Castelo do Mar
Madeira

Beaches on Madeira

Where to swim in the atlantic ocean on Madeira? 

Except at east and west end where it's forbidden to swim, Madeira does not have the sea udersea current as you familiar with, for example, at the Atlantic coast of mainland Portugal, Spain or France. In this respect, experienced swimmers can swim well almost anywhere. 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.

What to respect (be)for(e) swimming?

  • Respect strong winds and high waves! 
  • Never leave ground contact above a wave height of 0,75 m +/-,
  • Never swim with surfers or or just in the presence of lifeguards! 
  • Never let your children swim except at Praia da Calheta and never let your children swim above a wave height of 0,25 m! 

Where is it safe for my children to swim in the sea? Where to find the highest sea temperature?

For children you will find the warmest water temperatures and safest conditions at "Praia da Calheta" (Calheta Beach) and in the south of the island of Porto Santo.

Where to check the weather, the wind speed, the wind direction, the wave height and the wave direction for Madeira?

First of all: There is no Madeira weather, nor wave height, nor wave direction, nor wind speed for whole Madeira! Always seach for the next spot on Madeira! Madeira has mountains up to 1800 m heights which catch the clouds and the wind. Due to these circumstances, the wave heights are extremely different depending on the side of the island and the wind direction!

The best site to find the required information is www.windfinder.com, here linked with the weather information of porto moniz which is usually also useful for "Praia do Seixal" (Seixal Beach). For southern beaches search for Funchal (Praia Formosa) or Machico (Praia do Machico) or 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, due to it's 90 % closed and against waves protected beaches!

I. Praia da Calheta *****

Madeiras 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 most preferred 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! Every day some cars are damaged there!

  • Water temperature: In Summer you can usually expect 26-28°C, in winter 22-25°C depending to the hours of sunshine and month.
  • Waves: Usually low waves due to the protection - surfing is sometimes possible in the middle -but just for advanced surfers.
  • Swimming: Safest Beach on Madeira, swimming from one side to the other depending to the waves in the middle possible.


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

The Beaches of Ilha Porto Santo (neighbour island) are the most beatiful beaches in Europe. Depending from where the wind is blowing and from where the waves are coming (see windfinder.com) decide where to go. Easy access you do have to the southern beaches. To the northern beaches you should go without children. 

How to go to Porto Santo?

The recommendation is to buy a first class ticket (90,- EUR per Person) for the ferry PortoSantoLine (https://www.portosantoline.pt/ Tel. +351291210300). The ticket you can buy at one of the shops (search on your map for PortoSantoLine) or easier to call +351291210300. 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/vegand you should take your food with you! The car you can leave for 15,- EUR in the parking of CR7 (Christiano Ronaldo No. 7).

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

Rent-a-car: To return stop at the office and ask them if they could bring you to the harbour. Our best experience we do have with Stand Five Rent-a-car.

With a car/Taxi or drive to "Pé na Água Restaurante & Beach Bar" (****+ REstaurant) and stay there or drive to Calheta Beach at the end of the road. Without children you can also try to drive to the northern beaches. But yet I cannot you tell where to go or offer pictures... still on my ToDo-list.

  • Water temperature: In Summer you can usually expect 26-28°C, in winter 21-23°C depending to the hours of sunshine and month.
  • Waves: All sorts of waves possible (check windfinder.com)
  • Swimming: Safest is the south, no LifeGuard in the north.
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III. The nature Pools of Porto Moniz ****

For sure some extraordinary bassins with the shape of the cliffs behind a fantastic panorama! In Porto Moniz you do have some nature pools for free and some pools where you do have to pay. Be aware that in winter the sun shines over the mountains for only a few hours (January between 11-13:00). But Porto Moniz is crowded with bus-tourists! That's why I prefer Seixal.

  • Water temperature: In Summer you can usually expect 21-24°C in the free pools, in the payed pools 23-25°C, in winter 20-23°C depending to the hours of sunshine and month.
  • Waves: Be aware of the waves at the seaside of the pool. It can be slippy. Be acareful if the waves are too high at the side!
  • Swimming: up to 20 m swimming area inside.


III. Praia Formosa ****+

Praia Formosa is one of the most famous sandy beaches of Madeira! In some areas you do 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. More to the right there are more fishes and less stones. Best restaurant is "Praia Formosa Restaurante".

  • Water temperature: In Summer you can usually expect 23-26°C, in winter 21-23°C depending to the month.
  • Waves: Depending to the conditions all kind of waves are possible (check windfinder.com)
  • Swimming: 1 km beside the beach you can swim and snorkle.


