Go for a swim in these unique salt water pools, which are dramatically set amid rugged coastal cliffs and protective volcanic rock.
The Porto Moniz Natural Pools are one of the city’s most popular attractions. Formed by volcanic lava, these tranquil pools are sheltered from the strong current of the Atlantic by black basalt rocks. Swim, sunbathe or snorkel at the pools, which are complete with changing rooms, lockers and lifeguard services. There’s also a children’s pool and play area, making the pools an excellent spot for a family excursion.
Fresh seawater enters the pools every tide, carrying with it interesting underwater life. Bring a snorkeling mask to get a better look at the diverse fish that swim below the surface of the water.
Check out the deeper pools found behind Ilheu de Mole, as well as the more developed ones located behind the Restaurant Orca.
Rent a sun lounger or bring a towel and find a spot to relax on the cement terraces surrounding the pools. Despite the popularity of the salt water pools, it’s usually easy to find a quiet corner to yourself. Listen to the powerful ocean waves crashing against the rock, contrasting with the calm waters of the sheltered pools.
Set between the cliffs and the coast, the pools are worth visiting just to admire the scenery. In the summer, you can stop by the snack bar and sip a drink while people-watching. Go for a stroll along the waterfront promenade that links the pools to the town’s pier, where you’ll find additional cafés, restaurants, shops and numerous scenic viewpoints.
The Porto Moniz Natural Pools are open year-round, with reduced hours during the winter months. The most popular time to visit is between May and October, when the waters are warmest. There is an admission fee and parking is available on-site. Porto Moniz is located in northwestern Madeira, and can be reached by bus or car from Funchal.