Lighthouses of Portugal: Madeira
Madeira is a group of islands located in the eastern Atlantic Ocean about 870 km (540
mi) southwest of Lisbon, Portugal and about 580 km (360 mi) west of the
coast of Morocco. The group includes one large island, the Ilha de Madeira,
and a number of smaller islands. The islands were visited by Roman sailors
and perhaps by the Phoeniceans, but there was no regular contact with
Europe until Madeira was rediscovered and named by Portuguese navigators
in 1418. The islands have been Portuguese ever since. In 1974 they became
an autonomous region of Portugal. With a population of about 275,000, the islands are a very popular year-round resort, especially for Europeans, as well as a popular stop for cruise ships.
The Portuguese word for a lighthouse is farol, plural faróis.
Lighthouses in Portugal are owned by the navy (Marinha
de Portugal) and operated by the navy's lighthouse directorate (Direcção
de Faróis). In 2013, the Navy announced an open-house program that opens the major lighthouses on Wednesday afternoons.
ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. PT numbers are from the Lista de Faróis published by the Portuguese lighthouse directorate. Admiralty
numbers are from volume D of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog
Signals. U.S. NGA List numbers are from Publication 113.
- General Sources
- Online List of Lights - Madeira
- Photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas. Rainer Arndt, Carlos Maria Silvano, Werner Seiler and Helmut Seger contributed photos for Madeira.
- Lista de faróis
- This Portuguese Wikipedia page links to articles on the country's lighthouses. The Madeira lighthouse photos are also available in Wikimedia's Lighthouses in Madeira category.
- World of Lighthouses - Portugal
- Photos by various photographers available from Lightphotos.net.
Portugals auf historischen Postkarten
- Historic postcard images collected by Klaus Huelse.
- Navigational chart for Madeira.
Ponta do Pargo Light, Madeira, March 2010
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Hansueli Krapf
- Ilhas Selvagens Lighthouses
Note: The Ilhas
Selvagens (Savage Islands) are an archipelago of small islands located
280 km (175 mi) south of the Ilha da Madeira and 165 km (105 mi) north of
the Canary Islands. The islands have no permanant population and
have been a protected nature reserve since 1971. Rangers from the Madeira Nature Park staff an office on Selvagem Grande year round.
- 1977. Active; focal plane 163 m (535 ft); white flash every 4 s. 10 m (33
ft) round cylindrical tower, flared at the top and bottom and colored with red and white horizontal bands.
A closeup photo is available, Trabas has Seiler's distant view from the sea, and Bing has a satellite view. Located atop the Pico de Atalaia, on the west coast of Ilha
Selvagem Grande, largest of the Ilhas Selvagens. Site and tower closed; special
permission is needed to visit the island. Site manager: Reserva Natural das
Ilhas Selvagens. ARLHS MAD-011; PT-668; Admiralty D2768; NGA 23776.
Ilhas Desertas Lighthouses
- Note: The Ilhas
Desertas (Deserted Islands) are a string of three rocky islands southeast of the
Ilha de Madeira. The islands are uninhabited and have been a protected
nature reserve since 1990.
- Ponta da Agulha (Ilhéu de Bugio) (2)
- 2003 (station established 1961). Active; focal plane 72 m (236 ft);
white flash every 4 s. 8 m (26 ft) round fiberglass tower clored with red and white horizontal bands; 300 mm
lens. No photo available but Bing has a distant satellite
view. The original lighthouse was a 14 m (46 ft) hexagonal concrete
tower with lantern and gallery. In the 1990s this lighthouse was found
to be in very poor condition, so in July 2003 it was imploded and
replaced. Located near the southeastern tip of the Ilhéu de
Bugio, southernmost of the three Ilhas Desertas. Site and tower closed;
special permission is needed to visit the island. Site manager: Reserva
Natural das Ilhas Desertas. ARLHS MAD-007; PT-665; Admiralty D2722; NGA 23752.
- Ilhéu do Chão
- 1959. Active; focal plane 112 m (367 ft); two long (2 s) white flashes
every 15 s. 14 m (46 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with gallery,
centered on a 1-story square concrete equipment room. Entire lighthouse
painted white. Thanks to Stefan Leitner for contributing the photo
at right. Trabas has Arndt's distant view from the sea and Bing has a distant satellite view. Located at the northern tip of the Ilhas Desertas, about
25 km (15 mi) southeast of the São Laurenço lighthouse.
Site and tower closed; special permission is needed to visit the island.
Site manager: Reserva Natural das Ilhas Desertas. ARLHS MAD-001; PT-663; Admiralty
D2720; NGA 23748.
