Gorgeous Madeira is so packed full of amazing beaches it can be hard to know where to start.
We’ve scouted the area for you and noted down the incredible highlights.
From wonderful seaside gardens to water-sport hot-spots and atmospheric drinking locations, you’ll be well-prepared.
Jardim do Mar
Jardim do Mar means ‘garden by the sea’ and it’s a fitting name for this picturesque spot on the western coast surrounded by lush, green, flower-covered hillsides.
This is the perfect place for surfers, as the three quieter, more isolated beaches here – Portinho, Enseada and Ponta Jardim – are used for international surf competitions. Whether you want to take part or just watch, it’s a lovely setting.
Calheta is located on Madeira’s west coast and the beach is man-made using sand mainly imported from Morocco and mainland Portugal. Aside from swimming, you can rent canoes, kayaks, windsurf boards and catamarans.
A handful of good fish and seafood restaurants are nearby, as is – for those looking for something stronger – the rum factory, Sociedade dos Engenhos da Calheta, on Avenida Dom Manuel.
Ribeira Brava boasts black sand and a little lighthouse at one end. It’s also a great place to swim, as the waters here are calm and still.
Nearby is a lovely viewpoint, the Miradouro de São Sebastião, which offers breathtaking views along the coastline. It’s also easily reached by car from Fuchal, making it a great option for a day trip.
Praia Formosa offers the best of both worlds, as it’s situated in Madeira’s buzzy capital, Funchal, and is only a ten-minute drive from the lively downtown area.
So once you’ve spent the day chilling on the black-sand beach (a legacy of Madeira’s volcanic past), you can head straight out for some good nightlife.
Porto Santo is actually Madeira’s little sister island, reached by a 2.5-hour ferry journey. But it’s well worth the journey for its magnificent beach, a seven-mile-long sweep of golden sand voted the world’s best by European Best Destinations earlier this year.
Not only is it lined with restaurants, cafés, bars and hotels, but the sand itself is said to be good for you – its volcanic origins are meant to have therapeutic properties, helping relieve aches and pains.
A beach that’s beautiful and good for you? Where do we put our sunlounger?
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