40 BEST PHOTO SPOTS IN MADEIRA
Faial old bridge
Let’s start this blog post with a location we get regularly messaged about. Where is this old bridge in Madeira? When captured with a drone, this bridge and its surroundings look like a movie scene. Especially with some fog, the circumstances are truly mystical. You can’t find the bridge on Google Maps because it’s not an official spot (yet)! However, I will give you the exact location here. Located along the ER 103 in Faial at the entrance of the road towards Central Eléctrica da Fajã da Nogueira you will drive over this bridge. Coming from Miradouro do Cabouco, you can see the bridge in front of you. If you have a drone, this is a fantastic spot for a picture!
São Vicente chapel
Another beautiful spot in São Vicente is the chapel, perched on a hill overlooking the mesmerising São Vicente valley. This chapel is called ‘Capelinha de Nossa Senhora de Fátima’ and you can only get up by climbing the stairs for 5-10 minutes. But the view from the top is absolutely worth it. In the early morning you can have the chance of magical golden light that will light up the valley. If you have a drone you can take some interesting pictures from the chapel with the valley around. This become without a doubt some of our favourite photo spots in Madeira!
São Vicente road sea side
Another great photo spot involving a road and impressive mountain backdrop is the last part of the ER101 road towards São Vicente valley from Seixal. There is a great parking spot at a waterfall along the road from where you can shoot a picture from this road. We were here early morning so there was not much traffic which is why we could justify for ourselves to run on the road for a few seconds haha!
Ponta do Rosto
Ponta do Rosto is a fantastic sunrise viewpoint overlooking the ocean and volcanic cliffs of Ponta de São Lourenço. This is also an easy photo spot in Madeira where you can just drive to, park your car and start shooting. Ideal as sunrise photo spot. Because Ponta do Rosto is located on the most eastern tail of the island, you will have an impressive views on the cliffs of Ponta de São Lourenço and rising sun. There are a few great photo spots at Ponta do Rosto which I share in our complete guide about Ponta do Rosto.
Ponta do Rosto road
Another great photo spot close to Ponta do Rosto is along the road you drive to get to the viewpoint. When you look towards the west there is a great turn in the road with wonderful views on the cliffs in the distance. If you’re lucky with a good sunrise, the clouds may turn colourful giving it a great backdrop for a photo. But also moody weather can be great for this photo spot. If you have a (rental) car or motorbike and like to take pictures with a vehicle, then this is one of the epic roads in Madeira for photography with the rugged cliffs as backdrop.
Bica da Cana viewpoint
Bica da Cana is another one of our favourite sunrise viewpoints in Madeira with impressive views on the highest peaks of the island. Situated on 1,560m above sea-level, you will have incredible views on not only the mountain range but also São Vicente valley on a clear day. However with low hanging clouds this viewpoint is absolutely mesmerising and will blow your mind! This is some of the best photo spots in Madeira and will let you return many times. At least, if you have the time!
With the ever changing weather circumstances you can have a different view here each time you visit. With low hanging clouds Bica da Cana gives you the opportunity to shoot insane time lapses, beautiful compressed images of the clouds and peaks that can turn out in fine art photos and of course the perfect Instagram shot of Madeira. Bring your tripod, drone and a set of charged batteries and hope for low hanging clouds. However in almost every situation (despite rain and too high clouds), Bica da Cana is some of the most impressive photo spots in Madeira.
Read in our complete guide everything about Bica da Cana viewpoint
Agua D’Alto waterfall
One of the beautiful waterfalls in Madeira is Agua D’Alto in Faial. This 150 meters high waterfall pours perfectly as a thin veil into a shallow pool. Agua D’Alto is a bit off the beaten path located but definitely worth a visit. Especially if you love exploring and capturing waterfalls! Located in a green canyon, this waterfall doesn’t catch light all day long, mostly only in the morning with clear skies. There are a lot of nice angles to capture from the Agua d’Alto waterfall from, especially if you work with different focal lengths. We tried a few angles out and flew the drone, but be careful with the signal in the canyon, it can be weak which is why we flew the drone from the parking lot. Below some of our favourite shots from the beauty of a waterfall!
