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Best Beaches in Madeira, Portugal To Visit In Portugal

Reema Bharti

Reema Bharti

· 10 min read

Best Beaches in Madeira, Portugal, showcases the island's breathtaking coastal beauty. Madeira offers diverse beaches, from serene sandy stretches to dramatic pebble shores. Each beach presents a unique allure, with crystal-clear waters and lush landscapes. Sunbathers and swimmers find paradise here.

Madeira, Portugal, has an array of stunning beaches, each offering a unique slice of paradise though many wonder if Madeira is worth visiting. This Atlantic archipelago, known for its lush landscapes and crystal-clear waters, serves as a magnet for beach lovers worldwide. From the volcanic sands of Praia Formosa to the secluded coves of Porto Santo beach, Madeira's beaches are as diverse as they are beautiful. Visitors can bask under the sun, dive into the azure waves, or explore the rich marine life that thrives beneath the surface.

I've explored many of Madeira's beaches myself. The variety is breathtaking. Some days, I lounged on sandy stretches, soaking in the sun. Other times, I sought out hidden coves, marveling at their beauty. Sharing these experiences, I hope to inspire your next beach adventure in Madeira.

1. Praia Formosa

A scenic view of the Praia Formosa beach in Madeira, Portugal.

Source: Madeira web

Praia Formosa stands out as one of the top 5 best beaches in Madeira, Portugal. This picturesque shoreline is the largest public beach in Madeira, featuring a unique blend of pebbles and black volcanic sand. Enclosed by imposing cliffs, it offers breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean.

Visitors can enjoy a variety of water sports, from surfing to swimming in the crystal-clear waters. The beach is well-equipped with facilities including showers, changing rooms, and lifeguards, ensuring a comfortable and safe experience for all.

Along the promenade, there are several restaurants and bars where you can savor local cuisine while admiring the ocean panorama. Praia Formosa is also accessible via a scenic walkway from the Lido area, providing a pleasant stroll amidst natural beauty.

2. Calheta Beach

The Calheta beach in Madeira, Portugal.

Source: Visit Madeira

Calheta Beach is undoubtedly one of my favorite beaches in Madeira, Portugal. The moment you step onto its golden sands, which I learned were specially imported from Morocco, you can't help but feel transported to a paradise. This man-made beach, nestled beside a scenic marina, offers more than just a stunning seascape. It's surrounded by a variety of seafood and restaurants nearby, where I've enjoyed some of the freshest catches against the backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean.

The waters here are tranquil and crystal-clear, making it the perfect beach for swimming. I've spent many afternoons here, floating in the calm sea, and it's always a serene experience. For those looking for a bit more excitement, water sports are abundantly available, catering to both seasoned adventurers and beginners.

What I particularly love about Calheta Beach is how it caters to everyone. Whether you're here to sunbathe, with plenty of sun loungers and parasols dotting the beach, or to explore the local attractions nearby, there's something for everyone. I've found it to be a wonderful place to relax, unwind, and soak up the sun.

The added convenience of having modern amenities and services right at the beachfront ensures a hassle-free visit. From my personal experience, the warmth and hospitality of the local vendors and restaurant staff have only enhanced the charm of Calheta Beach, making it a must-visit spot on the island for anyone looking for an authentic Madeira beach experience.

3. Porto Moniz Natural Swimming Pools

The Porto Moinz Natural Swimming Pools.

Source: Visit Madeira

Porto Moniz Natural Swimming Pools rank among the top attractions for water enthusiasts visiting Madeira, Portugal. Formed by volcanic lava, these pools are filled with crystal-clear seawater, offering a unique bathing experience unlike any traditional beach. The natural pool and barriers protect swimmers from the Atlantic's might, making it a safe haven for families and solo adventurers alike.

During my visit, I was captivated by the dramatic landscape surrounding the pools. The contrast between the rugged volcanic rock and the serene, azure water is a sight to behold. Accessibility is excellent, with well-maintained facilities ensuring a comfortable day out for everyone.

