The Monte Funchal wicker basket sled ride in Madeira is a novel experience where you slide down the narrow streets being steered by two guys who stand on the back. It seems a bit precarious, but depending on how you like your thrills, people opinions range from “exhilarating” to “a bit slow.”
I came across this activity whilst watching a documentary about Madeira on the TV. Looked like fun, so I thought I would find out more about the sled ride.
History of the Madeira Wicker Basket Sleds
The basket sleds were originally used to transport goods down the hill to the harbour. Now the sleds are mainly used as a tourist attraction, where you can experience the thrill of slipping and sliding downhill in what seems like a haphazard way. The guys guiding the basket sleds seem to keep you safely away from the walls and vehicles.
It is 15 Euro per person, which some might find a bit pricey, but for a one off experience can be worth it.
The down side of this historical experience is that you will need to get back up the hill to the cable car. You can take a taxi, but the taxi drivers will sting you for high fares to take you up to the top of the hill. The sled runners will bother you for a tip at the end, and a photographer will try to charge you 10 Euros for a photo.
Top Tips for the Madeira Basket Sled Ride
- Try to visit when there are no cruise liners in the harbour, it will be less busy with fewer queues.
- Try to get toboggan with largish gap between you and the last one. The trip will be faster without any slow ups.
- Monte can quite easily be reached by the no 48 bus with a very short walk to the sled start. (The 48 bus run is sometimes more hairier and exciting than the sleds!)
- At end of the sled run do not believe taxi drivers about getting to Funchal promenade, the no 19 bus goes straight there without any changes and the bus stop (Paragem) yellow sign is within sight and yards of the sled terminal. The open top tour bus also stops there so you can hop on after ride.
You can find out what everyone else is saying about the Funchal Wicker Basket Sled Ride on Trip Advisor