The Best Beaches of Madeira You Should Visit
Last updated: 7 November 2020 | Guides, Portugal
The beaches of Madeira are one of the most visited beaches in Portugal. Although Madeira is well-known for its mountainous terrain, it does have some of the best beaches. On top of that, the island has weather to die for – all year round sunshine, warm temperatures and it rains occasionally. So, it is no surprise that many people head to Madeira every year and call it the best vacation island!
Madeira has all types of beaches. If you want to sunbathe or do some water sports, you won’t be disappointed. Also, the island offers lots of secluded little pebble beaches where you can detach from everything. Thus, I made a list of the best beaches of Madeira, so you can easily navigate around the island…
Beaches of Madeira Map
Beaches of Madeira
The island of Madeira has more than 20 beaches set around its shores. So, it might be quite difficult to choose where to go, as every beach in Madeira has something different to offer. So you can pick one depending on the activities you want to take part in 👀
Prainha Do Caniçal
If you want to go to a black sandy beach in Madeira, then you should definitely head to Prainha do Caniçal. Located on the southeastern coast of Madeira, right next to one of the best hikes in Madeira Vereda da Ponta de São Lourenço, it is the perfect place to rest.
However, the beach is truly appreciated for its beautiful landscapes and crystal clear waters. There you will be able to snorkel and dive and explore the abundant marine life that surrounds this volcanic island.
Prainha Beach is easily accessible by the pedestrian trail that leads to the beach. There is also places to park your vehicle, showers to use, as well as W.C. and a restaurant where to eat. If you would like to enjoy a better view of this beach climb up to Miradouro da Prainha.
Praia Da Ribeira De Natal
If you want to spend some time away from the crowds, then you should definitely head to the beach of Ribeira De Natal. Although, it is not so well-known, it does not mean that it is not equipped with all the facilities needed. There you will find lots of lounges, showers and even restaurants to enjoy some food after your swim.
Praia da Ribeira de Natal is one of the beaches in Madeira with the clearest waters on the island. The beach is perfect for snorkeling or diving. Oh, and don’t forget to enjoy the serenity of this secluded beach!
Located in the parish of Machico, this sandy beach is one of the few beaches with imported sand from Morocco. However, this makes the beach of Machico a very desirable one for many tourists as it offers a good ground for laying for hours. On top of that, the sand is so soft that you will feel like walking on clouds. So, you will be guaranteed a great experience at one of the best beaches in Madeira!
Anyway, in case you want to try the black sand beach of Machico, just walk a bit to the other natural beach of the city. There is even a pontoon to access the sea, if the pebbles are creating obstacles for you.
Nearby Machico beach are a couple of restaurants and cafes where you can enjoy some drinks. All that in addition to the most romantic sunset on the island!
Praia Das Palmeiras
If you are staying in Santa Cruz in Madeira, then you will probably be visiting the nearest beach – Praia Das Palmeiras. The beach is perfect for families, as it is very well-equipped with attractions for all ages. On top of that, you can enjoy either staying at the pebble beach or at the swimming pools nearby.
Additionally, the beach also has a lifeguard, so you can be enjoying your vacation without any worries for your safety.
Reis Magos Beach
Reis Magos beach is one of the pebble beaches in Madeira where one can truly unwind. The beach is equipped with everything that one might desire. There are lots of lounges to lay on, a pontoon to take on and a bar nearby to enjoy a few drinks.
The beach of Reis Magos beach is the only beach of Madeira where there is a diving school. There you can take a couple of classes and learn new skills.
Praia Do Garajau
Garajau beach in Madeira is right next to the statue of Christo Rei. On top of that, Garajau beach is located in the Garajau Natural Reserve, which is famous among scuba divers.
The Garajau beach is home to many marine species among which are the manta rays that pass through it every year. There are also other marine species which can be observed here like dolphins and typical fishes of Madeira.
It is good to note that Praia do Garajau can be reaches only by a cable car. So, it is good to consider this when visiting the beach…
Garajau Cable Car:
🎟️ Price: 2.50 EUR
⌚️ Working Hours:
Monday – Sunday: 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Praia da Barreirinha
One of the best beaches near Funchal in Madeira is Praia da Barreirinha. Although, it is more like a bathing complex, which is not so crowded like the other places near Funchal.
