The small village of Monte perched up in the hills overlooking Funchal, 6 km away from the centre of the capital, was formerly a health resort for Europe’s high society.
There are several words synonymous to Monte and ‘toboggan ride’ is surely one of them! Originally a fast means of transport down to Funchal for people living in Monte, these toboggan sledges appeared around 1850.
Still in use today, they attract thousands of tourists every year who want to make this exciting experience of sliding at high speed on narrow, winding streets down to Funchal.
These two-seater wicker sledges glide on wooden runners, pushed and steered by two men traditionally dressed in white cotton clothes and a straw hat, using their rubber-soled boots as brakes.
The downhill journey to Funchal is made in about 10 minutes on a total course of 2 km, reaching at times a speed of 48 km/hour. Adventurous, yet safe, an ‘old-fashioned’ toboggan ride to make your way down from Monte is the perfect contrast to the high-technology ‘Botanical Garden Cable Car’ going up to Monte.