Watching the sunrise in Madeira is something magical, especially when it’s above the clouds. Maybe you’ve seen those dreamy photos of Pico do Arieiro or Bica da Cana with a blanket of clouds. Or the epic oceanside cliff pictures with golden light rays of Ponta do Rosto or Miradouro do Guindaste? These four sunrise viewpoints in Madeira are our favourite spots on the island. And luckily you can just drive to most of them without a long hike to get to the actual viewpoint! Watching the sunrise in Madeira is something you can’t miss. So in this blog post I will share the 15 best sunrise viewpoints in Madeira that we discovered after living for 7 months on the island.
15 BEST SUNRISE VIEWPOINTS IN MADEIRA
Pico do Arieiro
Of course the most famous but also one of the easiest accessible viewpoints on Madeira island is Pico do Arieiro. After a 30 minute drive from Funchal you are on 1818 meters height which is the third highest peak of Madeira Island with incredible views. If you’re lucky you will be above the clouds that makes Pico do Arieiro so unique. You only have to park your car and walk for 5 minutes to get to the most famous viewpoint in Madeira. But there are actually a few spots at Pico do Arieiro to watch the sunrise from. Miradouro Juncal and Miradouro do Ninho da Manta are the two best sunrise viewpoints here.
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. Sometimes a beautiful nature show will be given before the sun rises above the horizon. For more in depth information, read our complete guide for the best sunrise spots at Pico do Arieiro here.
How to get to Pico do Arieiro
The best way to get around in Madeira island and go to Pico do Arieiro is with your rental car. But if you don’t have a rental car, there are still enough other options to get to the Pico do Arieiro parking lot. There is no public transport going to Pico do Arieiro so below the options.
Getting to Pico do Arieiro with a car
With the average sunrise time in Madeira being around 7.30 AM, you don’t have to get up shockingly early. Being some of the easiest accessible viewpoints on the island, Pico do Arieiro is a very popular sunrise spot. From Funchal it only takes you about 30 minutes to get to the top. From Calheta its about 50 minutes to the parking of Pico Arieiro. The journey up to Pico do Arieiro is beautiful as you will wind your way through the beautiful Ribeiro Frio park.
Getting to Pico do Arieiro with Pico transfers
If you don’t have a rental car yourself, another option is to go with Pico Transfers. But this is actually only valuable if you do the hike from Pico do Arieiro to Pico Ruivo – Achada do Teixeira, because you’ll be picked up at the parking of Achada do Teixeira. You can book a transfer online and they will pick you up and drop you off at your accommodation in Funchal or Caniço. The price is €29.
Getting to Pico do Arieiro by taxi
You can recognise the taxis in Madeira by their yellow colour. You can book a taxi online via the Taxin app which is the ‘Uber’ of Madeira or just stop a taxi along the road. One way to Pico do Arieiro from Funchal costs approximately €30 – €40.
Another great sunrise spot in the mountains of Madeira is Pico Ruivo. The highest peak on the island with 1861 meters is as well a great sunrise and sunset viewpoint. In comparison to Pico do Arieiro you are at Pico Ruivo a bit more in the mountain range of Madeira while at Pico do Arieiro you’re a bit closer to the ocean. So the view is absolutely different from Pico Ruivo and the difference is also that you have to hike to Ruivo while at Arieiro you can just park your car and you’re at the viewpoint in 5 minutes. The safest way to get to Pico Ruivo or sunrise is from Achada do Teixara because it is more less a flat walk and it’s only 3 kilometres one way.
Read more about the Achada do Teixeira to Pico Ruivo hike in this complete guide
Read more about the 4 options to hike to Pico Ruivo in this complete guide
How to get to Pico Ruivo
For sunrise at Pico Ruivo it is highly recommended to come from the Achada do Teixara side. This takes you about a one hour drive from Funchal to the parking lot where the hike starts. So including the 30 – 45 minute hike to the top, I would suggest to leave your accommodation in Funchal at least 2 hours before sunrise. Maybe even earlier! From the parking of Achada do Teixeira you only have to hike for 3 kilometres one way which will take you around 30-45 minutes to Pico Ruivo. Bring a headlamp and a jacket because it can get cold in the mountains! On the way back you can get a coffee at Casa de Abrigo Pico Ruivo which is the mountain hut of Pico Ruivo.
Miradouro do Guindaste
A magical coastal sunrise viewpoint in Madeira is Miradouro do Guindaste, also known as Crane viewpoint. This viewpoint on the Northern part of the island faces towards Ponta de 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 spot for your Madeira instagram shot. The head land falls straight into the ocean so don’t go up here when it’s too windy. The view on the rugged cliffs of Madeira Island is mesmerising.
