Madeira is an island filled with delicious fruit, waterfalls cascading down from cliffs, beaches, and natural pools. The natural pools in Madeira are amongst the wonders of the island. The beaches in Madeira aren’t the classic golden sand beaches people (although still beautiful) so expect the natural pools to be truly a gem of the island – and we agree. The natural pools of Madeira are perfect to swim in and relax by.
If you’re planning to explore the island then stopping at some of the natural pools around Madeira is something you have to add to your list. Some natural pools are super easy to get to and some are more local and hidden.
In this post, we mention 3 natural pools that we’ve been to and want to share because they’re absolutely magical. There’s nothing quite like swimming in the cool salt water from the ocean with the comfort of the natural pool surrounding you.
The best part is that all 3 of these natural pools in Madeira are easy to access by public transport, car, or on a guided tour! So depending on what kind of day trip you have in mind, you can decide which pool fits your plan best!
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3 Beautiful Natural Pools to Visit in Madeira
Pro tip: If you book a guided tour to one of the natural pools we recommend booking a bit in advance. These tours tend to book quickly – especially during the summer months.
#1 Doca do Cavacas Natural Pools
There are many things to do in Funchal but beach life and swimming isn’t that popular since there aren’t many great beaches or pools. Thankfully, next to Praia Formosa in Funchal you can find Doca do Cavacas natural pools which is probably one of our favourite natural pools in Madeira. It is also an amazing spot for sunset.
The nice thing is that if you’re staying downtown Funchal you can actually walk to Doca do Cavacas which will take around an hour. Alternatively, you can take a Bolt or a city bus which will get you there in about 15 minutes.
There is a small fee of €4-5 to get access to the natural pools and that also gives you access to the changing room, toilets, and shower! There’s also a restaurant above the natural pool where you can get a bite to eat or have a drink overlooking the coast.
You can easily spend a full afternoon at Doca do Cavacas natural pools if you want to hang out outside! We recommend going in the afternoon and then spending some time by the pool before grabbing some food up above the pool or one of the restaurants up the stairs.
If you can, it’s worth staying for sunset because the viewpoint from above Doca do Cavacas truly does offer one of the best sunsets in Madeira. Since you’re already in this part of Funchal it’s worth waiting for it!
Enjoy this natural pool right in Funchal where you can swim, relax, and enjoy the awesome weather that the south side of Madeira usually always has!
#2 Porto Moniz Natural Pools
Porto Moniz is a small town on the northwestern side of Madeira. It has become quite a popular place to visit thanks to arguably having the most beautiful natural pools in Madeira. The best part is that even though Porto Moniz is this small little town, it actually has two fairly big natural pools to visit and swim at.
Of course, it’s a bit more challenging to get to than Doca do Cavacas (especially if you’re staying in Funchal) but it’s absolutely worth making a day trip out to the natural pools if you get a chance.
We actually decided to go on a guided Madeira West Tour that stopped by Porto Moniz for a few hours which was awesome. It’s an excellent way to see a bunch of places in one day and also have time to swim at the natural pools here.
We found that doing a guided tour was a great way to visit Porto Moniz for the first time. However, if you’re wanting to spend a full day in Porto Moniz to really enjoy the natural pools and soak it all in then we’d recommend going on your own. There are plenty of nice cafes and restaurants in Porto Moniz as well that you can enjoy after visiting the natural pools there.
So in conclusion, there are two ways we recommend going to Porto Moniz from Funchal:
- The first option is renting a car in Funchal which is quite easy and driving in Madeira is actually really fun.
- The second option is going on a guided tour of the west coast of Madeira which is what we did!
#3 Seixal Natural Pools in Madeira
Seixal, similar to Porto Moniz, is on the northern side of the island. Thankfully driving in Madeira is really easy and it shouldn’t take more than an hour to drive from Funchal to Seixal.