Snorkeling in Portugal reveals a colorful array of marine life, a testament to the pristine condition of Madeira's waters. It's a paradise for those who cherish underwater exploration. Moreover, the area is equipped with amenities such as changing rooms, lifeguards, and a café, enhancing the overall experience.

4. Machico Beach

Machico Beach in Madeira Portugal.

Source: Madeira Best

Machico Beach is among the top 5 beaches in Madeira, Portugal. Machico Beach is situated on the eastern side of the island. This sandy oasis contrasts sharply with the predominantly rocky coastline of Madeira. Its golden sands, imported from Morocco, gleam under the Atlantic sun, offering a warm embrace to visitors seeking solace or adventure. I remember the first time I stepped onto its soft embrace; the warmth of the golden sand felt like a welcome home.

The beach is sheltered in a bay, providing calm waters that are ideal for swimming. Families often favor this spot for its gentle sea and lifeguard presence, ensuring a safe environment for children to play. The backdrop of the Machico valley, with its lush green mountains, adds a dramatic scenery that I always find breathtaking.

Amenities are plentiful, including sun loungers, parasols for hire, and various eateries along the promenade. During my visits, I've always appreciated the convenience of having everything within easy reach. Whether it's a quick snack or a leisurely lunch with a view of the ocean, Machico Beach caters to all needs.

Moreover, its proximity to the airport adds a unique charm. Watching planes ascend and descend against the picturesque landscape provides a captivating spectacle, unlike any other I've experienced on the island.

5. Seixal Beach

Seixal Beach in Madeira Portugal.

Source: Madeira Best

Seixal Beach is one of the top 5 beaches in Madeira, Portugal. Seixal Beach is on the north coast. It's a picturesque haven with volcanic black sand that contrasts dramatically with the emerald waters of the Atlantic. The natural pools nearby, carved out of lava rocks, offer a unique swimming experience. Surrounded by steep cliffs and lush greenery, the scenery at Canical beach is breathtaking, making it a perfect spot for nature lovers and photographers alike.

I personally found Seixal Beach to be a serene escape from the busier tourist spots. Its unspoiled beauty and tranquil atmosphere provided the ideal setting for a day of relaxation and reflection. Swimming in the crystal-clear waters was invigorating, and lounging on the soft black sand felt like a luxury.

Accessibility is straightforward, with parking available close by, and amenities such as cafes and restaurants ensure a comfortable visit. Whether you're seeking adventure or a peaceful retreat, Seixal Beach is a must-visit. Its charm lies in its natural beauty, making it a jewel in Madeira's crown.

What Activities to Do On Madeira Portugal Beaches?

Best activities to do in Madeira are sunbathing, swimming and snorkeling, surfing, and hiking. Madeira's coastal gems are what it’s famous for, which invite a myriad of activities, enriching any visit to these spectacular shores. From the serene to the adrenaline-pumping, there's something for every beachgoer.

One can't miss swimming in the crystal-clear Atlantic waters, where the temperature feels just right year-round. I always find the experience invigorating, a perfect blend of refreshment and relaxation. For the more adventurous, snorkeling around the rocky outcrops reveals a vibrant underwater world. The marine life here, colorful and diverse, captivates me every time.

Paddleboarding stands out as a serene way to explore the coast. Gliding over the calm sea at sunrise offers unparalleled views and a sense of peace. It's an activity that truly lets you absorb the beauty of Madeira's coastline.

Hiking along the cliffside trails provides breathtaking panoramic views. The trails lead to secluded beaches, hidden from the casual tourist's eye. Discovering these spots feels like uncovering Madeira's best-kept secrets.

Sunbathing and Relaxation

On Madeira Portugal beaches, engaging in sunbathing and relaxation tops my list of must-do activities. The island's unique geographical position ensures a temperate climate, ideal for soaking up the sun. Golden sands and the pebble beach shores line the Atlantic, offering a serene backdrop for rest. I always find a spot on Praia de Machico's vast expanse or Calheta's artificially sandy beach to lay my towel. 

