Located not far from Funchal, Ponta do Garajau, Madeira, is a combination of attractions in one space:
- A staircase to a viewpoint,
- The large Cristo Rei statue,
- The Teleferico do Garajau cable car,
- The Garajau beach.
Below is my guide to help you plan your visit with photos, tips and map.
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Why visit Ponta do Garajau in Madeira ?
Ponta do Garajau is a clear promontory sticking out from the cliffs.
It makes the eastern end of the bay of Funchal.
It is a great combination of attractions that will please many visitors:
- First, there is the 14m statue Cristo Rei facing the ocean (not a copy of the Brazil one, this was inaugurated before!)
- Second, a staircase leads to the end of the promontory for beautiful views
- Third, there is one of the 7 cable cars on the island
- Fourth, you can enjoy a quiet beach with clear water and a marine reserve.
About the name - Garajau bird
The name Garajau means "seabirds" in the Madeiran dialect.
At Ponta do Garajau, you can admire many of them, especially at dusk. The most common is the Cory's Shearwaters. It makes quite a lot of noise at night.
The area is also called home by Madeiran Storm-petrels and Plain Swifts.
Note that it is easy to write Ponta de Garajau. But it is "do Garajau".
More photos after the planning tips.
Planning Tips - Ponta do Garajau, Madeira
How to get to Garajau
- Located in the town of Caniço
- At the South East end of Madeira island
- 15min drive from Funchal old center
- 30min drive from Machico
- Easy road to the carpark
- Below is a map to locate Garajau 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!
- Good size carpark - free
- No stairs to access the statue
- 220 stairs to the end of the promontory
- Toilets and restaurant at the carpark
- Toilets and restaurant at the beach
- Garajau cable car price - 3€ return ticket
- Garajau cable car hours - 10am to 6pm in Winter, to 8pm in Summer - check latest on official website
- You can also check out the webcam here
Where to stay nearby
Caniço is the town around this attraction.It is home to a lot of rentals and a variety of hotels.
People enjoy staying there to be close to Funchal but for cheaper options than in Funchal, or for those looking for large villas.
- LUXURY HOTEL - Sentido Galomar, Adults only with pools by the sea - Check out photos and availability
- VILLA - Villa Albatroz with pool and stunning ocean views - Check out photos and availability
- APARTMENT - Apartments Madeira with access to pool - Check out photos and availability
- or Check out the best rated accommodations in Caniço
More tips on my article about where to stay in Madeira
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!
Cristo Rei Statue
Let's start with the statue.
Its Portuguese name is Cristo Rei, which means Christ the King
Close to the carpark, with an easy walking path, the statue is famous on the island. It is one of the most well-known architectural landmarks in Madeira.
History of the statue - why is it here?
It seems that it was placed here to remember the non-Catholic Christians whose bodies were thrown from these cliffs, since only catholics were allowed to be buried on the island until 1770.
Another story says that it was erected here to welcome visitors with open arms.
The statue was built and consecrated in 1927 (before the Brazilian one).
It was created by French artists (Georges Serraz and Pierre Charles Lenoir) and financed by a local lawyer and counsellor (Aires de Ornelas).
It is 14m high (46ft) and in Art Deco style.
Staircase and viewpoint promontory - whale watching
The promontory used to be an outlook post for the whaling industry. Whales were hunted for their fat.
Nowadays, it is a tourist attraction for its stunning views of the ocean and the coast.
I counted 220 steps on this impressive staircase.
It takes you to almost the tip of the promontory near a volcanic dyke.
On one side, you have views of the nearby cliffs and deep blue water.
On a clear day, you are also aligned to view the Desertas islands.
And on the other side, it creates a window-like views, with the Garajau beach at the bottom of the town of Funchal in the background.
YOu could bring binoculars and stay for a while, searching the sea for whales.
But at one point, you need to climb back the staircase!
Praia do Garajau Road
Before you head to the beach, from the top of the path to the statue, you have an impressive view of the road leading to the Garajau beach.
Note that you cannot drive all the way to the bottom. The end of the road is closed to tourists.
Garajau cable car (Teleferico de Cristo Rei)
The best way to get down to the beach is to take the cable car.
About the cable car
- It opened in 2007
- Like most cable cars on Madeira, it has 2 cabins. One travels up while the other travels down.
- It descends roughly 200m of elevation (650ft)
- It functions everyday
- It is called Teleferico do Garajau or Teleferico de Cristo Rei
About the ride
I really enjoyed this cable car ride.
It is smooth and fast.
On one side, the cabin goes close to the volcanic cliffs and you can see some interesting features and colors on the rocks.
At the bottom, I really enjoyed the views of the bottom of the cliffs with the "sheet-like" layers of rock.
The wall confines the pebble beach and has great geological diversity.
If you want to know more about the geology, read all the scientific terms here.
Praia do Garajau Beach & Marine Reserve
At the bottom you reach Praia do Garajau, a.k.a. Garajau beach.
It is a pebble beach with medium size pebbles and high quality of water.
There are lifeguards in Summer.
You can find restrooms and changing rooms.
It is a quiet and enjoyable beach, one of the best on the island (see my list).
Around the beach is also the Garajau Nature Reserve.
This marine reserve was established in 1986. Its depths goes up to 20m with a rocky floor. Underwater photography conditions are good.
The area is famous for the diving opportunities, you could see:
- large fish like the Mero,
- and a variety of coastal species.
Fishing is forbidden in the reserve.
It is a great area to go diving, snorkeling or kayaking around the reserve.
You can book a half-day tour that combines kayaking and snorkeling - learn more
At the beach, you can also find the diving center.
You can also find restaurants around Garajau.
There is one at the top (O Mero):
And there is one at the bottom, with nice views of the sea and the peaceful charm of the place.
I tasted 2 dishes and really enjoyed the experience.
Cape Garajau promontory from the sea
If you take the ferry to Porto Santo, you will enjoy pleasant views of Madeira island with the morning light.
One of the best features to notice after Funchal is the Garajau promontory.
The statue is a bit small to be seen with the naked eye, but you can guess it.
However, you can clearly see the staircase to the dyke.
From the sea, you have a clear understanding of the strategic position to spot whales.
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
- The 7 cables cars in Madeira and their amazing views - read article
- Tips to rent a car and drive around Madeira - read article
Planning a trip to Madeira?
Check out my travel guide to help you plan:
Plan your perfect trip around Madeira!
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