For a quick dip in the ocean, there are plenty of options in and around Funchal. The biggest public beach of Madeira is Praia Formosa which is a 10 minute drive from the city centre of Funchal. This beach is divided in three other beaches, from which one is a sandy beach. The other beaches in Funchal are pebbled beaches but serve great for a dip in the ocean or to enjoy the sunshine. In Funchal you can also find some outdoor swimming complexes from which a few are natural lava rock pools. Find in this blog post all the best Funchal beaches for a walk, swim or snorkel. 



Praia Formosa

Praia Formosa is the biggest public beach of Madeira and actually consists of three other beaches, known as Praia Nova, Praia dos Namorados and Praia do Arieiro from which the last mentioned has a mix of sand and pebbles. The other beaches are mainly covered in pebbles which might be less comfortable for some people.


Praia Formosa – Best Funchal beaches

There are lots of facilities around such as restaurants, public toilets and showers, changing rooms and a lifeguard. From the part where the restaurants are located along Praia Formosa is a great spot to watch the sunset with a glass of wine or dinner. 


The long promenade connects all the beaches and is a great walk along the ocean without getting wet feet. Praia Formosa and its promenade are great features for Funchal and therefore this place is definitely belongs to the best Funchal beaches!

Read in this complete guide everything about Praia Formosa


Praia Arieero

Praia Arieero is below Hotel Orca located and is a small black sand beach, separated from the other beach areas of Praia Formosa. Therefore it gives a bit of a more secluded feel, and it is the only beach in Funchal with black sand! You can enter it from the most western access point of Praia Formosa after passing the restaurants and promenade for a little part. 


Gorgulho beach

This small pebbled beach is located in the tourist area Lido close to Praia Formosa and Lido swimming complex. The crystal clear waters offer a great environment to swim, snorkel and enjoy the sunshine. You can enter Gorgulho beach for free from the promenade.


Praia do Almirante Reis

Almirante Reis beach is an artificial beach in the centre of Funchal close to the old town. Located in between the Teleférico and São Tiago fortress is this pebbled beach with a concrete promenade that connects the old town all the way to the harbour. At Almirante Reis beach you can enjoy the Atlantic Ocean and sunshine while being closely to the city centre of Funchal. The little bay is protected by sea walls so you won’t feel the current too much or have big waves coming in here.


Doca do Cavacas swimming complex

The Doca do Cavacas Swimming Complex is only a few metres away from the well known Praia Formosa. This guarded beach complex with natural tidal lava pools offers sunbeds, parasols and a bar is a great way to spend a sunny day. There applies an entrance fee which is about €2,60.


São Tiago beach 

São Tiago beach is located in front of the same called fortress São Tiago. This a pebble beach has free public access and has shallow, quiet water to take a swim. It is locally known as “Fisherman’s Beach” because often many fishermans boats are scattered around. Here you can lay down on concrete ground and sheltered by the old walls of the yellow fortress. 


Barreirhina swimming complex 

Just around the corner of Fort São Tiago fortress is the Barreirinha swimming complex located. This man made swimming complex provides changing rooms, lockers, parasols, sun beds, a snack bar, first aid services and a car park in front. It has just like the other swimming complexes direct access to the ocean with stairs to help you come out. There applies a small entrance fee for  the Barreirhina swimming complex.


Lido swimming complex 

The Lido complex is a symbol of Funchal being the most popular pool with access to the sea. This part also has a long promenade that connects Praia Formosa all the way to Câmara de Lobos. In the Lido swimming complex you will find seawater pools and lots of facilities nearby such as restaurants, a playground for children, tennis courts and many other activities. The access to the Lido Complex is a small fee.


Poças do Governador swimming complex

The Poças do Governador swimming complex, also known as Ponta Gorda has two salt water pools and a 690m2 sunbathing area. With direct access to the ocean and lots of other facilities available, this is a great spot to spend a relaxing summer day. The two salt water pools are for adult and children so that every age has its designated pool. The swimming complex even has a mobile lift that allows disabled users to have easier access to one of the pools. 


Conclusion about the best Funchal beaches

Relaxing on one of the Funchal beaches is a great idea if you just want to enjoy the ocean water and sunshine for a few hours. But if you really want to spend a chill day at a sandy beach, there are better options in Madeira. Most of the beaches in Madeira are pebbled, but there are a few exemptions from which Seixal beach our favourite is. The other man made sandy beaches in Madeira are Calheta beach or Machico beach. Two other beautiful sandy beaches in Madeira are Prainha beach and Porto da Cruz beach.

For the best things to do in Funchal, read this post!