From Rugged & Pristine to Poncha Party Hotspots: 15 Best Madeira Beaches With GPS Directions


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Madeira beaches offer picturesque landscapes, charming villages and temperate year round climate.

One of the island’s greatest attractions is undoubtedly its beautiful beaches and mountains, but you’ve got to be brave to explore them. It’s a steep, scary ride!

Reserve an automatic transmission if you’re renting a car … which is probably the best way to explore the island — if you’re a brave driver.

If you don’t want to death grip the steering wheel on hairpin turns, you can home base in Funchal and take tours to beaches, wineries, or hiking areas to make the trip a little less daunting.

There’s something for everyone – but it’s so great for people who love hiking and getting off the beaten path.

Madeira Beaches GPS Download

There’s no email capture – just a free Download of the Best Madeira Beaches with GPS locations and hotel guide.

Download Free List of Beaches with GPS PDF now 👎🏻

What you can expect on your next vacation to Madeira includes:

  • Black volcanic pebble beaches
  • Dramatic mountain-backed beaches
  • Natural pools
  • Golden sandy beaches – In Porto Santo

Read until the end where I share Portugal’s best Adventure & Taste trip that is only 2.5 hours from Lisbon and accessible to most people even if they aren’t super fit.

Madeira beaches offer the chance to explore a wild island of volcanoes, hikes, snorkeling, sailing and Poncha.

– Comfortable Adventurer

What You Will Learn in this Article

Top Hotels Madeira

Top 3 Hotels in Madeira

Find Your Place to Stay

Ultimate Luxury:   Hotel Alta Lido offers a turkish bath and 5 star experience.
Best Beachfront:   Pestana Porto Santo Resort and Spa has a 9 km long beachfront.
Budget :   Santa Maria Hostel is easily the best hostel in Madeira

Full list of accommodations: Click here for my detailed spreadsheet for many more reviews.

Madeira Beaches Map

How to Use This Map:
Click on the icon on the top left-hand corner. You will now see an interactive list.

For more info on each, click on the map icons.

To see the map in more detail, click on the [ ] in the top right-hand corner. This will open a larger map where the details of each point can be found by clicking on the location point name in the list on the left.

You can also save the map for your own use by clicking the next to the map name. This will save the map to your Google Maps, where you can make a copy and use it for your own trip planning.

To view the saved map on your phone, open Google Maps, click “saved” on the bottom, and then “maps” on the lower right.

Warning: the roads are somewhat scary to drive. You may want to splurge on an automatic to drive on the steep roads. It will be easier to hike and explore beaches by renting a car. Either way, if you’re out to visit Madeira beaches you’ve got choices for transportation.

Best Car Rental in Madeira

When you book your Madeira Car online, I personally recommend and always use Discover Cars.

They search for both local and international companies, so you get the best deal! 

Madeira offers bus transit solutions and uber type private transportation for those travelling without renting a car.

TL;DR – Best Things to Do in Madeira Beyond Hiking & Beaches

You’ll know I’m obsessed with all things outdoors, but hanging out at the crossroads of culture, cuisine and comfortable adventures is what this blog is all about. So enjoy some water sports, poncha, espetada, and lapas on your beach adventure trip.

⛰ ActivityClick to 👎🏻 Book a Tour Now
CanyoningCheck Current Prices & Availability
Skywalk & Waterfall TourCheck Current Prices & Availability – Max 8 people
Private Sailing TourCheck Current Prices & Availability
Full Day Wine & Food TourCheck Current Prices & Availability

15 Best Madeira Beaches

Including Distance from the Airport

1. Machico Beach : Easiest from Airport

A little bit secluded!

Machico Beach is a pristine crescent of golden sand with crystal clear waters. The beach is surrounded by soaring cliffs, offering stunning panoramic views.

It’s a perfect spot for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports, and the town itself has a charming historic center with plenty of shops and restaurants to explore.

2. Prainha Beach : Most Natural Golden Sandy

Prainha Beach is a small, sheltered cove with clear turquoise water and natural golden sand. This hidden gem is surrounded by towering cliffs and lush vegetation, providing a peaceful and secluded spot for beach-goers.

The beach is accessible by a steep staircase, adding to the sense of adventure and seclusion.

3. Calheta Beach : Best for Swimming

Located on the southwestern coast of Madeira, Calheta Beach is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. With its clear, calm waters and soft golden sand, it’s the perfect place to spend a day swimming, sunbathing, and enjoying the island’s warm weather.

