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Monte, Portugal

Toboggan Ride from Monte to Funchal

Men in rubber-soled boots serve as your "brakes" on this toboggan ride Hemingway described as "exhilarating." 

While you could get to the Portuguese town of Funchal from Monte on a bus, for €15, there is a much more exhilarating form of transportation available.

Monte sits between 600 and 800 meters above sea level, and is connected to the sea level town of Funchal by a steep, winding road. In 1890, locals came up with a simple and fun way to get themselves down the 5 km hill – by toboggan!

The “old-fashioned” toboggans are wicker two-seaters that glide on wooden runners, and two men in rubber-soled boots accompany you for the ride, acting as human brakes and ensuring you don’t run off course. The ride takes about ten minutes, and can reach the giddy speed of 48 km/hour.

Adapted with permission from Exploguide.com dedicated to travelers looking for alternative and off the beaten track travel.

Know Before You Go

Find the Monte toboggans at the bottom of the stairs leading to the Nossa Senhora do Monte Church (tel. 291 783 919).