- 5 Natural pools in Madeira – Lava Pools
- 5.1 Volcanic Pools in Porto Moniz
- Porto Moniz Natural Swimming Pools (Piscinas Naturais de Porto Moniz)
- Cachalote Natural Swimming Pools (Aquarium Natural Swimming Pools)
- 5.2 Volcanic lava pools in Seixal
- 5.3 Doca do Cavacas (Pocas Do Gomes)
- 6 Bathing complexes (public pools) in Madeira
- 6.1 Lido Bathing Complex (Complexo Balnear do Lido) in Funchal
- 6.2 Complexo Balnear da Ponta Gorda / Poças do Governador in Funchal
- 6.3 Complexo Balnear da Barreirinha in Funchal (Old Town area).
- 6.4 Faial Bathing Complex (Complexo Balnear da Foz da Ribeira do Faial)
- 6.5 Other bathing complexes in Madeira
- 7 Water park in Madeira
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).
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) :
SEE HOW OTHERS RATE THIS NATURAL POOLS COMPLEX: PORTO MONIZ POOLS ON TRIPADVISOR
If you would like to stay on a walking distance from these pools, here are a couple of recommended hotels:
Out of these, the Aqua Natura Madeira Hotel is by far the best-rated hotel in Porto Moniz.
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:
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.
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.
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).
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.
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:
- Bathing Complex in Caniçal (Complexo Balnear do Caniçal)
- Bathing Complex in Porto da Cruz (Complexo Balnear do Porto da Cruz)
South and South-East:
Yes, there is one water park in Madeira. It is located in Santa Cruz, next to the Madeira Airport. I haven’t yet had the opportunity to visit it, but according to those who went there, it is a rather basic park, not comparable with popular aqua parks in other destinations.
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!