In addition to its stunning natural beauty, Calheta Beach is also known for its excellent restaurants and cafes serving up delicious seafood and traditional Madeiran cuisine and considered one of the best beaches in Madeira.

And for those looking for a bit more adventure, there are plenty of water sports available, including stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, and windsurfing. Whether you’re looking for relaxation or excitement, Calheta Beach is a must-visit destination on the island of Madeira.

4. Praia Formosa : Best Black Pebble and Sand

Praia Formosa is Madeira’s most famous black sand and pebble beach, located on the western outskirts of Funchal. It boasts black sand that contrasts strikingly against the turquoise water and a range of excellent facilities, including bars, restaurants, and showers.

With its accessibility and excellent swimming conditions, Praia Formosa is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike.

5. Praia da Madalena do Mar : Warmest

Praia da Madalena do Mar is one of the most popular beaches in Madeira and it’s regularly the warmest. The beach is surrounded by impressive mountains, and its clear water makes it an ideal spot for swimming, snorkeling, and other water sports.

Its black sand and pebbles and serene atmosphere make it a great place to relax and soak up the sun.

6. Praia da Garajau : Most Spiritual

This beach is unique for its beautiful views of the Cristo Rei statue of Jesus, which overlooks the beach from a nearby cliff. The statue is similar to the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and adds a spiritual and cultural aspect to the beach experience.

In addition to the statue, Praia do Garajau is also known for its crystal-clear waters, which are ideal for snorkeling and diving. The beach is situated in a protected marine reserve and features a variety of marine life, including colorful fish, octopuses, and even sea turtles.

For those looking for a more relaxed beach experience, Praia do Garajau also has a cozy beach bar that serves drinks and light meals throughout the day. Visitors can enjoy the stunning views of the statue while sipping on a refreshing cocktail or indulging in a local snack.

Overall, Praia do Garajau is a beautiful beach that offers a unique blend of natural beauty, cultural significance, and underwater exploration.

7. Praia Jardim do Mar : Best Advanced Surfing

If you’re an experienced surfer looking for a challenge, then Praia Jardim do Mar is the beach for you. Located in the charming village of Jardim do Mar on the southwestern coast of Madeira, this beach offers some of the best advanced surfing in the region.

With consistent swells and powerful waves, Praia Jardim do Mar is a haven for experienced surfers who are looking to push their limits. The beach is rocky and wild, with a dramatic backdrop of cliffs and lush vegetation, making it a truly stunning place to surf.

However, it’s important to note that Praia Jardim do Mar is not recommended for beginners or intermediate surfers, as the waves can be quite challenging and the currents can be strong.

For those who are up for the challenge, there are several surf schools and rentals in the area that can provide equipment and guidance. And even if you’re not a surfer, Praia Jardim do Mar is still a beautiful beach to visit and admire from the shore.

8. Praia Camara de Lobos : Best Social and Boozy

Get some Poncha here!

Praia Camara de Lobos, located on the southern coast of Madeira, is the perfect beach for those looking to indulge in a boozy day under the sun. With its lively atmosphere and a great selection of beach bars and restaurants, this is the ideal spot to spend a day soaking up the sun with a refreshing cocktail in hand.

The beach itself is a mix of pebble and black sand, which adds to the unique atmosphere. The water is crystal clear, making it great for a dip to cool off after a long day of drinking and socializing.

9. Faja dos Padres : Madeira Hidden Beaches

Faja dos Padres is a hidden gem on the southern coast of Madeira, and one of the most secluded beaches on the island. Accessible only by cable car or boat, this tranquil beach is a true escape from the crowds.

Relax on the black sand or take a dip in the crystal-clear water, surrounded by lush greenery and steep cliffs. This is the perfect spot to unwind and disconnect from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

Download my spreadsheet of all the beaches for your phone with GPS directions.

10. Ponto do Sol : Sunniest

Ponto do Sol is a picturesque village located on the south-west coast of Madeira Island. It’s known for its sunny weather throughout the year, making it a popular destination for tourists seeking a warm escape.

In addition to its beautiful beaches, Ponto do Sol also boasts stunning landscapes of mountains and valleys, making it a great location for hiking and nature lovers.