We were lucky to have a fantastic sunrise here with spectacular pre sunrise colours and a golden glow after the sun rose above the horizon. This spot is also a great alternative if it’s too cloudy in the mountains. Maybe you’re in luck then along the coast to have a bit of light and colours. Otherwise a moody morning can have it’s charm as well!
Read everything about Miradouro do Guindaste in our complete guide
How to get to Miradouro do Guindaste
Miradouro do Guindaste is located in the municipality of Santana on the North eastern part of Madeira Island. From Funchal it is about a half an hour drive and there are plenty of parking spots right in front of the viewpoint. Miradouro do Guindaste is located next to Praia do Faial, so on a sunny day you can eventually relax on the beach after visiting the viewpoint. After parking the car, you only have to walk for 2 minutes until you get on the headland. You can walk all the way to the tip of the headland for the best view and photo spot. But always be aware and mind your step!
Ponta do Rosto
Another fantastic coastal sunrise viewpoint in Madeira is Ponta do Rosto. This is also an easy spot to drive to where you can just park your car and see the incredible view. 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. There are a few great photo spots at Ponta do Rosto which I share in our complete guide about Ponta do Rosto. Besides being a fantastic viewpoint, you can easily combine the Vereda da Ponta de São Lourenço after watching sunrise at Ponta do Rosto viewpoint. This coastal trail is one of the most popular hikes on Madeira Island and a perfect morning activity when you’re already at this part of the island.
How to get to Ponta do Rosto
Miradouro da Ponta do Rosto is located on the eastern tail of Madeira Island. It is a popular spot for sunrise and very easy to reach. You can drive all the way up to the viewpoint, park your car and start shooting and enjoying the view. So no hike involved here, a perfect viewpoint for everyone! From Funchal it only takes you 30 minutes to get here. There is no public transport going to this viewpoint, so the best way to get here, as well as exploring Madeira Island, is with a rental car.
Ponta de São Lourenço viewpoint
Another epic viewpoint just a little further than Ponta do Rosto is the Ponta de São Lourenço viewpoint. This viewpoint gives a completely different view than Ponta do Rosto, so it’s definitely worth checking out! From this sunrise viewpoint you can watch all over the eastern tail of São Lourenço. There is also an epic photo spot which you can see on the picture below. But please only stand here if you’re confident of your legs and when it’s not too windy.
Read more about this viewpoint in our complete Ponta do Rosto guide
How to get to Ponta de São Lourenço viewpoint
You can get to the Ponta de São Lourenço viewpoint via two ways. The first option if from Ponta do Rosto. If you walk east, along the fenced-off navigation station you will see a path heading around the station that leads you to the ‘São Lourenço Photospot’. Once you’ve made your way behind the navigation station, you can see the peaks of the cliffs in front of you. There is one peak that has a cement pillar on it. That’s your aim. From that spot you can see the whole tail of Ponta de Sгo Lourenзo which is very impressive!
The other option is to get to this viewpoint from the start of the Vereda da Ponta de São Lourenço hike. Also from this side you can see the summit with the cement pillar on it. You just have to find a path that’s a bit worn and find your way up the hill.
Ponta do Bode
Another stunning sunrise viewpoint close to São Lourenço is called Ponta do Bode. This is a way lesser known viewpoint and therefore you will most likely have it for yourself with sunrise! The view on the tail of Madeira, of course known as São Lourenço, is spectacular from here! You are way more further away from the tail so the view is even more extensive. Also the landscape here is very different with interesting formed rocks, it almost makes you feel as if you’re on Mars with the red rocks! Definitely a great spot if you’re looking for a quiet place to watch the sunrise in Madeira without other people.
How to get to Ponta do Bode
The viewpoint is marked on Google Maps so you can easily drive towards it with your rental. If you come from the highway VR1, take the first exit on the roundabout and turn right immediately after. Drive to the end of this road until the tarmac stops, here you will see a small parking lot where the little hike to the viewpoint starts. Walk up the hill and after 5 minutes you will see the incredible view!
Bica da Cana viewpoint
Bica da Cana is one of our most favourite sunrise viewpoints in Madeira. We have also been incredibly lucky at this viewpoint to have some of the most amazing sunrises we have ever had. Red, orange and yellow clouds above us and a thick blanket of low hanging clouds beneath us. We really had to pinch ourselves to check if we weren’t dreaming. This felt as if we were in heaven!
