Porto Moniz (Madeira): The Complete Guide

Porto Moniz
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Bjørn Christian Tørrissen

A visit to Porto Moniz, located on the northwest tip of the Madeira archipelago, offers a captivating blend of natural beauty and relaxing leisure activities, making it a standout destination for travelers seeking both adventure and tranquility. Upon arriving in Porto Moniz, visitors are immediately struck by the dramatic landscape. The town is famed for its rugged coastlines and towering cliffs, which provide a stunning backdrop to the sparkling Atlantic Ocean. The air is fresh with a hint of salt, and the sound of waves crashing against the shore sets a soothing rhythm.

Natural Swimming Pools: The highlight of any visit to Porto Moniz is undoubtedly its natural lava pools. Carved out of volcanic rock and filled with crystal-clear seawater, these pools are both a marvel of natural engineering and a delightful spot for swimming and sunbathing. The pools are equipped with essential facilities such as lockers, showers, and lifeguards, ensuring a comfortable experience for all visitors. The area around the pools also features sun loungers and umbrellas, perfect for those looking to relax and take in the sun.

Aquarium and Marine Science Center: For those interested in marine life, the Porto Moniz Aquarium is a must-visit. It is home to a variety of local marine species, providing insights into the underwater ecosystem of Madeira. Nearby, the Living Science Center offers interactive exhibits on the natural history and unique geology of the region, making it an educational experience for both adults and children.

Dining and Local Cuisine: Porto Moniz has several restaurants and cafes that boast views of the ocean. These eateries serve a range of dishes, with an emphasis on freshly caught seafood. A local favorite is the limpets cooked on a hot stone, often served with garlic and local bread. Pairing your meal with a glass of Madeira wine enhances the culinary experience.

Hiking and Sightseeing: For the more adventurous, Porto Moniz serves as a starting point for numerous hiking trails that meander along the coast and through the lush hinterlands. One popular route is the Levada dos Cedros, which offers spectacular views and passes through dense forest and alongside irrigation channels unique to the island.

Cultural Insights: Exploring the town itself, visitors can admire the quaint church, stroll through small local shops selling handicrafts, and perhaps visit the Fort of São João Baptista, which now also functions as an aquarium. The fort’s location offers panoramic views of the town and sea, making it a picturesque spot for photos.

Evening Relaxation: As the day winds down, the sunset views from Porto Moniz are breathtaking. Watching the sun dip below the horizon over the Atlantic, with the pools and cliffs silhouetted against the fading light, is a perfect way to end a day full of exploration and relaxation.

History of Porto Moniz (Madeira)

The exact timing of the initial colonization of Porto Moniz remains somewhat uncertain, though it is generally believed to have begun in the early part of the last quarter of the 15th century. Among the earliest settlers was Francisco Moniz O Velho, a notable figure who played a key role in the development of the area. He is known for having cultivated previously unused lands, and for establishing both a farm and a chapel there. Francisco Moniz, a nobleman hailing from the Algarve, was wed to Filipa da Câmara, daughter of Garcia Rodrigues da Câmara. His lineage is significant, as he was a descendant of João Gonçalves Zarco, a famed explorer credited with the discovery of Porto Santo in 1418 (alongside Tristão Vaz Teixeira) and later, the island of Madeira in 1419, in collaboration with Bartolomeu Perestrelo.

Porto Moniz was officially recognized as a municipality on October 31, 1835. However, its status as a municipality faced several interruptions, leading to its brief abolishment and subsequent reestablishments during the periods of 1849-1855, 1867-1871, and once more between 1895 and 1898.

Visiting Porto Moniz (Madeira) for the first time and wondering what are the top places to see in the city? In this complete guide, I share the best things to do in Porto Moniz (Madeira) on the first visit. To help you plan your trip, I have also included an interactive map and practical tips for visiting!

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10 Best places to See in Porto Moniz (Madeira)

This complete guide to Porto Moniz (Madeira) not only tells you about the very best sights and tourist attractions for first-time visitors to the city but also provide insights into a few of our personal favorite things to do.

This is a practical guide to visiting the best places to see in Porto Moniz (Madeira) and is filled with tips and info that should answer all your questions!

