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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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
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
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