The village is home to a variety of restaurants, cafes, and bars where visitors can sample local cuisine and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere. Ponto do Sol also hosts a range of cultural events throughout the year, including music festivals and art exhibitions, making it a lively and vibrant destination.

11. Praia do Seixal : Best Beginner Surfing and Waterfalls

Seixal beach is hands down the most beautiful beach on Madeira and great for beginner surfing! The black sand and striking green cliffs make this location so magical. It also wasn’t very busy when we were there, free parking and we easily found a spot.

Plus there is a small cafe around the corner by the natural swimming pool with toilet facilities and food/drinks!

12. Faial Beach : Best for Sport Lovers

Faial Beach is a gorgeous, secluded gem on the island of Madeira, and one that’s not often frequented by tourists. It’s a bit off the beaten path, but well worth the visit. The beach itself is a mix of sand and pebbles, with crystal clear waters that are perfect for swimming. And, like the previous post mentioned, the beach is protected by lifeguards, so it’s a safe place to enjoy the water.

The surrounding area is also quite lovely, with a playground for kids, a few restaurants, and a cozy bay to swim in. Although it’s a newer complex, it’s mainly visited by locals, so you’ll get a true taste of Madeiran life. If you’re looking for a quieter, more peaceful day at the beach, then Faial is the perfect spot for you.

13. Porto Moniz : Best Natural Pools

Porto Moniz is a stunning location in Madeira, offering a beautiful landscape with volcanic pools that are perfect for swimming. To access these natural pools, all you need to do is take off your clothes and put on a bikini.

There are two pools available at Porto Moniz, one of which is free of charge, and the other for a small entrance fee of around 1-2€.

Additionally, the restaurant next door offers delicious food and drinks, and you can also use their toilets. However, finding a parking space in this area can be a challenge, and it’s better to pay for the 5€ day ticket car park rather than struggling to find a free spot.

Nonetheless, visiting the natural pools at Porto Moniz is a must-do activity for anyone exploring Madeira.

14. Praia das Lages : Best Mountains

Praia das Lages is a hidden gem on the north coast of Madeira that I stumbled upon accidentally, and I’m so glad I did! This picturesque beach is a small street away from the sea, giving it a romantic movie feel. You’ll find a small parking lot at the end of the street, and then the beach is all yours.

While there are no lifeguards on duty, the entrance is free, making it a popular spot for romantics and those seeking a wild beach experience. The waves here can get quite big, so it’s important to be careful while swimming.

There is a small bar/restaurant right on the beach, and a natural pool nearby where you can swim. If you want to capture beautiful photos or videos, it’s best to arrive at dawn at around 8 am when the beach is completely empty.

You’ll also notice many fishermen here, which is a testament to the quality of fish in this area.

15. Porto Santo : Madeira Beaches Sandy

Porto Santo Beach is a must-visit destination just a short ferry ride away from Madeira and probably the best madeira sandy beaches. The beach boasts beautiful, soft white sand and clean, warm water with a temperature of around 22°C.

The only downside is the wind which can be quite strong at times. The island offers stunning landscapes and good food with great service. It’s definitely worth taking a day trip or even staying longer to explore the beach and the island.

Best Sandy Beaches Madeira

The beach is divided by a pier into two halves, each with its own unique features including the width of the beach, the type of sand, and the size of the waves.

Despite its beauty, the beach is almost deserted and provides a perfect temperature for swimming, even in November. I cycled along the beach twice and went swimming in several places.

Madeira Beaches : How Long to Get There from Airport

No.Beach NameDistance from Airport (km)Driving Time from Airport(approx
1Machico Beach5.57 minutes
2Prainha14.322 minutes
3Calheta Beach35.137 minutes
4Praia Formosa19.625 minutes
5Praia da Madalena do Mar24.732 minutes
6Praia da Garajau12.720 minutes
7Praia Jardim do Mar29.639 minutes
8Praia Camara de Lobos22.530 minutes
9Faja dos Padres35.945 minutes
10Ponto do Sol27.235 minutes
11Praia do Seixal28.341 minutes
12Faial Beach28.541 minutes
13Porto Moniz Natural46.160 minutes
14Praia das Lages56.275 minutes
15Porto Santo Island71.92 hours 30 minutes – Ferry

Madeira Beaches Funchal

  1. Praia do Gorgulho – also located in Funchal, Praia do Gorgulho is a smaller pebble beach that is popular with locals and tourists alike. The beach has good facilities and is great for swimming and snorkeling.
  2. Praia Formosa – located in Funchal, Praia Formosa is a popular black sand beach that stretches over 3 kilometers. The beach has good facilities and is suitable for swimming and sunbathing.
  3. Praia da Barreirinha – located just a short walk from the city center, Praia da Barreirinha is a small pebble beach that is popular with locals. The beach has good facilities and is suitable for swimming and sunbathing.

