Castelo do Mar
& Espirito do Mar

Beaches on Madeira

Some things to know about swimming in Madeira 

Except at east and west end where it's forbidden to swim, Madeira doesn't have the undersea current as, for example, at the Atlantic coast of mainland Portugal, Spain or France. In this respect, experienced swimmers can swim well almost anywhere in Madeira. The underwater currents are determined mostly by the tides. Madeira is close to the equator at the Tropic of Cancer at about the same level as the Bahamas, for example, and has correspondingly little tidal range. 

For your own safety please be aware of a few things:

  • Respect strong winds and high waves!
  • Never leave ground contact above a wave height of 0,75 m +/-,
  • Never swim with surfers, the waves are usually too big.
  • Swim only on beaches with a lifeguard. 
  • Never let your children swim by themselves except at Praia da Calheta 
  • never let your children swim above a wave height of 0,25 m!
  • you will find the warmest water temperature and the safest conditions at "Praia da Calheta" (Calheta Beach) and on the south part of Porto Santo (neighbor island).

Where to check the weather and wind speed?

The best website to find the required information is www.windfinder.com and the app 'Windy'. Always check specifically for the town you are going to because the weather can change fast. If you are visiting Porto Moniz, the weather is usually similar in in "Praia do Seixal" (Seixal Beach). For southern beaches search for Funchal (Praia Formosa) or in the east side Machico (Praia do Machico) or on the northeast Porto da Cruz (Praia do Porto da Cruz).

The only beach where you usually don't need any information before driving is Praia da Calheta, this beach is 90 % enclosed and protected against waves.

I. Praia da Calheta *****

Madeira's Copa Cabana: Calheta beach and Marina: Perfect beach feeling! Praia da Calheta is for sure the safest, warmest and best protected beach on Madeira with a a perfect bar next to the western beach (on the right of the picture), a restaurant mile with two of our favourite restaurants (Marina Azul and Manifetturo do Gelato) 500 m away, located at the "Marina of Calheta" (on the upper left side of the picture). - click here to find the Parking at Calheta Marina. Warning: NEVER lever your car below the cliffs, as your car may be damaged by a falling rock.

  • Water temperature: in summer you can usually expect 26-28°C, in winter 22-25°C.


II. Praia(s) of Porto Santo *****

The Beaches of Porto Santo (neighbour island) are the most beautiful beaches in Europe. Depending from where the wind is blowing and from where the waves are coming (see windfinder.com or use Windy app) decide where to go. Southern beaches of Porto Santo are  safer and more easily accessible than the northern ones. 

How to go to Porto Santo?

The recomendation is to buy a first class ticket (90,- EUR per Person) for the ferry Porto SantoLine (https://www.portosantoline.pt/ Tel. +351291210300). You can buy the tickets at one of the shops in Funchal in person (search on your map for PortoSantoLine) or online. The check-in for the ferry is usually starting at 7:00 a.m. for the 8:00 o'clock ferry. The return to Funchal is at 21:30. The restaurant of the ferry is very good except for vegetarians or vegans. In case you're vegetarian/vegan I suggest you take your food with you. You can leave your car for in the parking of CR7 (Christiano Ronaldo No. 7) for 15 euroes per day.

At Porto Santo the best is to ask a taxi to pick you up after arrival or to ask a rent-a-car company to bring a car to the ferry (both options are available via phone call)!. Aks them how to get back to the ferry. 

Rent-a-car: To return, stop at the office and ask them if they could bring you to the harbour. We had best experience with Stand Five Rent-a-car.

Drive to "Péna Água Restaurante & Beach Bar" (****+ REstaurant) or to Calheta Beach at the end of the road. Without children you can also drive to the northern beaches which are more dangerous. 

  • Water temperature: In summer you can usually expect 26-28°C, in winter 21-23°C,
  • Waves: All sorts of waves are possible (check windfinder.com or use Windy app)
  • Swimming: Safest is the south, there are no lifeguard beaches in the north.
  • 20230726_075310
  • 20230726_080254
  • 20230726_100747
  • 20230726_113304 rd
  • 20230726_152337
  • 20230726_152604
  • 20230726_181605
  • 20230726_213046


III. The nature Pools of Porto Moniz ****

In Porto Moniz you can find famous natural pools - some nature pools are for free and some paid. Be aware in winter the sun shines over the mountains for only a few hours (January between 11-13:00). Bear in mind Porto Moniz is usually crowded with tourists! That's why I prefer Seixal.

