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Azores or Madiera - priority for island tour


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Hi,

 

I have a transatlantic cruise in November.  I am trying to decide which of Azores or Madeira would be best for a tour of the island.  The other one will probably stay close to the port.

 

Any thoughts?

 

 

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Like F&40+, we've not been to the Azores.

 

In Madeira you have essentially a choice between staying in Funchal or heading to the hills.

We've done both.

 

Funchal is very easy to DIY and there's plenty to keep you amused.

Distance from ship to town depends how far along the pier your captain finds a parking spot.

If at the town end it's no more than a 10 minute walk.

If at the far end it's probably best to hitch a ride. Ho-ho buses call at the pier. Taxis there too. We walked half the length of the pier (10? minutes) to a stop for  little retro buses (like in Yellowstone or the g.t.t.s road in Montana). They drop at the lower cablecar station at the bottom of Rua Jose da Silva.  Fare was 2 euros each. Those buses don't operate for the return to the ship.

 

We bought one-way cablecar tickets to the top of that cablecar (if you want, you can switch there to a second cablecar to get to the Botanical Gardens further up), walked 5 minutes to the street toboggans which start by Nossa Senhora do Monte Church, and flew down the hill.

Here's an example from YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wZugMQpcSU

The bottom of the toboggan run is still some distance from the town at the bottom, we easily found sharers for a taxi ride down to old-town (negotiated down to €20 split four ways).

Old town is very pleasant to wander - shops, cafes, bars, restaurants, etc.

We then hailed a tuk=tuk back to the ship (4 euros)

 

On another visit we rented a car & broadly circumnavigated the island anti-clockwise. Very pleasant, very scenic, slow & winding roads. The last part, along the southern coast, wasn't as scenic as we'd hoped because a great deal of it is in tunnels.

Very easy, very relaxing day.

 

JB :classic_smile:

(prices from 2016)

Edited by John Bull
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We, four of us, had a great tour in Madiera.  We spoke to several taxi drivers, agreed on time/price.  It was inexpensive and the we very much enjoyed the tour.   Had time afterwards to walk into town and buy some wonderful wine from the Douro region of Portugal. 

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Which Azores island are you visiting? You will find the two both memorable and different, Madeira is great but the Azores have their own charms. Having visited 4 of the islands, admit 30 years ago will give advice when answer which of these unusual locations you are visiting.

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We'll be in Ponta Delgada in 4 weeks!  It will be out first visit to the Azores but we know Funchal quite well. (We're going there too!)  You can easily DIY in Funchal so probably better to do the island tour in the Azores. For Funchal I highly recommend the Mercado - a wonderful fish / produce market in easy walking distance if you have berthed.  There are craft / gift stalls on the second floor if you prefer that.  Its about level with the cable car station but two blocks (not that it is quite blocks) inland.  The cathedral is lovely too.  The Japanese Gardens at Monte another favorite (top of the cable car before you get to the toboggans).  Loads to do without having to have a tour. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 9/4/2019 at 12:13 PM, majmaj4 said:

The cruise stops at Ponta Delgada on Sao Miguel in the Azores

Two options on Sao Miguel, Furnas and the thermal springs or Sete Citades and the twin lakes area, both excellent tours but maybe one or the other as at opposite ends of Sao Miguel.

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22 hours ago, GrJ Berkshire said:

Two options on Sao Miguel, Furnas and the thermal springs or Sete Citades and the twin lakes area, both excellent tours but maybe one or the other as at opposite ends of Sao Miguel.

Never been to the Azores until earlier this month. We choose the Sete Citades Lakes, one green one blue. We were taken to a viewing area, even though we had been told by the Excursions manager on Explorer of the Seas that it is possible to walk between the lakes. We also went to a family Pineapple plantation and a Botanic garden, but didn’t see many flowers, mainly huge tree roots. Personally I was disappointed, I felt that they didn’t really have a lot to show us. The guide kept mentioning the hedges of hydrangeas and the number of cows. Well, I can see both of those where we live. If you have never been to Madeira go there, they have more to offer, but we were there during a wine festival.

