The Porto Moniz Natural Swimming Pools are a perfect way to relax, enjoy the ocean water and get in touch with the locals. Located on the north western tip of the island, the Porto Moniz Natural Swimming Pools are lava rock formations where small lagoons are created by the salty ocean water. It is a very family-friendly location with shallow pools for the kids and larger pools and even diving boards for the adults. Read in this blog post everything you need to know about the Porto Moniz Natural Swimming Pools.

How to get to the Porto Moniz Natural Swimming Pools

The volcanic natural pools are located in a small coastal town called Porto Moniz, on the north western tip of Madeira Island. The best way to get around in Madeira is with a rental car which makes you flexible in visiting each spot on the island that you want. So if you’ve arrived at Porto Moniz with the car you will easily find a parking spot. It is noticeable that there are many big parking lots which makes it very likely that this is a hotspot during summer days!

But if you are dependent on the public transport, there is a bus going to the pools from Funchal. It takes a long time though, you will be 3,5 hrs each way in the bus so this may not be the best plan for a relaxing day trip. Catch the 139 at 9 AM (Bus company Rodoeste) from the promenade between the Marina and the Fort in Funchal. It will drop you off right in front of the entrance of the swimming pools. For the way back you can catch two different times, either at 4 PM which is number 80 and goes back a slightly different route than the 139, so you can see more of the island. Or at 4.45 PM which is 139 and goes back the same way as you came.

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Entrance fee and opening times Porto Moniz Natural Swimming Pools

The entrance fee for the Porto Moniz Natural Swimming Pools is only €1,50 which makes it very affordable to have this experience during your vacation! If you want to use a locker for your personal belongings it costs €3.

The opening times during the summer months are daily from 9 AM to 7 PM.

But during the winter months the opening times are from 9 AM to 5 PM daily.

Best time to go to the Porto Moniz Natural Swimming Pools

During the weekends and local holidays the Porto Moniz Natural Swimming Pools are busier than during weekdays and mornings. Most people arrive around 11AM and stay all day to enjoy and experience the pools to the fullest.

So if you want to go to the swimming pools, then try to plan a weekday instead of a weekend day to avoid the crowds. Another good thing to know is that the organised coach tours arrive between 11 AM and 15 PM. So before and after that time you can expect less tourists.

What to expect at the Porto Moniz Natural Swimming Pools

There are actually two different lava pools in Porto Moniz. The natural pools that overlook Ilheu Mole island which are free of charge and have no facilities. And the western pools which have been converted into a Lido Pool complex and include an entrance fee.

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Once you arrive at the Lido complex of the natural pools you will notice that the area is huge! The surface is 3800 m² which provides enough space to move around and explore the different pool areas and views. The natural salt water feels great on your skin in comparison with chlorine water which is normally used in swimming pools.

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The Porto Moniz Natural Swimming Pools offer changing rooms, showers and toilets. And if you have personal belongings you can use a locker for €3 to keep them safe. The restaurant offers a lovely view over the pools and ocean with outdoor seating and is open during the summer months. You can order a nice cappuccino or some basic food such as burgers, fish and chips and some meat dishes. Oh and don’t forget about ice cream of course which is a must during a day out to the swimming pool 😉 For children there is also a separate swimming pool and a play area.

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There is enough space for everyone to claim a spot, but I can imagine that on the busier days it looks packed. All sorts of people flock to the Porto Moniz Natural Swimming Pools. From families to groups of younger people, elderly people and couples. There’s a relaxed vibe and guards walk around to keep an eye on the waves and if everybody is safe. At the far western end of the pools you’ll have an area to lie down with a view towards the rough coastline. This was the spot we choose to relax for the day. Here you don’t have a view towards the pools all the time so you can enjoy the natural and impressive coastline of Madeira.

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Things to do at the Porto Moniz swimming pools

Jump of the diving board

If you’re looking for some action at the Porto Moniz Natural Swimming Pools, you can jump of the diving board! At the eastern side of the swimming pools is a diving board attached which is about 4 meters high. Here you can jump into the ocean and climb your way back up via the steel ladder which is attached to the rocks. Usually they close the diving board when the current is too strong because of safety reasons, so enjoy it when you can, and dare!

