Where to swim in Madeira – part II – lava pools, bathing complexes & the water park [2020 update]


Natural pools, pool complexes and a water park in Madeira.

In today’s post – part II of the “Where to swim in Madeira” series we would like to list the best natural pools, swimming complexes and present the only water park on Madeira Island.

5 Natural pools in Madeira – Lava Pools

Very famous, natural lava pools. A cherry on top of the cake when it comes to swimming in Madeira.

The most famous lava pools are located in the north of the island:

5.1 Volcanic Pools in Porto Moniz

In Porto Moniz we can find two complexes (or one complex consisting of two parts), which are slightly different: Porto Moniz Natural Swimming Pools (western part of the bay) and Cachalote Natural Swimming Pools (eastern part). They lie very close to each other (+-5 minutes walking distance).

Naturalne baseny wulkaniczne w Porto Moniz - czyli gdzie się kąpać na Maderze?
PHOTO: Google Maps

Porto Moniz Natural Swimming Pools (Piscinas Naturais de Porto Moniz)

is a popular, well-known and very picturesque natural swimming pool with sanitary facilities. To facilitate swimming and tame the waves, concrete walls, platforms and stairs have been constructed. This makes it a suitable place for families with children. The complex is guarded by lifeguards. There is a bar, changing rooms, playground, first aid and sun loungers/umbrellas rentals. This place is easily accessible. There is parking and a couple of nice restaurants nearby.

The pools are open all year round. In winter, from 9:00 to 17:00 and in the summer from 9:00 to 19:00. Entrance to the complex is extremely affordable: 1.50 euro for an adult and children from 3 years (younger children enter for free).

Cachalote Natural Swimming Pools  (Aquarium Natural Swimming Pools) 

Located on the eastern side of the bay, next to the Cachalote restaurant.

Access to the Cachalote part is free and the pools are more “natural” (read: modified to a lesser degree, less child-friendly) than those in Porto Moniz Natural Swimming Pools on the western side of the bay.

Both parts can be seen clearly in this awesome video (2:20) :

Wulkaniczne baseny (Piscinas Naturais) w Porto Moniz na Maderze. Czyli kąpiel w krystalicznie czystej wodzie basenów wulkanicznych
Porto Moniz. PHOTO: Hayley Jayne Davis


If you would like to stay on a walking distance from these pools, here are a couple of recommended hotels:

Aqua Natura Madeira Hotel

Hotel Moniz Sol

Hotel Salgueiro

Out of these, the Aqua Natura Madeira Hotel is by far the best-rated hotel in Porto Moniz.

Wulkaniczne baseny (Piscinas Naturais) w Porto Moniz na Maderze.
Porto Moniz. PHOTO: Hayley Jayne Davis

 5.2  Volcanic lava pools in Seixal

In this beautiful town in the northern part of the Madeira you will also find many places to swim, and in particular: natural swimming pools (Seixal Natural Swimming Pools), bathing complex (Clube Naval to Seixal) and a beautiful black beach (Praia do Porto do Seixal), which I already covered in [ PART I ].

Natural volcanic pools in Seixal, are located next to the Laje beach in Seixal. Seixal pools are not guarded.

Hereby another nice video of the volcanic lava pools in Seixal:


 5.3 Doca do Cavacas (Pocas Do Gomes)

Those staying in the south of Madeira and not able to visit the volcanic pools in Porto Moniz or Seixal, can always visit a nice, though small, Doca de Cavacas Swimming Pool Complex in Funchal.

It is a very interesting place with a great view of Praia Formosa and the Cabo Girao cliff.
Doca de Cavacas complex is a place where the natural swimming pools are combined with the comfort of the swimming complex – stairs, trampolines, a concrete platform for sunbathing. At Doca de Cavacas there is also a seafood restaurant and a small bar where evening events sometimes take place. Due to its location, it is also a great place to observe the sunset in Funchal. 
Natural pools, pool complexes and a water park in Madeira.
Natural pools Madeira. Bathing complexes Madeira & Madeira water park

 6 Bathing complexes (public pools) in Madeira 

There are many public bathing complexes in Madeira. The Portuguese term for a bathing complex is: “Complexo balnear”.

Entry to those complexes isn’t usually free of charge (however, it is very cheap – usually 1-2 euro per person). Bathing complexes usually offer some nice pools for adults and children, access to the ocean, diving boards, bars, sunbathing platforms, sun loungers rentals, etc. Some of them are really cool, especially for relaxing with small children, some, however, a bit outdated.

Some of the most popular bathing complexes in Madeira are:

6.1 Lido Bathing Complex (Complexo Balnear do Lido) in Funchal

Lido is a very nice complex, especially for small children. Nicely integrated into volcanic rocks and with direct access to the sea.

It is located in the centre of Funchal, close to the popular Estrada Monumental street.

Also available are: first aid, wheelchairs, lifeguard, umbrellas and sun loungers rental, changing rooms, cabinets and bars. On top of the cliff, there is a nice and very affordable café overviewing the complex.