Natural Swimming Pools of Porto Moniz

Porto Moniz Natural Swimming Pools
CC BY-SA 2.0 / Michael Gaylard
In the Porto Moniz area, visitors are treated to a unique aquatic experience with three natural swimming pools, complemented by the presence of a natural black sand beach. These pools are a marvel of nature, formed by volcanic rock formations that have been shaped over time. The design of these pools allows the cool, fresh […]
Location: Porto Moniz, Portugal | Distance: 0.00km
Visiting Natural Swimming Pools of Porto Moniz

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Aquario da Madeira

Aquario Da Madeira, Porto Moniz, Madeira
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Karelj
Nestled within the historic Forte de São João Baptista de Porto Moniz, the quaint Aquario da Madeira occupies the grounds of the old castle. This fort, dating back to 1730, is constructed from the locally sourced basalt stone and was originally erected to safeguard the town against pirates. The aquarium itself, which opened its doors […]
Location: Aquário da Madeira, Rua do Forte de São João Baptista, Porto Moniz, Portugal | Hours: 10am to 6pm | Price: Adults: €8 | Distance: 0.50km
Visiting Aquario da Madeira

Click here to read our blog about Madeira: Sightseeing Tour through the North West Coast!

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Ribeira da Janela

Ribeira Da Janela
Ribeira da Janela, located in the northwest of Madeira Island, Portugal, is a small village known for its distinctive natural beauty and tranquil atmosphere. The village is named after the stream (Ribeira) that flows through it and the unique rock formation near its mouth that resembles a window (Janela in Portuguese), hence the name Ribeira […]
Location: Ribeira da Janela, Portugal | Distance: 2.60km
Visiting Ribeira da Janela

Calhau das Achadas da Cruz

Calhau Das Achadas Da Cruz
CC BY-SA 3.0 / anagh
Situated at the northwestern tip of Madeira Island, Calhau das Achadas da Cruz holds significant importance in the Porto Moniz municipality, thanks to its breathtaking scenery. Nestled amidst majestic mountains and the vibrant sea, this location has become increasingly popular for its distinctive beauty. A notable attraction here is the Achadas da Cruz Cable Car, […]
Location: Calhau das Achadas da Cruz, Achadas da Cruz, Portugal | Distance: 4.00km
Visiting Calhau das Achadas da Cruz

Fanal Forest (Madeira)

Fanal-forest-madeira
On the northern side of Madeira Island, you’ll encounter an enchanting mist that weaves a captivating ambiance through the ancient trees of Fanal Forest. The gnarled branches of the century-old Ocotea Foetens trees intermingle with the fog, creating a scene straight out of a fairy tale. In this blog post, I will provide you with […]
Location: Fanal Forestry Station, Porto Moniz, Portugal | Jeep tours to Fanal Forest | Distance: 6.90km
Visiting Fanal Forest (Madeira)
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Seixal

Seixal In Porto Moniz, Madeira
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Ximonic (Simo Räsänen)
On the picturesque north coast of Madeira Island lies he small town of Seixal celebrated for its exceptional beauty. Seixal Beach Porto de Abrigo do Seixal beach, more commonly known as Seixal Beach. This stunning natural setting resembles a living postcard and has become a beloved destination for enthusiasts of the sea, nature, and photography. […]
Location: Seixal, Portugal | Tour of Westside Achadas Cruz, Moniz, Seixal and Fanal. | Distance: 8.00km
Visiting Seixal
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Miradouro do Véu da Noiva

Mirador Del Velo De Novia, Seixal, Madeira, Portugal
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Diego Delso, delso.photo
Situated along the historic road linking São Vicente to Seixal, one finds one of Madeira Island’s north coast’s most celebrated and socially shared landmarks: the Véu da Noiva Waterfall. This enchanting waterfall, easily visible from the Véu da Noiva viewpoint, captivates visitors with its serene and unique beauty. At this viewpoint, the landscape unfolds in […]
Location: Miradouro do Véu da Noiva, Antigo Traçado da ER101, Portugal | Distance: 9.00km
Visiting Miradouro do Véu da Noiva

Garganta Funda Waterfall 

Garganta Funda Waterfall 
© 2024 Noamds Travel Guide
Within the Madeira archipelago, numerous locations showcase Nature’s remarkable exuberance, and the Garganta Funda Waterfall unquestionably stands among these exceptionally beautiful places that leave no one untouched. Nestled on the southwestern edge of the island, within the Calheta municipality, reaching this natural sanctuary involves heading towards the parish of Ponta do Pargo, notable for its […]
Visiting Garganta Funda Waterfall 