The view on the highest peaks of Madeira is another perspective from Bica da Cana. This viewpoint which is located on the Paul da Serra plateau at a height of 1560 meters faces towards the São Vicente valley on the left and Pico do Arieiro and Pico Ruivo in front. You have to be lucky to get the low hanging clouds, just as on Pico do Arieiro. But either way, this viewpoint is breathtaking!
Read more about Bica da Cana viewpoint in our complete guide
How to get to Bica da Cana viewpoint
Bica da Cana is located on the plateau of Paul da Serra, along the regional road ER110. From Funchal it is about 45 minutes of driving, but from Calheta it’s only 25 minutes. The Bica da Cana hike also starts at this point, so don’t get confused by walking the wrong path. When you arrive at the parking lot, you will see a sign of the Bica da Cana Pinaculo hike with a dirt path leading down. Don’t go here! This is the start of the hiking trail. For the Bica da Cana viewpoint you need to walk up on a wider cobbled road as you can see on the picture below. Usually you will see a chain across this road blocking cars from driving further up. So a little incline is necessary to get to the viewpoint.
Here you see the two paths both leading to a different viewpoint of Bica da Cana. The first, small path that leads through the forest takes you to the natural viewpoint. But if you keep following the cobbled path to the left you will get to the viewpoint with wooden fence and picnic table.
Seixal Natural Pools
Maybe not the most popular or usual sunrise viewpoint in Madeira, but the sunrise from the Seixal Natural Pools can be beautiful as well! This is more less an ocean view sunrise spot, so if you’re in need for some Vitamin Sea, then this is your spot to go! After watching the sunrise at the lava rocks, you can take a dip in the natural pools. And so early on the day you are most likely alone here. Perfect if you want to get away from the more popular viewpoints in Madeira.
Read more about Seixal Natural Pools in our complete guide
How to get to Seixal Natural Pools
The Seixal Natural Pools are located on the North western coast of Madeira. You can perfectly combine a visit to the Seixal Natural Pools with exploring the other spots nearby such as Seixal Beach, Miradouro do Veu da Noiva viewpoint and Porto Moniz. From Funchal it takes about a 45 minutes drive over 45 kilometres to get to the Seixal Natural Pools.
Miradouro Lombo do Mouro
The Lombo do Mouro viewpoint is actually a small viewpoint along the ER 110 road. On Google Maps you can find it marked as ‘Miradouro Lombo do Mouro’. The viewpoint is located at the hairpin bend and the views towards the 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 a great spot for photography and perfect if you have a drone.
How to get to Lombo do Mouro
Located along the ER 110 road, this sunrise viewpoint is not hard to find. You can park your car along the road and find a safe spot to install yourself and eventually your gear to shoot sunrise.
Ribeira da Janela rock
The Ilheus da Ribeira da Janela is a collection of two unique rock formations located a few meters from the coast in North Madeira. This epic spot with rocky beach is still an ‘off the beaten path’ location, but definitely worth to visit. Facing north east, you can watch the sunrise here in summer season. During the winter months the sun disappears behind the mountains, so that’s something too take into account. 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. Located close to Porto Moniz, you can easily combine it with a visit to the Porto Moniz Natural Pools.
Read more about Ilheus da Ribeira da Janela rock in our complete guide
How to get to Ribeira da Janela rock
The Ilheus da Ribeira da Janela rocks are located on the North Western part of Madeira Island in between Seixal and Porto Moniz. From the main town of the island, Funchal it takes about 50 minutes over 45 kilometres to get to Ribeira da Janela with your rental car. There is a parking lot right before you enter the beach. The best way to explore Madeira island with is by rental car. There are buses going over the island, but it’s not the best idea to explore Madeira Island by. So I also won’t recommend going to the Northern part of the island by bus as it will take you so much time.
Rocha do Navio waterfall viewpoint
Another fantastic sunrise viewpoint with a waterfall is the Rocha do Navio waterfall viewpoint which can be seen from Quinta do Furão. This authentic hotel in Santana has a public viewpoint from where you can spot this waterfall that comes down along a cliff and splashes into the ocean. Facing north east, you can see the sunrise from here, so in combination with the rugged cliffs and epic waterfall, this sunrise viewpoint couldn’t be missed on this list of best sunrise viewpoints in Madeira!