At Praia da Barreirinha you will be able to find all of the facilities needed for a good vacation. There is plenty to place to sunbath and plenty of lounges to lay on. During the summer months, there is a pontoon with which you can go further into the ocean to dive or snorkel.
Barreirinha Bathing Complex:
🎟️ Price: 2 EUR
⌚️ Working Hours:
Monday – Sunday: 9:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Lido Bathing Complex
Probably the most visited swimming pools on the island of Madeira. The Lido Bathing Complex is close to the city center of Funchal and is a preferred bathing destination. It consists of 2 pools with crystal clear salt water, which is filtered daily. On top of that, you can easily go and swim in the ocean, as there is a designated area for that too.
On top of that, there is a kids area and a pool, so that you can enjoy your family vacation even more. There are also changing rooms, lounges, sunshades and a parking lot.
Lido Bathing Complex:
🎟️ Price: 5 EUR
⌚️ Working Hours:
Everyday: 8:30 AM – 8:00 PM
Ponta Gorda Bathing Complex
The bathing complex Ponta Gorda is one of the best places to do some sunbathing and swim without any worries. Although, it is not a real beach, it is considered to be one of the best beaches in Madeira. This is due to lots of people go there to do just that – sunbathe.
The beach of Ponta Gorda consists of two main pools – one for children and one for adults. So, you will be able to rest while your kids are playing nearby. Additionally, the best is very well-equipped and there are lots of facilities to help you have an even better and safer time. There are also a couple of restaurants and bars to keep you entertained.
Ponta Gorda Bathing Complex:
🎟️ Price: 4 EUR
⌚️ Working Hours:
Monday – Sunday: 9:30 AM – 5:30 PM
One of Funchal beaches, if not one of the best beaches in Madeira – Praia Formosa. It is the largest sandy beach in Madeira and consists of four sandy beaches and rolled pebbles. These four Madeira sandy beaches are Praia Nova, Praia Formosa, dos Namorados and Areeiro.
Formosa beach has everything one would need from lifeguards to a playground for the kids and lots of restaurants and bars. The beach is usually packed at sunset, as the view is simply breathtaking. However, one can also enjoy some sunbathing and swimming around.
Praia Formosa is also a famous beach near Funchal city for being the most visited on New Year. This is the time when most of the people gather here to watch the World’s Biggest Fireworks Show. Surely, this makes Praia Formosa one of the best beaches in Madeira to go to.
Fajãs de Cabo Girão
If you had the chance to visit Cabo Girão and were fascinated by its height, then you will probably want to visit the beach underneath. You can do that by using the Rancho cable car, which is close to Cabo Girão.
Going down the steep cliffs you will get the chance the see the greatness of Europe’s highest skywalk from below. Additionally, you can take a walk around the beach and near the vineyards, where the locals produce the famous Madeira wine.
Rancho Cable Car:
🎟️ Price: 5 EUR
⌚️ Working Hours:
Everyday: 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Fajã dos Padres Beach
The Faja dos Padres beach offers some of the most spectacular views of the island. Thus, it is considered to be one of the best beaches in Madeira.
This pebble beach can be accessed either by a boat or the nearby cable car. Once at the beach you will enjoy some beautiful views of the bay and the staggering cliffs of Cabo Girão. Additionally, here you can enjoy some snorkeling or swimming and find some interesting marine creatures.
Fajã dos Padres Beach Cable Car:
🎟️ Price: 5 EUR
⌚️ Working Hours:
Everyday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Ponta Do Sol Beach
The beach of Ponta do Sol is one of the few sandy beaches in Madeira. It is famous for being the beach that has the most sunshine throughout the year. So, it is no wonder that its name means the Sun Point.
Ponta do Sol beach is known for its mesmerizing sunsets, 160 meters of beach area and the crystal clear water. There you will find some great restaurants, cafes, places to rest and can enjoy cliff jumping from the nearby cliffs.
Praia da Ribeira Brava
Ribeira Brava is one of the most charming cities on Madeira island. It is named after the river that runs through it and to the ocean. The city is located between two beautiful valleys where the locals grow their local produce.
Just a couple of steps down the road is the black sandy beach of Ribeira Brava. It is known for its excellent facilities including a kid’s swimming pool and a huge lounge area. Surely, at Ribeira Brava beach you can have a great time sunbathing or swimming in the ocean. Additionally, you can also snorkel and search for manta rays, which usually reach this coast.
