Updated: Jan 28, 2021
Public transport in Madeira?
These, somewhat crazy, basket rides run from Monte to approximately half-way back to Funchal City.
Take the cable car from the Old Town up to Monte and then walk over to the Monte Tropical Gardens where, just at the top and close to the garden's exit, you'll find the traditional 'basket taxi drivers' dressed in white.
But it's not just a tourist gimmick. These wicker baskets date back to the early 19th century and were a regular mode of transport back then. You have to remember that many of the streets in Madeira are too steep for a horse or train.
The ride takes about 10 minutes and is extremely entertaining, especially when you shoot over a junction with another road at 25 km or so. Don't worry, the drivers have spotters and are very good at steering with their wooden clogs and ropes which are attached to the back of the basket. Prices vary according to the number of passengers but budget 15 Euros per person and note that the 'pilots' will expect a decent tip too.
At the end of the ride you'll be greeted with a taxi rank, many drivers keen to sell you on the steep walk remaining into town. Yes, it is steep but a nice 20 minute walk if you fancy it.