Read everything about Agua D’Alto waterfall in our complete guide
Ponta do Bode
For a completely different landscape view, Ponta do Bode is a great option for best photo spot in Madeira. This lesser known viewpoint facing São Lourenço is also a fantastic sunrise viewpoint. But besides that, it offers a very interesting and unique landscape.The cone-shaped red rock formations have been formed by years of erosion and are now an interesting geodiversity site. So you actually have two great vantage points from Ponta do Bode. One towards the east facing Ponta de São Lourenço, and the other one facing west towards the remarkable cone-shaped red rock formations.
São Lourenço photo spot
The name already says it all! This is another fantastic photo spot in Madeira and is marked on Google Maps as ‘São Lourenço photo spot’. You can get to this viewpoint by foot from Ponta do Rosto which only takes a short hike. The São Lourenço photo spot gives a great perspective on the eastern tail of São Lourenço as you can watch all the way until the end. If you want to frame a person in the picture, there is a rock sticking out which serves as a great photo spot. But please only stand here if you’re confident of your legs and when it’s not too windy. This is another great sunrise viewpoint in Madeira, but of course also worth to check out during the day.
Pico do Arieiro
The most famous viewpoint in Madeira is without a doubt Pico do Arieiro. Therefore it’s also one of the most photographed photo spots in Madeira. The reason why it’s so popular is because it’s one of the easiest accessible but also most amazing viewpoints in Madeira. After a 30 minute drive from Funchal you are on 1818 meters height which is the third highest peak of Madeira. If you’re lucky, you will be above the clouds what makes Pico do Arieiro so unique. You only have to park your car and walk for 5 minutes to get to some of the most amazing photo spots in Madeira. The best time (of course..) to go to Pico do Arieiro is with sunrise. As with every sunrise mission I would advice you to arrive at the viewpoint about 20 minutes before sunrise so you can enjoy the beautiful pre sunrise colors, reserve your photo spot and set up your gear.
For more in depth information, read our complete guide for the best sunrise spots at Pico do Arieiro
One of the magical coastal sunrise viewpoints in Madeira is Miradouro do Guindaste, also known as Crane viewpoint. This viewpoint on the Northern part of the island faces towards Ponta de S São Lourenço with a stunning view on the Penha D’Águia rock of Porto da Cruz. There is a head land which is a great point of interest for photographers but also a perfect photo spot for your Madeira instagram shot. The view on the rugged cliffs of Madeira Island is mesmerising, especially with the golden light during sunrise! Miradouro do Guindaste is also a great alternative to watch the sunrise if it’s too cloudy in the mountains.
Read everything about Miradouro do Guindaste in our complete guide
Fanal forest is an enchanting 600 year old forest on Madeira Island and attracts many professional landscape photographers from all over the world. This magical Laurisilva forest is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its ecological importance and beauty. Fanal Forest is especially photogenic with fog because all the trees together in Fanal Forest can look a bit too chaotic on pictures without fog. So that’s the huge advantage of foggy days, it hides chaos in forests. Therefore you want to have fog in Fanal Forest which makes it super mystical and creates the feels of a movie scene. However, the amount of fog has a lot of influence on the type of pictures you can create.
We have experienced Fanal Forest during all sorts of weather conditions. With perfect fog, almost too thick fog, wet fog and also without fog. Every time the forest looked different and the outcome of pictures was also different. Sometimes you can have luck and get the right conditions the first time. But many photographers have to return to this spot a few times to get the perfect conditions.
Read our complete guide about Fanal Forest with photography tips here
Vereda Ponta da São Lourenço
Along the Vereda Ponta da São Lourenço trail are some great photo spots. If you are looking for an outdoor activity or more hiking orientated photo spots in Madeira, then Vereda Ponta da São Lourenço is a great place. However, there is not much foliage around as this part of Madeira is originated of volcanic cliffs. Therefore it gives a raw and earthy feeling. With the tall rugged cliffs and powerful ocean waves around, it provides amazing sceneries which can’t be found anywhere else on the island.
