An island, surrounded and covered by clouds and fog because of the humid air, interesting and extreme landscapes - everything about Madeira made us think that we might come home with SD cards filled with sunset photos. However, sunset photos turned out to be more challenging for us to achieve than we expected.
One reason for that was the time of sunsets at around 7.30pm, when we usually were either eating dinner or on our way to dinner. While we prioritize sunsets quite high, dinner is even higher on that list, it seems.
In the second part of our vacation, we were located in a location better suited for sunsets, but the weather did not allow the sun to peek through.
And even if you make the time for a sunset and find a good location and the sky is clear and dry - the sunset might still not be as impressive as hoped.
This is what happened to us the times we planned to catch a sunset.
Farol da Ponta do Pargo
Farol da Ponta do Pargo is a lighthouse on the most western point of the island. Perfect for sunsets, right? Actually yes. If you manage to find a parking lot (there aren't a lot), you have a great view of the coast. Especially in the summer, when it is even warmer, this must be a cozy and nice corner to hang out and enjoy the sunset with a drink and person of your choice - if you are okay with other people being there, too.
From the perspective of a photographer, the location was a bit underwhelming, at least if the sunset is not excessively beautiful and astonishing. While the clouds created interesting shapes when we were there. the sunset itself was pretty and average. And while being able to see and capture the whole coastline is impressive and beautiful, there are only so many photos you can take of it.
Unfortunately, the lighthouse itself is not very photogenic to be included in any photos.
Miradouro do Pináculo (Funchal)
One night we headed into Funchal for dinner (Vila Da Carne, recommendable for non-vegetarians!) and managed to hit a viewing point overlooking Funchal just at sunset time. It was quite hazy, which made for great soft golden hour light. However, after some time the sun just disappeared and it god dark without any burning colors in the sky.
Again a very cozy and nice place to hang out and watch the sunset! We were almost alone here and there benches to chill on.
Random spot on the road
On our last day with best travel companion Anna we didn't have any plans for amazing sunset shots. We basically just wanted to drive back home, get dinner and go to bed at a reasonable hour as we would need to clean and leave the AirBnB apartment the next day.
But as it often happens with photography - the great possibilties happen when you expect them least, when your tired and cold and you need to pee.
While driving over the Madeiran mountains and the low hanging clouds, Anna suddenly alerted us to sunrays peeking through the trees and whether we please could stop the car at the side of the road at the next possibility.
Luckily, Madeiran infrastructure is very well aware of its beauty and tourists' need to stop the car every once in a while to take in the view, so we soon found a parking lot to witness the most epic sunset of the trip. Just there. Alone in the forest on the mountain.
Courtesy of Anna
Courtesy of Anna
If you want to shoot sunsets on Madeira, our recommendation is basically to always be ready for them, but never count on them. Or something like that.