Madeira Tourist Attractions
First discovered in 1885, the São Vicente Caves were the very first volcanic caves to be opened to the public in Portugal in 1996. About 890,000 years ago, a volcanic eruption formed these caves in the Paul da Serra region of Madeira. About 1 km in total length, the cave was formed when the outer lava stream cooled down rapidly, leaving gas vapours inside that created lava tubes some 6 or 7 meters in height in places. The route open to the public spans about 700 meters and the guided tour takes ca. 30 minutes to complete. The caves are located in Sítio do Pé do Passo, 9240-039 São Vicente. Please call +351 291 842 404 for opening times and admission fees.
One of Funchal's most beloved tourist attractions dates back to the 19th century: the Monte Toboggans. They were created as a cheap, but effective means of public transportation. Made out of wicker, they are simple carts on two wooden runners. Two men, called carreiros, dressed in white and wearing straw hats and black rubber boots, push the toboggans downhill. Starting from just below the steps of the Nossa Senhora do Monte Church, the Monte Toboggan Run is a thrilling 2-km ride down steep hillsides with hair-raising winding roads that lead eventually to Livramento, a suburb of Funchal, where the ride stops.
Opening at 9.30 am every day and closing at 6.00 pm, the Monte Palace Tropical Gardens are located in the south-east of the island, at Caminho dos Babosas in Funchal. In an area spanning around 70,000 sqm, the gardens house an enormous tropical plant collection as well as a mineral museum, about 1,000 African sculptures and various ponds, where swans, ducks and various other waterfowl have made their home that are not native to Madeira. Strolling through the gardens, one can also see peacocks and chickens. Along the paths the gardens display a large collection of hand-made tile panels. It is believed to be one of the largest, and finest, collection of tiles in Portugal, after those displayed at the National Tile Museum. The garden's collection displays mostly Hispano-Arabic tiles of the 15th and 16th centuries, as well as tile panels made in Portugal from the 19th century onwards. Monte Palace Gardens are reached either by hiring a car or taking bus lines 20, 21, 22 or 48. The Funchal Cable Car goes directly to the gardens entrance (for admission and opening times, please see www.montepalace.com or contact +351 291 780 800 or firstname.lastname@example.org for further information).
About 5 km west of Funchal lies the picturesque Câmara de Lobos, one of the island's oldest fishing villages. Its spectacular clifftop setting makes the village on of Madeira's most visited tourist attractions. Sitting on a cliff that is 580 meters tall, the village has the honour of being built on one of the world's highest cliffs. There are still colourful fishing boats in the village's harbour today, going out daily for one of Madeira's specialities: espadas. These ugly-looking fish are the black scabbard fish that lurk at depths of 180 to 1,700 meters below the surface of the Atlantic. Growing up to lengths of 110 centimeters, the black scabbard fish may be ugly, but is considered very tasty. It features in many local seafood dishes.
A very different kettle of fish can be admired and positively "tasted" at CR7 Museu, which is located close to Funchal at Av. Sá Carneiro, Praça do Mar #27, tel 351 291 639 880, https://museucr7.com/.
The CR7 Museum displays footballer Cristiano Ronaldo's many trophies, including his golden boots, his trophies for being voted five times the Best Player in the World and Best Portuguese Player of All Time, dozens of club trophies, including the five UEFA Champions League cups he won. In various interactive displays, visitors can get a feel for what it's like to be a football legend. Fans correspondence from across the globe is also on display, showing just how much this young man from Madeira means to people and how he inspires them. Ronaldo was born in nearby Funchal some 33 years ago – and the museum is his way of giving back to the community that has helped him to become one of history's most successful players.
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