Read our complete guide about Vereda Ponta da São Lourenço
Stairs to heaven Pico do Arieiro
Along the Pico do Arieiro to Pico Ruivo trail you will pass this impressive staircase that almost looks like stairs to heaven seen from the bottom. With the ever changing weather circumstances in the mountains, you can have a completely different picture every time you come to this photo spot. With low hanging clouds it looks as if these stairs will bring you straight to the universe, while with clouds rolling over the ridge, it creates a wild scenery. Some of our pictures from this epic photo spot in Madeira below.
Ponta da Ladeira
Ponta da Ladeira viewpoint is a beautiful viewpoint along the north western coast of Madeira island to watch and capture the sunset. It has unobstructed 180 degree views over the ocean and faces the rugged coastline of Madeira’s west coast. With beautiful side light touching the cliffs, you can create some stunning sunset pictures here. We were very lucky this evening with a colorbomb of sunset colours after the sun had set. A great spot for your perfect instagram shot in Madeira and some of the best sunset viewpoints of the island!
Read everything about Ponta da Ladeira in our complete guide
Pico Ruivo summit
The highest peak of Madeira is another great photo spot in Madeira with amazing views over the surrounded mountain range. With a drone you can get some amazing angles and use the path as a leading line. There are a few viewpoints at Pico Ruivo with different perspectives. And of course along the trail to Pico Ruivo are also some amazing photo spots. More about that in the next paragraph. There are four different trails to get to Pico Ruivo summit. The easiest one is the hike to Pico Ruivo summit from Achada do Teixeira which only takes about 30 minutes. The most famous one is the hike from Pico do Ariero to Pico Ruivo. Both offer completely different views and photo spots along the way. Check our different blog posts to get some ideas!
Pico Ruivo dead trees
Continuing on the photo spot of Pico Ruivo and the trail towards the summit, there is a great photo spot close to the summit. It is a part with dead trees which give an incredible atmosphere with sunrise and sunset. Either from the Pico Arieiro and Achada do Teixeira side you will come across the dead tree part. However I think the most photogenic part is when coming from Achada do Teixeira. Famous photographers such as Daniel Kordan and Albert Dros have captured this landscape in a beautiful and fine art way. We tried our best as well here 😉 Check out our images below.
Garganta Funda waterfall viewpoint
One of the beautiful waterfalls in Madeira is Garganta Funda waterfall in Ponta do Pargo. The kettle shaped rock around the waterfall is fascinating and the stunning views on the Atlantic Ocean make this viewpoint complete. However keep in mind that Garganta Funda waterfall won’t have any water running down in the summer months. The water flow only picks up after a few weeks of heavy rain. This is a great spot to fly the drone for a higher perspective or to capture with a normal camera.
Read in everything about Garganta Funda waterfall viewpoint our complete guide
Ponta do Tristão
This is another fantastic sunset viewpoint and a hidden photo spot on Madeira Island. Ponta do Tristão is the northernmost point of Madeira Island, located in the Porto Moniz parish. The viewpoint of Ponta do Tristão offers another incredible ocean view with the rugged cliffs of Madeira’s north coast. Although this is not the most well known viewpoint of Madeira, it offers an incredible off the beaten sunset experience in Madeira and has wonderful sceneries for photography. There are no facilities at all here, so bring your own drinks, towel and snacks and enjoy this quiet place with some of the most beautiful views in Madeira. It is a short 5 minute walk down a dirt path to get to the best view.
Eira do Serrado
Eira do Serrado viewpoint offers impressive panoramic views overlooking the Curral das Freiras valley. Located at an elevation of 1095 meters, it shows the ‘heart’ of the island surrounded by the majestic mountains of the central massif. The beautiful platform is easy to reach from the parking lot with only a 5 minute walk. Eira do Serrado is also one of the wheelchair friendly viewpoints in Madeira with an equal floor. Access to the viewpoint starts from the parking lot of Estalagem Eira do Serrado which is also a hotel and restaurant. Eira do Serrado viewpoint offers great options for landscape photography and making a timelapse of the passing clouds.