  • Water temperature: In summer you can usually expect 21-24°C in the free pools, in the paid pools 23-25°C, in winter 20-23°C.
  • Waves: Be aware of the waves at the seaside of the pool. It can be slippery. Also be careful if the waves are too high at the sides of the pool.
  • Swimming: there is up to 20  swimming area inside.


III. Praia Formosa ****+

Praia Formosa is one of the most famous beaches of Madeira! In some areas you have small round river rocks below the water line which could hurt your ankles, so note that you should be careful if the waves are higher than half a meter. This beach is a mix od stones and sand. Best restaurant is "Praia Formosa Restaurante".

  • Water temperature: In summer you can usually expect 23-26°C, in winter 21-23°C.
  • Waves: Depending to the conditions all kinds of waves are possible (check windfinder.com or Windy app)
  • Swimming: you can swim and snorkle in 1 km distance.


IV. Praia da Ribeira Brava****

The Beach (Praia) of Ribeira Brava you can reach via a walkway from Castelo do Mar - click here to open. The walkway is nor registered on google maps, nor other apps. 

Best restaurant beside the beach is Muralha Terrace on top of the parking building or Frango Dourado (cheaper and less touristic).

  • Water temperature: In Summer you can usually expect 23-26°C, in winter 21-22°C depending to the month.
  • Waves: Depending on the conditions all kind of waves are possible (check windfinder.com or have a look at the sea from Castelo)
  • Swimming: 50 m+ possible.


V. Praia da Ponta del Sol ****+

Ponta do Sol is one of the oldest settlements on Madeira with a history of more then 600 years. Ponta del Sol is one of the most  chic  beach village on Madeira and a "must see". Ponta del Sol attracts more sophisticated tourists apart from the mass tourism you can find at Lido in Funchal. The beach restaurant is good (****) and the restaurant mile is famous. The best is the first to the beach "Steak & sun"...but conditions can change with the employees.

  • Water temperature: In summer you can usually expect 23-25°C, in winter 21-22°C depending on the month.
  • Waves: all kinds of waves are possible (check windfinder.com or have a look to the sea from Castelo - same side of the island and same heigth)
  • Swimming: 75 m+ possible.


VI. Praia do Porto do Seixal ****+

Perfect in summer, Seixal in winter is more of a surfers paradise. In summer the water temperature is usually 22-24°C in Winter 19-22°C. Be aware that in winter the sun shines over the mountains for only a few hours (In January approximately from 11:00 - 13:00). But I could not imagine a nicer panoramic view! Even with high tides it's fun diving in and under the tide. There is a life guard in the summer, but not in the winter.

  • Waves: Depending on the weather conditions all kinds of waves are possible - usually the waves are higher than in the south!
  • Swimming: 50 m+ possible and always depending on the tide. The water depth behind the harbour is several hundreds of meters so the safest would be to swim within the enclosed area.


VI. Piscinas Naturais do Seixal **** and Praia de Laie ***

The natural basins of Seixal are free but smaller than those of Porto Moniz. The best restaurant is Bar da Praia de Laie, where it's also possible to swim, but only whn there is no tide.

  • Water temperature: In summer you can usually expect 22-25°C, in winter 20-21°C depending on the month.
  • Waves: Depending on the conditions, all kinds of waves are possible - the tides are usually higher than in the south. But the pools are safe if the waves don't reach them.
  • Swimming: 10 m+ possible and always depending on the tide. Swimming around the edge is possible without the safe guard, but we would not recommend it. The water depth behind the harbour is several hundreds of meters.


VII. Praia da Alagoa, Piscinas, Portinho do Porto da Cruz

Porto da Cruz is located on the north-east side of Madeira with its pools and the beautiful "Praia da Alagoa". The viewpoint from Pico do Fortim is also worth a visit. Next to Praia da Alagoa there's also one of the last rum destileries of Madeira, making the rum from sugar cane, for which Madeira was famous four centuries ago. Next to Praia da Alagoa there's a restaurant... But never wait for the service, best is to order directly with the waiter... waiting for service could take hours here! If the waves are too high don't swim in absence of a life guard.

  • Water temperature: In Summer you can usually expect 22-24°C, in winter 20-22°C.
  • Waves: Depending on the conditions all kinds of waves are possible - usually higher tides than in the south. 
  • Swimming: 50 m+ possible, but always be aware of the tides and waves and if a life guard is there or not. 