Madalena do Mar
The beach at Madalena do Mar is attracting many visitors all year round. It is no surprise, as it is one of the most breathtaking places on the island. The pebble beach at Madalena do Mar is surrounded by staggering cliffs and the beautiful crystal clear water, where you can observe lots of marine animals.
While there, you can play some volleyball at the court or watch others play, go snorkeling or sunbathe. Furthermore, this is one of the beaches of Madeira, where you can enjoy some of the best fish meals on the island.
Calheta beach is one of the most famous and visited sandy beaches in Madeira. That is no surprise, as the beach is well-maintained and has imported sand from Morocco. On top of that, it is surrounded by small breakwaters to prevent any big waves to enter. This makes the beach of Calheta a very calm and pleasant beach to stay at. Thus, it is perfect if you want to swim around or play some watersports.
The beach of Calheta is perfect for families as it offers lots of tourist facilities to enjoy. Also, the city of Calheta is quite nice to stay at and it is surely one of the most strategic places on the island. Especially, if you plan to travel around. Thus, you might want to consider it, as a place where to reside on your next trip to Madeira…
Jardim Do Mar
If you want to go surfing on one of the beaches of Madeira, Jardim do Mar is surely your place. Located on the steep slopes of Madeira, surrounded by lush vegetation and the beautiful seaside, this place is literally like a garden of the sea.
The beach of Jardim do Mar is a famous surfer’s spot and lots of people come here to enjoy the waves. The best time of the year in terms of waves is the autumn and winter season. This is the time where the waves are truly big and will surely raise your adrenaline levels.
Calhau das Achadas
Calhau das Achadas is probably one of the most remote Madeira beaches. Located in the northwestern part of the island, this beach can be visited only the nearby cable car. However, it is one of the most serene places on Madeira island. So, if you are looking for a place to unwind and feel the power of Mother Nature, this is the place.
Back in the days, the village was inhabited by the fishermen, but these days its only inhabitants are a few cats. A few things you can do here is have a nice walk to the beach, have a picnic on a sunny day and even take a dip in the ocean. In addition to all that, you will get to see some of the most grandiose landscapes on the island of Madeira.
Achadas Cable Car:
🎟️ Price: 3 EUR
⌚️ Working Hours:
Everyday: 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Porto Moniz Natural Pools
Porto Moniz natural lava pools are a well-known attraction on the island of Madeira. In fact, they are formed by volcanic lava and are filled with fresh crystal clear sea water all the time. Plus, there is a fascinating view of the ocean.
Although, the lava pools of Porto Moniz are not the typical beach, they are considered to be one of the best Madeira beaches. Around the swimming pools you will find a kid’s swimming pool, kid’s play area, , facilities for disabled people and a restaurant.
In addition to all that, there is a parking lot just above the swimming pools, as well as changing rooms and lots of lounges and sunshades.
However, if you find the swimming pools of Porto Moniz to be a bit overcrowded, then you can visit the pools at Cachalote’s restaurant. The entrance to them is free and you can access them all year round. Luckily, there you can also observe Madeira’s marine life from up close.
Porto Moniz Natural Pools:
🎟️ Price: 1.50 EUR
⌚️ Working Hours:
Everyday: 9:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Seixal beach in Madeira is probably the most photographed sandy beach in the north part of the island. It is also one of the best beaches to visit on a day trip. That is no surprise, having in mind how jaw-droppingly beautiful this beach is. Surrounded by lush green vegetation and mountain ridges on one side and the Ocean on the other. It is like a postcard!
The beach of Seixal is one of the natural black sand beaches in Madeira. Thus, this makes it quite an attraction, as the black sand here is very soft and pleasant on your feet. Furthermore, lots of visitors also head to the natural swimming pools of Seixal. These natural pools surrounded by volcanic rocks are not so crowded and can be a pretty nice place to relax. However, it is always good to check the tides here, so that you avoid the big waves.
Faial Beach - Mooi Strand
If you want to enjoy a chill afternoon by the sea, or play some sports like volleyball or football this is the perfect place to do so. Faial beach is one of the few beaches of Madeira where you can truly enjoy the serenity of this island.
The small pebble beach is a perfect spot to sunbath or swim without being worried by the huge waves. It is a pretty secluded beach, which is sort of hidden from the world. So, if you want to just chill and enjoy some peace, go for it. Oh and don’t forget to go to Crane’s viewpoint and enjoy the beautiful view that is revealed there.