The sound of waves gently crashing against the shore, combined with the warmth of the Portuguese sun, creates a perfect atmosphere for unwinding. In these moments, I feel a deep connection to the natural beauty of Madeira. Here, amidst the tranquil scenery, time seems to slow down, allowing for true relaxation and rejuvenation.

Swimming and Snorkeling

On Madeira's picturesque beaches, engaging in swimming and snorkeling are activities that promise unforgettable experiences. The clear, azure waters beckon visitors for a refreshing swim. Madeira's unique marine biodiversity, with its vibrant coral reefs and myriad of colorful fish species, makes snorkeling an adventure akin to diving into a live aquarium.

I personally found the experience to be mesmerizing. Floating on the surface, I was enveloped in a world of tranquil beauty, observing the dance of marine life below. It's a serene communion with nature that leaves you in awe of the underwater wonders.

Each beach on Madeira, from the secluded coves to the more expansive sandy stretches, offers its own unique charm for water enthusiasts. The warmth of the sun, combined with the inviting ocean, creates an idyllic setting for those looking to immerse themselves in aquatic leisure.


Surfing in Madeira's Portugal beaches offers an unforgettable experience. The island's unique geographic features create ideal conditions for waves all year round. I've paddled out at dawn, when the ocean glimmers under the rising sun, and can confirm there's nothing quite like it. Spots like Porto da Cruz and Jardim do Mar are renowned for their impressive swells. 

Beginners and seasoned surfers alike find these waters both challenging and rewarding. After a session, the local surf culture welcomes everyone with open arms. Sharing stories and tips over fresh seafood is the perfect end to a day on the water. Madeira, with its volcanic sands and crystal-clear Atlantic waters, is a surfer's paradise waiting to be explored.

Hiking Along Coastal Trails

Hiking along coastal trails is a must-do activity on Madeira's beaches. The island's rugged coastline offers panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean, with paths weaving through lush landscapes. Trails like Vereda da Ponta de São Lourenço take you to the easternmost point of the Madeira island, where the scenery is breathtaking.

Short hikes lead to secluded beaches, such as Prainha beach, a small black sand beach nestled between cliffs. The contrast of the dark sand against the azure waters is striking.

I've personally trekked the Levada dos Balcoes, starting from Ribeiro Frio. The path, flanked by verdant flora, opens up to a viewpoint overlooking the valley below. The sight of the sun setting over the ocean, with Madeira's unique silhouette in the foreground, is unforgettable.

Enjoying Local Cuisine

On Madeira, Portugal beaches, engaging in local cuisine enriches the experience. The island's coastline offers a culinary adventure with fresh seafood and traditional dishes. At the heart of this gastronomic journey is the enjoyment of specialties like espetada (beef skewers) and bolo do caco (garlic bread), savored in the scenic backdrop of the Atlantic.

Seafood, caught daily, reflects the essence of Madeiran cuisine. Dishes such as tuna steak and scabbard fish with banana are must-tries. Dining on the beach, with the sound of waves and a view of the sunset, elevates the experience. Local restaurants and beachside eateries provide the perfect setting for such memorable meals.

The highlight of my visit was tasting the lapas (limpets) grilled right by the ocean, a delicacy that captures the spirit of Madeira. Accompanied by a glass of poncha, a traditional alcoholic beverage made with honey, lemon, and sugar cane spirit, the meal was unforgettable.

What is the Best time to Visit Madeira's Beaches?

The best time to visit Madeira's beaches is between May and September. During these months, the island enjoys a temperate maritime climate with warm, sunny days and minimal rainfall, ideal for beach activities. The sea temperature becomes comfortably warm, perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and diving in the crystal-clear Atlantic waters.