  • 20230803_165128
  • 20230803_164357
  • 20230803_170621
  • 20230803_165622
  • 20230803_165539


VIII. Praia do Machico

Praia da Machico is my favorite beach if you have some time to spend waiting for your flight - it's literally just around the corner from the airport (but leave the beach two hours before your flight nevertheless)! The beach is nice, you have good restaurants near the beach. There is a stone beach, also good for beginner surfers, and the sandy beach - they imported the sand from Sahara for Machico sandy beach, that's why the colour of the sand is brighter than the black authentic Madeira sand you can find in Seixal. There are showers on sandy and stone beach if you don't want to enter your plane with salt on your skin.

  • Water temperature: In summer you can usually expect 23-25°C, in winter 20-22°C depending on the month.
  • Waves: Depending to the conditions all kind of waves are possible.
  • Swimming: 30 m+ possible, but always depending on the tide. The sandy beach is more enclosed and thus safer, but expect more of a crowd there. This is a perfect spot if you have small children as they can safely play at the edge of the water.


VIII. Praia da Fajã dos Padres ****

The beach of Fajã dos Padres is for sure one of the most spectacular beaches in Europe! Part of this island experience is a spectacular ride with the cable car "Teleférico Fajã dos Padres". To enter you need to fight your fear of heights! Don't enter if the wind is too strong even if the cable car is still running. The beach is perfect for snorkeling with a lot of different rare fish swimming next to the beach. There is a good restaurant down there as well, but to find a parking is hard. Maybe you have to look for several hundred meters. This beach is a stone beach.

  • Water temperature: In summer you can usually expect 23-25°C, in winter 20-22°C depending on the month.
  • Waves: Depending on the conditions all kinds of waves are possible.
  • Swimming: 50 m+ possible, but always depending on the tide. Swimming is not possible if the waves are higher than 30 cm!


IX Praia do Faial

Praia do Faial is a nice lagoon facing the east. Inside the lagoon the water is usually warmer than on open beaches and also better protected against the waves. There is a life guard there in the summer. With the tides in the morning and in the later afternoon there's a current which could be dangerous for children or swimmers without practice at the end of the lagoon next to the open sea.The end of the lagoon is best for snorkeling.

  •     Water temperature: In summer you can usually expect 22-25°C, in winter 20-21°C depending on the month.
  • Tides: Depending on the conditions all kinds of waves are possible (check windfinder.com or have a look to the sea from Castelo - same side of the island and same heigth)
  • Swimming: 50 m+ possible.
20230803_185057 - klein
20230803_153443


X Prainha do Caniçal

Prainha is one of the authentic sandy beaches of Madeira. You can find it after Machico beach and Canical beach, on the far east of the island, near Ponta de Sao Lorenzo. Prainha means small neat beach. Prainha is a natural sandy beach with natural protection, if it's not too crowded this is avery nice beach. In the summer months there is also s small restaurant open right next to it.

  •     Water temperature: In summer you can usually expect 22-24°C, in winter 19-21°C depending on the month.
  • Waves: Depending on the conditions all kinds of waves are possible.


XI. Praia da Ribeira de Natal - Caniçal

Praia da Ribeira da Natal is a beach mostly visited by locals. The beach has no sand and is nice for snorkeling with a fantastic panoramic view (like everywhere on Madeira ;-)).

  • Water temperature: In summer you can usually expect 22-24°C, in winter 19-21°C depending on the month.
  • Waves: Depending on the conditions all kinds of waves are possible.
  • Swimming: Depending on the waves. Not possible if the waves are higher than 30 cm - never enter the water if the tides are higher than 30 cm!


IX. Praia do Paul do Mar (west)


X. Praia do Cais - Paul do Mar (east)

XI. Praia dos Reis Magos

XII. Praia da Garajau

XIII. Praia da Madelena do Mar ***

Madalena do Mar is a small town between Ponta del Sol and Arco da Calheta. The beach is at the end of Madalena do Mar next to the tunnel to Arco da Calheta. Next to the beach you find two bars, the next best restaurant is "Sol e Cantinho da Madalena Restaurante" 250 m to the beach.

  • Water temperature: The water temperature is the temperature of the gulf stream +1°C, in summer aproximately 24°C, in winter usually 19-21°C.
  • Waves: Depending on the conditions all kind of waves are possible - but never enter the water if the waves are higher than 30 cm!
  • Swimming: Attention: there is no life guard! 10 m+ possible for snorkeling. But swimming could be dangerous if there are tides and waves.













 
 
 
 
E-Mail
Anruf
Karte
Infos
Instagram
LinkedIn