Seixal is similar to Porto Moniz in many ways since there are also multiple natural pools in town that are worth checking out. You can easily park your car in the center of Seixal and then walk between all the natural pools if you want to check them all out.
If you’re planning to do a day trip from Funchal to the northern side of Madeira and want to do a hike or visit Santana you can easily stop by Seixal and spend a few hours at the natural pools there as a part of your trip.
There are restaurants, shops, and cafes in Seixal too so if you want to spend the full day just relaxing and swimming at the natural pools you can do that as well.
The best way to get to Seixal is by renting a car in Funchal. Public transport is good in Madeira but to certain places, it’s so much easier just to rent a car. And if there are a few of you, it usually isn’t too expensive either.
If you have the car you can also visit some viewpoints and stops along the way to Seixal which you wouldn’t be able to otherwise. Consider visiting: Miraduoro do Véu da Noiva, Cascata Água d’Alto, Teleferico Santana, and Miraduoro do Guindaste.
Other related questions to natural pools in Madeira
Are the volcanic pools in Madeira warm?
The natural pools in Madeira are formed by volcanic activity from the past and the water that enters these natural pools is from the Atlantic. So during the winter months, the natural pools will be colder and in the summer they will be warmer based on the temperature of the Atlantic Ocean near Madeira.
How do you get to Seixal natural pools?
Thanks to the awesome tunnel network in Madeira it’s quite quick to get from Funchal to Seixal. The best way to get between the two cities is to rent a car in Funchal. Once you have the car, you’ll take the VE4 highway which takes you from the south side to the north side of the island. You can get from Funchal to Seixal in less than an hour by car.
Once you get to Seixal, it’s just a short drive down the road to the natural pools. We recommend inserting “Piscinas Naturais do Seixal” into your Google Maps and just follow that for the easiest directions.
Are the Porto Moniz natural pools free?
Porto Moniz has a free natural pool in Madeira that is easily accessible. It’s a great place to go swimming if you’re looking for somewhere free to swim in Madeira on the northwestern side of the island.
Is Madeira good for swimming?
Madeira isn’t necessarily known for its swimming but there are still some beaches in Madeira that you can swim at. Even right in Funchal, there’s a beach (Praia do Almirante Reis) and a natural pool (Doca do Cavacas) where you can swim. There are some great beaches in Madeira but not all of them are friendly for swimming.
Is Porto Moniz worth visiting?
Yes, Porto Moniz is absolutely worth visiting, especially if you want to go swimming in one of the most beautiful natural pools in Madeira. Porto Moniz is a beautiful coastal town that’s known for its two natural pools that attract tourists and locals from all around the island.
Are there beaches in Madeira?
Yes, there are plenty of beaches in Madeira but only a few with the pristine golden sand that many people look for. Madeira is definitely known more for its hiking, natural pools, and delicious food than the beaches. But if you’re not too picky with rock beaches then there are plenty of beaches around Madeira that you can visit.
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Recap of 3 Natural Pools in Madeira worth visiting
There ya have it! As we mentioned before, there are a few good beaches in Madeira but the natural pools around the island are very unique and definitely worth visiting. Porto Moniz, Seixal, and Funchal are where the three main ones are located and those are the ones we think are worth visiting.
The Doca do Cavacas natural pools are great if you don’t want to leave Funchal but the ones in Porto Moniz and Seixal are wonderful for a day trip.
Regardless of which natural pool you visit you’ll have an awesome time dipping your toes and hopefully swimming in that crystal clear Atlantic water.
If you have questions about the natural pools or things to do in Madeira then feel free to DM us on Instagram or leave a comment below and we’ll get right back to you!
You can even check out this Madeira One-Day West Coast tour that takes you to all the iconic viewpoints on the west side of the island. In the day trip it includes a stop in Porto Moniz where you can enjoy a few hours in the natural pools!
Lastly, here’s some inspiration for packing with this Madeira packing list if you’re not sure what to bring on your trip to the island.