Ilheus da Janela
The Ilheus da Ribeira da Janela is a collection of two unique rock formations located a few meters from the coast in North Madeira. Facing north east, you can watch the sunrise here in summer season. During the winter months the sun disappears behind the mountains. With the stunning backdrop of these two impressive and uniquely formed rock formations, you can’t miss this spot when exploring Madeira’s north coast. It’s great for photography, to take long exposure photos for example or to simply enjoy a beautiful sunrise.
Read everything in our complete guide about Ilheus da Janela
Levada do Caldeirão Verde
The Caldeirao Verde waterfall hike is one of the most popular and beautiful levada walks on Madeira. What makes this hike so unique are the many waterfalls you will see along the way and the beautiful lush green jungle surroundings. That makes the Levada do Caldeirão Verde perfect for photography. There are so many amazing photo spots along this levada walk! From several waterfalls to lush green valley views, you can see a huge variety along the way.
The total distance of this flat levada walk is 12 kilometres out and back. With only a little 100 meters of incline this hike is perfect for all ages, providing some of the best valley views and waterfalls on Madeira!
Read everything about Levada do Caldeirão Verde in our complete guide
Seixal beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Madeira and a fantastic spot to watch and shoot sunrise in Madeira. Because most of the beaches in Madeira are covered in volcanic stones and pebbles, a sandy beach in Madeira is unique. However Seixal beach offers everything for beachgoers, photographers and surfers. A natural black sand beach combined with the impressive backdrop of green cliffs, a waterfall in the distance that pours into the ocean ánd great conditions to learn surfing in Madeira. If you like to shoot dramatic ocean landscapes then Seixal beach is a fantastic spot to bring your camera. Come here with sunrise and you will be blown away (not literally..) by the beauty of the lush green cliffs that touch the ocean combined with the power of the waves.
Read in our complete guide everything about Seixal beach
Veu da Noiva waterfall viewpoint
The Véu da Noiva waterfall viewpoint is an incredible spot on the north coast of Madeira in between Seixal and São Vicente. You can’t miss this wonderful Madeira viewpoint which is also a great spot to catch the sunrise. This beautiful waterfall, known as the Bride Veil, runs down the mountain and flows straight into the Atlantic Ocean. The viewing platform is very easy to reach from the road and is even wheelchair friendly. You can easily combine the Véu da Noiva waterfall viewpoint with a visit to Seixal beach and the Seixal Natural Pools.
Read everything about Véu da Noiva waterfall viewpoint in our complete guide
Seixal Natural Pools
Another great spot of interest in Seixal are the Seixal Natural Pools. This collection of volcanic rock tidal pools are filled with clean and crystal clear sea water. In contrast to the more famous Porto Moniz Natural Pools, the Seixal Natural Pools are less visited. This makes it a perfect getaway from the crowds and in our opinion some of the best ways to experience some of the Madeira Natural Pools. You might not think about it in the first place, but the Seixal Natural Pools are also a great spot to watch and shoot sunrise. Besides that, the Seixal Natural Pools are also great for photography as the water inside the Natural Pools is so still and clear, it looks like a mirror. With the right clouds, you can get some beautiful reflections here. Some of the interesting and maybe unusual photo spots in Madeira, but definitely worth a try! And in our opinion it also reflects what Madeira is about; connecting with nature, volcanic rocks and the powerful ocean.
Read everything about the Seixal Natural Pools in our complete guide
The Vereda dos Balcões hike is a short but beautiful walk through a fairytale like forest. On a clear day you will be rewarded with an incredible view on the highest peaks of Madeira. From the balcony you’ll have a beautiful view on the Ribeira da Metade valley, the island’s central mountain range and unobstructed views all the way towards the ocean with the Penha D’Águia cliff as another landmark. Balcões viewpoints turned out to be one of our favourite viewpoints in Madeira because you can look straight up to the impressive mountains and down into the valley. The perspective is just incredible here. You have to be a bit lucky with the weather to see all the mountain peaks. We had to come back three times for example to get the photos below. But also with a bit of moody weather it’s a very interesting and one of the best photo spots in Madeira.
