Ponta do Rosto is another beautiful sunrise viewpoint in Madeira. Located on the most eastern tail of the island, this is a perfect sunrise spot with impressive views on the cliffs of Ponta de São Lourenço. Miradouro da Ponta do Rosto is located right before the Vereda da Ponta de São Lourenço hike so you can perfectly combine these two for a morning of exploring. However, for the official trail of Vereda da Ponta de São Lourenço you have to drive a bit back on the ER109 towards the last roundabout where the official trail starts. From Ponta do Rosto you can also make a short hike to a second viewpoint which I will explain in this blog post together with some of our favourite photo spots! 

How to get to Ponta do Rosto viewpoint

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. 

You pass Canical which is the last village before you enter another kind of moon landscape on Madeira Island. Ponta do Rosto is well marked on Google Maps so no challenging navigation 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. 

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View from the parking lot at Ponta do Rosto towards the island

Best time to go to Ponta do Rosto viewpoint 

Because Ponta do Rosto is facing east, and is also located on the most eastern tail of the island, it is a perfect sunrise viewpoint. So if you’re an early bird and you love to watch the first golden light of the day, then get here before sunrise and enjoy the beautiful show. 

This doesn’t mean of course that Ponta do Rosto isn’t nice on other times of the day. We have been to Ponta do Rosto on several times of the day, and can say that sunrise is best for photographers. But if you go around noon, the water will be much bluer because the sun is at its peak. The contrast with the blue water and brown orange cliffs is also super nice to see. 

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Another thing to keep in mind is that you can combine a visit to Ponta do Rosto viewpoint with hiking the Vereda da Ponta de São Lourenço PR 8. Because there is no shadow at all along this trail, it is recommended to do this hike in the morning, especially during the summer months.

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What to expect at Ponta do Rosto viewpoint

Once arrived at Ponta do Rosto you can see the viewpoint directly in front of the parking lot. This is the most famous spot, however there are more viewpoints in this area if you go further down the coast to the left, away from the tail. Miradouro da Luna is one of them which you can find on Google Maps.

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I think I understand why they call this viewpoint Miradouro da Luna. One of the times we went to Ponta do Rosto it was Full Moon and this were the wonderful views from Miradouro da Luna.

You can’t pick the wrong viewpoint as they are all amazing to watch the sunrise. It just depends if you’re a photographer that wants the best angle, or you’re a visitor that just wants to enjoy the impressive coastline and golden light in peace.

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The views on the formation of the coastline and the erosion and different colours of the cliffs is just incredible.

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Because the São Lourenço peninsula is from volcanic origin, it mainly consists of basalt, although there are also some limestone sediment formations. The semi-arid climate and its exposure to North winds have sculpted the low vegetation and explain the lack of trees here. On a clear day you can see Desertas Islands to the South and to the north Porto Santo Island.

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Desertas Islands seen from Ponta do Rosto

Ponta do Rosto best photo spots

As photographer you can keep shooting at Ponta do Rosto, especially with different focal lengths and if you have a drone! Some of the most photographed spots is the iconic rock that sticks out. You can sit on this rock if you dare to climb up there. Only do this when you are really confident of yourself going down and then climb up the rock. You really need sturdy shoes for this and always be cautious especially with strong winds. This area is also prone to landslides, so don’t go down on and after rainy days as the soil is then much looser and more slippery.   

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Two different rocky photo spots at Ponta do Rosto

Another great photo spot is a bit to the right of the famous pointy rock. This rock is actually much flatter with more space to stand. Which is why we could stand here with the two of us, as you can see on the cover photo of this blog. If you have a zoomlens and there are these magical light rays peaking through the cliffs, you can also make a close up of the lightrays. I love it to sometimes only capture one specific subject in the landscape to make a more minimalistic picture. 

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A little bit back on the road from Ponta do Rosto viewpoint you will see a curve in the road with fantastic views on the cliffs of the North coast of Madeira. We also found this a beautiful photo spot to take some pictures. Be careful when walking on the road that there’s no car coming around the corner!

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Drone photos at Ponta do Rosto

Ponta do Rosto viewpoint and Ponta de São Lourenço in general is a beautiful and interesting place to fly your drone if you have one. It can be very windy here, so make sure you keep other visitors safe, and of course don’t loose your drone. If it’s too windy, don’t risk it. Above Ponta de São Lourenço is also the flight path of airplanes towards the airport, so keep this in mind! Check the current drone laws and restricted areas to fly your drone safely. 

Below some of our best drone shots from Ponta de São Lourenço and Ponta do Rosto. It’s hard to explain exactly where these spots are, so try to find them yourself just like we did 😉 

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Short hike to Sao Lourenco Photospot

The viewpoint at Ponta do Rosto is already super beautiful. But there is more to explore in this area! If you walk east, along the fenced-off navigation station you will see a path heading around the station that leads you to another part of Ponta de São Lourenço. Via this path you get to the so called ‘Sao Lourenco Photospot’. 

This other official viewpoint is your aim to get to and can be clearly seen as it has a cement pillar that marks the summit. From this peak you can see the whole tail of Ponta de São Lourenço which is very impressive! 

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There are many more awesome photo spots here long the cliff edge, but also during the hike you will see plenty of awesome spots to take pictures. You eventually need to come back for another sunrise to photograph all these spots. 

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