Here I present to you the most amazing locations on Madeira Island. If you are however interested in a full travel guide of Madeira check out my Madeira: A 8 days itinerary to the island – a full Madeira guide blog post with further locations and detailed routings.
1. Miradouro do Véu da Noiva (The famous waterfall at the coast)
RW83+FW Seixal, Portugal (geotag)
One of the many viewpoints in Madeira. This one offers fantastic views onto the waterfall named Véu da Noiva on the north coast of Madeira Island close to the city Seixal. It is situated on the old road that connects Seixal with São Vicente. The landscape at the shore is breathtaking. Due to the height and amount of water flowing down the slope this waterfall reminds of a bride’s veil, which reveals the Portuguese name. Simple park at the parking lot directly at the viewpoint of the waterfall and you will have amazing photo opportunities.
2. Natural pools in Seixal (The less known natural pools)
RVGQ+WM Seixal, Portugal (geotag)
Even though these pools are not as popular as the natural pools in Porto Moniz, I highly recommend visiting them, as they are usually not crowded and accessible for free. They are of volcanic origin and can be found close to the Laje beach in Seixal. The pools and their surrounding areas have been adapted for public use and features have been safeguarded. However, if you like to take a bath make sure the waves are not so high so your risk of any injury is minimal. The rocks can be slippery so watch out when entering especially the left pool. The water is clean, crystal clear seawater. There are plenty of photo opportunities, for example, the arch in the left pool. Additionally, took one of my favorite photos of the entire trip here with the drone.
3. Fanal moody forest (magical forest with loads of fog)
RV54+J9 Seixal, Portugal (geotag)
Fanal is a place of rare beauty in the middle in the Laurisilva forest on Paúl da Serra, which is situated in the North of the Island. To get there you need to drive to Porto Moniz and São Vicente, Ribeira da Janela and take the car upwards the mountains on road ER209 towards Paul da Serra. The forest will appear on your left side after a few kilometers where you will find a small parking lot. You can explore the area and to admire the magnificent species of forest Laurissilva as Tis (foetens Ocotea) Folhados (foetens Clethra), Laurel (Laurus azorica), Vinháticos (Persea indica). Some of this vegetation is over 500 years old. We came their twice, as we didn’t have any fog on the first time we have been there. I recommend you arrive early morning like 8 am as the chance that you will have an incredible mood is higher. I recommend you bring a rain jacket and something warm, as this location gets incredibly windy. Basically, the fog is being pushed over this area to the north side of the island, so it might happen you do not see the sun at all in the morning. Enjoy the magic forest!
4. Pico do Arieiro (Your chance of taking photos above the clouds)
Pico do Arieiro, with an altitude of 1818 meters, is the third highest peak on Madeira. Luckily, it can be reached by car. Just search for Pico do Areiro on Google maps and you will be led up a cool mountain road from Funchal or a similar road via Ribeiro Frio from Santana. Views are spectacular up there and you can simply park your car at the parking lot. We went up to this place 3 times as we were not lucky with the weather twice. It is recommended to visit when the weather is great and for sunset, as then you have the chance, that the clouds are rolling in from the Atlantic Ocean. If you are lucky enough you will soon be surrounded by clouds and enjoy one of the best sunsets in your life. It is also popular to walk the trail from Pico do Arieiro to Pico do Ruivo, which is especially stunning during sunrise.
5. Pico ruivo (The highest peak of Madeira)
Q354+HQ Curral Das Freiras, Portugal (geotag)
Pico Ruivo is the highest summit on the mountainous Madeira and is at 1,862m height above sea level. The peak provides spectacular views over the entire island. The easiest way to climb up the trail is via Achada do Teixeira, which you can reach by following a road from Santana in the North of the island. Next to the Pico Ruivo government house, you can gain access to 3 other trails that take the hiker to different parts of the island. The trail climbs along the ridge that separates the cliffs of Faial and those of Santana, and so allows for an excellent view to the left of the Ribeira Seca valley, topped by Pico das Torres, and Pico do Areeiro in the background. Especially, beautiful as the top part where you can watch the clouds rolling in on a clear day. Also, there are often some cute birds on top of the hill chasing for food.
6. Risco waterfall (the hidden treasure in the middle of the island)
QV6G+2Q Lombo Do Doutor, Portugal (geotag)
Risco waterfall isn’t the most powerful waterfall on Madeira, but with its two separate cascades of water it definitely looks impressive. The cascades are of comparable height and the water slights down along a cliff that is nearly vertical. The upper cascade creates a beautiful blue / greenish lake – Lagoa do Vento. On the bottom of the lower cascade, you have a viewing point and an additional small pool. The waterfall is located in the unique laurisilva area – a kind of tropical rainforest. This rainforest is preserved mainly on Madeira, Canary Islands and Azores and might sometimes be surrounded by mist and fog.
7. Vereda da Ponte de São Lourenço
P7VX+7H Canical, Portugal (geotag)
One of the most iconic places in Madeira, at the easternmost tip of the Island. Here the sea and the sky are meeting, between a scenery of volcanic formations. You can follow the walk, which will take you more than 1 hour along the finest cliff scenery on Madeira. The paths are quite good but also quite undulating, so take care in front of the edges if you are afraid of heights. You also get really nice and Instagram worthy views
8. Vereda dos Balcoes (Balcony with a view)
P4R5+JV Ribeiro Frio, Portugal (geotag)
In order to reach the Balcoes you start your walk from Ribeiro Frio, following the levada of Serra do Faial. The trail starts at the E.R. 103 walk up the little path on the left and continues on the right into the forest. After a short walk, you will reach the Balcoes on positioned on your right. The Balcões viewpoint offers superb views over the valley of the Ribeira da Metade. When you arrive at the Balcões belvedere, you will come upon an amazing scene completely occupied by the verdant valleys typically displaying the Laurisilva forest. If you are lucky enough you might see the cute bird firescrest (Regulus ignicapillus maderensis) again, the smallest bird of the Madeira forest or any other kind of birds that are typical for the area.
9. Ilheus da Janela/ da Rib (The majestic rock formation on the Northern shore)
A bit offshore from Ribeira da Janela, Porto Moniz, on the north shore of Madeira and away from the usual tourist hotels, there are dramatic volcanic rock formations. The two rocks are called Ilheus da Janela and Ilheus da Rib and have become a popular Instagram location. You can watch the waves crashing in directly from the ocean, which is impressive. The black rocks are huge and make a cool photo when standing on them for scale from the distance. It is an amazing location to fly your drone and get some nice sunrise or sunset footage.
10. Jungle Bridge (The stunning bridge in the middle of the jungle?)
Q439+PM Santana, Portugal
This is a very secret and hidden location. You are lucky that I will let you know where it can be found. The bridge is close to Santana if you drive up into the mountain area towards the Balcoes viewpoint you will find the bridge close to the village Lombo Galego. This bridge looks like it is situated somewhere inside the jungle. Enjoy the views!