Read everything about Vereda dos Balcões in our complete guide
Rocho da Navio waterfall viewpoint
Located at the beautiful hotel Quinta do Furão in Santana, this is one of the unique viewpoints in Madeira where you can see a waterfall pouring down from a cliff into the ocean. There is only one more viewpoint in Madeira where you can see that as well, which is Miradouro do Veu da Noiva. The authentic hotel Quinta do Furão in Santana provides free entrance to this viewpoint for the public. Facing north east, you can see the sunrise from here as well, so in combination with the rugged cliffs and epic waterfall, this viewpoint can’t be missed on your list of best sunrise viewpoints in Madeira! It’s great to fly the drone here to capture the vast cliff and ocean views, but also with a normal camera you can capture this incredible scenery.
São Vicente road
Sometimes you will find the best photo spots in Madeira by just driving around and being at the right time in the right location. That’s how we found this random road in São Vicente with this incredible backdrop of mountains. We thought this scenery was out of a movie and really breaths the Hawaii of Europe vibes. We had to stop and capture this picture. The location of this road is close to a Miradouro in São Vicente (no name on Google Maps, just Miradouro). But the exact name of this street is Estrada Municipal Eng. Perry Vidal. Yes, we did photoshop the lanterns away to make the picture more clean. You’re welcome that we shared the location of this unique photo spot in Madeira 😉
The Botanical Gardens that date from 1881 are some of the most popular tourist attractions on the island. The beautiful gardens which only can be reached by cable car have a collection of 2500 exotic plants from all continents in five different areas. The views from the Botanical Gardens are marvellous overlooking Funchal and the Atlantic Ocean. There are plenty of photo spots scattered around the Botanical Gardens where you can indulge yourself as photographer. You can either choose to go up to Monte with the cable car from Funchal, or go by car or bus to the cable car station and get on the cable car to the Botanical Gardens from there. It is certainly worth it to include a visit to this beautiful estate.
Read everything about the Botanical Gardens Madeira in our complete guide
Cabo Girão skywalk
The Cabo Girão Skywalk is one of Madeira’s most popular tourist attractions because it’s so easy to reach and provides stunning views. Cabo Girão is one of the highest sea cliffs of the world with 580 meters above sea level and is only a 20 minute drive from the centre of Funchal. The glass walkway offers breathtaking views straight down to the crashing waves and cliff below. You will also have unobstructed views on Funchal city and besides that Cabo Girão is also a great sunset spot! It may not be one of our favourite photo spots in Madeira, but it definitely a nice place to visit. If you have a drone you can make some interesting footage here that really captures the height.
Read everything about Cabo Girão Skywalk in our complete guide
Lombo do Mouro
Miradouro Lombo do Mouro is actually a small viewpoint along the ER 110 road. On Google Maps you can find it marked as ‘Miradouro Lombo do Mouro’ so it’s very easy to reach and find. The viewpoint is located at the hairpin bend and the views towards Ribeira Brava valley are breathtaking. The weather changes so quickly in the mountains, so you can have all sorts of weather types here. The best circumstances would be with low hanging clouds or completely clear so you can see the whole valley. This is actually one of the more interesting photo spots in Madeira as there are so many elements going on here such as the mountains, the light, clouds. It’s also a great spot to fly the drone or take a time-lapse when there are clouds passing by.
Levada Moinho waterfall
The Levada do Moinho to Levada Nova hike is a nice levada walk where you will find a very unique waterfall along the way. Located in Ponta do Sol, this 9 kilometre circular hike is quite easy with only about 150 meters of incline via concrete stairs. The main point of interest during this hike is the part of the trail that has been carved into the cliff wall and where a waterfall pours over the path. That is the photo spot I want to recommend if you like capturing this unique scene. To get to the waterfall will take you about 30 minutes of hiking. We have been two times, once in August and once in January and the surroundings were obviously greener in January after weeks of heavy rain. Below you can see the different pictures we took in those different months.
