from the cable car entrance, and there´s an elevator in case you did enough walking for the day!
Travel information for your visit to the Botanical Gardens & Monte Palace Garden in Funchal on Madeira
I’ll now include some practical information, specifically for your visit to the Botanical Gardens and Funchal. But if you’re looking for more general travel information about Madeira Island, I suggest to read my posts with practical travel information for a holiday to Madeira, and the post with the best day tours and excursions on Madeira Island.
Practical information for the Madeira Botanical & Monte Palace Garden by cable car (with prices)
I close this blog post with the practical information for your visit to the Madeira Botanical Garden & Monte Palace Tropical Garden in Funchal.
Madeira Botanical Gardens
Entrance fee: 6€
Opening times: every day – 09.00 – 06.00 pm (last entrance at 05.30 pm)
Website: http://telefericojardimbotanico.com/ (also for all combi-tickets prices with cable car, bus & entrance to the botanical gardens)
Monte Palace Tropical Gardens
Entrance fee: €12,50
Opening times: every day (except 25th of December) – 09.00 am – 06.00 pm (museum 10.00 am – 04.30 pm)
Website: https://www.montepalacemadeira.com online te boeken via Get Your Guide. (Ik verdien commissie op je aankoop via deze link)
Cable Car from Funchal to Monte Palace Tropical Garden
One-way ticket: 11€, round trip return ticket: €16,-
Opening times: 09.00 am, the last boarding is at 05.45 pm
Website: https://madeiracablecar.com/en/ (also for combi tickets with entrances, yellow bus and connections by cable car teleférico to Botanical Garden )
Cable Car from Madeira Botanical Garden to Monte Palace Garden
One-way ticket: 8,25€, round trip return ticket: €12,75
Opening times: 10.30 am, last boarding at 04.30 pm (closed on 25th of December)
Website: https://telefericojardimbotanico.com/ (also for combi tickets with entrance to the botanical gardens, the other cable car and public bus). You can book it online through Get Your Guide, and I receive a small commission)
Information for your stay in Funchal on Madeira: accommodation, transport & flight deals
Recommended Funchal airport transfer shuttle
Get your Guide:
Recommended budget accommodation in Funchal
Apartments with own kitchen: Residencial Colombo Hotel
Book on booking. com: Residencial Colombo in Funchal with booking (advertisement)
Book on Agoda: Residencial Colombo in Funchal with Agoda (advertisement)
*Splashpacker receives a small commission from Booking or Agoda if you book through these links
Tips for flight deals to Madeira
Use 12go.co or the search table below to scan for all flights and choose your best flight deal to Madeira. Also here I receive a small percentage commission. Thank you!
Travel tips for other things to do in Funchal on Madeira Island in Portugal
First of all, I like to recommend ´Get your Guide´, for finding many things to do in Madeira. And you can use this company to book your activities in Funchal. I will go into more detail, about the things you can do in Funchal. But you can also you the tool below to book any of the activities, please be advised that I receive a small commission.
Heritage buildings & museums
Madeira has an interesting history and there a lot of museums & old building to be found in Funchal. You can visit the fortress of St. James in the old part of town, enjoy some amazing city views from the tower in the 18th-century town hall, see the 100-year old Baltazar Dias Theatre or visit the cathedral from the 15th century (please note that the cathedral is closed from noon till 03.00 pm). All churches & cathedrals are free to visit on Madeira.
In regards to the museums, I was told that the natural history museum is one of the nicest museums to visit in Funchal. Unfortunately, it was closed for renovation when I was there. Other interesting museums include the Sacred Art Museum, ´Quinta das Cruzes´museum. Not sure if it belongs to the museum category, but you can do some wine tasting in Blandy´s wine lodge to discover Madeira´s wines.
Sightseeing tours & other attractions or things to do in Funchal
Other activities to do from Funchal include whale & dolphin watching by catamaran (advertisement) or by sea safaris, other parks (for example the city park or Santa Catarina park with nice views over Funchal), you can visit the farmers market close to the old part of town. I do have to say that a tour guide from a levada walk I did, told me that the farmers market is a bit over-priced and sometimes they even add sugar to the fruits. So it might be a good advise to buy your fruits from the little fruit stalls in town and you also support the locals this way.
There are a few different sight-seeing busses in Funchal, but I recommend doing the Funchal old town city walk as well. The yellow bus, a double decker bus with an open roof, stops at Funchal’s highlights and Camara de Lobos. You also can book the 48-hrs sightseeing bus, which also works as with a hop-on hop-off system and brings you to both, Camara de Lobos and Cabo Girao. See my next travel blog update 26 for more information about these places.
Once again, check ´Get Your Guide´, to find your activity on Madeira and I receive a small commission.
Next to Funchal, more to come about Madeira: Levada walks & tours
In the week that followed I do the west tour, east tour, Pico de Areiro to Pico de Ruivo mountain walk and the 25 fountains Levada walk, and last but not least I go scuba diving in the marine reserve of Garajau! And after Madeira, I take off to the Azores! Stay tuned for later blog posts. You can sign up for my mailing list below, to receive an e-mail once a week with the newest posts. Or you can also follow me on YouTube.
More posts with practical travel information for your Madeira holiday
I’ve written several posts about Madeira Island. But the ones about the tours & excursions with must-sees and best sights on Madeira, and the blogpost with practical travel information for Madeira Island, are particularly useful if you’re planning a holiday to Madeira.
Safe travels & enjoy!