Madeira, pearl in the Atlantic ocean - Martin Podt Photography
Magical forest

Madeira is a Portuguese island in the Atlantic Ocean. It's a volcanic island with mountains raising up to about 1800 meters high, a rocky coastline, a deep blue ocean, and a beautiful old laurel tree forest. The mountains, coast and forest are all close to each other and are all very photogenic. But Madeira has more, like lots of flowers, kind people, a rich culture, great food, especially seafood, the Madeira wine, a local drink called poncha, and all kinds of fruit including exotic fruit you have probably never seen before. There is only thing Madeira doesn't really have: nice sandy beaches. But... it has some great pebble beaches and natural swimming pools washed out in the volcanic rocks. And if you really want sandy beaches you can go to the nearby island of Porto Santo with its 9 km long beach of golden sand.

I was on Madeira for the first time 15 years ago. It was clear I would go back but that took longer than I thought. One of the reasons to go back was the beautiful ancient laurel forest of Fanal. The forest was even more beautiful than I could remember. Often clouds came rolling over the northern mountains into the forest. The clouds and fog in combination with the tortuous trees create a mysterious atmosphere. An atmosphere that many people might not like but that I love. On some hot days the fog felt like a warm blanket and walking in it was surreal, like in a dream. 

Fanal - Laurissilva forest

The rocky coastline is also great for dramatic seascapes. But finding the right places can be a bit difficult. There are some really beautiful spots of which some are a bit hidden. Also don't expect that the whole coastline provides beautiful views. Large parts of the coastline are not even accessible. So if you want to go shooting seascapes, you'd better prepare a bit.

Seascapes of Madeira

And then the mountains of Madeira. I just love them. Driving through the mountains I had several times the feeling I had entered the Shire. So I drove a lot through them to go somewhere or just to drive around in this marvelous landscape. The island is rather small but I drove about 2000 km in two weeks mainly over small mountains roads.

One of the famous peaks is the Pico do Arieiro. From this peak you can often have a great view while looking down on the clouds. I went there several times, including a few times for sunset. The whole island is rather green but especially the northern part has beautiful lush green mountains. More on the southern part of the mountains you can find eucalyptus forests with an overwhelming scent.

Mountains of Madeira

Next to Fanal, the coastline and the mountains, Madeira has other beautiful places worth to explore, like the cities and villages. See below for some more photos photos to give you some impression of some other locations.

I hope you have enjoyed my photos. If you think after seeing these photos, you want to go there too, then go. You won't be disappointed by the island. However, but aware of the following: finding nice compositions in the forest can be rather difficult, for especially the seascape photos I did quite some post-processing and some places are difficult to find or access. I came back this time with lots of great shots but that is due to experience and preparation. In the future I might organize a photo trip to Madeira to shoot at these great locations and to work on the post-processing with you. If you are interested let me know and if there are enough people interested we will plan such a photo trip.

More photos of Madeira

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