A journey to Monte the ultimate guide to Madeira Island´s scenic village

A journey to Monte: the ultimate guide to Madeira Island´s scenic village

A journey to Monte: the ultimate guide to Madeira Island´s scenic village

Monte Village is a charming hillside village located in Madeira Island, Portugal. It is a popular tourist destination due to its rich history and cultural significance, stunning gardens, and thrilling attractions. The village was developed in the XVI century and was frequented by European royalty, including the Emperor of Austria.

Today, Monte Village is a must-visit destination for those seeking an authentic Madeiran experience. Whether you're looking for a tranquil garden walk, a cultural excursion, or an adrenaline-filled adventure, Monte Village offers something for everyone.

points of interest in Monte village funchal guide

History and Culture of Monte Village


A. The role of Emperor of Austria in Monte Village's development


Monte Village owes much of its development to the Emperor of Austria, Charles I. In the early 20th century, Charles I visited Madeira Island with his wife, Empress Zita. The couple was exiled to Monte Village after a failed attempt at the restoration of the Hungarian kingdom. Charles I's presence in Monte brought an influx of tourists, and soon the village became a popular destination among the European aristocracy.


Today, Monte Village continues to attract visitors from all over the world, and the legacy of Emperor Charles I lives on. One of the most popular attractions in Monte Village is the Emperor's Gardens Quinta, which was once Charles I's modest villa. Another important attraction in Monte is the Monte Palace Tropical gardens, which houses a museum with an impressive collection of art and artefacts from around the world, and visitors can tour the stunning gardens surrounding the villa.


B. Romanticism influence on Monte Village's culture


Monte Village's culture is heavily influenced by Romanticism, a 19th-century cultural movement that emphasized emotion, individualism, and nature. This movement inspired many of the villas and gardens in Monte, which are designed to blend harmoniously with the natural landscape.


One of the most notable examples of Romanticism in Monte Village is the Church of Our Lady of Monte, the latest iteration of which was built in the XVIII century (a primitive chapel has existed since the XV century) The church's façade is adorned with stone carvings and a towering bell tower, which is visible from miles away. Inside, visitors can marvel at the Baroque and Rococo decorations and impressive altarpiece.


Overall, Monte Village's rich history and cultural heritage make it a fascinating destination for travelers interested in art, architecture, and history. The Emperor of Austria's influence and Romanticism's impact on Monte's culture are just a few of the many reasons why this village is a must-visit on Madeira Island.


Church and Chapel in Monte Village


Monte village is famous for its beautiful and historic church and chapel. These religious structures have grounded the village's culture and heritage for centuries.


The Monte Church, officially known as the Church of Our Lady of Monte, is a beautiful Baroque-style church that was built in the XVIII century after the earthquake of 1748 destroyed its original structure. The church's façade is adorned with stone carvings and decorative elements, while its interior features an ornate altar and exquisite paintings. The church also houses several important artifacts, including a statue of the Virgin Mary, which is paraded through the streets of Monte during the annual Monte Festival, on August 15th. 

Monte Church Funchal


The Chapel of Our Lady of Babosas is one of the most important religious structures in Monte village. Located in the Babosas area of Monte, this chapel is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and is said to have been built in the 15th century. The chapel's exterior is simple yet elegant, with beautiful blue and white azulejo tiles decorating the walls. The interior is small and cozy, with a beautiful altar and several religious artifacts on display. The chapel is particularly famous for its beautiful ceiling, which features intricate wood carvings that have been painted in bright colors. This chapel was destroyed in 2010 when a great storm caused a series of mudslides all over the island, having been reconstructed recently. Visitors can explore the chapel's interior, light candles, and say a prayer. This chapel is also the starting point for the famous Monte toboggan ride, which takes visitors down the hill to Funchal in a wicker sled.


Visitors to Monte village can explore the church and chapel's interiors and marvel at the beautiful architecture and artistry. The church and chapel are open to the public for viewing and prayer. For those interested in the religious history of Monte village, a visit to the church and chapel is a must-see attraction.


Gardens in Monte Village


Monte Village boasts of lush and vibrant gardens that attract visitors from all over the world. Here are some of the must-visit gardens in Monte Village:


A. Monte Palace Tropical Gardens: Overview and features

monte palace tropical garden

The Monte Palace Tropical Gardens is a paradise for nature lovers. The gardens boast an impressive collection of exotic flora and fauna, including orchids, ferns, and birds. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll along the gardens winding paths, explore the waterfalls, and admire the panoramic views of Funchal bay. The garden also houses a restaurant and a gift shop where visitors can purchase souvenirs.


B. Emperor's Gardens: History and features

jardins-do-imperador monte funchal

Emperor's Gardens, also known as Quinta do Monte, is a historic garden that dates back to the 18th century. The garden was once the private residence of the Austrian Emperor Charles I, who spent his final years in exile on Madeira Island. The garden features a diverse collection of exotic plants, trees, and flowers, including palm trees, azaleas, and camellias. Visitors can also explore the garden's historic buildings, including nearby the Chapel of Our Lady of Monte and the Monte Palace Museum. This garden offers stunning views of Funchal bay and the surrounding mountains.