In my experience, July and August offer the longest days, allowing more time for sunbathing, exploring coastal trails, and enjoying sunset views. However, these months also tend to be the busiest. For those seeking quieter moments, May, June, and September provide a perfect balance of pleasant weather and fewer crowds.

Each beach on Madeira, from the pebbled shores of Ponta do Sol beach to the volcanic sands of Prainha, presents its own unique charm during these months. Whether you're looking to ride the waves at Porto da Cruz or soak up the tranquility of Seixal's natural pools, this period ensures a memorable experience.

Tips for visiting Madeira's Beaches

When considering what activities to do on Madeira, Portugal beaches, there are several tips that can enhance your experience. Madeira's coastlines are renowned for their stunning landscapes, crystal-clear waters, and unique geological formations. From the bustling sands of Calheta to the serene pebble beaches of Porto Moniz, each locale offers its own distinct charm and array of activities. Here are some essential tips to make the most of your visit:

Respect the Environment

Madeira's beaches are a treasure trove of natural beauty. Always dispose of your trash properly and avoid disturbing the local wildlife. During my visits, I've found that maintaining the cleanliness of these areas not only preserves their beauty for future visitors but also contributes to the well-being of marine life.

Wear Appropriate Footwear

Madeira has many small pebble beach and volcanic rocks. Which is why I recommend wearing water shoes to protect your feet both in and out of the water. This is particularly important if you plan to explore rock pools or venture close to the cliffs.

Explore Marine Life

Snorkeling in Madeira's clear waters is an unforgettable experience. The rich marine biodiversity near the shorelines offers a close-up view of colorful fish and underwater plants. Bring your snorkeling gear, or rent it on-site, to discover what lies beneath the surface.

Catch the Sunrise or Sunset

Madeira's geographical position on east coast affords spectacular sunrises and sunsets. Calheta Beach, facing west, is perfect for sunset views. Meanwhile, the eastern coastline offers breathtaking sunrises. I've found that these moments of natural beauty are not only mesmerizing but also incredibly peaceful.

Try Local Water Sports

Madeira's beaches offer water sports for every level of expertise, from surfing at Paul do Mar to paddleboarding in Machico bay beach. Many beaches have schools where you can learn or rent equipment. My personal favorite has been trying stand-up paddleboarding, which offers a unique perspective of the coast.

Visit Off-Peak

Madeira's beaches can get crowded, especially during the summer months. Visiting early in the morning or later in the afternoon can help you avoid the crowds. This strategy has often allowed me to enjoy quieter swims and more space for sunbathing.

Stay Hydrated and Protected

The sun in Madeira can be intense, especially in the summer. Always apply sunscreen with high SPF and drink plenty of water. I've made it a habit to bring a reusable water bottle and reapply sunscreen every two hours to ensure I stay hydrated and avoid sunburn.

Beach safety and regulations in Madeira, Portugal

When visiting the beaches of Madeira, Portugal, understanding beach safety and regulations is essential. This archipelago, known for its lush landscapes and vibrant marine life, offers a variety of coastal experiences, from magnificent sandy beaches to dramatic rocky cliffs. Here are some key points to remember for a safe and enjoyable visit.

First, always observe local signage. Madeira's beaches often display flags indicating swimming conditions: a green flag means it's safe to swim, while a red flag signals danger. Yellow flags advise caution. I've found that paying attention to these can significantly affect your beach experience.

Lifeguards are present on many of Madeira's popular beaches during the summer months. They ensure swimmer safety and are there to assist in case of an emergency. I always feel more at ease swimming in areas under their watchful eyes.

Avoid disturbing wildlife and take your rubbish with you to help keep the beaches pristine. Once, while snorkeling near the shore, I was amazed at the variety of fish and coral - a testament to the island's conservation efforts.

Adhere to designated swimming areas, especially in regions with strong currents or near rocky outcrops. I learned the hard way that Madeira's currents can be deceptive, so it's best to swim where it's recommended.

