Madeira island doesn’t get called “The Island of Flowers” for nothing. Its mild climate and sunny weather are perfect conditions for colorful flowers to bloom during the year. On the island, there are many gardens with exotic trees, plants, and flowers that you can visit. In the Funchal area there are 3 Botanical Gardens that you can visit. Around the island, there are other gardens to be found, but they might not be botanical or a lot smaller. These are the top 3 botanical gardens of Madeira:
Monte Palace Tropical Garden
The most famous garden of Madeira is the Monte Palace Tropical Garden (Jardim Tropical Monte Palace). The garden occupies 70.000 m2 and contains exotic flowers, plants, and trees from all over the world. There are various routes to follow through the park, including an art route and a shorter route (2 hours).
The garden is divided into sections with themes, like an Oriental style, the Monte Palace Museum, and the big lake. Each section has its own plants, scenery, and other details. I particularly liked the Oriental style with pagodas, stone seats, and a beautiful red bridge.
There is no parking at the Monte Palace Botanical Garden and even if there was, the route you’ll have to take is terrible, with roads with a slope percentage of 12% or higher. Believe me, we tried and it was no fun at all. Instead, you can take the Cable Car (Teléferico) from Funchal center that takes you to the entrance of the Monte Palace garden. It’s a 15-minute ride and costs €16, but you’ll get an amazing view over Funchal. Be aware: if you’re afraid of heights, this might not be an activity for you.
To get to the Cable Car you can drive by car and park your car here (Google Maps location).
The entrance fee for this park is €12,50.
The Palheiro Gardens are located at Quinta do Palheiro and can be reached within 15 minutes from Funchal center. Just like the Monte Palace Gardens, you’ll find them far above sea level, at about 500 meters. Unlike the other gardens in Madeira, Palheiro Gardens looks like an English tea garden, including a tea house. You can find numerous tropical plants, flowers, and trees, all well kept and maintained.
Palheiro Gardens can be reached by public transport, lines 36A and 37. You can also find parking spots for your car close to the entrance of the park.
The entrance fee for Palheiro Gardens is €11.
Madeira Botanical Garden
Can’t get enough of Funchal? Another garden worth visiting is the Madeira Botanical Garden (Jardim Botânico da Madeira), located on 3km of the center of Funchal. The layout of this garden is also completely different from the other gardens. There are 5 sections with each of their own plants, e.g. you can find a compete cactus section. The sections are not connected by a particular route that you can follow, but there are multiple pathways that stroll around the park.
Near the main entrance of the park, there is a little museum and Herbarium where you can find dried plants and animals like birds, snakes, and even turtles. It’s not big but interesting enough to include in your tour.
The Madeira Botanical Garden can be reached by public transport (buses and cable car) but there is also a parking place near the entrance. Please be aware that the parking place is not very big and if you want to assure a parking spot you’ll have to arrive early.
The entrance fee for this park is €6.
Tips on visiting the Madeira Botanical Gardens
Are you thinking about visiting (one of the) Madeira Botanical Gardens? Here are a few tips to make sure you enjoy your visit as much as possible:
- Do not wear slippers or sandals. Be rest assured, the routes through these gardens are not difficult hikes, but the pathways are made of little cobblestones and it will not be a comfortable walk when wearing slippers. A good pair of sneakers will do the trick.
- Want to see as many flowers as possible? Plan your trip in April or May. The flowers will be blooming and the gardens will be filled with color. If you visit in July (like I did), a lot of flowers have finished flowering. The gardens are still beautiful, but you’ll see a lot of green and not so many other colors.
- Do not take your car to Monte Palace, because you can’t reach the gardens by car. Also, you’ll face some devilish mountains with heights of 12% or more, so save yourself some sweaty hands and take the Cable Car from Funchal center.
Have you visited the Botanical Gardens of Madeira yet? Let me know in the comments below!