Up to the northwest of the island of Madeira lies one of it’s most emblematic places. I’ve so far talked about lush forests, high mountains, important cities and curious villages, but I haven’t touched on summer favorite: beaches! As someone born in Algarve (where most of the well-known beaches in Portugal are) I am somewhat of a connoisseur in terms of sandy beaches, but in Madeira is a whole other game! And nothing better represents that than the natural pools of Porto Moniz!
To better clarify what I meant in the intro, Madeira, being an island, is not a stranger to beach areas, but it’s volcanic nature makes it so it doesn’t have sand, it’s mostly stones and pebbles. Some cities and towns with beach areas, such as Machico and Calheta, imported sand to create a sort-of artificial sandy beach, but most others use the natural landscape to their benefit, by using natural pools!
Porto Moniz is built on the rocky edge of the island and it’s “beach” is composed of many of those natural pools, with some man-made alterations to make it safer, because it still is right next to the sea! Locals even have this tradition of sitting atop a wall and letting the waves hit them in the back, pushing them to the pool!
Porto Moniz also has an interesting story. It was only around 1950 that a road was built to connect Porto Moniz to the rest of the island, and it was the most beautiful road in Madeira, made on the edge of the cliffs. But that turned out to be it’s undoing. Due to rocks that fell from above, the road is now closed, replaced by tunnels. You can still see some of it but it is prohibited to travel on it by car.
For me it was a strange yet great experience, and I suggest everyone to visit Porto Moniz or even any other natural pools around Madeira, you might even spot some fishy visitors!
Live it yourself as a memorable local experience!Discover the Live Stories
Like this story?
Get more! Subscribe to our monthly inspiration newsletter.