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. A great way to spend a relaxing day on Madeira island. Read in this blog post everything you need to know about the Porto Moniz Natural Swimming Pools.
If you want to explore the best of Madeira with a guide then here some great tours I recommend. All of these tours include transport with hotel pick up and drop off, certified guides and sometimes the entrance fees if applicable. You can reserve now and pay later, with cancellation up to 24 hours in advance to receive a full refund.
Customized 6 hour Madeira tour. On this six-hour tour you can choose the different areas you want to visit on Madeira island. Pick the landmarks and iconic places to make your own itinerary with the help of your local guide/driver.
West Madeira private tour. Starting in the fishing town of Câmara de Lobos you will drive via Cabo Girao, the highest cape in Europe, to the beautiful view of Serra d’Agua valley. From there you will head to São Vicente to explore the Laurisilva forest. Continuing north, you will visit Porto Moniz, known for its natural lava pools where you can swim. As last stop you will visit the famous rocks at Ribeira da Janela.
East Madeira tour. Visit Pico do Arieiro viewpoint, make pictures at the Santana houses and the beautiful viewpoints at Porto da Cruz to finish the day at the impressive volcanic landscape of Ponta de São Lourenço.
Canyoning adventure with transfer from Funchal. Get the thrill of canyoneering and explore Madeira’s untouched nature. follow a river as you walk, rappel, slide and jump through hidden waterfalls with streams that cross endemic forests. A super fun and adventurous day!
Scuba diving Madeira. Explore the underwater world of Madeira island. A theory lesson and practice in swimming pool is included before you will dive about 12 meters for 45 meters in the Atlantic Ocean.
Funchal Old Town walking tour. Learn about the history of Funchal and Madeira on a guided walk through the city’s medieval center. Visit the farmer’s market, the Campo Almirante Reis, the Fortress of St. James, and a number of other sites as your guide provides commentary.
Sunset tour from Funchal by Catamaran. Watch the sunset off the coast of Madeira on a 3-hour evening catamaran cruise from Funchal and spot dolphins (guaranteed, or you get a 2nd trip for free).
Tuk-Tuk tour to Monte Tropical Garden with Toboggan ride from Funchal. Explore Funchal Old Town with a Tuk Tuk before making your way to the mountains to the stunning Monte Tropical Garden. There you will explore over 70,000 square meters of exotic plants. At the end of the tour you will enjoy the thrilling ride down the hill with a Toboggan ride.
General travel must haves for Madeira
Before we dive into the Porto Moniz Natural Pools, let’s check a few things to make your travels in Madeira easy and safe.
Book your scooter or motorbike here to get around in Madeira. Most of the scooters you can drive with driving license (A1/A2/A) from 18 years old, or from 25 years old with a car (B) license. The motorbikes have a minimum age of 20 or 21 with A (moto) license.
Do you prefer a private driver for the day and the freedom to create your own itinerary?
Buy your travel insurance here. Safetywing not only includes coverage for travel delay, lost checked luggage, emergency response, natural disasters and personal liability. But also covers all your medical expenses for hospitalisation.
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!
Getting to Porto Moniz Swimming Pools with public transport
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 actual swimming 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.
Facilities at Porto Moniz 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 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.
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.
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.
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
Watch a waterfall pour into the Atlantic Ocean
The Véu da Noiva waterfall viewpoint is an incredible spot on the north coast of Madeira in between Seixal and São Vicente. You can’t miss this place when you’re exploring Madeira’s rugged north west coast. This beautiful waterfall, known as the Bride Veil, runs down the mountain and flows straight into the Atlantic Ocean. The viewing platform is very easy to reach from the road and is even wheelchair friendly. A great short stopover on the northern coast of Madeira.
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!