When Is the Best Time
Madeira is an exceptional island in the Atlantic Ocean and, for me, the most beautiful place in Europe. Outstanding viewpoints are spread across the island, offering spectacular views during the day, and some of them are great spots to watch an epic sunrise or sunset.
Best Sunrise Spots in Madeira
I highly recommend watching a sunrise at one of these two sunrise locations at higher elevations. With a little luck, you may watch a breathtaking sunrise above the clouds. Driving in Madeira from Funchal in the east to the west takes an hour; therefore, I will tell you about one marvellous spot for the east and one for the west.
Sunrise on Pico do Arieiro - East
To watch this breathtaking sunrise, you have to stay close to Funchal. It is half an hour's drive from the capital city to 1.800 m elevation. This sunrise is breathtaking, frequently above the clouds. I got this picture provided by Oskar. He'd shown me his time laps to convince me to get up early. However, the sunset from here is the most spectacular of all -more below.
Sunrise from Bica da Cana - West
This is the most spectacular sunrise of all and utterly worth getting up early, even in June. Bica da Cana is located in the Paúl da Serra at a 1.620 m elevation. It is a 10 minutes walk to the viewpoint and picnic area. We had the entire scenery for ourselves. Temperatures are significantly lower than at the coast. It was 8°C at 6.30 am in summer. Next to the gate and sign are a few parking spots, but they are rarely full. Combine the magical sunrise with the most popular and beautiful Levada das 25 Fontes, just a 10-minute drive away.
However, this outlook offers spectacular views of the highest mountains of Madeira; Pico das Torres, Pico Arieiro, and Pico Ruivo throughout the day, but the weather, means cloud depending. It is frequently cloudy in the heart of Madiera. The clouds roll in already before midday. Nevertheless, we experienced twice stable weather for a couple of days with very few clouds. Check the weather forecast and Pico Arieiro webcam before you drive up to Bica da Cana. Parking: Google Maps Link
Best Sunset Spots Madeira
I go more for the sunsets because I am not an early riser, especially not in late spring and early summer with a sunrise time before 7 am. Also, here I divided the sunsets by the areas.
Sunset on Pico do Arieiro - East
This is the most breathtaking sunset of all in Madeira. To watch such a stunning sunset, there has to be a clear blue sky during the day. It wasn't busy at all, still not much known to most of the visitors. Although more than one hour drive for us from our rental cottage, it was utterly worth coming here just for the sunset.
What an awesome sundowner in such an impressive landscape. Don't think twice and give it a try. Very well done is the access to this fantastic view, even wheelchair accessible! Check out the Webcam at Pico Arieiro to get an indication of whether the mountains are covered in clouds or if you may have a good chance for such a breathtaking sunset.
Sunset from Miradouro da Beira da Quinta - North
The outlook is located in the north. It is quite a ride from the south, but worth the effort. Combine the sunset with one of the Levada Hikes like Levada do Rei. There are lots of excellent restaurants like the Aereo Cafe.
The view from here is spectacular. We came here twice, and we were utterly amazed by the beauty of this place. (Google Maps Location)
Miradouro Trigo de Negreiros ou Moledos - South
On our way back to our rental house, the sky turned to amazing colours, and we just checked out Google for the next outlook. This was one of the most breathtaking sunsets here in Madeira. Unfortunately, the tripod was not in the trunk of the car. However, if you stay in the south, watch some of the most stunning sunsets from higher elevations. (Google Maps Location)
Sunset from Miradouro do Fio - West
This outlook close to Lighthouse Ponta do Pargo is breathtaking during the day and evening. If you plan to watch the sunset here, bring a tripod, it is often windy here.
You can see the waterfall and hike "Vereda do Pesqueiro" from here. Next to the "Miradouro" is a very nice restaurant. More about this place is in my waterfall guide. (Google Maps Location)
Pico Vermelho - West
This is a short hike of 15 minutes to Pico Vermelho's outlook from the trailhead and narrow parking in the village. Google Maps Location for Caminho Pico Vermelho e Capela
Many of the "Miradouros" viewpoints offer spectacular sunrises or sunsets. Of course, there are more than mentioned here. These are the ones that are worth doing IMO. I checked out more than I added; some spots in the south offer a breathtaking sunset in the winter only.
We experienced some of the most stunning sunsets in the southwest and west on higher elevations. Check out the sunrise/sunset time and arrive at least 10 minutes before. Bear in mind up in the mountains rather earlier for the sunrise and a little later for the sunset.
3 Excellent Viewpoints
1 Cabo Girao Skywalk - South
Cabo Girao is located in the south, 20 minutes drive from Funchal. It may not suit people with a fear of heights walking above the glass floor with a 580 meters deep view of the tall vertical cliff and the sea. Cabo Girao is 589 m high, and the skywalk is a little below. Cabo Girao is the highest cliff in Europe and although it looks scary it is utterly safe to walk above the glass.
You get an amazing view of Funchal and its surroundings. There is a cafe and souvenir shop. Plenty of parking for buses but not for cars during the day. We came shortly before they close in the evening when most visitors already left this highlight on their tour. Opening Hours: 8 am until 7 pm. Free admission, but it looks like a fee will be requested in the future. Gates are installed to enter the area. Parking Cabo Girao (Google Maps)
2 Miradouro de São Cristovão - North
This is a privately owned outlook by the restaurant São Cristovão. The landscape is breathtaking here; on the opposite are a steep trail and the wild coast. It takes just 10 minutes by car to get to the other side. We had an excellent lunch at the restaurant. The portions are too big. Take a starter and share one meal. (Google Maps Location)
3 Miradouro Lombo do Mouro - Paul da Serra - Centre
You can't miss this outstanding outlook to the highest mountains in the Paul da Serra along ER 105. The sunlight in the morning is terrible for a good shot, but the clouds roll in before midday. It is rare, and it would be boring to experience the mountain range without these clouds. (Google Maps Location)
My Madeira map with all our favourite hikes, sunrise and sunset spots, levadas, natural pools and beaches and also restaurants.
Do you want to obtain the usage right for my images? Contact me, but I will take action against picture theft.
Best Months to Visit
Location and Tips
Madeira is such a diverse island. Usually, the sun shines while it rains somewhere else in Madeira. This is one of the few places in the world which do not experience a drought. Clouds appear frequently perfect for excellent shots of the sunrise and sunset.