Madeira’s 10 most beautiful beaches

Plage de Fajã dos Padres

On vacation in Madeira, are you looking for unforgettable swimming spots? Here’s our selection of Madeira’s 10 most beautiful beaches!

The Madeira archipelago comprises eight islands off the coast of Morocco. Nicknamed the Island of Eternal Spring, Madeira enjoys a temperate climate all year round. In other words, it’s an ideal destination if you’re looking to bask in the sun and swim in crystal-clear waters.

From white sandy beaches to secret coves and natural pools, Madeira’s beaches have much to offer. But enough daydreaming, here are our top 10 picks for the best places to swim in Madeira!

1. Seixal harbour beach

Plage du port de Seixal

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Leonid Sorokin

  • 📍 Location: Seixal, Madeira Island
  • 👍 Assets: the hypnotic color of its black sand
  • ℹ️ Good to know: this is a beach where bathing is not supervised.

Located on Madeira’s north-west coast, Seixal is a charming little village of 700 inhabitants. Just off the port, you’ll find a small stretch of black sand, overlooking the magnificent coastal scenery. This is one of Madeira’s few natural beaches.

As this is an unsupervised area, we advise you to take extra care if you’re going there with children.

2. Porto Santo Beach

Plage de Porto Santo

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Ruben sousa

  • 📍 Location: Porto Santo, island of Porto Santo
  • 👍 Assets: its fine blond sand with therapeutic properties
  • ℹ️ Good to know: it’s a good idea to move away from the city center to enjoy a little more peace and quiet.

Located on the volcanic island of Porto Santo, the beach of the same name is a kilometer-long stretch along the island’s southern coast. It’s the island’s star attraction, popular with travelers in search of warm, soft white sand.

In fact, it’s the only beach with fine sand on the archipelago. Its therapeutic virtues include blood circulation regulation. On this Madeira beach, you can enjoy a variety of water sports, and some beach umbrellas are even available free of charge.

3. Formosa Beach

Plage Formosa

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Adrian Pluskota

  • 📍 Location: Funchal, Madeira Island
  • 👍 Assets: its many infrastructures
  • ℹ️ Good to know: most of this beach is made up of pebbles.

This beach in Madeira is one of the most visited in Europe. It’s a pebble beach with a small section of fine black sand. The spot is easily accessible by public transport and has a wide range of facilities.

You’ll find parking, a children’s playground, changing rooms, toilets, a first-aid center and even a soccer pitch! Finally, make the most of the seaside atmosphere by planning to grab a bite to eat in one of theAtlantic-facing restaurants.

4. Porto Moniz natural pools

Piscines naturelles de Porto Moniz

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Anna Lurye

  • 📍 Location: Porto Moniz, Madeira Island
  • 👍 Assets: their picturesque, unique character makes them unforgettable
  • ℹ️ Good to know: admission costs €1.5 and the spot has disabled access.

On Madeira’s north-west coast, the natural pools of Porto Moniz are one of the most unusual places to swim in Madeira. Reefs of volcanic origin form pools that allow you to swim in the Atlantic while protected from the ocean’s waves and currents.

The locality of Porto Moniz has taken advantage of the opportunity created by this location by installing tourist infrastructures. You’ll find a children’s play area, changing rooms, a parking lot and a snack bar. Mind you, it’s a victim of its own success in high season!

5. Crique du Zimbralinho

Crique du Zimbralinho

Photo credit: Shutterstock – alcher

  • 📍 Location: Ponta, Porto Santo island
  • 👍 Assets: its intimate desert feel
  • ℹ️ Good to know: the beach is shaded from 4pm onwards.

This pretty little cove is one of Madeira’s most secluded beaches. Located on the western flank of Porto Santo Island, it enjoys sunny afternoons. The path to it is a little steep, but well worth the effort.

Once you’ve parked your car, you’ll have to start a somewhat steep descent down a dirt track to reach the cove. Allow 15 to 20 minutes for the walk. But once there, what a sight! This pebbly beach, wedged between two cliffs and mostly deserted, offers a sumptuous view over calm turquoise waters. A little corner of paradise that has to be earned!

6. Calheta Beach

Plage de Calheta

Photo credit: Shutterstock – hbpro

  • 📍 Location: Câmara de Lobos, Madeira Island
  • 👍 Assets: friendly beachside terraces where you can taste Madeira’s typical white rum
  • ℹ️ Good to know: Madeira’s only white-sand beach

Inaugurated in 2004, this Madeira beach was artificially created using sand imported from Morocco. Located on the island’s south coast, it is the main attraction of Câmara de Lobos, a small fishing town.

It is particularly popular with windsurfers and canoeists. And if you prefer to soak up the sun on the water, you’ll be well served: sun loungers and parasols are available for hire.

7. Alagoa Beach

Plage d'Alagoa

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Michael Thaler

  • 📍 Location: Porto da Cruz, Madeira Island
  • 👍 Assets: seaside facilities
  • ℹ️ Good to know: there are many strong waves on this beach.

On the island’s north-western coast, this small black-sand beach offers a magnificent view of the mountains overlooking the ocean. You’ll find changing rooms, toilets and even a pleasant bar. Easily accessible, this Madeira beach also has parking facilities.

To the delight of surfers and other water sports enthusiasts, the waves are energetic and roll in. Not really recommended if you’re traveling with children!

8. Prainha do Caniçal

Prainha do Caniçal

Photo credit: Shutterstock – odecam

  • 📍 Location: Caniçal, Madeira Island
  • 👍 Assets: hidden in the heart of the Dunes da Piedade, a must-see in the process
  • ℹ️ Good to know: if you want to stay away from the crowds, don’t plan your weekend getaway here!

This small cove bordered by crystal-clear waters is made up of black sand of volcanic origin. A short 100-metre walk from the dunes leads you to this picturesque bay surrounded by captivating geological formations.

Facilities include changing rooms, sun loungers, parasols and a seaside restaurant. Please note, however, that this Madeira beach is not supervised.

9. Jardim do Mar beach

Plage de Jardim do Mar

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Simon Dannhauer

  • 📍 Location: Jardim do Mar, Madeira Island
  • 👍 Assets: unforgettable panorama from the seafront promenade
  • ℹ️ Good to know: its rough waves make it a famous surf spot

Jardim do Mar, a picturesque village rich in bougainvillea, frangipani and other fruit trees, is known as one of the island’s surfing paradises. A promenade lined with rocks where powerful waves crash has been laid out along this Madeira beach.

In conclusion: a beach to recommend if you’re a sporty type and enjoy water sports in charming surroundings.

10. Fajã dos Padres beach

Plage de Fajã dos Padres

Photo credit: Shutterstock – FotoHelin

  • 📍 Location: Quinta grande, Madeira Island
  • 👍 Assets: the lush vegetation around the beach
  • ℹ️ Good to know: this beach is only accessible by boat or by the Quinta Grande cable car.

Located some 15 km west of Funchal, this Madeira beach is accessible by boat or by cable car from Quinta Grande. The vertiginous descent to the foot of the cliff takes you straight to a little corner of paradise planted with a variety of exotic fruit trees.

Once you’ve crossed it, you’ll find yourself in a splendid bay with crystal-clear waters, ideal for swimming. Despite its remote location, showers, cabins, sun loungers and parasols are available.

So, are you ready to conquer Madeira’s best bathing spots?