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Prainha Beach Madeira – Beautiful Black sand beach in Caniçal

Prainha beach is one of the few (natural!) sandy beaches in Madeira. Most of the other beaches in Madeira have rocks or pebbles on them, so lying down is not always that comfortable without a sun bed. But Prainha beach offers the perfect ingredients for a lovely day at the beach. Located in the eastern tail of the island, lots of local people come to this beach to enjoy their sunny weekends or holidays. Prainha beach may not be the biggest beach as its only a little bay, but that also gives an intimate feel to the beach. Surrounded on both sides with interesting rock formations and dunes, there is a lot of geological interest to be found around Prainha beach.  Read in this blog post everything you need to know about Prainha beach, how to get there, what to expect and more!

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How to get to Prainha beach

Prainha beach is located in Caniçal in the most eastern tail of Madeira, the area of Ponta de São Lourenço. The best way to get around in Madeira in general is with a rental car. You can easily park above Prainha beach from where you have stairs leading down to the beach.

But if you are dependent on public transport you can get to Prainha beach with bus 113.

From the parking lot you will see a path going down to the beach. But is also highly recommended to check out the dunes and walk to the viewpoints above the beach. From there you will have wonderful views on the Prainha bay and the interesting rock formations around. Can you spot all the caves in the rocks?


Best time to go to Prainha beach

It is always a good idea to go to the beach, but Prainha beach is known to be most crowded during the weekends and summer holidays when locals come to the beaches to relax. In terms of sunlight you can expect sunshine almost all day long at Prainha as its facing south.


What to expect at Prainha beach Madeira

Prainha beach is a cozy little bay with soft brownish black volcanic sand in the area of Ponta de São Lourenço. The beach is surrounded by the Piedade Dunes which contains limestone fossils of geomorphologic interest. Very beautiful to watch these interesting textures on these rocks and cliffs! The landscape around Prainha beach is in big contrast to the landscapes on the rest of the island. In the area of Ponta de São Lourenço the shades of green are replaced by desert like views of orange, red and brown tones in the landscape. It actually did remind us a bit to our trip through Morocco and the Sahara desert!

Prainha beach itself has a beach bar where you can order drinks and food when they’re open of course. There are also sun beds for rent, but the soft black sand of Prainha beach is comfortable enough to lie on for a day. The Prainha beach bar also has changing rooms, parasols and deck chairs.


Both sides of the beach are surrounded by the Piedade Dunes with their incredible textures and lots of caves and other holes to spot. Definitely check out these dunes when you make your way up or down Prainha beach!


Prainha beach viewpoint on the Piedade Dunes 

From the Piedade Dunes you will have a beautiful view on Prainha beach and from the other side towards Funchal. These dunes are fun to explore as they lead you all to different natural viewpoints and new spots to explore. There are also a few picknick spots on these dunes, so if you don’t want to go down all the way to the beach, you can also have a break here to eat lunch or recharge after exploring.


Other things to do near Prainha beach Madeira

After a few hours of relaxing on Prainha beach, or just exploring the area for a little time, you might be up for some activities again! Head a bit further to the starting point of the Ponta de São Lourenço hike to explore the eastern tail a bit further, or go to the Ponta do Rosto viewpoint. The different landscapes and views that this part of Madeira has to offer are just amazing and so different of the rest of Madeira! 


Best Madeira island tours

If you want to explore the best of Madeira with a guide then here some great tours I recommend. During these tours you will pass by some of the best viewpoints which I share in this complete guide. 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.

Madeira Tours

  • 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!
  • Ponta de São Lourenço hike with pick up in Funchal. Explore the most eastern tail of Madeira island with its unique volcanic rock formations to understand how the island was created.

Funchal Tours

  • Funchal 48-hour hop-on hop off bus tour. Explore the lush landscape of Madeira and the sights of Funchal at your own pace with a 2 or 5 day ticket for the hop-on, hop-off bus.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Boat Tours

  • Dolphin & Whale watching Luxury Catamaran Cruise from Funchal. Enjoy the views of Funchal from a luxury catamaran. Look out for whales and dolphins in their natural habitat as your relax on board and explore the underwater world with a snorkel.
  • Scuba diving Madeira. Explore the underwater world of Madeira island. A theory lesson and practice in swimming pool is included. This before you will dive about 12 meters for 45 meters in the Atlantic Ocean.
  • 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).

General travel must haves for Madeira

Have you thought about how to get around in Madeira? A car is the easiest way to drive around the island.

  • Book your rental car here and compare the providers to get the best deal.
  • 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?

Did you already book your accommodation? 

Are you insured during your travels?

  • 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.

More Madeira travel inspiration

I hope you enjoyed this complete guide about Prainha beach in Madeira.

For more Madeira travel inspiration and the must visit destinations, head over to our other blog posts about Madeira island.

50 best things to do in Madeira – The Ultimate Guide

40 best photo spots in Madeira – The Ultimate Guide

30 best viewpoints in Madeira – The Ultimate Guide

30 best hikes in Madeira – The Complete Guide

25 best things to do in Funchal – The Ultimate Guide

25 best waterfalls in Madeira – The Ultimate Guide

20 best levada walks in Madeira – The Complete Guide

20 best restaurants in Madeira – The Complete Guide

15 best sunrise viewpoints in Madeira – The Complete Guide

15 best sunset viewpoints in Madeira – The Complete Guide

12 best beaches in Madeira – The Ultimate Guide

12 best Funchal restaurants – The Complete Guide

All about Poncha – The Ultimate Guide

All about Madeira wine – The Ultimate Guide

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  1. Hi ILse, Prainha beach looks indeed like a very nice, small and intimate beach. Must be lovely to go there and enjoy the sun on the sand. Nice tip 👍.!

  2. Marjoleine says:

    Hi ILse, Prainha beach looks indeed like a very nice, small and intimate beach. Must be lovely to go there and enjoy the sun on the sand. Nice tip 👍.!

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