Ponta do Sol is one of the most charming places in Madeira.
Below is my guide to plan your visit with map, photo, tips and the best things to do in the town and around.
It includes the Ponta do Sol beach, village and its famous bridge.
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Why visit Ponta do Sol on Madeira + best things to do
Ponta do Sol is famous in Madeira for being the sunniest place on the island.
It is one of the most photogenic villages thanks to its colorful buildings, narrowish valley and the perspective from the pier.
Things to do in Ponta do Sol include:
- Strolling the old center, the orange roof and the church
- Enjoying the colorful buildings on the seafront
- Relaxing on the beach and swimming
- Walking to the pier via the old bridge
- Enjoying the sun
- Admiring the many plantations
- Exploring the area: levada walks, banana plantations, villages...
About the name
Ponta do sol means "sun point". It refers to the fact that the area receives more sunshine throughout the year than other parts of Madeira.
More photos after the planning tips.
Planning Tips & Map - Ponta do Sol, Madeira
How to get to Ponta do Sol - Map
- Located on South Coast, central part
- West of Ribeira Brava and the road that crosses the island in the middle
- Ribeira Brava to Ponta do Sol = 15min drive
- Funchal to Ponta do Sol = 30min drive
- Several bus lines stop in Ponta do Sol
- Below is a map to locate Ponta do Sol in Madeira and get oriented:
This highlight (with GPS coordinates and practical tips) is included in my travel Guide eBook that helps you easily plan your Madeira trip:
Plan your perfect trip around Madeira!
- Plan 1h to 2h to explore the seafront and the bridge
- Longer if you want to enjoy the beach or one of the nice restaurants
- Slight slope to explore the old center
- Easy access to the promenade and the bridge
- You can check the weather with the Ponta do Sol webcam here
- Ponta do Sol is home to several festivals and events during the year: L concert, Micro Film Festival, Madeira Dig...
- Ponta do Sol has also earned more notoriety as a hub for digital nomads
Parking in Ponta do Sol
- It is always more difficult to park on the South coast than the North coast
- There are parking paces on the seafront and inside the tunnels on each side
- There is also a little carpark just above the seafront area
- In all cases, this is paid parking areas. You need coins to operate the machines.
- If you arrive in the afternoon in Summer, you may have difficulties finding a parking spot
Need to rent a car in Madeira?
- Compare car rental prices on Discovercars.com - one of the best customer-rated comparison sites!
- Choose the car and company you prefer (remember you need enough power for the steep roads)
- Consider their full coverage option - I always take it for peace of mind!
- Book early to have a large choice of vehicles!
Where to stay in Ponta do Sol - Hotels
Ponta do Sol is a good place to settle for a few days, especially if you enjoy the sun.
It is centrally located on the island, offering fast access to many of the attractions. It is just not ideal for the most Eastern ones.
Here are some accommodation suggestions
- LUXURY VILLAS - Escarpa - The Madeira Hideaway - Check out photos and availability
- BOUTIQUE - Estalagem da Ponta do Sol - in a renovated farmhouse and perched on a cliff - check out photos and availability
- APARTMENT - Apartment Villa Sol II - in Ponta do Sol with Panoramic views - check out photos and availability
- RENTAL - Vila Mar Apartment, large with a nice view of the town - check out pictures and availability
- UNIQUE - 1905 Zino's Palace, Pink hotel overlooking Ponta do Sol - check out pictures and availability
- or see best rated accommodations in Ponta do Sol
More tips on my article about where to stay in Madeira.
Ponta do Sol Beach
The touristic part of Ponta do Sol is centered around the beach, at the mouth of the valley
It is a pebble beach that is 160m long between 2 high cliffs.
Thanks to those cliffs, the beach is somewhat protected from the wind.
A breakwater has been built, creating a safe area for swimming. Water temperature is around 19°C in Summer.
- Changing rooms
- Restaurants & bars in the village, 2min walk from beach
- Lifeguard in Summer
Ponta do Sol history
Ponta do Sol is one of the oldest places on the island of Madeira.
It was settled during the first years of colonization, around 1425
And the village was created in 1501.
The town was an agricultural center with sugarcane production. It was prosperous thanks to this "white gold".
Today, on the slope of the valley, you will mostly see banana plantations.
Ponta do Sol town and church
Just next to the beach is the old center of Ponta do Sol.
Below are the few things to enjoy.
First, you have several colorful building on the seafront.