Madeira Weather

Madeira has a mild, subtropical climate due to its location in the Atlantic Ocean, just off the coast of Africa. The island enjoys a consistent, year-round temperature range of 18°C to 24°C (64°F to 75°F), with warmer weather from June to October and slightly cooler temperatures from November to May.

The sea temperature is also mild and ranges from 18°C to 22°C (64°F to 72°F). The island’s weather is often described as “eternal spring,” with pleasant temperatures and sunny skies throughout the year.

Emerald gemstone, Madeira, so lush and bright, A paradise found.

The island experiences occasional rainfall, particularly in the winter months from November to February, but it is usually brief and followed by sunshine. Madeira’s lush greenery and beautiful flora are due to the rainfall and high humidity levels.

Beach Madeira Weather is Mild Year Round, But Windy

The island is also known for its microclimates, with different areas of the island experiencing slightly different weather conditions. The higher elevations tend to be cooler and more humid, while the southern and western coasts are sunnier and drier.

The island has experienced a slight increase in average temperatures over the past century, with the warmest year on record being 2019. The island has also seen a slight decrease in annual rainfall over the past few decades. Despite these slight changes, Madeira’s climate remains relatively stable and consistent, making it a popular destination for year-round tourism.

Madeira Wine – Famous Wine Tours & More Experiences

Madeira Best Things To Do Beyond Beaches

1. Canyoning

Walk, rappel, slide and jump your way through hidden waterfalls and streams.

This exciting adventure offers a unique perspective of Madeira's stunning landscapes, allowing you to intimately explore the island's hidden treasures and experience the rugged mountains and canyons in complete safety.  Bring the whole family for an adventure!

2.  Seacliff & Skywalk Tour

Get ready for a once-in-a-lifetime experience with our tour that takes you through some of the most stunning locations on Madeira Island. From soaring sea cliffs to panoramic mountain views

  • Câmara de Lobos
  • Cabo Girão (Skywalk)
  • Ribeira Brava
  • São Vicente
  • Porto Moniz (Natural Pools, Lunch Stop)
  • Paúl da Serra - Levada do Alecrim (walk)
  • Encumeada
  • Seixal Waterfall

3. Private Sailing Tours

Half day private tour of the south coast of Madeira Island and explore both east and west sides, including private beaches only accessible by sea.

  • Frequent dolphin and whale watching opportunities
  • Swim, snorkel, and sunbathe in year-round mild waters of the Atlantic Ocean
  • Personalized service with a private tour guide
  • Welcome drinks and light snacks included
  • Towels, snorkeling equipment, and blankets provided
  • Hotel pickup and drop-off not included

Embark on an unforgettable journey through Madeira’s picturesque wine regions with this unique tour.

Meet local wine producers, savor delicious wine tastings, and enjoy breathtaking views of the island’s natural beauty.

Travel from Funchal to the charming vineyards of Câmara de Lobos, the island’s main wine region. Meet with local wine makers and discover the secrets of the famous fortified wine production. Continue along the stunning north coast to San Vicente and marvel at the magnificent scenery.

Stop at a typical house and relish a mouthwatering meal made from fresh local ingredients, perfectly paired with exquisite wines. Enjoy stunning panoramic views of the north coast, vineyards, and remarkable laurel forests before visiting a modern winery in Porto Moniz.

Taste the acclaimed white wine, renowned for its tropical aroma and perfect acidity, and sample an array of rosés and reds before heading back towards the south coast and Funchal.

On your way back, make a final stop at a local winery and indulge in the most exclusive wines from Madeira while receiving insightful information about the island’s different wine-growing regions and wines. Join us on this wine-lover’s paradise and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Hiking in Portugal

One of the best coastal trails in the world is the Fisherman’s Trail on mainland Portugal. From Lisbon, it’s about a 2.5 hour drive to get to the trailhead in Porto Covo.

