The Cristo Rei monument is a sacred statue of Jesus Christ on Ponta do Garajau, a headland between Caniço and Funchal on the south coast of Madeira Island. This viewpoint offers panoramic views on the Atlantic Ocean, Funchal Bay and Desertas Islands. The majestic statue stands on top of a hill which drops into the ocean. There are stairs going down the hill towards a lower platform overlooking the ocean from closer by. The Cristo Rei Madeira viewpoint is a great spot for a casual walk, or to watch the sunrise and sunset from! Read in this blog post everything you need to know before visiting the Cristo Rei Madeira statue and viewpoint. 

About the Cristo Rei Madeira

When speaking about a Christ statue, most people will think about the famous one in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. But what few people know, is that the Cristo Rei statue in Madeira was the first one in the world to be built and inaugurated!

The Cristo Rei Madeira statue was paid by private funds and built in 1927. With its 14 meters high, the Cristo Rei Madeira statue is about half the height of the 30 meters tall Cristo Rei statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Legend says that the Cristo Rei statue welcomes visitors to Madeira coming by sea with open arms.


How to get to Cristo Rei Madeira viewpoint

From Funchal it’s only a 15 minute drive to the Cristo Rei statue, so it’s a great short visit for a sunrise or sunset walk. Easy to find on Google Maps and easy to reach by car, you can park directly at the entrance of the viewpoint. 


Best time to go to Cristo Rei Madeira viewpoint

Anytime is a good time to visit this viewpoint. But if you’re a sunrise or sunset lover, I would advice you to visit the Cristo Rei Madeira viewpoint during those times. If you’re lucky, the sky can turn into a fantastic colour bomb. With sunrise, you can see the sun rising from the horizon over the ocean on the left side of the statue. And during sunset, the sun sets all the way to the right lighting up Funchal city. During the day it’s of course also a great viewpoint in Madeira to visit. It offers beautiful views on Garajau beach, Funchal bay and Desertas Islands. There is often a lot of wind along the coast, so it’s a perfect place to get a breath of fresh (ocean) air. You will see lots of locals hanging out here or walking their dog. 


What to expect at Cristo Rei Madeira viewpoint

Once arrived at the Cristo Rei viewpoint you will see a big parking lot and cafe where you can get a coffee or snack. It’s only a few meters walking until you are at the Christ statue. There are no stairs involved so everyone can get here. At the statue are benches installed to relax and take in the amazing view. When looking along the left side of the statue you can see the Desertas Islands on the horizon. On the other side you’ll have a wonderful view on Funchal city. Further on the horizon you can see one of the highest cliffs of Europe, the Cabo Girão which is another amazing viewpoint in Madeira!


If you fancy a little walk down the stairs, you can get to the end of the promontory. It’s a total of 220 stairs to the end of the headland, so it’s a fun short hike if you’re in to exploring a bit around. Locals use this part to walk their dog or just exercise before or after work. But if you just came to enjoy the view, then the benches near the Christ statue are the best spot with a spectacular view! 


No matter the time you visit the Cristo Rei viewpoint, you will be blown away by the vast views over the ocean. However, during sunrise or sunset you will have a chance of seeing a show with colourful clouds in the sky or the golden light of the sun. Sit down on one of the benches and enjoy the panoramic views and the magic of a rising or setting sun. 

Read our complete guide for more amazing sunrise viewpoints in Madeira


Cable car down to Garajau beach 

If you fancy to explore the area around the Cristo Rei viewpoint you can descent down to Garajau beach with the cable car. This pebble beach is located in the Garajau Marine Reserve which is why the ocean water is so clear. You can go diving here, walk along the impressive 200 meter high cliff of Ponta do Garajau, relax on the pebble beach or eat at the beach front restaurant! The cable car operates daily in the summer months from 10AM to 8PM. In the winter it operates from 10AM to 6PM. A return ticket costs €3. You can also drive down the zig zag road to the parking of the beach. But be aware that it is a narrow one way road and takes some driver skills and timing.