Ponta do Pargo Lighthouse & Viewpoint

Ponta Do Pargo Lighthouse
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Joly Jumper
Situated at the westernmost tip of Madeira Island, the Ponta do Pargo Lighthouse Viewpoint provides a sweeping vista of the Atlantic Ocean and the distinctive rock formations that define its surroundings. This exceptional location merits a thoughtful visit. Found at Ponta da Vigia, the island’s farthest western cape, this viewpoint perches atop a 290-meter-high cliff, […]
| West Coast of Madeira Tour | Distance: 10.40km
Visiting Ponta do Pargo Lighthouse & Viewpoint
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São Vicente, Madeira

São Vicente, Madeira Portugal
CC BY-SA 2.0 / Vitor Oliveira
The municipality of São Vicente, nestled in Madeira, is renowned for its extensive Laurissilva forest, a gem of the archipelago and a testament to its rich natural heritage. This forest is not only significant for its diverse flora and fauna but also for its remarkable state of preservation, making São Vicente an ideal destination for […]
Location: Sao Vicente, Madeira, Portugal | São Vicente Caves and Volcano Center Half-Day Tour | Distance: 13.50km
Visiting São Vicente, Madeira
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Best Time to Visit Porto Moniz (Madeira)

The best time to visit Porto Moniz in Madeira depends largely on the type of weather you prefer and the activities you plan to engage in. Madeira enjoys a mild, subtropical climate year-round, which makes it a viable destination at any time. However, some periods may suit certain interests better than others:

  1. Summer (June to August): Summer is the most popular time to visit Porto Moniz, especially for those looking to enjoy the natural swimming pools. The weather is warm and sunny, with temperatures ranging from 22°C to 26°C (72°F to 79°F), making it ideal for swimming, snorkeling, and sunbathing. This is also the peak tourist season, so expect more visitors and a lively atmosphere.
  2. Spring (March to May): Spring is a great time to visit if you want to avoid the peak season crowds while still enjoying good weather. The temperatures are slightly cooler than in summer, ranging from 17°C to 22°C (63°F to 72°F). This season is also perfect for hiking and enjoying the lush landscapes, as the island is particularly green and flowers are in bloom, including the famous Madeira orchids.
  3. Autumn (September to November): Autumn offers similar benefits to spring, with mild temperatures and fewer tourists. The sea remains warm enough for swimming until mid-autumn, and the weather is still suitable for outdoor activities like hiking. You can experience the local harvests during this time, including grape picking and wine festivals, which are an integral part of Madeira’s culture.
  4. Winter (December to February): Winter in Porto Moniz is mild compared to most European destinations, with temperatures rarely dropping below 14°C (57°F). This season is ideal for those who prefer a quieter visit and are interested in nature walks and cultural exploration rather than beach-going. It’s also a good time to enjoy Madeira’s famous Christmas lights and New Year’s festivities.

Overall, the best time to visit Porto Moniz depends on your personal preferences. Summer is perfect for water-related activities and vibrant town life, while the shoulder seasons of spring and autumn provide a more peaceful atmosphere with pleasant weather, ideal for exploring the natural beauty of the area. Winter offers a calm, cool escape with its own unique charms.

Average Temperatures in Porto Moniz (Madeira)

  • January 17°C 6
  • February 17°C 7
  • March 19°C 6
  • April 19°C 6
  • May 19°C 3
  • June 21°C 3
  • July 23°C 0
  • August 26°C 1
  • September 23°C 3
  • October 22°C 7
  • November 19°C 8
  • December 18°C 9

How to get to Porto Moniz (Madeira)

Traveling to the North West tip of Madeira Island, specifically to Porto Moniz, takes approximately 50 minutes from Funchal. The journey begins with a trip across the center of the island, heading towards São Vicente. From there, you’ll traverse the renowned ‘gold route’, notable for its tunnels, some of which were constructed post-Second World War. For those preferring public transport, there are two bus lines available for this route: Line 139 and Line 150, both of which can conveniently take you to your destination in Porto Moniz.

Probably the easiest way to get to Porto Moniz is via a Full-Day Jeep Tour with Guide and Pickup. This allows you to include trips to Cabo Girão, Seixal Beach.