You can easily do a one day stop and hike along my favorite part, the Zambujeira cliffs or you can embark on a 4 day inn-to-inn hike. It’s much less steep than Madeira and offers incredible ambiance and food.

Fisherman’s Trail Summary with Travel Guides for Each Village

Arrival Day: Get to Porto Covo: (Lisbon to Porto Covo 2.5 hours bus)

Stage 1: Porto Covo to Vila Nova Milfontes 12 miles, 20 km

Stage 2: Vila Nova Milfontes to Almograve 9 miles, 15 km

Stage 3: Almograve to Zambujeira do Mar 13 miles, 21 km

Stage 4: Zambujeira do Mar to Odeceixe 11 miles, 18 km

Download: ➡️ Fisherman’s Trail GPX
➡️ Minimalist Packing List
Ultimate Guide : Rota Vicentina Fisherman’s Trail

FAQ Madeira Beaches Portugal

Does Madeira have sandy beaches?

Yes, Porto Santo offers incredible white sand beaches. It is a 2 hour ferry ride from Funchal and offers a stunning natural sandy beach. It is a smaller island but offers great places to stay and eat.

Best things to do in Madeira other than Beaches

Madeira, a stunning Portuguese archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean, is known for its picturesque landscapes, charming villages, and temperate climate year-round. But one of the island’s greatest attractions is undoubtedly its beautiful beaches like Ribeira Brava beach.

With over 50 km of coastline, Madeira offers a diverse range of beaches, from golden sand to pebble and black sand beaches, all surrounded by clear turquoise waters. Whether you’re a sunbather, searching for hidden gems, a water sports enthusiast, or a nature lover, there’s a Madeira beach for everyone.

Looking for some hiking inspiration?

Check out the top hiking books, inspiring hiking podcasts, romantic hiking destinations and best Nature quotes to inspire wonder. Watch my video of the best waterfalls in Europe for Nature travel inspiration.

Europe Travel Planning Guide

Hey there travel enthusiasts! Looking for a one-stop-shop for all your trip planning needs? Look no further! Here’s a list of our go-to resources for all our Outdoor wanderlust adventures.

And the best part? If you use any of these links to book or sign up, we’ll get a small commission (which we super appreciate). But don’t worry, your price stays the same.

Should I buy Europe travel insurance?

100% YES! — Europe has many different healthcare systems but it’s only for citizens! Foreigners visiting need travel insurance in case anything happens on their visit.

I recommend Hey Mondo Travel Insurance – they have a 5% discount for the readers of Crave the Planet!

How do I pay mountain huts and other places that don’t do credit cards?

Wise is the absolute bomb for international banking. With this awesome tool, we can send and receive money in multiple currencies, convert to even more with no extra fees, and withdraw or pay with local currencies. Click here to signup for Wise, a must-have! FAR better than paypal.

Can you drink the water in Europe?

Yes — In all major cities in Europe, you can drink the tap water. However, you should never drink river or lake water, there are cows doing their business in streams everywhere! I recommend a Lifestraw water filter for long hikes and backcountry camping to stay safe and hydrated.

Is it safe to rent a car in Europe?

Yes Renting a car is safe, but not a necessity in most of Europe. However, if you want to go on road trips or adventures outside of the major cities, you’ll find it easier to get to trails and need to rent a car.

For booking trains, buses and flights, ➡️ OMIO offers incredible deals.

What’s the best way to book my European accommodations?
My go-to for European hotels, hostels and vacation homes is as it’s more transparent and safe than Airbnb. Read my full review here.

What’s the best site to buy European Tours?
Ready to explore the world with a local guide? Get Your Guide has a massive selection of tours, activities, and adventures waiting for you!

Do I need a visa for Europe?

Likely Not — US and UK passport holders don’t need EU visas. However, some other countries do. And if you plan to stay for more than 90 days (an average tourist visa length), you will need to look into visas to live in Europe.

Author profile: Morgan Fielder is a passionate hiker and writer, physical therapist, and photographer. She has a doctorate in physical therapy and is featured giving science-based hiking tips and advice.

​When not out exploring the mountains or sea, she’s writing articles and gear reviews to empower Outdoor Journeys that include family and good food.

With 💞, Crave the Planet

Thanks for reading! Please share your stories of your awesome outdoor adventures or ask questions from the community over on our facebook group Untold Outdoor Europe Travel Planning.