Perched at a dizzying viewpoint at the westernmost tip of the island of Madeira, this unassuming structure has prevented ships from striking the sheer cliffs and subsea perils of the remote Portuguese territory since 1922.
The lighthouse tower is just under 46 feet tall, making it a relative titch when compared to the world’s tallest lighthouse, the 436-foot Jeddah Light in Saudi Arabia. This said, the height of its focal plane—the actual “light” itself—is a full 1,040 feet above the sea, one of the highest in the world.
Its impressive focal plane is a result of the lighthouse’s perch atop a precipitous clifftop almost 1,000 feet above the pounding Atlantic. For this reason, the plucky underdog is visible a striking 26 nautical miles away, compared to a mere 25 nautical miles for the powerful Jeddah Light.
Since 2001, the operational lighthouse has been publicly accessible as it houses the Madeiran Lighthouse Museum, a small but worthy display of curiosities and images detailing the history of lighthouse keeping in this isolated temperate archipelago.