Madeira Northern Coast: Porto Moniz Volcanic Pools Unveiled

Madeira Northern Coast: Porto Moniz Volcanic Pools Unveiled

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That was the day I woke up in São Vicente and went to visit Porto Moniz.

I got up at 9:00, I was a little tired that day. I had my breakfast and went down to the center of São Vicente to catch the bus to Porto Moniz.

The bus ticket from São Vicente to Porto Moniz costs 2,80€ and takes about 35 minutes to travel. The journey to Porto Moniz is along the north coast, comprising around 15km with incredible views of the sea and cliffs, passing through Ribeira do Inferno, Seixal, Ribeira da Janela and arriving in Porto Moniz.

Perched on the northwest coast of Madeira, Porto Moniz is a captivating coastal town renowned for its volcanic landscapes and natural pools. Its iconic volcanic pools, carved by ancient lava flows, offer a unique seaside experience, blending crystal-clear waters with rugged rock formations. Beyond the pools, Porto Moniz boasts breathtaking ocean views, charming waterfront promenades, and a relaxed atmosphere that attracts both locals and visitors.There I met some people who passed me on the Pico Ruivo and Encumeada trails, for this reason it is one of the favorite places for people who are venturing through Madeira to finish their trails, and thus head to Funchal again.

Lunch in Porto Moniz

Arriving in Porto Moniz I headed towards the natural pools. Porto Moniz, nestled on the northwest coast of Madeira, is renowned for its stunning volcanic pools. These natural pools are a testament to the island’s volcanic origin and provide a unique and captivating experience for visitors.

Right away, I didn’t go into the pool area, I stayed outside and watched, after all, I was hungry and would like to eat first, it was already close to lunch time. It was then that I found a restaurant that serves local food. I ordered a plate with potatoes, fish with banana on top and some salad. It was delicious and serves very well.

Lunch finished, now it’s time to go to the volcanic pools of Porto Moniz.

Natural Volcanic Pools of Porto Moniz

Carved into the rugged coastline by volcanic activity, the Porto Moniz natural pools are filled with crystal-clear seawater. What makes these pools truly special is the way they seamlessly blend with the dramatic landscape, offering a breathtaking juxtaposition of the deep blue Atlantic Ocean and the solid, dark volcanic rocks.

The pools are surrounded by sturdy rock formations that act as natural barriers, protecting swimmers from the powerful waves of the open sea. This creates a safe and serene environment for both locals and tourists to enjoy a refreshing swim while being surrounded by the raw beauty of nature.

Visitors can explore a series of interconnected pools of varying sizes, some of which are naturally formed, while others have been enhanced to create comfortable swimming areas. The pools are also complemented by facilities such as changing rooms and cafes, providing a well-rounded experience for those spending a day in this remarkable location.

The contrast between the dark volcanic rocks, the azure waters, and the lush greenery that often surrounds the pools creates a picturesque setting that’s perfect for relaxation and photography. It’s not only a place to take a dip but also an opportunity to connect with the island’s geological history.

The Porto Moniz volcanic pools are not only a popular swimming destination but also a testament to the geological wonders of Madeira. Whether you’re seeking a tranquil place to unwind or an adventurous spot to explore, these pools offer a unique blend of natural beauty and human ingenuity, making them a must-visit attraction on this Portuguese island.

Prices for tickets to the natural pools in Porto Moniz are listed below:

  • Citizens aged above 3 years old: 3,00€
  • Children aged 3 or less: Free
  • Municipal card with acronym, per entry: 0,5€
  • Student card or Senior Card: 1,50€
  • Disabled card greater than 60%: Free

Rent accessories

Beach Umbrella: 5,00€

Sunlounger: 5,00€

Sunlounger + beach umbrella: 8,00€

Locker per day: 5,00€

Locker caution per day: 5,00€

The water is very pleasant, after all, it was midsummer in the Atlantic waters, around 24º. There were several people there, of all ages. I had the feeling of being in my country, where the climate is warmer and the water too. I got in the water, took a few dips and then went to buy some ice cream.

So leaving the pools I went to catch the next bus to São Vicente, but ended up stopping in Seixal to record some videos, when I then turned onto an abandoned road, the old road that followed the coast. This road was abandoned due to safety factors, as they were just below the cliffs, where there were many landslides and rock and earth slides. Then came the construction of tunnels, which made transportation much easier and gave drivers more safety.

The road I went on gives access to Ribeira da Janela, a small village in the middle of the mountains, located between Seixal and Porto Moniz. This small village seems to emerge from the fissures of the mountain, it has a very interesting appearance. As incredible as it may seem, I was there on that road, in front of the tunnel to Ribeira da Janela, but I had no idea that that place would be the end of my trail, as this story progresses you will know why.

There are some people there, tourists to take photos, and I also flew the drone to take some photos and videos, and below is the result.

Back to São Vicente

After this moment of taking photos, I went back to the bus stop, but there was a mural at the bus stop that the last one had already passed, it was around 6:30 pm, but that was ok. From Ribeira da Janela to São Vicente it is about 15.9km, I did it in approximately 1h30. On the way I stopped to see the bride’s veil,    which is after Seixal. That path to the bride’s veil was also part of an old road that was there. There is also a snack bar, a kind of cafe there before the bride’s veil, they also sell regional items from Madeira.

This day was more about resting from the trail, but it was difficult, with 15km of walking at the end of the day, not bad. But what matters is the experience, it was worth going to Porto Moniz. Soon, arriving in São Vicente, I went to the bakery to buy some bread and also ate 2 small pizzas, I was hungry. And then I went “home” to rest.

In the Next Chapter

The next day I had lunch in São Vicente, with a walk of more than 8km with 600 meters of altitude gain. I would spend a haunting night in an abandoned house called Caramujo, listening to strange sounds of human footsteps in the middle of an ancient Madeira forest.

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