Funchal
Activities with Animals

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Our most recommended Funchal Activities with Animals

Funchal: Dolphin and Whale Watching by Luxury Catamaran

1. Funchal: Dolphin and Whale Watching by Luxury Catamaran

Make your way to Funchal Marina at least 20 minutes before your scheduled departure time to board a luxury catamaran. Once the group has gathered and all questions have been addressed, take a short walk to your boat for a safety briefing from the crew before boarding. Choose from the luxurious interior with comfortable seating and sun and wind protection, or the outdoor sun beds and trampoline nets. Then, sit back and relax as you sail out to sea and look back at the marina. Although sightings of the marine life cannot be guaranteed, dolphins and whales are often seen in the waters around Funchal. Keep a look out as you cruise across the water while the crew is on hand to answer any questions about the variety of species you may encounter. Then, head to the towering cliffs of Cabo Girão, looming 1,902 feet (580 meters) above the sea. Drop anchor at Cabo Girão and take a dip in the waters to explore the sea life below the surface with your complimentary goggles and snorkel mask. Then, cruise at a leisurely pace back to Funchal Marina, sailing along the coastline for fantastic views of Madeira’s landscapes. Arrive back at Funchal Marina for the speedy disembarking process so that you can continue with your day unimpeded.

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Madeira Island: Swimming with Dolphins

2. Madeira Island: Swimming with Dolphins

In the crystal clear waters of Madeira Island, swim with dolphins in their natural habitat. With assistance from an expert team of guides and divers, learn about the specific approach techniques needed to interact with these amazingly intelligent creatures. Madeira's regulations for swimming with wild dolphins are quite strict in order to preserve the subtle natural balance that these magnificent animals deserve. It may be possible to swim with 2 species of dolphins: Common Dolphins and Spotted Dolphins. As you enter the water, you remain safely connected to the boat at all times. Glide along the waters and swim with the dolphins in front, below and next to you as you admire these beautiful mammals in their natural habitat and make unforgettable memories. 

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Madeira Pirate Ship: 3-Hour Boat Trip

3. Madeira Pirate Ship: 3-Hour Boat Trip

A magnificent replica of Christopher Columbus’s flagship, the Santa Maria, was built on the island of Madeira, between July 1997 and July 1998, in the fishing village of Camara de Lobos. Since it was built thousands of people have sailed aboard the ship, experiencing more than just a normal boat ride, as you’ll soon find out on this 3-hour tour. Santa Maria de Colombo is also the most photographed boat in Madeira. A number of local and international TV documentaries have been made on board this famous ship, including The Discovery Channel’s The Quest for Columbus. The idea of this boat trip is for you to experience history, while at the same time enjoying the breathtaking views of Madeira´s south coast. In addition to the views, you’re very likely to see dolphins and whales as well. The ship will anchor in front of the majestic cliff of Cabo Girao, the highest sea cliff in Europe. If you like you can enjoy a swim in the warm and crystal-clear water. A sail on the Santa Maria is your chance to re-live Christopher Columbus´s voyage of discovery and imagine how he and his crew felt as they headed into the unknown.

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Madeira: Dolphin and Whale Watching Tour from Funchal

4. Madeira: Dolphin and Whale Watching Tour from Funchal

Climb aboard a comfortable catamaran for a relaxing trip along Madeira's south coast from the Marina do Funchal. Look for dolphins and whales (and even turtles) playing in the cold waters of the sea. During the summer months, stop to swim below the cliffs of Cabo Girão, one of the highest sea cliffs in the world. A qualified crew will provide detailed information in various languages about the species of cetaceans (dolphins and whales) you see. In the event you don’t spot any whales or dolphins you will be offered a 2nd trip. Get historical and technical information from your crew for a truly unique experience.

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From Funchal: Sunday Market and Santo da Serra Half-Day Tour

5. From Funchal: Sunday Market and Santo da Serra Half-Day Tour

Experience everyday life on the island of Madeira with a visit to the Sunday markets of Santo da Serra. Marvel at the surprising assortment of food and other goods available to purchase at very cheap prices. Then, stroll among the blooming camellias are other plants in the Santo da Serra Gardens. Encounter the local animals, such as deer, horses and goats. End in the village of Santa Cruz, and enjoy a light promenade walk by the sea before the return journey to Funchal. End in the village of Camacha, Madeira's willow craft industry center before the return journey to Funchal.

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Madeira: Funchal Sunset Tour by Catamaran

6. Madeira: Funchal Sunset Tour by Catamaran

Experience the changing colors of the sunset and reflections on the water from a unique perspective as you take a 3-hour catamaran cruise off the coast of Madeira from Funchal. Meet at the Marina do Funchal to climb aboard the catamaran and cruise along the south coast of Madeira. A qualified crew will provide detailed information in English and Portuguese about the cetaceans you may spot, as well as other technical and historic information to ensure a complete and unique experience. If there are no sightings of dolphins or whales, you will be offered a 2nd trip entirely free. Put on a wind-shield and warm clothes (recommended), and experience the sunset trip and peaceful melody of the ocean from a new perspective.

