Discover the Achadas da Cruz cable car in Madeira:
- An impressive ride, one of the steepest in Europe
- A beautiful faja (agricultural land) at the bottom of the cliffs
- and magnificent cliff views
Below is my guide to help you plan your visit with tips, photos and map.
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Why visit the Achadas da Cruz cable car near Porto Moniz?
- It is away from the common tourist path - still one of the hidden gems, but being promoted by Porto Moniz...
- It is incredibly steep
- It is where the North and West coasts of Madeira meet
- There is a nice walking path along the water with views of the cliffs
- There is a rocky beach
It is a beautiful place, but one of the main reason to take this cable car is for the excitement and scare: it is really really steep!
I must admit I had to kick myself to take it. I had never experienced a cable car drop so impressive.
Note that some people wrote that the village is the faja at the bottom of the cliffs, but it is on top, closer to the main road. The cabins in the gardens are only for harvest times and to be used as shed.
More photos after the planning tips.
Planning Tips - Teleferico das Achadas da Cruz, Madeira
How to get to Achadas da Cruz
- No public transportation, you need to rent a car - you can compare prices on discovercars.com
- North-West tip of Madeira, not far from Porto Moniz
- Smaller roads to access, but nothing difficult - well-indicated
- Porto Moniz to Achadas da Cruz cable car = 20min drive
- Funchal to Achadas da Cruz cable car = 1h15 drive
- Below is a map to locate it and get oriented:
This highlight (with GPS coordinates and practical tips) is included in my travel Guide eBook that helps you easily plan your Madeira trip:
Plan your perfect trip around Madeira!
- Price: 3 euros return ticket
- Opening hours: Monday - Sunday: 8am to 11:30am - 12:30pm to 7pm / hours can change due to maintenance or other. I cannot guarantee them.
- Toilets at top and bottom
- Snack bar at the top
- Travel time is 5min
- Well maintained walking path at the bottom
- Plan 20 min to 1h to explore the faja and coast
- Alternative access via hiking - see further down in this article
Where to stay in the area
Best to stay in nearby Porto Moniz to enjoy the natural pools at the end of the day:
- 4 STAR HOTEL - Aqua Natura Madeira, right by some of the natural pools - Check out photos and availability
- LARGE VILLA - Porto Moniz Villa, close to the waterfront - Check out photos and availability
- RENTAL HOUSE - Refúgio do Ilhéu, on higher grounds - Check out photos and availability
- APARTMENT - Sea View Apartment, with large terrace - Check out pictures and availability
- or See best rated accommodations in Porto Moniz
More tips on my article about where to stay in Madeira
Access Road & Carpark
The Teleferico de Achadas da Cruz is well-indicated with road signs.
From Porto Moniz there is first a winding mountain road to get up the cliffs. It is wide and not difficult. On the way you can stop at Miradouro da Santinha for views of Porto Moniz.
The access road to the cable car from ER101 is called "caminho do teleferico". It is a bit narrow and steep but there is hardly any traffic, so it is really not difficult.
There are a few holes. Just take your time.
Plus, at the bottom there is a good size carpark (which can be rare for those attractions) with space to maneuver.
Need to rent a car in Madeira?
- Compare car rental prices on Discovercars.com - one of the best customer-rated comparison sites!
- Choose the car and company you prefer (remember you need enough power for the steep roads)
- Consider their full coverage option - I always take it for peace of mind!
- Book early to have a large choice of vehicles!
Achadas da Cruz Viewpoint & Restaurant
Once at the carpark, you have direct access to the top station of the cable car.
Achadas da Cruz Viewpoint
Before you jump into one of the cars, make sure to check out the views from the Miradouro.
It is quite impressive to see the small piece of land at the bottom of the tall cliffs. Their heights are around 450m (1476ft).
It is not the most open view. You will have better ones during the ride. But it is quite impressive, have a look:
You can also see the top of the cables and how they drop into emptiness.
This will help you decide if you are able to ride the cable car or not!
The steepest cable car in Europe?