They have kept building in a traditional manner.
On the side of the seafront, don't forget to look up, above the brown and yellow building.
Notice the "Cine" sign for the old Antigo Cinema and its Art Deco building. In Summer, the Micro Film Festival is held here.
It was built in 1933 by Antonio Marques Teixeira.
From the seafront is a narrow street leading to the church. It is filled with small restaurants and their terraces.
A nice vibe to enjoy lunch or a drink.
Sorry, I forgot to take a picture. But you can see the top of the street in the picture below:
The Nossa Senhora da Luz Mother Church
The small church Nossa Senhora da Luz Mother dates back to the end of the 15th century. And its façade was redone in the 18th century.
It is dedicated to our Lady of the light.
It is home to beautiful ornaments and a surprising ceiling.
On the tower, have a loop at the shape around the clock, it is quite different!
Parque Infante D. Henrique
And don't miss the stairs behind the church.
They lead to a small area with pleasant views over the orange roofs of the town and the church.
This is a nice place to sit, relax and appreciate the calm and quiet of this village.
However, there is no shade, and it can be hot!
Cultural Centre John Dos Passos
This space features exhibition halls, a library and an auditorium, In honor of Portuguese-descent writer John Dos Passos,
Monday to Friday from 9h to 12h30 and 14 to 17h
The rest of the town spreads across the valley.
Another famous building is the Palace of Zinos. A romantic building from the end of the 19th century.
It has also its own chapel.
Nowadays, it is a 4-star hotel - check out pictures and availability
Ponta do Sol bridge
I think the main attraction in Ponta do Sol (at least for photographers) is the bridge leading to the pier.
It is a very photogenic spot, and it leads to the pier with great perspective towards Ponta to Sol.
This bridge connects the shore to the Ponta do Sol pier.
Since the island is very mountainous, a lot of the transportation used to be made by sea.
Therefore, in 1848 and 1849, Ponta do sol city Hall built a pier and a road connecting villages along the seaside.
A bridge connects the road to the pier. It is a small stone bridge with a round vault arch.
At the pier entrance, an old prison is still visible.
It had been excavated in the interior of the rock with a guard booth as well.
Part of the path was on the Caminho Real 23, "The Royal Path 23" that surrounded the island.
It is now known as Caminho Velho, the Old Path, because it was abandoned once new roads were built.
And once you are at the end of the pier, you can enjoy pleasant views of the Ponta do Sol beach and valley, as well as the cliffs on each side.
Things to do around Ponta do Sol
Ponta do Sol is a great location to explore most of the island.
I am not going to list everything - check out my 35 best things to do in Madeira.
Below is a selection of attractions quite close to Ponta do Sol:
Cascada dos Anjos
The most famous is probably Cascada dos Anjos.
On the old road, there is a waterfall flowing right on the road. A natural carwash!
Note that rocks frequently fall on the road, and that you will have to make a U-turn to drive back, if visiting by car.
Located just 2 min drive West of Ponta do Sol
Madalena do Mar & Rota Banana
If you enjoy banana, why not head to the peaceful village of Madalena do Mar.
The whole area is covered with banana plantations. And, in this village, you can easily go walk around the plantation on what they call the Banana Route (Rota da Banana). It is a loop but you can enter and leave the plantations whenever you want.
Located just 6 min drive West of Ponta do Sol
The nearby town of Ribeira Brava can also be a destination for you.
It has a very different vibe than Ponta do Sol.
And its church is very photogenic.
Location - 15min drive East of Ponta do Sol
Walking and hiking - Levada do Moinho
There are also hiking opportunities around Ponta do Sol.
- The most famous in Ponta do Sol itself is Levada do Moinho (PR7) - a hike along a levada where you can see the ruins of mills that used the water. It also leads to a cool tunnel and a waterfall (Moderate difficulty / 8 to 10 km return trip / 4 to 5 hours)
- Levada Nova
- And further away, the many hiking opportunities at Rabaçal including the famous 25 Fontes Levada (learn more in my article about the best hikes in Madeira)
Want to see more of the best Madeira offers?
- 42 Madeira travel tips to plan an unforgettable trip - read article
- Where to stay in Madeira - best areas - read article
- The best landscapes in Madeira in 40 pictures - read article
- Tips to rent a car and drive around Madeira - read article
- 4 Madeira Natural Pools (and 6 coastal alternatives) - read article
- 18 best beaches in Madeira - read article
Planning a trip to Madeira?
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