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Arieiro Peak and Nun´s Valley: Open Roof 4x4 Half-Day Tour

7. Arieiro Peak and Nun´s Valley: Open Roof 4x4 Half-Day Tour

This 4-hour jeep safari tour begins in Funchal and takes you to Pico dos Barcelos, a viewpoint that’s your first stop. Enjoy the magnificent views over all of Funchal. Next you’ll be taken to Eira do Serrado, where you’ll stop for a coffee break. The dramatic surrounding landscape will dazzle you with the beauty of the mountains and views down into the Valley of the Nuns. The drive will take you along a new road that connects Eira do Serrado to Pico do Areeiro, where you’ll enjoy the stunning scenery of high mountains with the south coast as a backdrop. At Pico do Areeiro you’ll make another stop, with views of Paul da Serra, the north coast, south coast and Ponta de São Lourenço.

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Funchal: Arieiro Peak, Nuns Valley 4x4 Tour & Dolphin Watch

8. Funchal: Arieiro Peak, Nuns Valley 4x4 Tour & Dolphin Watch

Visit Nun's Valley and learn about its interesting history and admire the spectacular panoramic views from Pico do Arieiro, at 1,818 meters above sea level. Later you’ll head out to sea on a catamaran and be on the lookout for whales and dolphins in their natural habitat. The 7-hour tour begins in Funchal, and the first stop will be at Pico dos Barcelos, where take in sweeping views of Funchal’s bay. Afterward you’ll visit the famous Nun’s Valley, known for its historical importance and its unique location, isolated from any population center. Head to the majestic Pico do Arieiro, where you’ll take in the magnificent landscapes and stunning views over the north and south coast of the island, Ponta de São Lourenço and Paul da Serra. The last stop of the land tour is Santo da Serra, surrounded by the Laurissilva Forest (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and other exotic plant species. You’ll then be dropped off at the Funchal harbor to begin the dolphin and whale watching a segment of the tour. Board the catamaran for a relaxing trip along the south coast of Madeira. The boat trip takes 3 hours and there’s a strong possibility that you’ll spot dolphins and whales in their natural habitat. During the summer months there’s also the possibility of swimming below the Cabo Girao cliff. During the trip the crew will provide detailed information about the species that you are likely to see. This trip ends in Funchal’s Harbor.

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Madeira: Whale and Dolphin Watching Tour

9. Madeira: Whale and Dolphin Watching Tour

Look for whales and dolphins and discover other marine life off the beautiful Ponta de São Lourenço coast in Madeira on a small-group boat tour with a crew of marine biologists. Climb aboard the 300 hp engine boat with a sleek design and listen to informative commentary about the sea life and places of interest of Madeira as you start the trip. Encounter different groups of dolphins, whales, and turtles in the water. Marvel as the animals breach and splash about in the water and learn amazing facts about them from your marine biologists guide. See endemic marine birds and get up-close to the unique rock formations on the coast as you speed across large distances in little time. If you are visiting in summer, get the chance to snorkel and swim in Ponta de São Lourenço.

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Funchal: Skywalk, Madeira Wine 4x4 Tour & Dolphins Watching

10. Funchal: Skywalk, Madeira Wine 4x4 Tour & Dolphins Watching

Depart Funchal and drive to the Miradouro Boca dos Namorados for panoramic views almost 1,000 meters above sea level. Admire the famous Nun’s Valley and viewpoint of Eira do Serrado. Then, experience the island's unique nature on an off-road experience. Go to the Jardim da Serra at the heart of the cherry-growing region. Continue to Cabo Girão to see Europe's highest cliff at 589 meters tall. Get a fantastic view of Câmara de Lobos, Funchal Bay and the ocean. The viewpoint has been renovated and is known for its suspended glass floor balcony. End your jeep tour with a visit to the fishing village of Câmara de Lobos and discover one of the most traditional places on Madeira. Following drop off at Funchal Harbor, embark on a dolphin and whale watching tour by boat. Climb aboard a catamaran and cruise along the south coast of Madeira. Relax on the 3-hour trip with strong possibilities of seeing dolphins and whales in their natural habitat. During summer months, there is also the possibility of swimming below the cliff of Cabo Girao. This trip ends in Funchal’s Harbor. Get detailed explanations about the cetacean species that you can see from the informative crew.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Funchal

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What people are saying about Funchal

We booked a second tour with True Spirit as we enjoyed the first so much. This was a half day tour with Diogo who was also friendly, informative and fun. We were lucky to have great weather the whole morning, getting to see incredible views along our journey and at the main sights. The off roading was fantastic and with great views and lots of nature and wildlife to be seen. Love how ethical this company is too, with Diogo picking up any rubbish he saw on the way

Have spot the whales and dolphins on 15 Nov. 2021. On way back to the port even enjoyed sun set at the bay of Funchal. Stunning views! Great experience and I have enjoyed a lot.

Very nice team. We went to great lengths to ensure that we had a sense of achievement. So it was, which no one expected anymore, whales and dolphins, great to see

Just a great tour. An experience to see a family of pilot whales in the wild. That was really lucky. Very good explanations from the crew were also helpful.

Great experience. Nice team. We saw whales and drove a bit along the beautiful coast of Madeira. A great excursion all round.