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Go snorkeling

If you have a snorkel it’s highly recommend to bring it to the natural pools! You can either go snorkeling in the pools, but you won’t find much sea life or interesting rock formations. But if you go outside the pools along the rocks on a calm day without current, you can explore the wonderful underwater world of Porto Moniz! You can find all sorts of fishes and crabs along the rocks, and see lava tunnels and chambers underneath the surface. Make sure to check the ocean conditions beforehand, so you won’t get in trouble fighting the current or waves.

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Explore the Piscinas Naturais Velhas

At the eastern side of the paid natural swimming pools are the ‘Piscinas Naturais Velhas’ located which is the free little brother of the main natural pools in Porto Moniz. These swimming pools actually feel even more natural because there are more lava rocks and less infrastructure. For young kids this isn’t the best option as there are no guards and the lava rocks have sharp corners. So bring swimming shoes if you want to explore this area!

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Other natural swimming pools Madeira

Besides the famous Porto Moniz Natural Pools, there are many more Madeira Natural Pools to explore! These lava pools are naturally filled with ocean water and can be found throughout the island. Below a summary of the best Madeira natural pools. 

Seixal natural pools

The Seixal Natural swimming pools are well worth a visit and easy to combine with a visit to Seixal Beach. This collection of natural lava rock pools is a great spot to hang out for a few hours and the entrance is free! You can explore many things here such as the caves, rock arches and the several natural pools. Bring your swimwear and enjoy this beautiful nature phenomenon! On a calm day the water inside the pools is perfectly still creating a beautiful reflection of the clouds, if there are any in the sky. These are the safest circumstances for swimming as there won’t be any waves crashing over the pool. But be aware on windy days with bigger waves. A dangerous situation might occur when the waves crash over the edge of the natural pools.

Read everything about the Seixal Natural Pools in our complete guide

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Doca do Cavacas beach complex 

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

Find more Funchal beaches in our complete guide

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Lido Galomar bathing complex 

This complex in Caniço is a combination of natural lava pools and regular pools with direct access to the ocean via stairs and ladder. This pleasant complex, protected by cliffs has an entrance fee of €6 per person including sun bed. The facilities here are well maintained and very clean and safe. Ideal for a kids activity on Madeira Island and also for disabled people easy to reach with a lift. 

Other things to do near the Porto Moniz Swimming Pools

Before or after exploring the Porto Moniz natural pools you can do a lot more in this area of Madeira. Below I’ve put together a short list of other things you need to visit in the north western part of the island.

Watch sunrise at Seixal beach 

You can start your day perfectly with a beautiful sunrise at Seixal beach. If you’re a morning person of course! But believe that the sunrises in Madeira are amazing. Maybe you even decide to stay longer at Seixal after the sunrise because this beach just has the most incredible backdrop of green mountains and high cliffs. The black sand beach is a fun place to hang out for a day, learn surfing or just enjoy the sunshine and beautiful view. In the far distance you can see the Bride Veil waterfall flowing into the ocean. 

Read more about Seixal beach

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Stop at the viewpoint of Porto Moniz, Miradouro Santinha

If you’re coming via the ER101 road, you will pass the Miradouro Santinha which is a great viewpoint over Porto Moniz. From here you can see the beautiful coastal town, the natural pools and you can look all the way to

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Do a waterfall hike such as the Levada dos Cedros

In Madeira are many amazing hikes to do, you can be busy for weeks! So if you want to do a hike before or after exploring the Porto Moniz natural pools, then Levada dos Cedros is one of the options. During this 12 kilometre hike you are immersed in the nature of the beautiful Laurisilva Forest of Madeira. At the end of this hike you can explore a few beautiful waterfalls. A great activity to do in the morning for example, so you can relax after the hike in the natural pools!

Read here everything about Levada dos Cedros

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Watch sunset at Ponta da Ladeira

This sunset viewpoint is one of our favorite in Madeira! This beautiful coastal view along the high towering cliffs is must see if you’re close by. We were lucky to be here on an evening that the sky really popped with colors. It was breathtaking and we kept shooting!

Read here everything about Ponta da Ladeira viewpoint

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