A voyage still beyond our grasp

A few weeks ago some friends mentioned they had read somewhere that the Portimão to Funchal ferry service had returned after its six year absence. How exciting we thought as it is a voyage we have wanted to take for years. So on our return I immediately began investigating to see whether we could take it this spring.

Algarve to Madeira by boat
Route Map from Madeira Ferry website

Unfortunately however this is a journey we will not be taking anytime soon. It did return briefly last summer, and nearly 7,000 residents of Madeira took full advantage of the discounted ticket price of 29euros each way. However the numbers travelling were far below that envisaged, and only 35% of the passengers paid the full price. Consequently it seems there is much uncertainty as to whether or not this ferry route will return this summer let alone increase to weekly trips year round. More info here.

And even if it did return I must admit the full price of 374 per couple one way for an exterior cabin plus an additional charge of over 100euros for the car is daunting. Looking at the ferry website there were chair only prices last year at 87 euros per person one way but for a journey of just under 24hours I am not sure it’s a voyage I want to take in a chair! I will though continue to keep a look out because if the campaigners are successful in their efforts to get this ferry route reinstated with state subsidies and increased freight traffic to ensure its long term survival, then just maybe the prices will reduce.

Author: BeckyB

It had been a good life walking, cooking, photographing, volunteering, blogging, and best of all spending time with MrB, family, & friends. Sadly it no longer is. Suddenly and unexpectedly I have become a widow.

37 thoughts

  1. It is a shame. We looked at some ferry pricing for last time we were in Europe. It is expensive for us budget travellers. When I saw the heading I thought it was for Debbies Voyager challenge

    1. That’s what we thought, such a shame as could be a great holiday and it’s better for the environment. Just have to hope the campaigners are able to persuade the Government to come up with a better plan.

  2. That would be a lovely journey. They need to rethink pricing to make it economical but profitable at the same time. I hope you do get to go and then share the adventure with us.

  3. It makes you think somebody pitched the prices at the wrong level – the sweet spot that would encourage people to travel being somewhere between 58€ and 374€ per couple.

    1. That’s what I thought! I also suspect that there’s a story to be disclosed as there were grants and subsidies.

  4. At least that’s quite a good distance for the price. I have been looking at fares to the Channel Islands and Isles of Scily but they are not cheap! Considering that the IoS are only 26 miles away, a return day trip by ferry is £48 pp but that doesn’t give you long to look around. A single fare is from £55 pp so if you want to stay for a few days then that puts the price up to £110. Why should a single fare be more expensive than a day return? Given my poor sailing abilities I looked at flights. Single from £89 pp and a day return from £125! I could probably fly to Portugal for that!

    But I would love to visit the Tresco Gardens so I suppose I shall have to swallow these prices at some point.

    1. MrB said the same!! And that’s just bizarre the single versus day return prices you are looking at for the Isles of Scilly. I guess though the cheaper ways of travel (seen flights for £5 to Faro from Bournemouth!) are undermining our understanding of true costs of travel.

      1. There is only one company providing the transport (ferry, plane and helicopter) to the IoS so they have a monopoly and can virtually charge what they like. It is going to curtail holidaymakers though, apart from the very rich, which will have an impact on the businesses of the people who actually live on the islands. Apparently a similar distance ferry to the Isle of Islay (I think) is £17.30 one way. If it was that price I’d be over there every other week!!

        1. grrrr! Don’t like . . . . . . and the worst thing is as number of passengers reduces they then use it as an excuse to stop the services.

  5. The chair option sounds like a voyage in the best traditions of Captain Cook, Ernest Shackleton and Sir Walter Raleigh! can you get a flight instead?

    Just got my travel guide to South Portugal delivered. I am so excited!

    1. If only I was as adventurous as them!!

      and yes there are daily flights but I just love the idea of arriving by ship . . .one of these days!

        1. Ah we’ve not done that coastal road as we always head east then north from Vila Real de Santo Antonio. However I’ve heard the western route is fabulous. Jo can probably advise better than me.

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