Riding the cable car isn’t exactly the most like-a-local Madeira experience, but if you dismiss this famous gondola as a tourist gimmick, you’re missing out on some of the best views on the island. This spiffy, modern cable car travels up 560 metres above sea level, connecting the Old Town of Madeira’s capital, Funchal, to the sky-high parish of Monte.

Windows on all sides of the cars create almost uninterrupted views of Funchal’s red rooftops framed by the blue waters of the Atlantic. As the car climbs higher, Funchal’s picturesque city centre gradually gives way to more lush, mountainous scenery. The ride takes 20 minutes and it’s smooth and steady enough that it might even quell the fears of those with height aversions. The slow speed gives you plenty of time to snap photos en route, before you take in the sweeping view over the city and coastline at the top.


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