Madeira Best Photo Spots

Happy New Year!

Welcome to my first blog post of 2024. A long (long) time ago I used to have a weekly post with photos of my adventures here in the Azores, however, when Facebook emerged as the go-to platform, I shifted my focus there, taking a pause from regular posts here. Fast forward to now, I’m thrilled to share that I’ve recently gotten my hands on the new SONY ZV-E1, and I decided that this year’s resolution, I’ll focus more life into this space with captivating videos and expressive narratives. For some of you, this type of content is easy to do, but for me, it’s a bit of a challenge.

Last year I visited Madeira Island a couple of times as a photographer guide. The island’s unique topography, from towering cliffs to lush endemic forests, provides a canvas for capturing the breathtaking beauty of nature. I know there are so many “Best things to do in Madeira”, but let me take you on a “visual guided tour” of some sort, of the most mesmerizing photo spots that I enjoyed exploring during my trips to Madeira as a landscape photographer.

Let’s start with Pico do Arieiro:
Undoubtedly, the most iconic viewpoint in Madeira, Pico do Arieiro stands at 1818 meters above sea level. A 40-minute drive from Funchal leads you to this easily accessible yet awe-inspiring spot. In my opinion, sunset is the prime time for capturing the magic, and I recommend arriving at least 2 hours earlier to secure your photo spot and set up your equipment. Depending on the gear you bring, there are many different spots, but one that I’ve been enjoying more and more is the hiking path that takes you to Miradouro do Juncal and using a tele lens to focus on details of hikers and the viewpoints.

Ponta de São Lourenço
A fantastic photo location for sunrise, offering a captivating view of the eastern tail. Ponta do Rosto, an easy-to-reach sunrise viewpoint, offers a spectacular vista of volcanic cliffs. For a distinctive landscape, Ponta do Bode offers a lesser-known yet incredible photo spot. This sunrise viewpoint showcases cone-shaped red rock formations shaped by erosion. Facing both east and west, it provides versatile perspectives capturing Ponta de São Lourenço and the unique red rock formations. Heading back, there is also a road close to the roundabout presents another photo spot with a turn providing wonderful views of distant cliffs. Moody weather or a colorful sunrise can enhance the backdrop, creating captivating images.

Fanal Forest
Fanal Forest, nestled in the heart of Madeira, is a mystical and enchanting destination for nature lovers and photographers alike. This ancient laurel forest, classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, provides a unique atmosphere with its twisted trees, lush vegetation, and often-present fog, adds a layer of enchantment, transforming the chaotic arrangement of trees into a cinematic scene, reminiscent of a fairy tale.

Pico Ruivo Summit and Dead Trees
Pico Ruivo is the highest peak on the island of Madeira, and its summit provides breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes. Unfortunately I’ve only been here once and the conditions were not great, but it’s on my top list for a reason. While hiking the path to the summit from Achada do Teixeira, you will encounter the dead trees. a hauntingly beautiful landscape of dead trees amidst lush vegetation and towering mountains. As the highest peak in Madeira, Pico Ruivo offers an unparalleled perspective.

Capelinha da Nossa Senhora de Fátima
Also on my list is Nossa Senhora de Fátima Chapel, situated on the top of a hill, this small temple, contrasts with its green surroundings. On one side of the chapel, the majesty of the mountains covered by a dense forest mantle, on the other, the immensity of the Atlantic Ocean. The scenery is completed with the typical houses that sprinkle the slopes – especially the parish of São Vicente, which can be seen in its entirety here.

Miradouro do Guindaste
Miradouro do Guindaste, also known as Crane Viewpoint, is a captivating spot to witness the magical coastal sunrise in Madeira. The Northern location of this viewpoint, facing towards Ponta de São Lourenço with the stunning view of the Penha D’Águia rock in Porto da Cruz, adds to its allure. The presence of a headland, from which the viewpoint gets its name, offers a unique perspective for photographers and serves as an ideal location for adding a human element as scale.

Ribeira da Janela
The Ilhéus da Ribeira da Janela, two unique rock formations off the north coast, present a stunning backdrop for sunrise photography.  The rocky shore provides a stunning contrast, especially when you capture the motion of the waves as long exposure. The distinctive shapes and impressive setting make it a must-visit spot for capturing the island’s natural wonders.

Another sunrise spot is the picturesque village of Seixal. A birds eye view of a drone offers a breathtaking panoramic of the north coastline, with its black sand beach and dramatic green cliffs.

Cabo Girão
The breathtaking views at Cabo Girão, Madeira Island’s iconic cliff. Perched on one of the highest sea cliffs in the world, Cabo Girão offers a front-row seat to nature’s daily spectacle. The soft light paints the landscape, revealing the intricate details of the cliffs and the lush greenery that surrounds this coastal paradise.

Ponta do Sol beach
Located on the southwest coast of Madeira Island, Ponta do Sol is known for its picturesque colorful houses and rugged landscape, and is often considered one of the sunniest spots on the island. Again, flying the drone here creates amazing and deferent perspectives.

Ponta do Pargo Lightouse
This lighthouse is located on the westernmost point of the island, offering stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and the rugged coastline. The combination of the elevated position and the unobstructed western exposure makes it an ideal location to enjoy the vibrant colors of the sunset.

As a landscape photographer, I am excited to share that I will be leading two photography tours this year and also co-leading with the awesome people at Luminar for and incredible adventure. If you are passionate about capturing the beauty of Madeira, consider joining me on these tours to explore and photograph these incredible spots. Each location tells a unique story, and through the lens, I hope to convey the diverse and breathtaking landscapes that make Madeira a paradise for photographers.

Hope you enjoyed it.

Love from Azores.

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