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Monte Cable Car with view over Funchal, Madeira, Portugal |  The Small Adventure Company - Adventure and Family Holidays in Europe

Adventures for families

Madeira might be smallish in size, but it is huge when it comes to family-fun and exciting outdoor adventures, taking you on thrilling adventures in the rugged  mountain landscape, unique road trips around the volcanic heritage and to discover the refreshing clear waters around the island.

Cable car ride up to Monte Palace Gardens

Rise above the roofs of Madeiras capital Funchal and enjoy the amazing view from a bird‘s perspective. The 15-minute cable car ride from Funchal to Monte is a great experience for the whole family and combines sightseeing with a little adrenalin kick when hovering high above the island. There is no better way to take in the beauty of the Madeiran landscape and amazing coastline than from a height of 560 m above sea level. Once you get to the village of Monte, visit the wonderful Palace Gardens with their collection of exotic plants, perfectly arranged around a lake full of majestic swans. The museum on the grounds features an interesting collection of sculptures and minerals. Something to see and do for guests of all ages!

Canyoning along Madeira's levadas and lush green river valleys

Madeira is an excellent destination for canyoning. Whether you are a pro already or trying it out for the first time - you will find the ideal spot on the island of Madeira. Canyoning also is a great family adventure as it combines physical activity with exploring the depth of Madeiras lush forests. Hiking river beds, abseiling waterfalls, jumping into lagoons - all that is part of the canyoning experience. Professional guiding and equipment will make sure you are in safe hands when embarking this big adventure. Encounter nature and Madeira‘s beautiful landscape in a challenging and fun way and enjoy a great family day out!

Take a splash in the Porto Moniz Lava Pools

As an island surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean there are plenty of spaces along the Madeiran coast to swim and enjoy a bath in the pleasantly warm sea water. However if you are looking for an extraordinary bathing experience visit the natural swimming pools of Porto Moniz. On the north western coast of Madeira volcanic lava has shaped rock pools with a total surface area of 3800m². Connected to the open waters and overlooking the ocean, the rock pools are filled with crystal clear sea water and provide different areas for relaxation, a childrens‘ section and surrounding facilities such as car parking, bathrooms, a snack bar, sun loungers and sun shades. Located about an hours drive from Funchal the Lava Pools of Porto Moniz are ideal for a family day trip from the capital.

Swimming with dolphins 

Swimming with dolphins is probably one of the most adventurous activities in Madeira. It can be done especially along the Southern coast of the island. The warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean make tthe waters  around Madeira a habitat for several species of dolphins. Funchal, Caniço de Baixo, and Calheta are common departure points for these tours. Apart from dolphins, you might spot other marine animals on your way, and for sure you’re going to experience the most exciting moments alongside the sweet dolphins.

Discover Madeira's rugged coastline on a sea kayaking adventure 

The clear and calm sea and stunning coastline of Madeira make the island the perfect setting for sea kayaking. It is a fantastic family-friendly activity that allows you to explore the island's caves and marine life from a unique perspective.

There are several spots to go kayaking, for example, Câmara de Lobos. This picturesque fishing village is located southwest of Funchal and most tours start from the amazing Câmara de Lobos Bay. It offers an amazing view of the famous Cabo Girão skyline and nature reserve. The easternmost point of Madeira at Ponta de São Lourenço is also a great kayaking spot. It is  known for its dramatic cliffs, clear waters, and sea caves and you’ll meander through pristine waters across this spectacular Natural Reserve. Also, you can set off from the Marina of the Port of Funchal and enjoy an adventure and unique view of the city of Funchal with its white and orange-coloured houses that are built on the green hills. 

 

Whale- and dolphin watching tours around Madeira

Madeira's waters are home to several species of whales and dolphins - including short-finned pilot whales, common dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, and spotted dolphins - making it a great destination for whale and dolphin watching. 

While whale watching is possible year-round in Madeira, the best time for sightings is generally during the warmer months, from April to October. During this period, there's a higher chance of spotting a variety of marine life. Many tours include educational commentary about marine life and the ecosystems of Madeira, making it a family-friendly and interesting experience for participants of all ages.

 

Discover the West Coast and Central regions of Madeira on an adventure jeep tour

Embarking on an adventure Jeep tour along the West Coast and central regions of Madeira is a fantastic way to explore the rugged West Coast and lush mountains in the hinterland. On the tour, you will visit Porto Moniz, known for its natural volcanic swimming pools, and  Seixal where you can relax on the black sand beach and enjoy the ocean views. Via the São Vicente Caves, a natural volcanic formation with underground tunnels, you reach the scenic Encumeada Pass and the Rabaçal area which is known for its stunning levada walks and waterfalls.

Don’t miss the remote Ponta do Pargo - the westernmost point of the island  - and Ponta do Pargo Lighthouse, which offers breathtaking ocean views. For sure there is something for everyone on this tour!

 

A visit to Santana

Santana, located on the Northern coast of Madeira, is known for its charming traditional houses with triangular thatched roofs, stunning landscapes, and local culture. It is, therefore, an ideal place to enjoy an authentic local experience with the family. You can visit the traditional houses (Casas de Colmo) which are an essential part of the local architecture and history. Some houses are open to the public, allowing you to step inside and learn about their construction and significance. The nearby Santana Theme Park offers insights into the history, culture, and traditions of the region. You can learn about local crafts, folklore, and even try your hand at thatching a miniature traditional house.

To still your appetite after a busy morning, try traditional dishes in the restaurants in Santana, many offer authentic meals made with local ingredients.

Tip! Before you go, look out for local events or festivals where you can learn about Madeiran folklore and traditions. Santana celebrates the Thatched Roof Festival with exhibitions, workshops, and demonstrations related to thatching and preserving traditional construction methods. Also, the Chestnut Festival (Festa do Castanheiro) is important to the town where it celebrates the chestnut harvest with music, dancing, traditional food stalls, and cultural activities.


On the outskirts of Santana, you can even embark on an outdoor family adventure during a levada walk. The Levada do Caldeirão Verde is a popular choice, leading you to stunning waterfalls and lush scenery. Alternatively visit the São Jorge Caves, which are some of the largest volcanic caves in the world. Guided tours take you underground to explore these fascinating geological formations. An exciting adventure for children and their parents!

Contact us for an individual quote, visit our Madeira adventures and Madeira family adventures for touring inspiration or check out our selection of outdoor activities and special experiences things to do in Madeira.

Fjord Mountains View | The Small Adventure Company - Adventure and Family Holidays in Europe

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