Lastly, understand that some beaches in Madeira have specific regulations, such as no pets or restricted areas for surfing. Checking these rules beforehand can save you from inconvenience. My visit to Praia Formosa was even more enjoyable once I knew where and when surfing was allowed, making it easier to plan my day.

Can I Do Snorkeling in Madeira?

Yes, snorkeling is a popular activity on the beaches of Madeira, Portugal. The crystal-clear Atlantic waters surrounding this lush island offer an underwater spectacle of diverse marine life and vibrant coral reefs. From the secluded bays of Porto Moniz to the inviting turquoise waters of Garajau Natural Reserve, each site provides a unique snorkeling experience.

The visibility in these waters often exceeds 30 meters, allowing snorkelers to easily observe the colorful fish, octopuses, and even the occasional manta ray that inhabit the ocean's depths. My personal favorite spot for snorkeling is the Garajau Natural Reserve, where the protected marine life thrives, offering an unrivaled snorkeling adventure.

Equipment rental and guided tours are readily available across the island, catering to both beginners and experienced snorkelers. Remember, the best time to snorkel in Madeira is during the summer months when the water temperatures are warmer, enhancing the underwater visibility and comfort.

Is Accommodation Options Available Near Madeira's Beaches?

Yes, accommodation options are available near Madeira's beaches. Guests can choose from a range of beachfront resorts, charming villas, and cozy bed and breakfasts. Many of these accommodations offer stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, nestled amidst lush landscapes and vibrant flora typical of the island.

During my stay, I experienced firsthand the hospitality of a seaside hotel in Calheta. Waking up to the soothing sound of waves and the breathtaking sunrise over the ocean was unforgettable. Conveniently, most accommodations are just a short stroll from the most sandy beaches and shores, providing easy access to a day of sunbathing, swimming, and exploring marine life.

For those seeking a more secluded experience, Madeira's northern coast offers hidden gems. Here, amidst the dramatic cliffs and crystal-clear waters, small guest houses integrate harmoniously with nature, ideal for a peaceful retreat.

Frequently Asked Questions Madeira Portugal Beaches

1. What activities can I enjoy on Madeira Portugal beaches?

On Madeira Portugal beaches, you can engage in surfing, snorkeling, and sunbathing. These shores offer crystal-clear waters and vibrant marine life, perfect for underwater exploration. Surfing enthusiasts find the waves challenging and rewarding. Additionally, the golden sands invite visitors to relax and soak up the sun.

2. Are there facilities for families on these beaches?

Yes, Madeira Portugal beaches cater to families with children. Many beaches boast safe swimming areas, playgrounds, and picnic spots. Lifeguards are often on duty, ensuring a secure environment for all swimmers. Restrooms and showers add to the convenience, making family outings enjoyable and comfortable.

3. Can I find dining options near Madeira beaches?

Dining options near Madeira beaches abound. Beachside restaurants and cafes serve fresh seafood, traditional Madeiran dishes, and international cuisine. Visitors can enjoy meals with panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean. Ice cream stands and snack bars also dot the coastline, providing quick bites and refreshments.

4. Is snorkeling recommended at all Madeira beaches?

Snorkeling is highly recommended at selected Madeira beaches known for their clear waters and abundant marine life. Beaches like Porto Moniz and Garajau Natural Reserve offer exceptional snorkeling experiences. It's advisable to check local conditions and safety recommendations before snorkeling at any beach.

5. What is the best time of year to visit Madeira Portugal beaches?

The best time of year to visit Madeira Portugal beaches is from May to September. During these months, the weather is warm, and the sea temperatures are comfortable for swimming and water sports. This period also sees less rainfall, making it ideal for beach activities and exploring the island's natural beauty.

Reema Bharti

Reema Bharti

I am a globe-trotter with a passion for exploration. From the sun-kissed coasts of Portugal to the snow-capped peaks of Switzerland, my travels are as diverse as they are inspiring. My journeys through Spain, Finland, Austria, and Germany have fueled my soul and shaped my writing.