Ilhéu do Chão Light, Ilhas Desertas
photo copyright C. Voigt and S. Leitner; used by permission
Ilha da Madeira Lighthouses
Note: The island of Madeira is oriented east and west; it is about 130 km (80 mi) long and roughly 50 km (30 mi) wide.
- São Lourenço
- 1870. Active; focal plane 103 m (338 ft); white flash every 5 s. 10 m (33
ft) octagonal cylindrical stone tower with lantern and gallery, rising from
a 1-story stone keeper's complex; 400 mm acrylic lens. The building is unpainted
with dark and light stone in vertical stripes; lantern painted red. Wikimedia has Bjørn Christian Tørrisen's photo (seen at right) and several distant views, Trabas has Arndt's photo, Vitor Oliveira has a very distant view,
Lighthouse Explorer has a historic postcard
view contributed by Michel Forand, Klaus Huelse has the same postcard view, and Google has a good satellite view. This lighthouse, the oldest in Madeira, stands atop a spectacular
conical mountain (an extinct volcano). Located on the Ilhéu de São
Lourenço, a small island off the eastern tip of the Ilha de Madeira.
Accessible only by boat, and the island is a restricted natural area. Site
and tower closed. Site manager: Reserva Natural da Ponta de São Laurenço.
ARLHS MAD-004; PT-624; Admiralty D2726; NGA 23740.
- São Roque (Machico)
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); white or red light depending on direction, 2 s on, 3 s off. 7 m (23 ft) round cylindrical fiberglass tower, colored with red and white horizontal bands and mounted on a square 1-story white concrete equipment shelter. Trabas has Arndt's closeup photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the southern end of the harbor of Machico on the southeastern coast of Madeira. Site appears open, but it's not clear if there is public access. Tower closed.
PT-631; Admiralty D2728; NGA 23732.
- * Funchal Breakwater
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); red flash every 5 s. 6 m
(20 ft) round concrete tower with gallery, painted with red and white horizontal
bands. C.W. Bash has a photo,
Trabas has Arndt's photo, Ricardo Figueira has a street view, and Google has a satellite
view. Funchal, on the south coast, is the capital and chief port of Madeira.
Located at the end of the breakwater in Funchal. Accessible by walking the
pier. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS MAD-013; PT-637; Admiralty D2738; NGA 23728.
São Lourenço Light, Madeira, May 2013
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Bjørn Christian Tørrissen
- * Câmara
de Lobos (2)
- 1937 (station established 1920s?). Active; focal plane 23 m (75
ft); red light, 4 s on, 2 s off. 5 m (17 ft) square concrete equipment
room with gallery; the light is displayed from a short mast on the
roof. Building painted white; the mast has a red horizontal band.
Trabas has Silvano's closeup photo, C.W. Bash has posted a photo,
Yang Meyer has another view, and Google has a street view and a satellite
view. Located atop a vertical volcanic dike adjacent to the main
pier at Câmara de Lobos, a village about 8 km (5 mi) west of
Funchal on the south coast of the island. Site open, tower closed.
ARLHS MAD-015; Admiralty D2744; NGA 23724.
- * Ribeira Brava
- Date unknown (1920s?). Active; focal plane 34 m (112 ft); red flash
every 5 s. 6 m (20 ft) square cylindrical tower; the light is shown
from a projecting "bay window" enclosure near the top of
the tower. Upper half of the lighthouse painted red, lower half white. Trabas has Silvano's closeup photo, Wikimedia has several good photos, Lightphotos.net has Mark Woodburry's 2013 photo,
and Google has a street view and a satellite view. Located atop a sharp promontory west of the harbor but east
of the downtown area of Ribeira Brava, about 16 km (10 mi) west of
Funchal. Site status unknown, but the lighthouse is easily viewed
from below. ARLHS MAD-014; Admiralty D2746; NGA 23720.
- ** Ponta
- 1922. Active; focal plane 312 m (1024 ft); three white flashes every
20 s. 14 m (46 ft) square masonry tower with lantern and gallery,
rising from a U-shaped 1-story keeper's complex. 2nd order Fresnel
lens. Building painted white with black trim; lantern painted red.
Hansueli Krapf's photo appears at the top of this page, Trabas has Seger's
H.H. Schueller has posted a good closeup photo,
Wikimedia has several good photos, Uwe Bücher has a street view, and Google has a fine satellite view. This is Madeira's best-known lighthouse by far, and also
one of the highest lighthouses in the world. It commands a spectacular
view westward over the Atlantic. Located on the western tip of the
island; accessible by road. Site open, lighthouse open on Wednesday afternoons. ARLHS MAD-005;
PT-656; Admiralty D2752; NGA 23712.