B470D42A-7026-4D78-944F-78F6134AE326.jpeg

58028273-9EB6-415C-87A4-C12C0271F1DF.jpeg

0CB6867E-43F9-4D0B-B160-AF741082C7A8.jpeg

CDA460B5-ACAD-43C1-89C7-D402BBFE66B4.jpeg

38B40CF7-04D9-44A7-97DC-04148CD9FC9F.jpeg

D640CC1C-5C8C-497D-9EF9-413D0913C48B.jpeg

218C0318-B870-4036-AD83-EA0613669190.jpeg

F316CA17-9C9B-447F-A07E-162C581C89E5.jpeg

Edited by upwarduk
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  • 4 weeks later...
On 8/28/2019 at 7:10 AM, John Bull said:

Like F&40+, we've not been to the Azores.

 

In Madeira you have essentially a choice between staying in Funchal or heading to the hills.

We've done both.

 

Funchal is very easy to DIY and there's plenty to keep you amused.

Distance from ship to town depends how far along the pier your captain finds a parking spot.

If at the town end it's no more than a 10 minute walk.

If at the far end it's probably best to hitch a ride. Ho-ho buses call at the pier. Taxis there too. We walked half the length of the pier (10? minutes) to a stop for  little retro buses (like in Yellowstone or the g.t.t.s road in Montana). They drop at the lower cablecar station at the bottom of Rua Jose da Silva.  Fare was 2 euros each. Those buses don't operate for the return to the ship.

 

We bought one-way cablecar tickets to the top of that cablecar (if you want, you can switch there to a second cablecar to get to the Botanical Gardens further up), walked 5 minutes to the street toboggans which start by Nossa Senhora do Monte Church, and flew down the hill.

Here's an example from YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wZugMQpcSU

The bottom of the toboggan run is still some distance from the town at the bottom, we easily found sharers for a taxi ride down to old-town (negotiated down to €20 split four ways).

Old town is very pleasant to wander - shops, cafes, bars, restaurants, etc.

We then hailed a tuk=tuk back to the ship (4 euros)

 

On another visit we rented a car & broadly circumnavigated the island anti-clockwise. Very pleasant, very scenic, slow & winding roads. The last part, along the southern coast, wasn't as scenic as we'd hoped because a great deal of it is in tunnels.

Very easy, very relaxing day.

 

JB :classic_smile:

(prices from 2016)


What is a tuk tuk?

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4 hours ago, midwestchick said:


What is a tuk tuk?

 

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=Tuk-tuk&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi-x57mxarlAhVSXMAKHTInAG0Q_AUIEigB&biw=1510&bih=718

 

The successor to rickshaws & cyclo's.

Not exactly traditional Portuguese transport :classic_wink:

As you'll see from the pics, has its roots in SE Asia - but now seen in much smaller numbers in many places in the world. Sometimes as mini-taxis, sometimes as quirky personal transport.

 

JB :classic_smile:

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5 hours ago, John Bull said:

 

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=Tuk-tuk&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi-x57mxarlAhVSXMAKHTInAG0Q_AUIEigB&biw=1510&bih=718

 

The successor to rickshaws & cyclo's.

Not exactly traditional Portuguese transport :classic_wink:

As you'll see from the pics, has its roots in SE Asia - but now seen in much smaller numbers in many places in the world. Sometimes as mini-taxis, sometimes as quirky personal transport.

 

JB :classic_smile:


Thank you.  I have to plan our day in Funchal.  

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  • 3 months later...
  • 7 months later...

We loved Madeira.  We took a taxi tour, but my desktop computer is down, so I can't look up the name of the man who did the tour. But it was a half day tour, which allowed time in the afternoon to see Funchal, take the cable car up to Monte, see the painted doors of Funchal downtown, and visit (very quickly) the big market in Funchal.  If you're interested, some of my photos from Madeira are here: 

 

https://pbase.com/roothy123/iberian_sojourn__portugal_spain_gib&page=12

 

Haven't been to the Azores. 

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