View of Funchal Bay
Monte is a parish to the north of Funchal which became a fashionable location for locals - and later for a nascent tourist industry - having impressive views over Funchal while being elevated above its summer heat and its commerce.

There are quite extensive - if rather steep - public gardens, but the tall trees that were once a feature of its public square were felled as a result of safety concerns.

Church of Our Lady of Monte
The church of Our Lady of Monte dates from the 18th Century and is today best known for being the burial place (minus heart) of Charles I, last emperor of Austria-Hungary, who was exiled first to Switzerland and then removed to Madeira to thwart his attempts to return to at least one of his former thrones. He arrived in Madeira in late 1921 and died in April 1922 at the age of 34, leaving a wife and eight children.

Old station
The Old Station
Monte was once served by a rack railway providing a service from the centre of Funchal, but this was dismantled in the 1950s when its locomotive finally blew up. The station building has been refurbished as a public space and currently contains an exhibition of the railway's history.

The railway has been superseded by the cable car which runs up from the Funchal waterfront and a second cable car links Monte to the Botanic Garden.

Monte Palace Tropical Garden
Lake in Tropical Garden

Also in Monte, you'll find the Monte Palace Tropical Garden. Originally an estate owned by the British Consul and subsequently transformed into a lavish private dwelling and then an hotel, the site is now an extensive - and rather theatrical - garden housing plants from around the world as well as as a variety of wildlife including swans, peacocks and Koi carp.  There are also exhibition spaces containing an extensive collection of African art and minerals. 

The site is (inevitably) steep, but electric vehicles are available to assist those who need it and of course the terrain lends itself to extensive views.

Monte Palace Tropical Garden - Funchal view
Tropical Garden Pagoda

Carro do cesto
Apart from the views over Funchal, Monte is much visited for the opportunity to ride downhill in one of the famous carros de cesto - wicker toboggans that descend at speed around tortuous bends as you hurtle the 2km towards Funchal under the (hopeful) control of two carreiros.

Monte is also the starting (or ending) point of two popular walks, one of which goes to Curral dos Romeiros (linking to the Levada dos Tornos) and the other descends to the remains of the Levada de Bom Successo, close to the Botanic Garden.

Getting there

Bus 48 route
48 Bus: © OpenStreetMap contributors
Arguably the best value route to Monte is the HF 48 bus which starts off in Nazaré and runs through the Lido before taking a circuitous, scenic and sometimes dramatic course to terminate in Monte (Largo da Fonte by the old railway station): it's not quick, but you'll get some good views, particularly from the right-hand side of the bus. From central Funchal (Rua 31 Janeiro), HF buses 20 and 21 will take you to the same place while HF bus 22 (from "Pinga" on the eastern side of the EEM building) goes to Babosas which is on the opposite side of Monte close to the cable car terminals.
You can also take the cable car to/from the Funchal terminal or to/from the Botanic Gardens and there are various combinations of tickets which can also include entry to the gardens.  

There is a car park immediately below the cable car terminal (for Funchal).