- [Ilhéu Mole (Porto Moniz)]
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 65 m (213 ft); flash every 5 s, white or red depending on direction. Light mounted on a 3 m (10 ft) hexagonal equipment building. Trabas has Arndt's photo, Wikimedia has a 2015 photo, and Bing has a satellite view. Located atop a giant rock off the harbor of Porto Moniz, and the northwestern corner of the Ilha de Madeira. Practically inaccessible. Site and tower closed. ARLHS MAD-010;
PT-658; Admiralty D2754; NGA 23708.
- * São Jorge
- 1959. Active; focal plane 271 m (889 ft); white light, 2 s on, 3 s off.
14 m (46 ft) round concrete tower with eight ribs, lantern and gallery, attached
to a 1-story keeper's complex, Tower is unpainted white concrete; lantern
dome painted red. A photo by Heinrich Mück is at right, Hansueli Krapf has a distant view, Sandro Figueira has a 2017 street view, and Google has a satellite view. This lighthouse appears to share its design with the Carapacho,
Ponta da Garça, and Ponta do Cintrão lighthouses in the Azores.
Located high atop the Ponta de São Jorge on the central north coast
of the Ilha da Madeira. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS MAD-008; PT-660; Admiralty
D2755; NGA 23744.
São Jorge Light, Madeira, October 2018
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo
Ilha da Porto Santo Lighthouses
- Note: Porto
Santo is an inhabited island, 11 km (7 mi) long and 6 km (3.5 mi) wide,
about 50 km (30 mi) northeast of the Ilha de Madeira. A popular resort destination,
the island is accessible by air or by ferry
from Funchal, Ilha da Madeira.
- Ilhéu de Ferro
- 1959. Active; focal plane 130 m (427 ft); white light, 3 s on, 12
s off. 14 m (46 ft) round cylindrical white concrete tower with lantern and gallery,
attached to a 1-story equipment shelter. Building painted white. Wikimedia has a photo and a distant view by Rui Branco, Trabas has Seiler's photo, several distant views are available,
and Google has a satellite
view. Located on a small island off the southwestern tip of the
Ilha de Porto Santo. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed.
ARLHS MAD-002; Admiralty D2762; NGA 23768.
- 1900. Active; focal plane 124 m (407 ft); three white flashes every
15 s. 15 m (49 ft) square masonry tower with lantern and gallery,
rising from a U-shaped 1-story keeper's house. Building painted white
with gold trim; lantern painted brown. Rui Branco's photo is at right,
Trabas has a good photo by Seiler, Vitor Oliveira has a very distant view of the lighthouse perched atop the island, and Google has a good satellite view. The Ilhéu de Cima is a small (but high) island off
the northeast coast of the Ilha de Porto Santo, helping to shelter
Porto Santo's harbor of Vila Baleira. Accessible only by boat. Site
open, tower closed. ARLHS MAD-006; PT-610; Admiralty D2756; NGA 23756.
- Porto Santo North Mole
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); red flash every
4 s. 8 m (26 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with gallery, painted
with red and white horizontal bands. Don Amaro has a good photo,
A.S. Figueiredo has a photo, Ricardo Gonçalves has a view from the sea, and Trabas has Seger's distant photo,
but the tower is hard to see in a Google satellite view. Located at the end of the north (really the west) mole of
the new Vila Baleira harbor of Porto Santo. Site status unknown. Admiralty
D2757.2; NGA 23765.
- Porto Santo South Mole
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 17 m (56 ft); green flash every
4 s. 9 m (30 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with gallery, painted
with green and white horizontal bands. Trabas has Seger's distant photo,
but Google's satellite view does not show the tower clearly. Located at the end of the south
mole of the new Vila Baleira harbor of Porto Santo. Site status unknown.
Admiralty D2757; NGA 23766.
Ilhéu de Cima Light, Porto Santo, July 2009
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo
by Rui Branco
Information available on lost lighthouses:
Notable faux lighthouses:
Marina, near the eastern end of the Ilha de Madeira, has
an octagonal lighthouse, but we don't know if it is active. Google has a street view and Bing has a satellite view. Not listed by the Admiralty.
Adjoining pages: North: Azores | East: Southern
Return to the Lighthouse Directory index
| Ratings key
Posted January 4, 2006. Checked and revised January 9, 2019.
Lighthouses: 15. Site copyright 2019 Russ Rowlett and the University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill.