For an island with almost a hundred miles of coastline, Madeira offers surprisingly little sandy beach -- the ocean cliffs butt right up to the sea. But that doesn't mean the views aren't magical, whether from an ocean hike, lookout point or seaside villa. For more of that flat-sand, blue-water experience, take a quick plane or ferry ride to the neighboring island of Porto Santo, which might as well be somewhere in the Caribbean.
A beautiful beach suitable for sunbathing and cooling off, is located east of the island in the city of Machico. Machico also has a pebble beach, but the main attraction is the yellow sand beach that stretches along the coast. Changing rooms, shower, bathrooms, umbrellas and lounging chairs (for rent) are available.
Praia Formosa is the largest free public beach on Madeira Island. Located west of Funchal, it consists of four mix sandy and pebble beaches, known as Praia Nova, Praia Formosa, Praia dos Namorados and Praia do Arieiro, all offering excellent water quality, Blue Flag certified and having great facilities such as, parking, sport activities, skate board ramp, changing rooms, lifeguard surveillance, snack bars and Restaurants and a children’s play area. Also along the seaside is the starting point of a long promenade linking to Lido beach.
Prainha, not far away from the point of São Lourenço, is a black sand beach of volcanic origin thatoffers the opportunity for an unusual day at the beach. Prainha is a black sand beach of volcanic origin, close to the scenic point of São Lourenço. The Piedade Dunes, which contain limestone fossils of geomorphologic interest, can be found around this beach.
The landscape surrounding this beach is a stark contrast to that found on most of the rest of the island. Here, the usual shades of green are replaced by an arid landscape of yellows, browns and oranges.
This bathing area has a restaurant, changing rooms, sunshades and sun loungers, as well as a car park.