How to get to Rocha do Navio
You have to set your navigation on Quinta do Furão for this viewpoint. This hotel has a public viewpoint so all you have to do is park your car and follow the signs of viewpoint. You will then get into their vineyard and you can walk along the fence from where you can spot the cliffs and sunrise. If you have a drone you can perfectly capture the waterfall, rugged cliffs and sunrise. Of course also for this spot applies that the position of the sun changes per season. So it depends if the sun is a bit behind the cliffs or shows itself right in front of the viewpoint.
Miradouro do Véu da Noiva
Another great sunrise viewpoint in Madeira located on the northern part of the island is the Véu da Noiva waterfall viewpoint. This beautiful waterfall, known as the Bride Veil, runs down the mountain and flows straight into the Atlantic Ocean. You can see the sunrise from this spot but it depends on the season where the sun exactly is coming from. The viewing platform of Miradouro do Véu da Noiva waterfall 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 more about Miradouro do Véu da Noiva viewpoint in our complete guide
How to get to Miradouro do Véu da Noiva
The Véu da Noiva waterfall viewpoint is located along the road and easy to reach with the car. It’s a 40 km drive from Funchal and you can easily combine the waterfall viewpoint with a visit to Seixal Beach, the Seixal Natural Pools or Porto Moniz. There is a parking lot for a few cars with a tourist shop next to it. The accessibility to the viewpoint is even wheelchair friendly with a ramp to the viewing platform.
Pico Ruivo do Paul viewpoint
Another great viewpoint on the Paul da Serra plateau is Pico Ruivo do Paul. Located on 1639 meters height, you will have an incredible view on the São Vicente valley and the highest peaks of Madeira island. This viewpoint in Madeira is also one of the lesser known, so it’s perfect for people that want a quiet morning away from the crowds.
How to get to Pico Ruivo do Paul viewpoint
Pico Ruivo do Paul is marked on Google Maps as well the parking lot. It’s a 10-15 minute hike up the viewpoint so make sure you’re on time to get there.
Next to the Seixal Natural Pools and Miradouro do Véu da Noiva there is another great sunrise spot on the north coast of Madeira. Seixal Beach is your go to spot if you want to feel sand between your toes while watching the sunrise. Besides being a great spot for sunrise in Madeira, Seixal Beach is also one of the best beaches in Madeira! It’s one of the few beaches on the island that has sand. You can see the sunrise here directly in front of the beach. Surrounded by the tall green mountains and cliffs that dive straight into the ocean, this beach is one of our favourite that we have ever seen!
Read more about Seixal beach in our complete guide
How to get to Seixal beach
Seixal Beach is located on the impressive jungle feel north coast of Madeira island, Portugal. From the main town of Madeira, Funchal, it’s about 45 minutes driving over 40 kilometres. You can easily combine a visit to this incredible beach with the Porto Moniz Natural Pools and the Seixal Natural Pools. You can find Seixal Beach under it’s name on Google Maps, or Praia do Porto do Seixal in Portuguese. There are a few other beaches in the area such as Laje Beach, but the popular and most beautiful beach is known as Seixal Beach with the stunning backdrop of green cliffs.
Cristo Rei statue
The Cristo Rei statue is located in Garajau and provides a spectacular 180 degree views over the ocean and a beautiful view on Funchal city. Facing east, this viewpoint is a great place to watch the sunrise and soak in the ocean breeze. It’s maybe not the most spectacular photo spot, but yo can still get some really nice pictures of the stairs going down behind the statue. The view on Funchal is also beautiful and you can even see Desertas Islands from here.
How to get to Cristo Rei statue
The Cristo Rei statue is marked on Google Maps so you can’t miss it. There is a dedicated parking spot and a small cafe on site so you can grab a coffee after watching the sunrise.
General travel must haves for Madeira
Have you thought about how to get around in Madeira? A car is the easiest way to drive around the island.
- Book your rental car here and compare the providers to get the best deal.
- Book your scooter or motorbike here to get around in Madeira. Most of the scooters you can drive with driving license (A1/A2/A) from 18 years old, or from 25 years old with a car (B) license. The motorbikes have a minimum age of 20 or 21 with A (moto) license.
Do you prefer a private driver for the day and the freedom to create your own itinerary?
Did you already book your accommodation?
- Check out this great tool to compare prices of hotels on different platforms from around the world and book your favorite hotel
Are you insured during your travels?
- Buy your travel insurance here. Safetywing not only includes coverage for travel delay, lost checked luggage, emergency response, natural disasters and personal liability. But also covers all your medical expenses for hospitalisation.
