It is known how it is: a cobbler walks in holey shoes, and despite the fact that we spent the night 50 meters (!!!) from the popular Cabo Girão cliff we only went there on the 4th. day. Today we will write just about Cabo Girão and climbing high altitudes in Madeira.
Madeira not the right place for people with a fear of heights and motion sickness (well, unless one plans not to move a step from Funchal), because where not to go always feels like having to climb more than one hill.
This mountainous island abounds with numerous cliffs, high cliffs and steep slopes. It’s hard to find a larger piece of flat land here, and if you do manage to find it, it’s certainly already developed by the people of Madeira – they have almost achieved world mastery when it comes to maximizing the use of land that is suitable for cultivation.
We’ve also highlighted this in earlier posts about Madeira: nowhere else have we seen so many small farm fields, laid out on hillsides, but not only there. Half poor as they are located in valleys or on gentle hills. The challenge begins when residents want to take advantage of small areas here at the shoreline, at the foot of the cliffs.
The challenge was taken up in Madeira a long time ago, and they started growing plants just about the foot of the cliffs, when the only way to get there was by sea. This was unfortunately inefficient, as the fields were poorly accessible, a lot of time had to be spent on the road, and the water transport itself was not among the lightest.
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Teleferico in Madeira
Fortunately, the European Union came to the rescue and pumped thick millions into the construction of the so-called Teleferico, or railroads, which allow people and goods to be transported between the top of the cliff and the land at its base. Of course, this is not the train we know from under the Kasprowy, but a rapturous two or one carriage going back and forth. They are mainly used by owners of land located precisely in these hard-to-reach areas. It’s also not as commercial as the queue in downtown Funchal, making it cheaper, not less spectacular.
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Of course, tourists are not banned :)
So we could not pass by indifferently :) The prices don’t knock, the speed doesn’t either, but the sensation of falling, almost vertical ride down is worth the experience. Perhaps even a better term than queue would be elevator, except that there are not too many floors to choose from.
We used the Teleférico do Rancho – located closest to Funchal. Launched in 2003, this railroad offers 2 6-passenger carriages. At the bottom are farmland with single buildings (although buildings is a lot of words, makeshift huts more reflects the character of the place).
However, you have several options for such rides throughout the island to choose from.
Cabo Girão cliff
However, if you don’t like queues and don’t have a fear of heights, you’ll definitely like Cabo Girão – this high cliff became a tourist attraction when a special terrace with a glass floor was built here (opened in 2012).
It may not be as spectacular as the one in Chicago or the French Alps, but it will still appeal to many people, because it’s not every day that you have the opportunity to stand on a glass platform at a height of almost 600 meters!
The views from 580 meters are impressive and we only regretted that the glass platform is not fully transparent and clean :) This is a very popular tourist destination, every now and then buses with a new round of tourists stopped here, and we watched with trepidation whether another 40 pairs of legs would not harm the terrace.
Next door are souvenir stores, bars and our apartments. As a matter of fact, we had a view from the balcony of the rest of the island identical to that of Cabo Girão, only the glass floor is missing :)
We won’t choose what’s better: whether to take a train ride along the cliff to its foot, or stand on a glass platform almost 600 meters above sea level, because these are two different attractions. Both options are worth trying as long as you don’t have a great fear of heights :)
How does Cabo Girão compare to other Madeira attractions? Check out in the entry Madeira – our TOP 10.