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.
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 we 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.
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. There is no shadow at all along this trail, So it is recommended to do this hike in the morning, especially during the summer months.
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.
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.
The views on the formation of the coastline and the erosion and different colours of the cliffs is just incredible.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
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!
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.
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. This 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).
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.
More Madeira travel inspiration
I hope you enjoyed this blog post about the incredible sunrise viewpoint Ponta do Rosto in Madeira.
For more information about Madeira, head over to our other travel blogs.