Praia Da Alagoa
Although, it is not as famous as Jardim do Mar, Praia da Alagoa is another surfing spot. The beach here is made mostly of black sand and is not really suitable for sunbathing.
However, if you are an avid surfer you will truly enjoy this beach and appreciate its huge waves.
Just a few steps away from the beach, you can enjoy some Poncha at the Cascata Della Poncha museum. The poncha is the traditional alcoholic drink of Madeira made out of sugarcane rum, honey and citrus juice of your taste.
Just five minutes’ drive from Alagoa beach is Praia da Maiata, which is another surfer’s spot. The waves at Maiata beach are not so huge, so it is perfect for beginners in surfing. However, it is best to visit it in the summer months to enjoy the lower tides.
During the summer months, it is a great spot to go sunbathing on the black sand and swim when there is low tide. The beach is pretty secluded, so it might be just you there enjoying the song of the ocean. Honestly, Maiata beach is one of the best beaches in Madeira, which will truly make you unwind!
Porto Santo Beaches
The beaches in Porto Santo are not that many, but are for surely a preferred destination for avid sunbathers. The water surrounding Porto Santo is warmer than that of Madeira, which allows for people to enjoy more water activities. In addition to all that, the climate of Porto Santo is warm all year round and there are rarely rains. So, you will be truly having a great time there.
Porto Santo Beach
Porto Santo’s beach is probably the most mesmerizing beach in Madeira islands. This 9 kilometers long beach made out of soft golden sand is surely a paradise for every sunbather. In addition to that, the sand of the beach is proven to help in easing the pain caused by rheumatism.
Although, many would say that there is not so much to do in Porto Santo except sunbathing and swimming, this is not entirely true. During the summer months there are lots of parties that take place in the bars nearby. So, Porto Santo beach can also be considered to be a party place too.
Ponta da Calheta
Calheta beach is another example of a truly astonishing beach. With its golden sand, dunes and crystalline waters, it is surely a place you should visit.
This beach is a bit hidden and not so crowded as Porto Santo’s huge beach. However, it is a true gem that is worth a visit. Here you can enjoy the peacefulness of the place, as well as some swimming and snorkeling. It is also a great place to come with your children, which can play around and gather lots of sea shells.
Finally, you can visit Miradouro das Flores, which is above the beach and overlooks Cal islet. The view over the islet is simply breathtaking and gives the feeling of being on another planet. With its rocky coasts surrounded by the ocean and no vegetation, it sure does look like a landscape from Mars.
Praia do Zimbralinho
Are you yearning for real snorkeling experience? Or you want to go diving a bit? Well, praia do Zimbralinho is surely the place to do this.
This small secluded beach, set in a small lagoon is for sure a must visits on the island of Porto Santo. So, grab your fins and mask and dive into the most crystalline and marine life rich waters on Porto Santo!
However, be careful, as it might get too deep too quickly. Thus, always step cautiously!
Where To Stay in Madeira
If you are going to explore the beaches of Madeira, then you definitely have to stay near them. Some of the best area to stay in Madeira and its beaches is probably in Santa Cruz, Machico and Calheta. Those are the cities that have the best sandy beaches on the island. Thus, I have created the lists below to suite your accommodation needs:
Value for Money Accommodation
Madeira Outdoor Activities
This enchanting island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean has lots of outdoor activities to offer. Whether it will be whale watching, diving or surfing you will have plenty of options to choose from:
Catamaran Dolphin and Whale Watching: If you want to sail along peacefully in a luxury catamaran. Then, this is the trip for you! On top of that you will get to see dolphins and may be some whales swimming around 🐳
Swimming with Dolphins: If you want to make memories that will stick, then opt for this great experience! On this trip you will also get the chance to learn more about these creatures and their habitat 🐬
Whale Watching Tour: Seeing a whale can be a quite extraordinary experience. Also these creatures are quite rare to be spotted. Thus, you definitely have to go with this tour, as it is led by experienced sailors!
Coasteering tour in Madeira: If you have ever wanted to try cliff jumping, Madeira is the perfect place to do so! But do it with an experienced guide that knows all the little details, so you avoid any injuries 🏊
Scuba Diving Experience: Do you want to learn how to better explore the sea depth?! Then, opt for this diving experience with an instructor!
I hope that you liked this post about the beaches of Madeira. Did you visit any of them?
Which one is your favourite?