The Miradouro da Ponta do Rosto viewpoint is located just before the famous Vereda da Ponta de São Lourenço hike. However, you can drive all the way up to this viewpoint, which gives you easy access to one of the best sunrise spots on Madeira Island. If you are like me and love to explore, you can also complete a small, 3-kilometer loop along the coast from this viewpoint or even add it to the larger São Lourenço hike.
HOW TO GET TO PONTA DO ROSTO VIEWPOINT
The Miradouro da Ponta do Rosto is on the very far east of Madeira Island. This is why it’s such a good spot for sunrise. It looks directly down the ‘tail’ of the island. The great part about this spot is you can drive all the way up to the viewpoint so you don’t need to hike early in the morning for a good view. I’ve pinned the parking lot of the viewpoint on the map below so you can plan your transit from your hotel. It’s about a 30-minute drive from Funchal to give you an idea. I’d advise arriving 30 minutes before the official sunrise time to enjoy the pre-sunrise glow.
MY EXPERIENCE AT THE PONTA DO ROSTO VIEWPOINT & HIKE
During my time in Madeira, I stayed for a month or so in Funchal, which made the east very accessible for early morning sunrise missions. I headed out about an hour before sunrise from Funchal and arrived at the viewpoint parking lot 30 minutes before sunrise. Make sure to bring a jacket to this location because even if it is calm in Funchal, this coastline is notorious for being one of the windiest places on the island.
When you arrive at the Miradouro da Ponta do Rosto you are basically right on the coastline. Directly in front of the parking lot is a viewpoint with a fence around it. Below the fence is a highly photographed rock. Lots of people head down onto this rock for a photo. It seems pretty safe and sturdy but keep in mind, this coastline is prone to landslides so give it some respect and be cautious especially on windy or rainy days or the day after a big storm.
Further down the coast to the left (away from the ‘tail’) you will find several other viewpoints with fences and they also have great views down the coast towards the tail. You can really see the curvature of the coastline and the erosion of the cliffs is just mind-blowing. I checked out all of the viewpoints and to be honest they all had a different but great view. You really can’t go wrong picking a spot to watch the sunrise.
After the sunrise, you can just pack up and head home. However, there is a nice little loop that I first heard about on AllTrails and then tried it out for myself. I’m not sure if I followed their exact loop but what I did worked well.
Basically, from the parking lot of the Miradouro da Ponta do Rosto, I headed east along the coast passing by the lower side of the fenced-off navigation station. None of this trail I’m describing is an official path but you can see the worn way of others before you. Then you follow as closely along the cliff-edge as you can within a safe distance. There’s a very clear peak in front of you, which is your aim. So, whichever way you take just make sure you end up near the base of this along the cliff-edge to begin the short but steep ascent.
At the top of the peak, you will find a cement pillar that marks the summit. From here you have a great all the way down the ‘Dragons Tail’, my nickname for the Vereda da Ponta de São Lourenço hike. This point is marked on Google Maps as ‘Sao Lourenco Photospot’ but to be honest, this entire coastline is a great photo spot so it’s unfair to give any single spot that title.
The trek up to the peak is less than 100-meters of incline and is pretty simple. From the peak, you can either return the way you came along the coast back to the Miradouro da Ponta do Rosto or head down to join the Vereda da Ponta de São Lourenço trail. We joined the São Lourenço trail and then headed back to the parking lot of that trailhead. We then cut back up through the dunes to the Miradouro da Ponta do Rosto parking lot. That’s a lot of directions so I’ve added in the details and my hiking map below so you can visualize it. It’s pretty simple but the hikers of the São Lourenço trail don’t even know these viewpoints exist.
PONTA DO ROSTO VIEWPOINT & HIKE DETAILS
Hike Distance: The total distance of the hike was 3.4 kilometers for the loop I did.
Hike Duration: The hike will take you 60-90 minutes.
Hike Difficulty: It’s not a very difficult trail but it’s not an official route. You will have to make it up a bit as you go and travel across gravel, loose rock, and do a tiny bit of scrambling. The downhill can be slippery. You can see all of this as you set off for the hike though so it doesn’t come unexpectedly.
Hike Incline: Total incline for the hike was 192 for the loop we did.
My Strava Map Upload: Ponta do Rosto
ADVENTURE BAG FROM THE MIRADOURO DA PONTA DO ROSTO HIKE
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!
I hope you enjoyed this guide about the Miradouro da Ponta do Rosto viewpoint and hike on the eastern coast of Madeira Island. Happy hiking and stay safe.