Read in our complete guide everything about the Levada Moinho waterfall hike
Monte Palace Tropical Garden
The Monte Palace Tropical Garden is a multi-level garden with about 100,000 different plant species varied from exotic trees & flowers. It’s very closely located to the Botanical Gardens but offers a completely different experience. Monte Palace Tropical Garden is, as name already implies, a garden full of tropical plants and trees with a particular part dedicated as oriental gardens. There are plenty of great photo spots to find around the gardens, and if you love to see all kinds of different plants and trees, then the Monte Palace Tropical Garden is a must visit.
Read in our complete guide everything about the Monte Palace Tropical Garden
Natural Pools Porto Moniz
The Porto Moniz Natural Swimming Pools are a perfect way to relax and enjoy the ocean water. Located on the north western tip of the island, the Porto Moniz Natural Swimming Pools are lava rock formations where small lagoons are created by the salty ocean water. Especially in the early morning without too many other visitors you can find some really cool photo spots here. Or if you have a drone and take a topdown like we did, you can see the interesting formed lava rocks with the ocean water around.
Read everything about the Porto Moniz Natural Swimming Pools in our complete guide
25 Fontes & Risco waterfall
25 Fontes waterfall and Risco waterfall can both be seen along the Levada das 25 Fontes. Both waterfalls are highly influenced by rainfall, so during the summer months you can expect both waterfalls to be very dry. However after some weeks of rain or in the winter months both waterfalls are very impressive and photogenic. I wouldn’t directly recommend these waterfalls for photography in the summer months because there won’t be much to capture. Just a small trickle but it quite underwhelming. However in the winter months after some days of heavy rain, both Risco waterfall and 25 Fontes waterfall are flowing vigorously. Then they are stunning waterfalls and a lot of fun to capture by camera.
Read in our complete guide about the Levada das 25 Fontes and Risco waterfall
The charming town of Funchal is a dream to explore and feels like a little fairytale. The small, cobbled streets with beautiful authentic buildings, fort, pebble beaches, lush parks and atmospheric little alleys are not only fun to explore but also very photogenic. There are some great photo spots in Funchal such as the park with the backdrop of the city against the mountains, but also the beautiful churches and of course São Tiago fort.
Read in our complete guide about all the things to do in Funchal
Cascata dos Anjos
Another very unique photo spot in Madeira is dos Anjos waterfall in Ponta do Sol. Located on the old coastal road, this waterfall pours straight out of the clifftop onto the street. So you can even drive your car underneath it, but always be careful! On this side of the island you can also watch the sunset, so especially during this time it’s the best to get to this spot. The water drops will absorb the golden glow which gives that extra magical touch to your pictures. Definitely some of the more unique photo spots in Madeira!
Boca do Corrida
Miradouro Boca do Corrida is together with Eira do Serrado viewpoint some of the best viewpoints on the Curral das Freiras valley. Boca da Corrida is located at an elevation of about 1000 meters and offers incredible panoramic views over the central massif of Madeira Island. It is also the start point of the Caminho Real da Encumeada trail. Here you can capture some incredible photos of the impressive mountain range. With a drone you can really capture the majestic atmosphere of this spot. Because it’s so quiet here it is some of our most favourite photo spots in Madeira, absolutely worth a visit!
Achadas da Cruz
The small parish of Achadas was Cruz is located on the west coast of the island. The village is called Fajã da Quebrada Nova and is uninhabited. You can only get down by cable car or foot. From this piece of land close to the ocean you’ll have a fantastic sunset view accompanied by the towering cliffs of Madeira’s west coast. This is some of the more hidden photo spots in Madeira, but if you want to put in the effort it’s definitely a rewarding little adventure!
The traditional Santana houses are some of the most popular tourist attractions of the island. These small, colorful triangular houses represent Madeira’s heritage and are made of straw and wood. Surrounded by beautiful gardens, the Santana houses are very photogenic and definitely some of the most popular photo spots in Madeira. You can also visit some of the Santana houses inside to see how they are equipped. But capturing them from outside is most instagrammable.