How to start the day more beautiful and intense than with a sunrise? And how does the perfect crowning of an eventful day look like? With a sunset that you have never seen before. Whether with the sound of the sea or over a sea of clouds - Madeira has everything to offer.
We show you THE spots for the most unforgettable sunrises and sunsets on the island.
- SUNRISE -
1. Pico Arieiro
Feels like: on top of the world. On Pico Arieiro (1818 m above sea level), just 45 minutes drive from Funchal, you can marvel at a sunrise above the clouds with a simultaneous view of the sea, which is an unforgettable spectacle that cannot be surpassed in romance. There are not many places in the world where, after waking up, it is so easy and simple to get to the top of the mountain by car to experience this natural spectacle. So don't miss this sunrise - it's absolutely worth it, I promise!
Tip: Dress warmly and plan the sunrise relatively spontaneously, always keeping an eye on the weather forecast! (Up here it can be very cold and windy, especially when the sun is not up yet. So be prepared for any temperature. Clouds make a sunrise really spectacular, so you should always keep an eye on the weather forecast. Watch out here: There should be no dense cloud cover predicted, then it can be that also the mountain tops are in the clouds).
2. Faial - Miradouro do Guindaste
The location of this viewing platform, or rather the paths to the steep slopes right next to it, are perfectly situated for a sunrise with the accompanying sound of the sea. Jutting out into the sea, it offers a phenomenal panoramic view of the sea and the north coast of the island - from Faial to Ponta de São Lourenço. The road ends right next to the viewpoint, so from here you can enjoy an unforgettable view without walking.
3. Ponta de São Lourenço
Also known as the "eastern tip", is the easternmost section of the island and guarantees a breathtaking sunrise, in the middle of nature. This part of the island offers incredible views of the north and south coasts of the island, cliffs and unique rock formations and sometimes even the neighboring island of Porto Santo.
- SUNSET -
4. Pico Arieiro/Pico Ruivo
Not only the sunrise is an absolute highlight on Pico Arieiro, but also the sunset. The third highest and highest mountain of Madeira captivate with their unique views of the island, the vastness of the Atlantic Ocean and (often) a sea of clouds below. This combination with the easy accessibility of these viewpoints make them THE highlights on the island. Don't miss this natural spectacle!
As described above, you can easily reach the summit of Pico Arieiro by car. (If you have not rented a car, several cab companies also offer a flat rate to the summit. Just ask there).
Tip: The summit of Pico Ruivo is a little more difficult to reach - here you have to drive to the parking lot "Achada do Teixeira" above Santana, in order to climb from there the approximately 3 km long paved hiking trail to the summit of Pico Ruivo (1862m). There are about 260 meters of altitude to climb. According to experience, the ascent with small photo interruptions takes about 45 minutes.
5. Santana – Viewpoint Cabanas
This viewpoint in the north of the island offers an excellent view of São Jorge as well as the entire course of the north coast up to Porto Moniz. Already the way to this viewpoint, through the wild and winding north of the island, is a highlight. The rugged cliffs, the small towns as well as the vastness of the sea have a very special effect here and allow an impression, the "local and native" Madeira, far away from mass tourism in the south of the island. Especially in the summer months, the different colors (the green of the mountains, the turquoise-blue of the sea as well as the colorful variety of flowers) make this viewpoint a very special one. Especially in the evening hours, at sunset, the change of colors is a real spectacle.
Tip: At the viewpoint is often a fruit vendor who sells fruit and vegetables from their own cultivation. The prices are unfortunately adjusted to the tourists, but the taste and their intensity is unique.
6. Garajau - Cristo Rei
Situated with open arms above the sea, in Garajau, east of Funchal, is the statue of Cristo Rei. Actually, this statue was built to welcome the strangers who came to Madeira by sea.
Especially in the evening hours, this viewpoint is an absolute highlight. Especially the panaroma view they have with the setting sun in the horizon and the idyllic illuminated capital Funchal in the foreground is a unique motif.
Tip: Take the cable car from here to the beach (Praia do Garajau) and refresh yourself in the beautiful nature reserve that is designated here and is perfect for snorkeling and diving.
7. Câmara de Lobos - Fajã dos Padres
Fajã dos Padres is a secluded cove located on the south coast of Madeira at the foot of a cliff in Campanário, Ribeira Brava, near the famous Cabo Girão cliff. Only a cable car that descends 300 meters along the cliff to the coast is the only access to this cove. Primarily this bay is used for local agriculture, as the climatic conditions of sun intensity and the salty sea breeze give the fruits and vegetables here a unique aromatic flavor. In addition, there is a small restaurant, a small accommodation and a small beach for swimming. The seclusion and the tropical microclimate invite you to stay in this place, especially in the evening hours.