C. Leite Monteiro Park: History and features

Parque Leite Monteiro Monte Madeira

Leite Monteiro Park, located in the heart of Monte Village, is a stunning public park that dates back to the 19th century. The park was founded by João Leite Monteiro, the mayor of Funchal at the time, who wished to create a tranquil retreat for locals and visitors alike. The park features an array of exotic trees, flowers, and plants, as well as a beautiful creek, fountains, and benches.

Activities and Attractions in Monte Village


Monte Village offers a variety of activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy. Here are two of the most popular ones:


A. Madeira Cable Car

Funchal to Monte Cable Car

The Funchal Cable Car is an exciting way to get from the city of Funchal to Monte village. It covers a distance of about 3.5 kilometers and takes about 15 minutes. The cable cars are spacious, and each cabin can accommodate up to eight people. The panoramic views of the city and the surrounding mountains from the cable car are breathtaking.

The ride also offers a unique perspective on the famous Nossa Senhora do Monte Church and the Monte Palace Tropical Gardens. The cable car station is located in the heart of Monte Village. 

You can buy your tickets online: https://madeiracablecar.com/


B. Basket Cars: Monte Toboggan ride

Basket Cars Toboggan Ride Madeira Monte

The Monte Toboggan ride is a unique and thrilling way to experience Monte Village. It is a traditional form of transportation that dates back to the 19th century. The ride is about 2 kilometers long, and it starts at the top of the village and ends in Livramento. Two men, known as carreiros, steer the wicker baskets down the steep, winding road.

The ride can reach speeds of up to 30 km/h, and it is not for the faint of heart. The carreiros use their rubber-soled boots as brakes, which adds to the excitement of the ride. The journey takes about 10 minutes, and it offers a fantastic view of the city and the ocean. Visitors can find the basket cars in Monte village, near the Church of Nossa Senhora do Monte. BUY TICKETS


Monte Railway Interpretive Center

old monte railway station funchal

The Monte Railway Interpretive Center is a must-visit attraction in Monte Village. The center is dedicated to showcasing the history of the Monte Railway, which was one of the first passenger railways in Portugal.


The center features a variety of exhibits and displays that give visitors a glimpse into the past. The exhibits showcase the evolution of the railway, including its construction and operation, and the impact it had on the local community. There are also displays that showcase the Monte Railway's locomotives, carriages, and other equipment that were used during its operation.


One of the highlights of the center is the interactive exhibits. Visitors can learn about the engineering and technology behind the Monte Railway, and also experience what it was like to ride on the railway. The interactive displays also showcase the railway's cultural and historical significance to the local community.


Overall, the Monte Railway Interpretive Center is a fascinating attraction that offers visitors a unique insight into the history of the Monte Railway and its impact on the local community.


How to Get to Monte Village


Monte Village is easily accessible from Funchal, the capital of Madeira Island. Visitors have several transportation options to choose from, depending on their preferences and budget.


Bus: The most economical way to reach Monte Village is by taking the number 48 (from Lido area) or 20,21 (from city center) bus from the Funchal Central Bus Station. The bus ride takes approximately 20-25 minutes and runs frequently throughout the day.


Car: A car ride from Funchal to Monte Village takes approximately 10-15 minutes, while driving yourself takes approximately 20 minutes. There are several car rental agencies in Funchal, making it easy to rent a car or scooter for the day.


Cable Car: For a unique and thrilling experience, visitors can take the Monte Cable Car from Funchal to Monte Village. The cable car ride offers stunning views of Funchal and takes approximately 15 minutes.


Red Sightseeing Bus: Another option is to take the Monte Red Sightseeing Bus, which offers a hop-on-hop-off service between Funchal and Monte Village. The bus stops at several key attractions and offers audio commentary in multiple languages. BUY TICKETS


Directions from Funchal:

From Funchal city center, head towards the Nossa Senhora do Monte Church, which is located in the heart of Monte Village. Follow the signs and take the Estrada do Monte road, which winds up the hillside towards Monte. Alternatively, visitors can use a GPS or map app to navigate the roads. It is important to note that the roads can be narrow and steep in some places, so caution is advised when driving.


After exploring the history, culture, gardens, activities, and attractions of Monte Village, it's clear that this scenic village is a must-visit destination in Madeira Island. From the influence of the Emperor of Austria to the romanticism culture, Monte's past is rich and intriguing. The Church and Chapel are stunning landmarks that showcase Monte's religious heritage, while the Leite Monteiro Park, Tropical Garden, and Emperor's Gardens offer a tranquil and enchanting escape. The cable cars and basket cars provide a thrilling and unique way to experience the stunning views of Monte Village. Finally, the Monte Railway Interpretive Center offers insight into Monte's transportation history.


In conclusion, if you're planning a trip to Madeira Island, Monte Village should be at the top of your list. It's a picturesque and charming village that offers something for everyone, whether you're interested in history, nature, or adventure. Don't miss out on the opportunity to explore Monte's beauty and culture, and make sure to add it to your itinerary.