Bica da Cana viewpoint (also known as Miradouro Bico da Cana) is probably the most underrated viewpoint on Madeira Island. With views of Pico Ruivo, the highest peak on Madeira as well as good visibility all the way to Pico Arieiro, this vantage point is as scenic as they come. The best part about Bica da Cana is how it can often be just above the clouds due to its height of 1,560m above sea-level. This means you enjoy a mystical atmosphere as the sea of clouds roll over the mountains below. It’s a perfect spot for sunrise, which is how we enjoyed our time at the viewpoint followed by the Bica da Cana Pinaculo hike.
HOW TO GET TO BICA DA CANA VIEWPOINT
Bica da Cana viewpoint is located in Canhas parish village of Ponta do Sol, which is basically in the center of Madeira Island. The exact location of the viewpoint is pinned on the map below. When you arrive, there is a parking lot next to the hiking trailhead. It only fits a few cars, but you will park here and then walk for five minutes along the dirt track to the viewpoint because the chains are usually across the road blocking you from driving any further. Then when you return to your car after sunrise, you can start the hike from the same spot so it’s very convenient. This is a great sunrise spot if you are staying in Calheta like I was, as it is just a 20-minute drive from the town so you don’t have a long journey early in the morning to other viewpoints like Pico Ruivo or Pico do Arieiro.
MY EXPERIENCE AT THE BICA DA CANA VIEWPOINT
I arrived twenty minutes before the sun was scheduled to rise. This, in hindsight, was probably slightly too late. The colors in the sky were already beautiful pastels when we begin the short walk to the viewpoint. For this viewpoint, I think it is a great idea to arrive forty minutes before the scheduled sunrise and then you have a 10-minute walk. That way, you will be at the viewpoint thirty minutes before the sun actually rises and can enjoy the pre-sunrise sky show if you are lucky.
When we arrived at the viewpoint, we already knew we were going to have an epic morning. On the drive, as we passed the huge wind turbines, we could see the thick layer of clouds in the valley below. The sky was also starting to glow with the edges of the clouds tinged with orange, promising to ignite within minutes.
The viewpoint was very easy to find and we just followed the path straight from the parking lot. When we arrived, we found a small bench with seats and a nice viewing platform. The viewpoint actually looks out towards the east of the island. This means you look directly towards the famous Pico Ruivo, which is the highest point on Madeira Island. Next to that, you can see the weather station (giant ball) of Pico do Arieiro. Both of those peaks are incredible sunrise spots in their own right.
Despite the giant peaks in the backdrop, it’s what is right in front of you that becomes the focal point. If you have the right conditions, a sea of clouds will fill the valley below. The elegant white mass slowly pours down into the lower valleys towards the east, creating an incredible waterfall of clouds. It’s beyond magical and something so unique to witness. I found myself taking in the landscape and thinking to myself, where else in the world could you see something just like this?
The sun finally crept over the peaks in the distance and began to light up the scene. For sunrise, you will have quite black cliffs and peaks as the light is coming from directly behind them. However, at sunset, the roles are reversed and while you won’t see the sun actually set, the cliffs will be glowing golden. I like the sunrise here though as it’s pretty epic to watch the sunburst over the biggest peaks on the island. If you wait an hour or so, the ridges and mountain faces begin to light up enough to offer some definition to those on the Bica da Cana viewpoint.
I actually blazed my own trail down to some of the rocks below the viewpoint. I don’t recommend this at all because the bushes are so sharp I had quite a few cuts. However, I did end up with the best seat in the house where I had unobstructed views down into the valley from my own private rock!
Once you finish enjoying the epic sunrise at Bica da Cana, you simply head back to the parking lot. You can go home or if you are feeling adventurous, you could head off on the Bica da Cana Pinaculo hike, which is a short and sharp 4.5km return trip hike. It takes you to the base of the Pinaculo or Pinnacle, which is visible from the viewpoint itself. Along the hike, you will pass directly under several waterfalls, which give you a refreshing spray. I highly recommend pairing the hike with the viewpoint as it is quite short and gives you some new perspectives of the landscape as you drop 200m down from where you watched the sunrise at the viewpoint.
ADVENTURE BAG FROM BICA DA CANA
This is an adventure bag. It is full of trash. Every time I go on an adventure I collect one adventure bag full of trash. It’s my small way of saying thanks to mother nature for allowing me to enjoy her beautiful creations. If we have time to go on an adventure we have time to collect an adventure bag on the way back out of the trail once we have enjoyed the waterfall, the hike, or the beach. Adventure hard!
Tag your Adventure Bag on Instagram and mention @adventurebagcrew in your Instagram stories and we will repost your Adventure Bag photo to help inspire your friends, family, and followers to join the movement!
I hope you enjoyed this guide and the photos from Bica da Cana viewpoint on Madeira Island.