Tip: Pay attention to the opening hours of the cable car! It is open daily from 10am to 7pm in summer and from 10am to 6pm in winter. So you have to look, depending on the season, whether the opening hours are compatible with the sunset.
8. Calheta - Viewpoint Raposeira
The viewpoint "Miradouro da Raposeira" is one of the best viewpoints on the south coast. From here you have a magnificent view of the cliffs and the ocean and how the sun slowly disappears in it.
Tip: You can park relatively close to the viewpoint and only have to walk a short distance to the viewpoint. Thus, this viewpoint is a good place to bring a picnic to round off the sunset perfectly.
9. Prazeres Viewpoint
The viewpoint at Prazeres, with tables, chairs and barbecue facilities, and the unmistakable view of the municipality of Jardim do Mar and the sea, is a perfect place to enjoy the sunset to the fullest. Depending on the weather conditions, there are different color spectacles - from the violet glow to the fiery red... Let yourself be surprised what colors the sunset has in store for you.
10. Paul do Mar - Beach
The secluded surfing village of Paul do Mar is a popular place for surfing and swimming. The relaxed atmosphere is characterized by the bars, which often offer live music. So here nothing stands in the way of a relaxed sunset with a cold drink after surfing or swimming in the sea.
11. Ponta do Pargo - Lighthouse
At the westernmost tip of the island, you are as close to the sunset as you can get. What makes this place so special and magical is the white and red lighthouse, which is the highest signal light in Portugal. Bring a blanket and a small picnic - the lighthouse, the solitude, the ocean and the 300 m deep cliffs create a very special atmosphere and make you not want to leave. The relatively long (about 60 min.) drive from Funchal is worth the effort.
Tip: Check the weather forecast and webcams beforehand for sunset conditions, so that you don't take this long way for nothing.
12. Porto Moniz - Ponta da Ladeira
This viewpoint in the west of the island offers a wide view over the ocean. You can also see the Fajã da Quebrada Nova, a small coastal village cut off from the rest of the island by mountain cliffs. The play of colors that begins with the setting sun radiates an incredible tranquility, especially here.
Tip: Drive to the parking next to the viewpoint and follow the small path there. Just be a little careful, because there are no official belays here.
13. Paul da Serra - Rabacal, Fanal
How about a fairytale sunset on the Paul da Serra plateau in the Fanal laurel forest? This forest is often shrouded in mysterious fog, which makes the forest with its centuries-old laurel trees seem like from another world with an incredible atmosphere.
On some days, you are even lucky enough to have the fog clear up and catch a clear view of the laurel forest, the north coast of the island and/or the green valleys and hills of the plateau. With these conditions, for which a little luck is needed, you are in for an unforgettable sunset. The free-roaming cows perfect this bizarre natural spectacle.
14. Ponta de São Lourenço - Viewpoint Ponta do Rosto
The eastern peninsula is not only a perfect spot for sunrise, but also for sunset. The viewpoint Ponta do Rosto is very easy to reach by car (about 30 minutes drive from Funchal) and allows an incredible play of colors, which are reflected on the whimsical rock formations and puts them in a very special light. The picnic area on the cliffs has the perfect conditions for a long and extensive sundowner picnic (tables and benches, BBQ places, etc.).
Tip: Attention! Only in the summer months the sun "makes it" over the island and goes down in the sea north of the island. In the summer months there is sometimes even a small snack cart at the viewpoint, which can mix you among other things also fresh Poncha.
15. Boat trip
Everybody knows it - a boat trip is every time an absolute adventure and makes simply unbelievable much fun. But it's especially fun when it's done on a speedboat with a view of Madeira.
To feel the power of the sea, to be able to look at the island from a completely different angle, to swim in the Atlantic and with a lot of luck to see dolphins or whales. THAT in itself is an absolute experience. How about combining this experience with a sunset? The impressions when the sun slowly disappears behind the cliffs and in the sea are unforgettable. Marvel, experience, swim - and all that with the setting sun. What could be more beautiful?
Tip: A wide variety of providers offer public or private tours. We can recommend "Madeira Sea Emotions", which has its boats in Canical or at the eastern tip, Ponta de São Lourenço. The crew of Madeira Sea Emotions always accompanies us on our "after-work" boat tours and are just lovely and nice people who always make a lot of effort, which is why we can highly recommend them.