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 waze nor komoot. Best restaurant beside 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 to the conditions all kind of waves possible (check windfinder.com or have a look to 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 have seen". 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 to the month.
  • Waves: Depending to the conditions all kind of waves 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 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 f.e. 11:00 - 13:00). But a nicer panoramic view I cannot imagine! Even with high tides it's fun diving in and under the tides. Also a surfers paradise! In summer you do have a life guard, in winter not!

  •  Water temperature: In Summer you can usually expect 23-25°C, in winter 21-22°C depending to the month.
  • Waves: Depending to the conditions all kind of waves possible - usually higher waves then in the south!
  • Swimming: 50 m+ possible and always depending to the tides more or less safe. Swimming around the edge is possible in winter without safe guard but not very safe! The water deepth behind the harbour is several hundreds of meters!


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

The natural bassins of seixal are free but smaller then those of Porto Moniz. The best restaurant is Bar da Praia de Laie, where it's also possible to swim but just with no tides!

  • Water temperature: In Summer you can usually expect 22-25°C, in winter 20-21°C depending to the month.
  • Waves: Depending to the conditions all kind of waves possible - usually higher tides then in the south! But the pools are safe if the waves don't reach the pools.
  • Swimming: 10 m+ possible and always depending to the tides more or less safe. Swimming around the edge is possible in winter without safe guard but not very safe! The water deepth behind the harbour is several hundreds of meters!


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

Porto da Cruz located on the east side of Madeira with its Pools and the beautiful "Praia da Alagoa" on its northern side. The viewpoint from Pico do Fortim is also worth a visit. Next to Praia da Alagoa there's also one of the last rum destilleries of Madeira burning the rum from sugar cane, Madeira was famous for centuries ago. Next to Praia da Alagoa there's a restaurant... But never wait for the service! Better search the waiter or waitress... waiting for service could take hours here! If the wavesare too high don't swim in absence of a LifeGuard!

  • Water temperature: In Summer you can usually expect 22-24°C, in winter 20-22°C depending to the month.
  • Waves: Depending to the conditions all kinds of waves are possible - usually higher tides then in the south! But best to check on windfinder.com.
  • Swimming: 50 m+ possible, but always be aware of the tides and waves and if there's a LifeGuard! If the waves are too high there are also swimming pools!
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VIII. Praia do Machico

Praia da Machico is my favorite beach if you do have do have some time to spend waiting for your flight! The beach is nice, you do have good restaurants beside the beach! But if you see your plane landing you're too late! LEave the beach min 2 hours before your departure! There're public showers next to the 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 to the month.
  • Waves: Depending to the conditions all kind of waves are possible.
  • Swimming: 30 m+ possible, but always depending to the tides more or less safe.


VIII. Praia da Fajã dos Padres ****

The beach of Fajã dos Padres is for sure one of the most spectecular in Europe! Part of the package 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 anyway if the cable car is still running! The beach is perfect for snorkeling with a lot of different rare fishes swimming next to the beach! A good restaurant is down there as well. But to find a parking is hard! Maybe you have to run for several hundred meters! The beach is just a stone beach.

  • Water temperature: In Summer you can usually expect 23-25°C, in winter 20-22°C depending to the month.
  • Waves: Depending to the conditions all kind of waves are possible.
  • Swimming: 50 m+ possible, but always depending to the tides and waves! Swimming is not possible if the waves are higher then 30 cm! - Don't enter the water if the tides are higher then 30 cm!


IX Praia do Faial

The Praia do Faial is a nice lagoon heading to the east. Inside the lagoons usually the water is warmer then on open beaches nd also better protected against the waves. In summer you can expect a LifeGuard. 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. For snorkeling that's the best part of the beach.

  •     Water temperature: In Summer you can usually expect 22-25°C, in winter 20-21°C depending to the month.
  • Tides: Depending to the conditions all kind of tides 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.
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X Prainha do Caniçal

Prainha is the neat form of Praia and means small neat beach. Prainha is a natural sandy beach with natural protection So depending to how many people are there it's a nice beach.

  •     Water temperature: In Summer you can usually expect 22-24°C, in winter 19-21°C depending to the month.
  • Waves: Depending to the conditions all kind 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: Depending to the waves!


XI. Praia da Ribeira de Natal - Caniçal

Praia da Ribeira da Natal is a beach mostly frequented from 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 to the month.
  • Waves: Depending to the conditions all kind 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: Depending to the waves! Not possible if the waves are higher then 30 cm!  - never enter the water if the tides are higher then 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 retaurant 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 of 2023 aprox. 24°C, in winter usually 19-21°C.
  • Waves: Depending to the conditions all kind of waves are possible - but never enter the water if the tides are higher then 30 cm!
  • Swimming: Attention: No LifeGuard! 10 m+ possible for snorkeling. But swimming could be dangerous if there are tides and waves!













 
 
 
 
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