The below pictures were taken in 2017. Since then the Lido Bathing Complex has been renovated and looks slightly different. It still is one of the best looking public swimming complexes in Funchal.


Kompleks kąpielowy Complexo Balnear do Lido w Funchal. Plaże, naturalne baseny wulkaniczne, hotelowe baseny i kompleksy kąpielowe na Maderze.
Complexo Balnear do Lido in Funchal PHOTO: Say Yes To Madeira
Kompleks kąpielowy Complexo Balnear do Lido w Funchal. Plaże, naturalne baseny wulkaniczne, hotelowe baseny i kompleksy kąpielowe na Maderze.
Complexo Balnear do Lido in Funchal - part for the youngest turists PHOTO: Say Yes To Madeira
Lido Beach Club in Funchal PHOTO: Say Yes To Madeira

6.2 Complexo Balnear da Ponta Gorda / Poças do Governador in Funchal

This bathing complex has two swimming pools – one for adults & a smaller one with recreational equipment for children. 

It also offers 690m2 sunbathing area, a playground, bar, toilets, changing rooms, lounge chain and umbrella rental and first aid station. It has a mobile lift that allows disabled users to have easier access to one of the pools.

The Ponta Gorda bathing complex also has direct access to the sea and a diving diving board. Usually, in the summer season, around such complexes, plastic floating platforms are installed.

The right side of the complex is Poças do Governador – natural pools with seawater.

6.3 Complexo Balnear da Barreirinha in Funchal (Old Town area). 

Those staying in the Old Town (Zona Velha) will probably be interested in the small Barreirinha Bathing Complex, located just next to the yellow São Tiago fort.

Contrary to what is shown on the rarely updated satellite pictures on Google maps- there is no swimming pool at the Barreirinha Bathing Complex. 

We can find there only some standard infrastructure: one bar, toilets, changing rooms, lockers, tanning platform (with sun loungers and umbrellas rental point) plastic platforms, diving boards and floating platforms. There is also a small pebble beach on the right. It is a guarded complex. It is a good place for a quick swim when we do not have time to go somewhere far. I noticed that this place is frequently chosen by local teenagers (probably due to the high school located nearby).

Complexo Balnear da Barreirinha in Funchal Complex w Funchal. Plaże,naturalne baseny wulkaniczne, hotelowe baseny i kompleksy kąpielowe na Maderze
Natural pools Madeira. Bathing complexes Madeira & Madeira water park
Natural pools Madeira. Bathing complexes Madeira & Madeira water park

Above the complex, you can find a very nice outdoor café with the same name – Barreirinha Bar Cafe, where we love to hang out. They offer great (and not overpriced) drinks, many events with live music. The place is very popular among young locals and tourists alike, which is why it is often difficult to get a free table.

As it is located close to the Old Town, in the area we can find a lot of good restaurants.

6.4 Faial Bathing Complex (Complexo Balnear da Foz da Ribeira do Faial)

Different from the previously mentioned complexes. This swimming complex in Faial, located near popular Santana, consists of a pebble beach with a sunbathing platform, one small pool for children and a playground.

There are also some recreational facilities, such as football, handball and volleyball courts, a multi-purpose sports pavilion. There is also a place for picnics, changing rooms and first aid points.

From the beach in Faial we have a beautiful view of the nearby basalt formations/columns.

Free admission.

6.5 Other bathing complexes in Madeira 


  • Bathing Complex in Calhau de São Jorge [webcam] 
  • Bathing Complex in Seixal (Complexo Balnear do Clube Naval do Seixal)
  • Bathing Complex in Ponta Delgada
  • Bathing Complex in São Vicente

North-East and East:

South and South-East:

  • Bathing Complex in Complexo Balnear Lido Galomar in Caniço
  • Bathing Complex in Ribeira Brava (Complexo Balnear da Ribeira Brava)
  • Bathing Complex in Santa Cruz (Complexo Balnear da Ribeira da Boaventura)

 7 Water park in Madeira

Yes, there is one water park in Madeira. It is located in Santa Cruz, next to the airport. I haven’t yet had the opportunity to visit it, but according to those who went there, it is a small size park with basic attractions, but where you can still have a lot of fun with the entire family.


For pictures, rates & opening hours, please visit their [OFFICIAL FB PAGE].

The Madeira water park was the last point in our “Where to swim in Madeira PART II” post.  Do not forget to visit also:

And you? Which Madeira natural pool or swimming complex were you visiting most often?  Where do you prefer to swim in Madeira?

Let us know in the comments!

Swimming in Madeira: Swimming complexes, lava pools and beaches in Madeira
PHOTO: @Skolskypt
Swimming in Madeira: Swimming complexes, lava pools and beaches in Madeira
PHOTO: @Skolskypt


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Swimming in Madeira: Volcanic Lava Pools in Madeira / Swimming Complexes in Madeira / Aqua park in Madeira
Swimming in Madeira: Volcanic Lava Pools in Madeira / Swimming Complexes in Madeira / Aqua park in Madeira
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Comments (3)

  1. These all look so wonderful, and the water seems very inviting! I love the variety of swimming spots in this post.

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