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Madeira has one of the most diverse landscapes we have ever seen. You will find yourself surrounded by photo opportunities almost everywhere you go, from rugged volcanic cliffs, magical forests and mountain peaks above the clouds. I’ve put together this guide to help you find some of the best spots on the island, whether you want to get that Instagram banger or simply just to admire the beauty of the Island!
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1. Pico do Arieiro
Starting with the most famous viewpoints on Madeira Island, and it’s easy to see why! There are more photo spots in this area than I could mention but the most popular (not necessarily the best) is the viewpoint just across from the car park. I would recommend doing the hike that starts here and ends at Pico Ruivo, the highest peak, as you will be able to make the most of the constantly changing landscape.
If you don’t have enough time to do the hike (or like us you’re back for the 5th time), I’d recommend walking down the start of the path and finding your own spot for a much less crowded experience – much better for photography!
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Pico do Arieiro is incredibly easy to get to as you can drive 95% of the way there, making it one of the best sunrise and sunset locations on the island. After a 30 minute drive from Funchal, you will reach the third highest peak in Madeira, sitting at 1,818 meters. Alternatively you can book a transfer to take you from your hotel to the peak all in time for sunrise!
2. Ponta de Sao Lourenco
Ponta de São Lourenço is located on the most eastern part of the island and it really does looks like another planet. This 6km hike along the volcanic cliffs takes you all the way out to the end of the island, with a number of viewpoints along the way. You could easily take up a whole day here, finding yourself stopping to take pictures every five minutes!
3. Seixal Beach
Madeira doesn’t have many sand beaches, but Seixal Beach more than makes up for it! With soft black sand and a stunning mountain backdrop, you really can’t afford to miss it. If you’re visiting this beach with photos and videos in mind, you will want to make sure that you arrive early – we arrived at 7am and it was empty, but by 9am the beach was getting fairly busy. Either way it makes for a great atmosphere and a nice swim!
4. Posto Florestal Fanal Forest
If you’ve already done some research on Madeira (or seen it on Instagram!), then you’ll probably know about this magical and mysterious forest called Fanal Forest, also known as the fog forest. This place has to be one of the most unique photography spots on the island and is very well known for its eerie vibe when covered in a blanket of fog. The fog allows you to create more minimalistic photos, as when it’s not in fog it can look a little busy with all the trees.
We have actually visited around 6 times in total and only had the fog once, but the weather does change very quickly so it’s worth hanging around if you have time.
5. Levada do Caldeirao Verde
There are countless trails throughout Madeira island leading to beautiful rainforest waterfalls such as Caldeirão Verde. After a stunning walk along the Levada and through the caves (you will need a torch), you will come to a pool at the bottom of 100m high waterfall.
If you set off early this will be one of the most peaceful places you will visit, but like anywhere else, it’s a small area will get busier later in the day. It’s also worth being aware of what season you’re visiting, as in the summer there won’t be so much water flowing from the waterfalls. Try searching the location into Instagram and look at the recent posts to give you an idea of the current conditions.
6. Miradouro do Guindaste
Also known as Crane Viewpoint, this Instagram favourite is tucked away in the village of Paul do Mar and offers breathtaking views of the rugged coastline and the Atlantic Ocean below. The viewpoint itself is just off the main road and very easily accessible from the carpark, we found ourselves returning to this spot every time we passed through the area.
7. Praia da Ribeira Da Janela
Another beach in Madeira that is perfect for some photography is Ribeira Da Janela. This beach is located on the North West part of the Island, and isn’t too far from Seixal Beach to make it your next stop. The unique rock formations and waves on this beach make for some awesome aerial shots!
8. Bica da Cana
Another favourite sunrise spot of ours is Bica da Cana, and in our opinion it’s one of the best view’s in Madeira! In clear conditions, the balcony will give you a view of the highest mountains on one side and the ocean on the other. Just be aware that there is a 10 – 15 minute walk to get to the spot, so leave leave more than time if you’re heading for up for sunrise.
9. Faial old bridge
This old bridge is another one that looks amazing from a drone, just be careful of the nearby powerlines! It is a bit difficult to locate and we had definitely driven over it before without even noticing, so we had to do some digging to find it. It is located along the ER 103 in Faial at the entrance of the road towards Central Eléctrica da Fajã da Nogueira you will drive over the bridge.
The mountains are a luscious green, and the water is the perfect colour of blue, and to top it off, there is a waterfall into the ocean – the Hawaii of Europe!