Best Beaches in Madeira

There are many beaches in Madeira; choose between sandy or rocky beaches. Every traveler will find the ideal spot to lay down and enjoy some relax.
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Madeira is the ideal destination for a beach holiday. Pack a beach towel, a swimsuit, a pair of sunglasses and flip flops and get ready to dive into the Atlantic ocean.

The island features sandy and rocky beaches.  Sandy beaches are often artificial – that is to say manmade. This is due to the morphology of the island and to its volcanic origin.

Some natural pools have been made too, in order to facilitate the access into the sea. These “pools” are mostly located near Funchal and Caniço: some belong to the local municipality where they are located, while others belong to luxury hotels.

Most of the beaches in Madeira are equipped with sun beds and umbrellas, cabins, and bars and restaurants.

The lack of natural beaches in Madeira might be seen as a disadvantage. But it actually represents a strength that managed to preserve the traditional charm of the island, avoiding it to be over crowded by tourists.

Beaches near Funchal

There are two beaches near Funchal that are worth a visit; Clube Naval do Funchal and Ponta Gorda. Two equipped complexes with free access.

Praia Formosa is a rocky beach located towards Camara de Lobos. Near the old area of Funchal, at the end of Avendita do Mar, there is Praia da Barreirinha, an equipped beach featuring restaurants overlooking the sea, showers and private changing rooms. This beach is very popular among locals.

Calheta sandy beach

Calheta is a man-made sandy beach located on the west coast of the island. Here weather conditions are favorable all year long. The complex is made of two slopes of golden sand imported from Morocco and Portugal.

It is a very safe beach, popular among families with kids. Sun beaches and umbrellas are available for rent. In order to reach the beach you need to rent a car, as public transports don’t arrive there.

Beaches on the east side of Madeira

On the eastern side of Madeira there is a beautiful beach of black sand called Prainha. It is possible to get there through a path, however be careful because the way up may be a little challenging.

It is a 200 meters long beach located near the fishing village of Caniçal. It is a pretty quiet beach with few visitors. The water is pretty rough, therefore we recommend to go into the ocean only if you are a good swimmer.

Another beach located around this area is the one of Machico, the second biggest urban center of Madeira. This beach is well known for its beautiful golden sand – although it is also a manmade beach. Thanks to a rocky barrier the sea is calm, making this beach perfect for families traveling with kids.

Beaches on the northern side Madeira

On the northern side of Madeira near the beautiful village of Porto da Cruz there is Praia da Lago, a black sand beach that became very popular among tourists within the last few years.

In general most of the beaches located on the northern side of the island are characterized by rough waters and waves. These beaches are recommended to expert swimmers and travelers looking for some privacy.

Within the passing of the years, the strength of the sea along this coast has shaped the conformity of these beaches. If originally these were rocky beaches, now – after a century-old process of erosion – these beaches are made of dark sand.

Natural pools in Porto Moniz

A breathtaking oasis characterized by a mix of volcanic rocks that gave birth to a series of natural pools. Lava rocks have created a stagnant area where the waters are warm and isolated from the rough waves of the Atlantic ocean. The complex is very beautiful, featuring several restaurants.

The alternative: Porto Santo

The best destination for sandy beaches lovers is Porto Santo, also called the golden island.

It is a small island located about 50 kilometers from Madeira. In Porto Santo the beach stretches for 8 kilometers along the coast. It can be reached by a 20 minutes plane trip or by two and a half hours boat ride.
Porto Santo features many restaurants on the beach and it represents a great destination where to spend couple of nights.

Along its 100 kilometers of coast there are a series of black volcanic sand slopes, golden bays, and rocky beaches characterized by warm and crystal clean waters where to spend some relaxing days by the beach and admire a breathtaking sunset.