Where to stay in Madeira
There are several towns in Madeira that are great to stay while exploring the island. Funchal is the capital town of the island with the most restaurants around. It has a charming old town and all sorts of facilities you might look for such as a boulevard, shopping centre, cafe’s and nightlife. It is a great place to base yourself with plenty of culture and beautiful old buildings and charming streets to explore. There are also a few beaches in Funchal to enjoy the ocean. However these beaches are from pebble stones.
We have stayed in The Vine hotel and Okulus villa which are both beautiful locations. The Vine has the comforts of a hotel including breakfast and is located right in the city centre. Okulus villa is located in the Old Town with the most amazing ocean and city view.
If you want to be based near a sandy beach in Madeira, then Calheta is a great place. While Funchal is more to the east of the island located, Calheta is more to the west of the island located. So eventually you can also stay a few days in both towns depending the total length of your stay in Madeira. Calheta has an atmospheric marine with restaurants offering great spots to watch the sunset and enjoy a meal.
We have stayed a few weeks at Calheta Boutique Houses during our 7 months living in Madeira. Highly recommend these private villa’s as you have all the amenities you have at home as well. The modern design and amazing ocean views makes it a perfect vacation home.
Small villages in nature
If you want to experience really small towns to stay in Madeira, then check out the accommodations in Seixal, Porto da Cruz, Sao Vicente or Ribeiro Frio. Take into account that there will be less restaurants around but you will be completely immersed in the local life and nature.
Best Madeira island tours
If you want to explore the best of Madeira with a guide then here some great tours I recommend. During these tours you will pass by some of the best viewpoints which I share in this complete guide. All of these tours include transport with hotel pick up and drop off, certified guides and sometimes the entrance fees if applicable. You can reserve now and pay later, with cancellation up to 24 hours in advance to receive a full refund.
- Customized 6 hour Madeira tour. On this six-hour tour you can choose the different areas you want to visit on Madeira island. Pick the landmarks and iconic places to make your own itinerary with the help of your local guide/driver.
- West Madeira private tour. Starting in the fishing town of Câmara de Lobos you will drive via Cabo Girao, the highest cape in Europe, to the beautiful view of Serra d’Agua valley. From there you will head to São Vicente to explore the Laurisilva forest. Continuing north, you will visit Porto Moniz, known for its natural lava pools where you can swim. As last stop you will visit the famous rocks at Ribeira da Janela.
- East Madeira tour. Visit Pico do Arieiro viewpoint, make pictures at the Santana houses and the beautiful viewpoints at Porto da Cruz to finish the day at the impressive volcanic landscape of Ponta de São Lourenço.
- Canyoning adventure with transfer from Funchal. Get the thrill of canyoneering and explore Madeira’s untouched nature. follow a river as you walk, rappel, slide and jump through hidden waterfalls with streams that cross endemic forests. A super fun and adventurous day!
- Ponta de São Lourenço hike with pick up in Funchal. Explore the most eastern tail of Madeira island with its unique volcanic rock formations to understand how the island was created.
- Funchal 48-hour hop-on hop off bus tour. Explore the lush landscape of Madeira and the sights of Funchal at your own pace with a 2 or 5 day ticket for the hop-on, hop-off bus.
- Tuk-Tuk tour to Monte Tropical Garden with Toboggan ride from Funchal. Explore Funchal Old Town with a Tuk Tuk before making your way to the mountains to the stunning Monte Tropical Garden. There you will explore over 70,000 square meters of exotic plants. At the end of the tour you will enjoy the thrilling ride down the hill with a Toboggan ride.
- Funchal Old Town walking tour. Learn about the history of Funchal and Madeira on a guided walk through the city’s medieval center. Visit the farmer’s market, the Campo Almirante Reis, the Fortress of St. James, and a number of other sites as your guide provides commentary.
- Dolphin & Whale watching Luxury Catamaran Cruise from Funchal. Enjoy the views of Funchal from a luxury catamaran. Look out for whales and dolphins in their natural habitat as your relax on board and explore the underwater world with a snorkel.
- Scuba diving Madeira. Explore the underwater world of Madeira island. A theory lesson and practice in swimming pool is included before you will dive about 12 meters for 45 meters in the Atlantic Ocean.
- Sunset tour from Funchal by Catamaran. Watch the sunset off the coast of Madeira on a 3-hour evening catamaran cruise from Funchal and spot dolphins (guaranteed, or you get a 2nd trip for free).
More Madeira travel inspiration
I hope you enjoyed this blog post about the 15 best sunrise viewpoints in Madeira.
For more information about Madeira, head over to our other travel blogs.