Madeira’s stunning volcanic landscape creates some of the most diverse all-year-round beach experiences. Golden sands (Machico), black volcanic sand (Praia Formosa) and pebble shorelines (Reis Magos) tumble into crystal clear blue waters turning them into an adventure playground for water sport enthusiasts, divers and recreational snorkelers as the sea life around the island is spectacular.
With such a variety of beaches, those in search of typical sandy beaches should head out towards Calheta, Machico, Prainha Beach and perhaps further afield and experience the therapeutic golden sands of Porto Santo. The beaches of Praia Formosa, Reis Magos or the beaches in Santa Cruz offer an easily accessible solution where the sea water rock pools of Porto Moniz are both as refreshing and exhilarating as their surrounding countryside.
One thing is assured, and that is quality. The blue flags are a symbol of quality and beaches are inspected every year to ensure that they maintain the strictest health, safety and water quality standards. This year seventeen of Madeira’s beaches will be flying the coveted ‘blue flag of quality.’ The beaches are located throughout the island with several located around the capital Funchal; these are Clube Naval, Ponta Gorda, Praia Formosa, Areeiro, Lido and Barreirinha. Blue flag beaches outside Funchal include Palmeira dos Reis Magos (Santa Cruz), Ribeira do Natal (Machico), Ribeira do Faial (Santana) and Riberia Brava (Ponta Delgada). Others include the beaches in São Vicente, Ribeira Brava and the rock pools of Porto Moniz. Four beaches in Porto Santo, Fontinha, Cabeço da Ponta, Ribeiro Salgado and Calheta have also received blue flags. Although the beaches are open all year round, lifeguard stations are manned from either the 1st of May or the 1st of June until the 15th or 30th of September; depending on the beaches location.