It claims to be the steepest cable car in Europe, with a slope at 98% at the beginning:
This is their sign:
Calhau Snack Bar Restaurant
Near the top station is the Calhau Snack Bar.
They serve food, drinks, ice creams and alcohol.
If you want to eat something, know that there is nothing at the bottom of the cliffs.
There is a nice outdoor sitting area with beautiful views.
Food is simple but fine.
Riding the Porto Moniz cable car
Like all the cable cars on Madeira, Achadas was built to help the local farmer to get to their land and bring back their harvested produce.
But it is now mostly used by tourists.
The cable cars are more discreet than others around the island. They can take 4 people.
There are 2 cars: one goes up and one goes down.
It is operated by the municipality of Porto Moniz, hence the name Porto Moniz Cable Car sometimes used to refer to it.
This is the view from the cabin as you start the ride. The cables just disappear below you.
This is very impressive. And quite an unusual experience to have in Madeira. You won't forget it...
The ride is under 5 minutes
However, it is not as scary as I thought it would be.
The fact that one car goes up when the other goes down makes it less bouncy than the cable car I am used to.
However, it might be worse when it is very windy!
From the car, you can enjoy pleasant views of the cliffs in both directions.
Once at the bottom station, the ride does not look as scary... LOL.
You exit and enjoy the walking paths.
When you are ready to return, you come back to the station and push the bottom to make the person at the top aware that you are ready to ride back up.
Faja das Achadas da Cruz / Faja da Quebrada Nova
At the bottom is the bay: Calhau das Achadas.
The agricultural land is called Faja das Achadas da Cruz and also referred to as Faja da Quebrada Nova.
You arrive at the Northern end of the coast.
To the North is a bay with pebbles and rocks.
And towards the South is a brick path towards the farms.
A few lands are still cultivated by local, with vineyards and horticultural products for local consumption.
However, many of the gardens / farms look abandoned.
It leads to the beach area and offers stunning views of the tall cliffs.
You can explore a little around some abandoned farm plots. But remember that these are private properties, so please be respectful.
The stone houses were really charming in the middle of the terraces:
Once at the end, you return via the same path to the cable station or to the bottom of the hiking trail.
Achadas da Cruz Beach
There is a small beach at Achadas da Cruz.
It is a pebble beach, with rather large rocks, so bring watershoes if you plan on swimming.
Apparently, this is also a great place for surfing when conditions are good.
Vereda do Calhau Hike in Achadas da Cruz
If you don't want to take the cable car at all, or just want to ride it up or down, you can also access the bay for free via the hiking trail Verada do Calhau.
I did not do it, but the sign shows:
- Distance = 4.5km (2.8mi) one way
- Time = 2hours one way
- Steep incline with stairs in some sections (450m in elevation)
- Some sections with exposed path but nothing very narrow
However, I read the report of someone who did it and said it was only 2km.
If you decide to climb up, the trail is not indicated.
Follow the dirt path going North from the bottom station for about 500m.
Inside a gap in the cliffs is a wooden pole indicating the start of the stairs.
Other viewpoint points in the area - Verada da Ladeira
Between Porto Moniz and the Cable car, you can also do a quick detour to enjoy 2 viewpoints:
Miradouro da Ponta da Ladeira and Miradouro da Pombais. They are on the hiking trail Verada da Ladeira.
Miradouro da Ponta da Ladeira
To have the best view here, just go down a few meters on the walking trail.
From here, you see the Faja das Achadas da Cruz in the distance.
Miradouro da Pombais
This other viewpoint is very close to the first one.
The views are not as good but you can see up close a levada, the traditional irrigation system.
Want to see more of the best Madeira offers?
- 42 Madeira tips to plan an unforgettable trip - read article
- Where to stay in Madeira - best areas - read article
- The best landscapes in Madeira in 40 pictures - read article
- 10 best hikes & levada walks in Madeira - reach article
- Tips to rent a car and drive around Madeira - read article
- 12 Madeira Hidden Gems - read article
- 4 Madeira Natural Pools (and 6 coastal alternatives) - read article
- 18 best beaches in Madeira - read article
- 7 best Madeira boat tours & trips - read article
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