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Beach days in Madeira

With warms waters and a mild climate throughout the year, the Madeira archipelago is a beach destination with a range of options for the most diverse tastes. 

Golden sand, dark sand, round pebbles, beaches nestling among rocks in breath-taking landscapes - there are plenty of bathing areas offering excellent conditions and good support facilities.

Praia de Porto Santo - Francisco Correia
Photo: Praia de Porto Santo © Francisco Correia

The longest beach, 9 km long, lies on the island of Porto Santo: its golden colour contrasting with a turquoise blue sea is the most emblematic image of this destination, about two hours by boat from the main island, or just 15 minutes by plane.  

Praia da Banda d'Alem - Machico
Photo: Praia da Banda d'Além - Machico © Shutterstock | DaLiu

On the island of Madeira there are some golden sand beaches, such as Calheta and Machico on the south coast, created artificially and now very popular recreational areas. Although uncommon, the dark sandy beaches of volcanic origin are natural to the island.  Some are set in stunning scenery such as Prainha in the Caniçal, near the Ponta de São Lourenço, or Praia do Seixal, with its black sand against a backdrop of green mountains, a contrast that enhances the beautiful landscape. 

Complexo Balnear do Lido
Photo: Complexo Balnear do Lido - Funchal © Shutterstock - Anna Lurye

There are many other places in Madeira with good conditions for bathing. In Funchal itself, the most famous bathing area, the Lido, has direct access to the sea by stairs and natural pools of salt water renewed daily. The town offers similar high quality bathing areas in Barreirinha, Poças do Gomes, Ponta Gorda and the Clube Naval. For those who prefer the beach itself, Praia Formosa is a pebble beach with lots of entertainment that goes on throughout the night.

The north coast is known for the Porto Moniz Bathing Area, with natural pools between the rocks with water constantly renewed by the tides. But the whole island offers an abundance of well-equipped bathing possibilities. Palmeiras, Reis Magos, Ribeira Brava, Ponta Delgada and Ribeira do Faial are other spots to be visited by those who want to take a dip.

Piscinas de Porto Moniz
Photo: Complexo Balnear de Porto Moniz © ABAE

For those who want something more adrenaline-filled than just sunbathing and swimming, there are excellent facilities and conditions for water sports, such as surfing, with excellent spots in Jardim do Mar and Paul do Mar on the southwest coast of Madeira. 

This archipelago is also a world destination of choice for diving, richness of fauna and flora and the wonderful clarity on the sea floor, with outstanding marine reserves such as the Garajau Nature Reserve or the Island of Porto Santo. So much available, so much to do, so many ways to enjoy days of relaxation.


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